Monday, May 18, 2015

Horizons: Obama and Warren: A Contrast in Analysis

Although I rarely disagree with either Senator -Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders - I am more comfortable with Barack Obama's long sentences, complex analyses, and - often - tentativeness.
Though it is destroying journalism in some respects the world of new media does permit strong new voices to emerge. Nancy LeTourneau and Andrew Sprung are exemplars of that.  Sprung contrasts the two former law professors. Tourneau adds her own spin. - gwc

Horizons: Obama and Warren: A Contrast in Analysis
by Nancy Le Tourneau

Andrew Sprung has written a fascinating article `Obama and Warren - a study in contrasting rhetorical styles'.  He lays out the different ways President Obama and Senator Warren talk about the roots of income inequality. He does so by contrasting a speech the President gave in December 2013 on the topic and one Senator Warren gave recently (which he taped and transcribed). Sprung sees a difference in rhetorical styles.
She sees the forests; he knows the trees -- and perhaps sees more overlapping, interlocking forests. Whatever your preference, the contrast is striking.
I think his comparison shows that the differences between the two of them go a bit deeper than rhetoric and might help us explain why they disagree on things like TPP.
Where Obama acknowledges multiple causes of our current economic malaise, from global competition and technology to racism as well as Republican tax, regulatory and labor policy, Warren hews to a three-part indictment of Reaganomics: deregulation, tax cuts for the wealthy, and consequent defunding of investments in shared prosperity.
The difference rhetorically is that Warren's analysis is simpler and cleaner. Obama's is more complex. What I would add is that Warren breaks down a scenario where it is easier to identify the villains and the victims. While Obama points to Republican policies as a contributor, he includes factors that don't easily point to who the "bad guys" are (i.e., global competition and technology). 

Behind those differences are differing views of how the world works and how you go about analyzing problems. One view is focused on a linear cause/effect analysis. The other focuses on a feedback loop with systems of interconnectivity.

When it comes to something like trade agreements, this helps us understand why Senator Warren would oppose anything that appears to benefit those she has identified as the cause of the problem...the 1%. They are the villains or the "bad guys" who are responsible for income inequality.....

Read more

No comments:

Post a Comment