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A new pride of 'ownership'?

Martha Coakley's Senate loss and the Toyota recalls illustrate a vogue term for accepting responsibility.

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Martha Coakley's loss of a US Senate seat that had been Democratic since before most of us were born has prompted all manner of analysis of what it means for American politics.

I'd like to consider what it means as an example of the language of "ownership."

"I own it" was the verbal leitmotif throughout Ms. Coakley's postelection interviews. The Boston Herald quoted her as saying of her failed bid, "I own this. This is my responsibility."

According to The Boston Globe, she said, "I appreciate that this is tough for everybody who wanted me to win. I own that. My campaign owns it." And I heard similar language from her in an interview with radio station WBUR.

President Obama used some of the same words last September on the CBS program "60 Minutes." The topic was the state of his health insurance reform efforts, after a long summer of angry town-hall meetings. The headline was "President Obama on health bill: 'I own it.' "


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