Accentuate the Positive
With all the negatives out there, I thought it might lighten things up to try a word cloud interpretation of the scripts of both Romney’s and Obama’s most recent, thirty-second positive spots. In “The Romney Plan,” the candidate himself narrates. For Obama, however, I could not find any :30 positive with him as narrator; nor could I find any spot that didn’t contain a contrast to Romney, which is interesting in itself. But it makes a good deal of sense: While I’m sure the Obama campaign would have loved to make a version of “Morning in America” this year, they just can’t make that kind of argument with any credibility. But, the closest the Obama campaign has come is the ad featuring Bill Clinton, titled “Clear Choice.” Below are two configurations made with the Wordle program (www.wordle.net) from a selection of the ten most used words in both ads (the larger they are, the more frequently used).
My interpretation: Romney’s language is narrow and uptight, while Obama’s (Clinton’s) is broad and inviting, though vague; Romney stresses the more wonky term “policies,” which, along with “small business” and “help” are the most repeated; Clinton stresses the more populist “plan,” the only word that dominates that spot. While the Obama campaign spot speaks of full employment being tied to the middle class, Romney’s mention of the middle class is tied to a specific focus on help for small business and dressed up by related fiscal, economic, and regulatory verbiage. Both of course mention jobs, but, characteristically, Romney’s language seems mechanical and rather cold, Obama/Clinton’s aspirational and rather warm. My guess is if Obama delivered his own positive message, he would appear somewhere in between on the temperature scale. Finally, I find Clinton’s repeated use of the word “plan” as it relates to President Obama’s position a little jarring – usually it’s the challenger who has the “plan,” with the incumbent having a “record” (or even a “program”).
Here are the actual scripts of the ads (I would love anyone reading this blog to post their own word cloud interpretations):
“The Romney Plan”
My plan is to help the middleclass. Trade has to work for America. That means crack down on cheaters like China. It means open up new markets. Next we got to balance the budget, you got to cut the deficit, you got to stop spending more money than we take in. And finally, champion small~business. Have tax policies, regulations and health care policies that help small~business. We put those in place we’ll add twelve million new jobs in four years.
This election to me is about which candidate is likely to return us to full~employment. This is a clear choice. The Republican plan is to cut more taxes on upper~income people and go back to deregulation. That’s what got us in trouble in the first place. President Obama has a plan to rebuild America from the ground up, investing in innovation, education and job training. It only works if there is a strong middle~class. That’s what happened when I was president. We need to keep going with his plan.