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Analyzing Obama's Health Care Rhetoric

Posted by Andrew Moylan - July 29, 2009

A little while back, my colleagues did an analysis of the Democrats' health care bill and how many times certain words appeared in it. They found some disturbing, but not terribly surprising results. The bill is littered with words like "require," "regulate," and "tax." Meanwhile, words like "choice," "marketplace," and "freedom" are very scarce. In fact, negative words were utilized nearly three times as often as positive ones, in total.

I decided to run the same kind of analysis on President Obama's speeches in favor of health care reform similar to what the House bill contains. I looked at one major speech (to the American Medical Association) and one major town hall meeting (in Green Bay) and looked for the same words as our earlier analysis. Here are the results...

Negative words...
Term(s)
Frequency
Require/Required/Requirement(s)4
Report(s)/Reporting/Reported0
Limit/Limits/Limitation1
Penalty/Penalties0
Regulations0
Tax(es)2
Enforce/Enforcement0
Must0
Prohibit/Prohibiting/Prohibition1
Sanction(s)0
Obligation/Obligations0
Restrict/Restrictive/Restriction0
Fines0



Positive words...
Term(s)
Frequency
Benefit(s)6
Choice3
Options19
Private10
Rights2
Privacy1
Exempt/Exemption1
Marketplace2
Competition2
Consumer-driven0
Freedom0
Liberty0
Patient-driven0

What a shocker! Obama's rhetoric utilizes positive words more than 5.5 times as often as the negative ones. That's a complete reversal of what the Democrats' legislation actually says.

Keep an eye out for this, we'll be rolling out more info on this soon.

Thoughts?   Add Comment -


no-new-info said on Aug 07 2009 at 8:38am
I wonder how an analysis of frequency of words relates to the actual message in the speach. Was Obama saying "no additional TAXES", or "will require new TAXES". This type of analysis could be very misleading. How about providing real info!