Are you tired of hearing Casino gambling terminology used to describe tax and spending policy during the Obama era? I am, and as a decent black-jack player myself I am increasingly offended at the co-opting of language one hears mostly in places like Las Vegas, into political speech.
Obama first started the problem in his “State of the Union” speech last January where he said he would “double-down on a clean energy industry that’s never been more promising.” Since then, Obama uses the term repeatedly whenever referring to his failed alternative energy program. At a campaign speech he gave in Vermont last March 30, he said “Let’s double down on clean energy that has never been more promising — solar and wind and biofuels, and energy efficiency, electric batteries.” “That’s what we need to be investing in.”
There is a big problem here. “Double-down” is gambling terminology, first and foremost. But to Obama, “double-down” refers to investment, not gambling, and with taxpayers money. This is a fairly profound observation on the President’s approach to economic policy. If you reflect on it for a moment, is it any wonder why his administration made such a huge mistake “investing” in companies like Fremont, California’s Solyndra, the failed solar energy company that burned through $528 million in guaranteed loans from Obama? Taxpayers’ funds for the Obama Administration aren’t intended to be carefully invested to preserve capital as they might by a Wall Street money manager, heck no. Instead, they are to be risked, and risked in very large numbers, on “investments” which actual investors wouldn’t have anything to do with.
Pundits and bloggers seem to love Obama’s “double-down” terminology and are using it widely in stories and in writing headlines like “Romney doubles down on economy in Detroit” (February, 2012); “Ted Nugent Doubles Down, Because of Free Speech!” (April, 2012); “Romney Doubles Down on Opposition to Gay Marriage During Speech at Liberty University (May, 2012); “How the Supreme Court Could Double Down on Citizens United” (June, 2012); Even the New York Times has fallen prey to the fad: “Boehner to Double Down on Debt Rule” (May, 2012).
But what really boils me up is that now Republican politicians are starting to use the term. In April, the Republican National Committee Chairman, Reince Priebus, said he was not walking back from a statement that what Democrats call the Republican “war on women” was as fictional as a “war on caterpillars.” When pressed on retracting that statement on a TV news show, Priebus said, “I’m not going to walk back…I’ll double down on it.”
Yesterday I heard the term “double-down” used three times in television interviews on three different cable TV channels, by Republicans. Even the official Republican response to the President’s weekly radio address this weekend, included the term “double-down.”
Enough already. “Double-down” is a word that should belong to recreational gamblers, not politicians. If I have a chance, the next time I talk to a politico guilty of using the term, I’m going to tell them if they really want to “double-down,” do it at a nearby Indian casino with your own money, not ours! And stop it!