I read the news today, oh boy. Newt Gingrich says he’s staying in the presidential race because the Republican Party has “a moral obligation to defeat Barack Obama.”
The righteous phrase sounded familiar. So I decided to look up “moral obligation” and found (without much digging) that Gingrich has used it liberally in the past, declaring:
* An “absolute moral obligation” to prevent Iranian nuclear weapons.
* A “moral obligation to take care of the ecosystem.”
* An “absolute moral obligation” to work with President Clinton.
* A “moral obligation to set up a [healthcare] system” that facilitates “the best possible health.”
* A “moral obligation to the cause of freedom.”
* And, to Gingrich’s credit, a “moral obligation” to personally pay $300,000 in sanctions for his violation of House rules.
Since this is a blog about communications, I won’t comment on Gingrich’s moral compass—or question the difference between a “moral obligation” and “an absolute moral obligation.” (Is there wiggle room?)
But notice how reckless repetition dilutes the former Speaker’s dire rhetoric. We have a moral professional obligation as communicators to help our clients avoid the same Chicken Little syndrome.