Whoever's writing Obama's speeches these days either has a tin ear – you don't "issue" goals, you set them – or he has a very refined sense of the ersatz nature of contemporary political discourse. Old-school monarchs issued "edicts." One thinks of King Charles the Bald in his Edict of Pistres in AD 864, announcing, among other things, that henceforth selling a horse to a Viking would be punishable by death. No doubt the odd equine transaction slipped through the regulatory net, but historians seem to agree that the sale of mounts to Norsemen certainly diminished. And, more to the point, his courtiers would have thought Charles the Bald was an even bigger schmuck than they already did if, instead of an edict, he was issuing a new goal to reduce the sale of horses to Vikings by 50 percent by the year 884.
These days, the edicts are issued by commissars deep in the bowels of the hyper-regulatory state, and most of them are, like King Charles, a little too bald in their assumptions of government power to be bandied in polite society. So, in public, the modern ruler issues goals, orders dreams, commands unicorns. People seem to like this sort of thing. No accounting for taste, but there we are. "America moves forward only when we do so together," declared the president. I dunno. Maybe it's just me, but the whole joint seems to be seizing up these days: the more "activist" Big Government gets, the more inactive the nation at large.Call me kooky, but I think that's the way Obama likes it--the private sector seized up while the public sector grows and goes like gangbusters.