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The Historic Obama « Dangerous Dan
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Dangerous Dan Thoughts and musings on the world


The Historic Obama

Filed under: General — Dangerous Dan @ 9:33 pm

So in the process of reading the story about Obama saying we're still working on our democracy, I found this exchange most interesting:


The Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Weisman asked McFaul to clarify.

"You seemed to be suggesting there was some equivalence between their issues of democracy and the United States' issues, when you said that President Obama assured him that we, too, are working on our democracy," Weisman said. "Is there equivalence between the problems that President Nazarbayev is confronting and the state of democracy in the United States?"

"Absolutely not … There was no equivalence meant whatsoever," McFaul said. "[Obama's]   taken, I think, rather historic steps to improve our own democracy since coming to office here in the United States."

"Historic" steps to improve our democracy?  Really?  And what, pray tell, are those steps?  Other than the idea Obama has done anything to strengthen our democracy, what really stood out was the "historic" part.  So I tested using the old Google search technique.

Using the terms:

  • "Ronald Reagan" historic: 2,190,00 results
  • "Bill Clinton" historic: 2,870,000 results
  • "George Bush" historic: 5,850,000 (this likely captures both Georges)
  • "Barack Obama" historic: 13,600,000

Bit of a difference, eh?  Granted, Reagan and Clinton might be underrepresented since the internet wasn't of age during their times, but it was pretty well established by Bush and Obama already has over twice associations with 'historic' in just a few years of national public attention compared to around 11 for Bush (and more if you include 41).  

We must be constantly reminded that he's an historic president who signed historic health care legislation and who is doing historic.  Indeed, even his bowel movements will become the stuff of legend.  This historic nonsense is taking on its own absurdity when underlings start throwing around the term for anything the president does, such as taking historic steps to improve our democracy.

So keep an eye on the use of the word.  I'd say use it as a drinking game, but your liver probably can't take it.


  1. Surely a sizable chunk of Obama’s “historic” hit count is in reference to him being the first African American elected president. You’d need to parse the data a bit more (searches like ‘”barack obama” “historic health care” OR “historic bill” OR “historic decision”…’) to show it’s a talking point among Obama supporters post-election. Plausible working hypothesis, though.

    Comment by Sean — 4/13/2010 @ 10:51 am

  2. Haters gonna hate

    Comment by Jake — 9/19/2010 @ 4:31 pm

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