Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Yesterday in Wisconsin, post-partisan President Obama said, "Some powerful interests who have been dominating the agenda in Washington for a very long time -- and they're not always happy with me -- they talk about me like a dog. That's not in my prepared remarks, but it's true."
A Yahoo News article by Holly Bailey said, "Though Obama didn't acknowledge it, the line was a verbatim quote from "Stone Free," the first song [Jimi] Hendrix wrote after moving to England in 1966....It's unclear whether Obama consciously or unconsciously cited the lyric. A White House spokesman did not respond to requests for comment."
Every day in the week I'm in a different city
If I stay too long people try to pull me down
They talk about me like a dog
Talkin' about the clothes I wear
But they don't realize they're the ones who's square)
Bravo to Holly Bailey for having picked up on this. At first blush it might appear not to be a direct quote; after all, it's only seven words. But the context and grammar are both so off-kilter that one has to assume it's a direct lift.
Obama's opponents don't talk about him as if he's a dog: in all the criticism which has been leveled at him, I can't recall a single canine reference. Okay, maybe that's being too literal. But most of the resentment against him is for the way he has so cavalierly ridden roughshod over the will of the American people. That is generally not an emotion one hears directed at dogs.
The phrasing is also singular: "They talk about me like a dog." Did he mean, "They talk about me as if I were a dog"? Or could he have possibly meant it in the sense of, "They talk about me like a pack of snarling dogs"? If this was not a direct lift from Jimi, then Obama's grammar can only lead one to conclude that the million dollars he has spent keeping his academic record sealed has been money well spent.
Stick to the Teleprompter, Barack.
But if you do decide to stray from your prepared remarks again and feel like channeling 60's rock stars, you ought to quote a much more appropriate song, the Beatles' Taxman. Lyrics as follows: