Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ex-Presidents and Former Presidents

I get emails from all kinds of folks. I make it a point to get emails from both liberal and conservative groups, and I make it a point to actually read as many of them as possible. So, there was nothing strange about me scanning over the roundup of "headlines" from I got distracted right away when I saw them refer to President Clinton as "ex-President Bill Clinton."

I thought it interesting that they used the word "ex" instead of "former." My immediate thought was, they are trying to attach a bad connotation to him. It implies that his exit was... well... not-so-nice. I would love to say that the petty word tricks like this do not work, that it is usually best to ignore it. But they do matter. The Republican National News Network, you know, Fox, understood that calling it the "government option" instead of the "public option" would have an affect on its popularity (ultimately, they were a little late to the game and the term "public option" was far too ingrained into common rhetoric to simply be replaced because some news anchor wanted it so).

Back to I decided to employ the awesomeness of google and do a little analysis of their use of the terms "ex-President" and "Former President." The latter was used almost exactly the same number of times to describe Republicans and Democrats. Nothing really to note about that. Yet their use of the term "ex-President" tells a different story.

That term has, as far as google knows, only been used thirteen times at Once, was quoting FORMER President Jimmy Carter speaking about himself. Every other time, they are speaking about FORMER President Clinton.

I am sure that the partisan nature of the anti-choice movement has nothing to do with this. It is simply a coincidence that while more often than not refers to past U.S. Presidents as "former President," 100% of the times they have used the term "ex-President" it has been in reference to a Democrat who served two full terms and remains popular to this day.
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