Whenever a politician says he or she wants to make something clear — or even perfectly clear, abundantly clear or mirror clear (how clear is that?) — you should stand by for obfuscation.
You might wonder what obfuscation is. Well, let me make perfectly clear what it means: According to the dictionary on my computer, it is to render obscure, unclear or unintelligible. Or, it also means to bewilder somebody. Some people think it means to shovel what the bull leaves behind in the pen.
The reason I bring this up is that Speaker of the House John Boehner brought it up Thursday when he said he wanted to make it “perfectly clear” that the government wasn’t going to shut down even though some of those who serve in the House want it to.
It used to be that President Obama was the one who wanted to make things perfectly clear, but he used that term so much that comedians began to make fun of him. Now it is Boehner’s term, I guess. You might ask why “perfectly clear” is an obfuscation. The answer is simple. If something is clear, it is clear. Unless, of course, one is being fed lies that require a gravy of feigned perfection to make them chewable. Would something be imperfectly clear? No, that would be dim. Or cloudy. Or smeared. Would Obama, or even Boehner, say, “I want to make this perfectly dim?”
If something is clear, it is clear, and that’s that.
Perhaps saying something is clear is a way of making people believe it, even though even though it isn’t clear why they should believe it. (Snuck that in on you.)
George Orwell, who wrote “1984,” said “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.”
If that isn’t clear, I don’t know what is.