I'm beginning to wonder whether Mitt Romney and all of his supporters weren't linguistics majors in college. After all, the thing you choose to study reflects what you think is important. If you major in physics, it's because the laws and operation of the universe are what you find most important. If you major in economics, it's because you find money to be the prime organizing force of human activity. And linguists, like the Republicans of 2012, believe that language is the key to understanding who we are as humans.
Here's what I mean. Let's say you wanted to indict not Barack Obama's handling of the economy but his beliefs about the economy to get at the very essence of who he is. How would you do it? Some of us would say, we can determine who he is by looking at his actions. If he's a committed Marxist undertaking the dismantling of capitalism, surely we could find the evidence in what he has done. Did he nationalize the steel industry? Well, no. He (and George W. Bush) kind of temporarily semi-nationalized the auto industry, but that worked out well for everyone and saved hundreds of thousands of jobs, so let's not talk about that. Did he make it impossible for wealthy "job creators" to prosper? Hard to make that case, since corporate profits and wealth concentration at the top are near all-time highs—there's never been a better time to be a capitalist overlord. How about that tsunami of initiative-crushing regulation? Well, you can throw out some names of laws that involve regulation—Dodd-Frank, the Affordable Care Act—but if you want to make a strong case that Obama hates capitalism, you'd have to talk about what's actually in those laws, and conservatives don't really like doing that, just as they might rail against the tyranny of the EPA but they don't want to talk much about what exactly it is they find so objectionable about making sure our air and water are clean.
So the linguists on the right say: Don't let the actions distract you. The key to understanding Obama is in the words.