Monday, January 19, 2009

Chart of the Day: The Hope and Change Index

THE ECONOMIST -- How will Barack Obama measure up, compared with other presidents, in his inaugural address?

Barack Obama is fond of hope and change. By one tally, he said “hope” nearly 450 times in speeches delivered on the campaign trail. (By contrast, his rival John McCain only used the word 175 times.) “Change”, too, was a campaign buzzword. If Mr. Obama makes heavy use of both words in his inaugural speech he would be following in the footsteps of William Taft a century ago. Taft delivered the most “hopeful” inaugural speech of the past 100 years, and was keen on change, too. Only Bill Clinton, in his first speech in 1993, talked about change more (see chart above, click to enlarge).

While hope has found a place in each of the 25 inaugural addresses, change is used more sparingly. Six inaugural speeches did not contain the word; six more made use of it just once. Presidents coming to office during economic booms, such as Calvin Coolidge and Warren Harding in the 1920s, Dwight Eisenhower and then George Bush junior, have been heavier users of hope than those who were inaugurated during leaner times. By that yardstick, expect more change and less hope when Mr. Obama speaks.

8 Comments:

At 1/19/2009 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasn't Harding elected during the panic of 1920? That would hardly seem like an economic boom.

 
At 1/19/2009 4:41 PM, OpenID A Texan In Grad School said...

Apparently The Economist doesn't realize that George W. Bush is NOT a "junior"

 
At 1/19/2009 10:56 PM, Anonymous PotatoChef said...

I HOPE that Obama can CHANGE the mindset of the American people.

The real change that must occur has more to do with the defeatest attitude that seems to be ozing from so many Americans.

Americans seem to be fond of blaming themselves and their country for everything that is wrong in the world. Nothing can be further from the truth.

Without America the world we live in would be in much worse shape.

I hope that Obama can change the perception of our fellow citizens from negative to positive.

 
At 1/19/2009 11:37 PM, Blogger QT said...

PotatoChef,

Correction, it is not Americans but generally those on the left who blame their country for everything that is wrong in the world.

It will be very interesting to see what Obama in fact does. His speeches and statements vary so widely that it is impossible to gauge what direction he will take.

 
At 1/19/2009 11:50 PM, Anonymous Admiral said...

Like the new profile pic!

 
At 1/20/2009 8:14 AM, Blogger NoWhining said...

"It will be very interesting to see what Obama in fact does."

I, for one, take hope in the fact that if things ever really get that bad, the country will never go hungry. "The Bama" can simply feed us all with a basket of fish and a few loaves. That will be as neat a "trick" as fixing the economy with another $1 trillion in govt. spending. Hosannah, Hosannah!

 
At 1/20/2009 8:36 AM, Blogger btenney said...

Enough Hope and Change. How about some Plans and Projections.
Less Handwringing and woe is us Rhetoric for a Change would be a Hopeful sign

 
At 1/20/2009 12:32 PM, Blogger 1 said...

"I HOPE that Obama can CHANGE the mindset of the American people"...

I hope Obama stays just the way he is, a pinko, parasitic, shill for the leftists...

Like Father, Like Son

Barack Obama's economic blueprint sounds like one his communist father tried to foist on Kenya 40 years ago, with massive taxes and succor shrouded as "investments."

 

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