The “we” versus “me” campaign

Listen to Democratic Presidential wannabe Hillary Rodham Clinton speak and you notice one word dominates most of what she says.

No, the word is not “change.” The word is “I.”

The same word comes out of her husband’s mouth like so much verbal diarrhea.

Now listen to the speeches of challenger Barack Obama, the man who threatens to ruin their plan of another four-to-eight years of free rent at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

His most often-used word is “we,” not “I.”

It could be a difference in speechwriters. Or it could be a difference in philosophies. This could be the “we” versus “me” campaign.

When South Carolina voters kicked Hillary and Bill’s collective butts Saturday, she was too busy to give a concession speech so she sent him in her place.

But Bill’s ego is even bigger than Hillary’s so he spent most of the co-called concession speech using the “I” word. In fact, he talked more about himself than his wife and she is supposedly the one running for President.

When Hillary finally got around to speaking Saturday night from Memphis she delivered her standard stump speech, using “I” 41 times.

You might call it a question of style. Maybe. Maybe not. In a crowded Presidential field where so much candidate rhetoric is centered on a candidate’s ego, the simple but subtle substitution of “we” versus “me” might explain why Obama’s words hit home with voters.

You can’t talk of unity and consensus building when you start every sentence with “I will.” You can’t claim to want to build bridges across political divides when so much of the rhetoric is a partisan attack.

America is a bitter, troubled, divided nation – torn apart by polarizing political partisanship. It cannot, and will not, begin to heal as long as the debate on so many important issues is obscured by partisan blinders and philosophical inflexibility.

Obama risked the wrath of lockstep Democrats by daring to suggest that former President Ronald Reagan brought change to this nation. Reagan did bring a change of tide to America at a time when such a change was needed. The question is not if you agreed or disagreed with his ultra-conservative philosophies – and many of us did not – it was whether or not you felt good about this country. Reagan instilled a sense of pride that was needed after Watergate and fours years of Jimmy Carter malaise.

We can argue until the cows come home over whether or not Bill Clinton was a good President but admirers and detractors agree that he and his wife were and are ruthless, take-no-prisoners political warriors who will try to win at any cost. That ruthlessness resurfaced in this primary season and led, in part, to the public repudiation of both Bill and Hillary in South Carolina.

Will that defeat slow down the Clinton juggernaut of hyperbole, ego and dirty politics?

Not likely. It’s too easy to build careers and legacies on the blood of others and the blood will continue to flow right up to that Election Day in November.


  1. CheckerboardStrangler

    Corporations don’t need to be destroyed. They just need to be reduced back to being the objects of servitude that they were originally instead of the “juristic persons” that they are today. Corporate personhood needs to be abolished.
    If a corporation is indeed endowed with all the rights and liberties of a flesh and blood human being, then who forgot to assign an equally appropriate raft of civic responsibilities.
    We real humans are constantly admonished that “freedom isn’t free”.
    Well, for most corporations it is, and if they are people, they’re certified sociopaths.

  2. jay_spaan_sr

    With all due respect Mr. 33rd, what does your post have at all to do with “I and We”? May I remind everyone Hitler ALWAYS said “WE”? At least the thread would continue with some form of topic if someone could defend why Obama should hold America’s highest office because he has hired a great PR team to combine power words which include “We” as in “We Shall Overcome”?

    Can just one of you people, tell me/us, without degrading any other candidate, without saying why the other candidates are so bad, and without rhetoric about “Gleam of hope” and other such trash, just what it is that makes Obama qualified?

    Shall I mention:
    Richardson qualifications? You know them
    Biden qualifications? You know them
    Hillary? Yes, although a little shaky, you know them.
    Obama? He says We instead of I.

    I spoke out publicly we should not go into Iraq. Posted here too. Elect us/me. Because we/I have almost as much qualifications as Obama.

    Hey Hal, you are a shrink, how about your opinion about megalomania, and people who refer to themselves in the “third person”?

  3. 33rdSt

    look back through corporate history a bit more carefully. The corporate greed of the Carnegies, Fricks, Rockefellers, Morgans, etc. in the 19th and very early 20th centuries were about wealth creation. On the backs of men, women, and children who could barely afford to eat on what they were paid for generating all that wealth. The greed was checked a bit in the name of good social policy that limited the onerous work week, raised the minimum wage, and drove the barest of essentials of safety into the work place. My sense is that the balance worked reasonably well for several generations and the mechanisms of corporate America carried us and the rest of the civilized world through the build up needed to win WWII. A few overzealous labor leaders then decided their members deserved to live like Pierpont and John D. and forced wage and benefit concessions that have driven our factories overseas. And the Bush administration has compensated the corporations by one concession after another that has left the corporate fat cats and their CEO’s richer than at any time since Teddy busted the monopolies. Time to push the pendulum back the other way a bit. If they can afford all the payments they are making for the lobbyists who are corrupting our political system, they have a bit to much excess cash. No suggestion of government ownership, but a bit of social conscience and restraint would be good. If they won’t rein themselves in, perhaps a little social policy will be needed.

  4. jay_spaan_sr

    Is it just me, or has Doug and Hal decided to use CHB as their forum to promote Obama? Hal says he is voting for Obama because Hillary did not paste Bill’s stones to the white house wall. Doug says Obama is better because he uses We instead of I. What the hell has happened to CHB? What kind of thinking is this from two guys I used to respect and would follow to the Capital and beyond because of their wisdom?

    It is to obvious they have made their decision. How about giving me (opps… WE) a real reason why they like Obama so much? Hey quit pissing down my back and tell me it’s raining!