January 28, 2010

"Obama's Dull, Cheap, Successful Speech."

"President Obama’s speeches have always been notable for both their exquisite prose and their unusually high intellectual level."

You know what, Jonathan Chait? You are wrong. Obama's speeches have always been bland. Look into your own head to discover why you heard "exquisite prose" and "unusually high intellectual level."

47 comments:

Derek Kite said...

Obama's gift is that when someone is in his presence, it feels like the meeting of two great minds.

Derek

traditionalguy said...

Chait still is under the Obamaspell. He has disabled his truthchecker, and he can only see a beautiful man saying beautiful and hopefull tales about a beautiful world. Don't wake him up too fast, or he will be a dis-illusioned cynic for the rest of his life. Just let Chait slowly come to his senses.

kimsch said...

These people were told over and over again what a good speech Obama gives, how he's sooo intelligent and exquisite.

So they keep telling themselves that even when reality bites them in the a$$.

Because if they don't, they've made a big mistake and they don't want to admit that.

The emperor (and his sycophants)have no clothes.

wv: tregrun

Original Mike said...

I changed channels after the first hour.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

I think this has something to do with the elites being impressed by a "clean articulate black man" but I'm not sure.

Jeff said...

This is the same crap people used to say about Clinton's overly long kitchen sink style oratory emissions.

Talk on for long enough and you can say everything to everyone.

bagoh20 said...

I'm admittedly partisan, but I thought is was a terrible speech, even for him. Small, confused, contentious, bitchy, and it rang entirely false to me, as well as nearly all the members of the focus audiences.

I don't really care if a President gives great speeches, but I do care if the media is getting thrills up their legs.

Scott M said...

@Ann

I agree with your comment about "bland" but have to put it into the context it existed in. Bush, whatever one thinks about him, was a horrible communicator. I just saw the Bush/Clinton Haiti ad last night and it really reminded me how uncomfortable he seems in his own skin when speaking.

Up against that precedent, Obama's middling oratory was like mana from Heaven.

The Ghost said...

If this is the way Obama "pivots" after losing the 60th vote in the Senate I shudder to think what he will be like for his next State of the Unicorn speech. He may just stand up there and scream, "Get these bugs off of me" for an hour.

prairie wind said...

He may just stand up there and scream, "Get these bugs off of me" for an hour.

...but elegantly.

RobertL said...

Precisely... Chiat's self image is always in the way; but he did give Alito the benefit of the doubt today.

ricpic said...

Doubling Down

Ain't we brilliant, ain't we bright.
When will the shmucks see the light?
There's nothing left but fight fight fight
Until the shmucks admit we're right.

Henry said...

Boy, that column is damning with faint praise. Sadly, I don't know that Chait knows that that is what he's doing.

Rose said...

From the very beginning Obama was an empty vessel. A beautiful, 'Burning Man' style construct with a lovely mirrored facade.

People looking into the mirrors saw their own high ideals and aspirations reflecting back at them, and they imagined that he shared those same ideals and aspiration, the same HOPES and dreams.

It's not just that the Emperor has no clothes, it's that there is nothing inside the facade.

The cynical people behind the scenes crafted the message to make people believe in something that wasn't true, and in so doing they have, and Obama has, betrayed what was left of beauty and innocence in the American public. Carefully worded dishonest speeches, focus-group tested talking points all hid the radical agenda of the muscular, poisonously aggressive activist orgs, to whom we have now handed over the country.

We have to HOPE that the opposing construct - the one our Founding Fathers put together, can survive it. In theory, our system was designed to flex, but in the end to self correct.

I HOPE it will.

Larry J said...

I just saw the Bush/Clinton Haiti ad last night and it really reminded me how uncomfortable he seems in his own skin when speaking.

Take away Obama's teleprompter and he makes Bush sound articulate. Who besides Obama would take a presidential podium and 2 teleprompters to speak to a bunch of 6th graders?

DADvocate said...

Obama's speeches have always been bland.

Amen. I have a low tolerance for speeches of any kind and political in particular. I watched a 20 something minute speech on statistics and found it much more stimulating than anything I've heard Obama say. He repeats the same meaningless, liberal blather I've heard for years.

Maguro said...

Obama speeches are just another thing that the SWPL set knows they're supposed to like. Kinda like independent bookstores, fair trade coffeee and low-budget Bulgarian films about gypsies.

Lem said...

Obama was dull.

Joan said...

Stemming the Democratic panic was the primary task of this speech. We’ll soon see if it succeeded. I’d bet that it did.

Interesting construct there, "I'd bet..." No, he wouldn't. If he really thought the speech had stemmed the tide of Dem panic, he'd have said that, instead of "betting" that it would.

When you've lost Chait...

AJ Lynch said...

So Chait heard "E = MC2" while we heard a bore drone on and on.

Someone should write a book called "Liberals are from Uranus, Conservatives are from anywhere else butt Uranus".

Hoosier Daddy said...

Stemming the Democratic panic was the primary task of this speech.

And why the Democratic panic? I mean seriously, they take over Congress in 2006, reinforce it with a massive majority in 2008, elect a Democrat President while celebrating the GOP being taken to the electoral woodshed and now one year later are in a panic?

Am I the only one that is bewildered by this or is it just incompetent leadership from the top down?

shoutingthomas said...

Forget the style. The speech was an endless drone without focus.

Obama is just trying to do too much. He apparently believes that he can heal the earth and cause the oceans to recede.

The speech was a relentless laundry list of disconnected pitches to various and sundry interest groups.

No vision, no focus, no nothing.

sydney said...

During the campaign, I thought his speeches were a lot like Sheryl Crow songs- they sound good when you are listening to them, but then when you concentrate on the actual words they are banal and meaningless.

His presidential speeches, however, don't even have that much going for them. The rhythm and fluctuations never matches the meaning of his words. It's just random inflections.

Bob_R said...

Obama's speeches are indeed bland and (like most speeches aimed at millions of people) at a very low, simple intellectual level. However, Obama always lays on the trust cues and class markers of the "educated class" with a trowel. Easy to see the way Chait comes to his conclusions. His lack of self awareness on this is typical and pathetic.

Sissy Willis said...

Well said, Prof. Althouse.

The purple prose that is Obama's presidency

traditionalguy said...

I am reminded of the Professor's wondering about Michelle Obama's look towards Barak as he entered the Chamber as "does she hate him?" She has to hear his performances everyday, and she of all people knows that Barak never tells anyone the truth. Why should he? That can wear out hi supporting cast since no positive emotional support comes to them except for the distant Maoist vision of conquest at the end of the long march. He can never tell the truth or his failures to preserve and protect the USA will be seen as intentional rather than as another accident.

lucid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lucid said...

Chait has always been a pet peeve of mine among the legions of cryto-journalistic obamalists.

He was vituperatively over-the-top against Hillary Clinton during the primaries, absurdly accusing her of trying to steal the nomination.

Anyone who actually knows the details of those primaries knows that it was Obama who did steal the nomination through shrewd playing of the caucus states and possibly importing caucus voters into Iowa.

But Chait has always been especially offensive to me.

He reminds me of nothing so much as a smug and self-righteous undergraduate working on the lefty campus paper, unable to do any paying work that does not survive except by subsidy, and completely blind to the multitudinous ways in which his faux-moral outrage and endless contempt are a thin disguise for his own very narrow self-interest.

He is self-satisfied, self-indulgent, self-deluding.

Original Mike said...

Hoosier, they're paniced in the face of the public's response to what they have done/tried-to-do over the last year. No?

Richard Dolan said...

Sydney suggests that O's campaign speeches sounded "like Sheryl Crow songs- they sound good when you are listening to them, but then when you concentrate on the actual words they are banal and meaningless."

I'd take that idea one step further. With a lot of pop music, it's best not to listen at all to the words, and just let the simple chord sequence and rhythm cast its not-very-subtle spell. Same with O's speeches. O has a nice baritone, a pretty good sense of timing and a nice delivery. (If only he could move on from that 'chin in the air' stuff.) But like pop music, you'll enjoy it more if you ignore the words.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Obama's campaign speeches were more like "Louie Louie". You could hear pretty much anything you wanted to.

rhhardin said...

I'd take that idea one step further. With a lot of pop music, it's best not to listen at all to the words, and just let the simple chord sequence and rhythm cast its not-very-subtle spell.

Australia's songwriter Tiffany Eckhardt has great lyrics usually.

I'd recommend from Nino's Cafe Think about You

Earlier, from Looking for Signs Talk About, and Love.

"Talk About" is a classical barcarolle in musical form.

(Real audio cuts may ask to download the old 11kbs sipr9 codec on modern players, which come with a cooke codec instead)

Her Myspace page has Think About You, I see. I was looking for her lyrics but they seem to be offline.

jag said...

I agree with you: Obama's speeches have long been too ego centric to rise to eloquence. "This is the moment the oceans stop rising" was the moment it all stopped rising for me.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hoosier, they're paniced in the face of the public's response to what they have done/tried-to-do over the last year. No?

Yeah I get ya Mike. I suppose my question was more tongue in cheek than anything. I mean its amazing that they could be self destructing already. Kind of like watching an episode of F Troop.

Nihimon said...

Is it wrong of me to want Professor Althouse to add "I looked into my own head and found {x}" on each and every post like this until *all* of her readership understands how someone we admire so much for her critical thinking skills believed Obama would govern as a moderate?

Ralph L said...

Clinton's ... oratory emissions.
Haha. Don't forget "oily."

John Stodder said...

As much as I am interested in politics, I just can't bring myself to watch any president's State-of-the-Union speech. They're like listening to a boring person's New Year's resolutions. I was swimming when the speech started, listened to a little of it on the way from the gym to Trader Joe's, and a little more of it on my way home, and it seemed thoroughly disingenuous, even the parts I agreed with.

I hope our next president shocks the world by going back to the tradition of sending his state of the union message to Congress. Presidential speeches in front of joint sessions of Congress should be reserved for important national events, i.e. declaring war, plans for dealing with a crisis, etc. It's inappropriate to use the opportunity just to build back a president's poll numbers.

Original Mike said...

Kind of like watching an episode of F Troop.

Yeah. More than "kind of", in fact. Though I'm not sure how I'd apportion out the characters.

Stan said...

Two million jobs saved?! That's not just a lie, it's a lie that lacks even the pretense of reality. Everyone knows that he has no possible way to derive that number. How is that intellectual?

And shouldn't something that's supposedly intellectual have some logic? How is ignorance of economics intellectual?

AJ Lynch said...

Stodder:

I am with you. I probably watched Bush in 2002 but that is the last one. Before that? Maybe one of Clinton's first years?

I can't stomach the canned & faux applause. That is a great idea- just email it to Congress and the press. We see enough of these pols thruout the year and generally, the camera loves them but we have seen enough to last us a lifetime.

Mike said...

Every speech is a dull and empty version of "we are the ones we've been waiting for" and for the life of me I can't see how anyone was ever mesmerized by his act. There is no warmth in his deliver or connectivity to his audience. For the last 49 speeches they've put out the "this is IT!" hype and he just can't deliver. He is the "what not to wear" of speechifying. And get that damn chin down, you a-hole!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0nERTFo-Sk

mariner said...

HoosierDaddy:
Kind of like watching an episode of F Troop.

Except that F Troop was intended as comedy.

This is more like unintended tragedy.

Kirby Olson said...

When I think back over his speeches there is no content, just some platitudes, like YES WE CAN.

YES WE CAN Get rid of him, but it will take another three long years of listening to his lousy speeches with his fake rhythm. He's no worse than Kerry.

I like Bush's natural unaffected speech.

Buford Gooch said...

One word in all the comments stood out to me in describing the SOTU: bitchy. Or maybe it was describing the Big O.


wv: nismoms Answer to "Whose jeans was he wearing?"

Christian Prophet said...

Obama's speech was classic Benito Mussolini. The similarity is canny. Hopefully Obama will suffer a better fate. See:
"Obama Creates Poverty, Not Jobs!"
http://constitutionparti.blogspot.com/

Uncle Hesiod said...

I'll bet Mr. Chait can't tell the difference between "Catcher In The Rye" and a readable novel, either.

Paul said...

"Obama's speech was classic Benito Mussolini. The similarity is canny."

But even there Obama comes off as a phony and a lightweight. Whatever else he was Mussolini was a badass and a fighter, with a "force of nature" personality. Obama is the poster child for affirmative action with no hard won wisdom, skills, savvy, or personal power. Just a man made weak by having everything handed to him by white liberals who used him to assuage their guilt.