September 11, 2013

"That was perfunctory."

If you want to know what I said after listening to Obama's speech last night, that's it.

I wasn't so much talking about the text, but the way he said it — the choppy, listless delivery, especially as he came to the end:
With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth.

Thank you. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.
I found myself immediately retreating to the cliché of imagining how Ronald Reagan said those words "God bless the United States of America."

Like he meant them.

And I'm not saying I don't think Obama means them. I'm only saying that he said them as if they meant: Okay, now I gotta get outta here.

43 comments:

mrs. e said...

Well, he's not the warmest guy in the world, but then Reagan was an actor. So, what does it all mean? I have no idea.

Hagar said...

It is coming to him that nothing he has believed in is working out as he thought it would, and he has nothing else to fall back on.

MadisonMan said...

Maybe Obama forgot to go to the bathroom before the speech. Hard to say things with resolve AND a full bladder.

Charles said...

...and no, he doesn't mean it!

MartyH said...

It is amazing how little play Obama's speech is getting in the blogosphere. Last night I did not watch it, and went to read about it a few hours later. There was almost nothing on it. The front page headline on my newspaper this morning is, "Obama: Delay vote on Syria airstrikes"

It's almost like he didn't give a speech-like no one is paying attention to the President. That would be an incredible diminishment of the man, if not the office.

RecChief said...

Ace put it better than I could:
"'And so to my friends on the right, I ask you to reconcile your commitment to America's military might with a failure to act when a cause is so plainly just.

To my friends on the left, I ask you to reconcile your belief in freedom and dignity for all people with those images of children writhing in pain and going still on a cold hospital floor, for sometimes resolutions and statements of condemnation are simply not enough.'[NPR transcript]


Note that Obama's "friends on the left" believe in freedom and dignity in all people. People on the right don't, apparently.

What do people on the right believe in? "Military might." Pure force. Note that he decouples military might from any moral purpose -- he doesn't say "your commitment to keeping the nation safe" or "your commitment to a patriotic defense of America." No, such moral approval is stripped away so that Obama can speak neutrally of the one thing Obama thinks conservatives care about, naked martial power.

We share this love of naked martial power, shorn of any moral or ethical purpose, with some of his other friends on the right, such as Caesar, Napoleon, and Hitler.

His friends on the left, see, support the values which might be attained by exertion of raw military might, such as "freedom and dignity of all people," but his friends on the right are just about having the biggest bombs and stuff."

And people wonder why Republicans are wary or downright hostile to working with him. This is what a community organizer DOES. It's not about uniting everyone, it's about uniting those already united. Truly he is in over his head.

Fred said...

probably had time booked at the driving range and was in a hurry to wrap up his speech.

Besides, it was probably very uncomfortable standing there with Putin's foot up his ass.

Bob Ellison said...

Can't we just admit that Obama is a lying atheist?

Gahrie said...

He was just scared that someone might ask him a question......

cubanbob said...

I found myself immediately retreating to the cliché of imagining how Ronald Reagan said those words "God bless the United States of America."

Like he meant them.

And I'm not saying I don't think Obama means them. I'm only saying that he said them as if they meant: Okay, now I gotta get outta here."

The sad fact is for the first time we have a president that for many if not most America's whatever their party affiliation the people have a doubt he really meant those words. Ann the fact that you are mentally comparing Reagan to Obama over the sincerity of those words leads me to believe you do have you doubt about Obama's sincerity.

Henry said...

He's convinced his base he's a genius. I saw that this morning in my feeds. God Bless President Putin.

JRoberts said...

He sounded like a humiliated schoolboy who thought he got an "A" on his test, but just found out he really got a "D-".

I once had a new boss who told our company that we had a rich reputation, but a poor reality. The difference between the two was a matter of integrity. We needed to grow the reality to match the reputation, or the reputation would shrink to match the reality. The gap could not be sustained indefinitely.

I've concluded that Obama's reputation is finally collapsing to match the reality and he's taking the whole nation with him.

Shawn Levasseur said...

I'm more puzzled by the imagery.

Usually, this is the type of speech given from the president's desk in the Oval Office.

The walking down a hall to a lectern (and walking away afterwards) felt too ceremonial. And awkward as it was as if he was approaching a live audience of reporters, but of course it was an empty and silent room.

The location used usually is the site for presidential press conferences. (Making the quiet, empty room all the more awkward, even hearing camera shutters go off would have filled the emptiness.)

Obama's done speeches in this location once or twice before, to the same effect. It makes him look stiffer, and overly formal, thereby not making the necessary connection with the audience such important moments require.

From Inwood said...

Prof A

Guess he didn't send a thrill up your leg, er?

Instapundit:


THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR MITT ROMNEY, BRITPUNDITS WOULD SCORN OUR PRESIDENT’S BUMBLING. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Nile Gardiner: Barack Obama’s Syria speech was an incoherent mess – he is outperforming Jimmy Carter as the most feeble US president of modern times.


and Peggy Noonan:

“Obama, a self-besotted charismatic who can’t tell the difference between showbiz and strategy, and who enjoys unburdening himself of moral insights to his peers...

Another problem, and there’s no nice way to say this: It is hard to believe such a chill man has such warm feelings about the sad end of strangers far away.”


And yet, some otherwise sensible people voted for him in 2008 & in 2012 did so again or refused to vote for his opponent.

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

He said he would deliver a speech, and he did.

Would that all Obama's threats (and promises) eventuate with so few consequences.

Tom said...

Okay, well Obama tried the ole' "Just the Tip" strategy starting a war and it didn't work - "Just let me start a little war and then I'll pull it out!" Then Putin paints him into a further corner with help from Kerry. Congress isn't baling him out -- he really doesn't have defenders in Congress -- he has some Democrats that will support anyDemocrat in the White House and some Republicans who will support any war. But no one is singing the praises of this remarkably strategic president (well, except Andrew Sullivan, who flipped back after he got his talking points). No, I imagine Obama ain't real happy with the United States of America right now.

traditionalguy said...

The Russians will not soon leave their new sphere of influence over Syria, or Egypt, over Iraq and over Iran that was ceded to them by a scared narcissist seeking approval in our eyes.

Leading from behind is a media excuse for Obama's not leading at all.

Next the draft will have to be reenacted, because a Volunteer Military will not join and fight on AlQaeda's side under orders given by a non-leading CIC quisling.

SteveR said...

When you get a Nobel Prize for nothing but talking, you'd think he'd be good at it. Too bad he doesn't always get to choose the subject matter.

Fandor said...

The last refuge of a scoundrel is patriotism. Obama's got nothin'. He's a suit. A smile. An actor.

Ronald Reagan was the real McCoy. A patriot and a leader. He believed in America.

RecChief said...

I'd like to add, the only thing Resolute in the White House right now is the desk.

Original Mike said...

"And I'm not saying I don't think Obama means them."

I'll say it.

Ann Althouse said...

"... leads me to believe you do have you doubt about Obama's sincerity."

I always assume some balance of sincerity and insincerity. The proportions are unknown. Any politician is making political calculations and hiding some knowledge and motives. Who knows what any given character's sincerity/insincerity ratio is? Anyone who is 100% sincere would be incompetent in politics.

Obama's not too good at making us believe, which is really funny, because initially he stimulated a lot of excessive belief. I was never one of the believers, even though I voted for him in 2008.

As for Reagan, I have no idea whether he was religious, but he was great at making us feel the words "God bless." That's a political skill that might be used for good or evil.

Hagar said...

America is America and will remain so, but the next president is going to have a job cut out for him in rebuilding the presidency.

Bob Boyd said...

I want you all to support my position, which has been and still is, to close the barn door... just a little, not all the way.
Yes, yes, the horse has gone, its true. Of course I know that, it walked right past me. I was standing right here with my hand on the door, making the case that the door should be closed...just a little, not all the way... but, uh, better late than never, so I ask you to authorize me to swing the door as far as I think necessary. I'm sure it won't have to be closed all the way, but its dark in there so...um....OK? Its not easy to man the door. And I like horses.... and the farm.

grackle said...

Obama's following the same strategy he's followed for other problems.

Tell a big lie.

Stall for time(investigations, commissions, negotiations).

Fine-tune and fuel the counter-narrative by providing the MSM their talking points, perhaps derived from and tested through focus groups and quicky polls.

Sit back and wait for it to become old news.

Works like a charm every time.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

I don't think he believes in God or America so maybe his insincere delivery means he's not a sociopath after all.

BarrySanders20 said...

I wonder if Michele, for the second time in her adult life, is really proud of her country because it told her husband no.

I wonder if, for the first time in her adult lfe, she is really proud of Vladimir for pulling her husband's chestnuts out of the vise.

That penultimate line is how Obama wants to be viewed. Humble and resolute. Oh the disconnect.

jr565 said...

It was weak sauce from a weak president.

jr565 said...

It was perfunctory because he's a weak president pushing American weakness as his policy. Reagan came across as authentic because he believed in American exceptionalism and would have no problem with the concept of peace through strength.

Michael said...

He made a speech explaining how he is willing to allow the known murderer to turn in his gun and let bygones be bygones. And how that is a good and moral thing. It, of course, is an awkward argument even a stupid one.

jr565 said...

BarrySanders wrote:
I wonder if, for the first time in her adult lfe, she is really proud of Vladimir for pulling her husband's chestnuts out of the vise.

He didn't though. Instead he snipped off his marbles.
Obama, so unused to the use of said testicles, actually thinks that the removal of his testicles is actually a positive, and that Putin is allowing for Obama to carry a less heavy load.
Yeah, i guess if you subtract the weight of your balls from your body that the load is technically lighter.

cubanbob said...

I always assume some balance of sincerity and insincerity. The proportions are unknown. Any politician is making political calculations and hiding some knowledge and motives. Who knows what any given character's sincerity/insincerity ratio is? Anyone who is 100% sincere would be incompetent in politics. "

Ann while your statement is true there is a level of bedrock trust that can only come from genuine sincerity.

And without that a leader especially in a democracy can't lead. One of the problems we have today is the relative lack of genuine sincerity among elected officials. It's hard to gain the public's support when the official is perceived as a hack that will say anything to anyone depending on the listener's desires. No one expects to elect a saint but that doesn't mean we expect every elected official to be an opportunistic cynic.

lemondog said...

Sit back and wait for it to become old news.

Hmmmm....rewrite:

Go golfing and wait for it to become old news.

Cedarford said...

Fandor said...
The last refuge of a scoundrel is patriotism. Obama's got nothin'. He's a suit. A smile. An actor.

Ronald Reagan was the real McCoy. A patriot and a leader. He believed in America.

===========================
No, it is deliniated by what group you belong in.

The last refuges of right wing scoundrels are wrapping themselves in the flag of patriotism and claiming Jesus would believe all other views are immoral.

The last refuges of libertarian scoundrels are wrapping themselves in the sacred parchments of the Constitution, and screeds of Hayek, Rand, and Ricardo and declaring unlimited sacred rights of Freedom! for the individual. Without any attendent responsibilities.

The last refuges of the Left scoundrels are Lawfare, Rule of Law(yers), PC, fake anti-war pacifism, constant accusations of racism, bigotry to shut down opponents. And of course promising unlimited entitlements because they are not mean and care for The Children, The Children! (which includes "childs" like Trayvon and Bradley/Chelsea).

Reagan liked America, but was only good at convincing people he loved America more than others through honed acting skills and placement of perfect patriotism props around him in a speech setting - by his handlers..
Reagan was probably no better a leader or patriot than TRuman, Eisenhower, LBJ, Nixon, or Clinton. But his timing was good..he followed Carter's debacle.

mike said...

Mrs. E, who is the real actor?

We know where Reagan was born, the house he grew up in, the friends he went to school with, his first job, his first boss, his mentors, his parents and where he went to college. We know what he lettered in, that he exhibited natural leadership skills from early on, obtained a well-rounded education and a great sense of patriotism and love of country.
Obama's handler's have invested millions to squelch details of his youth. Why? what we do know is so anti-American that the easier argument to make is that Obama is living as an actor, Reagan just played one.

Seeing Red said...

...No, such moral approval is stripped away so that Obama can speak neutrally of the one thing Obama thinks conservatives care about, naked martial power.

We share this love of naked martial power, shorn of any moral or ethical purpose, with some of his other friends on the right, such as Caesar, Napoleon, and Hitler....



IRS, NSA, all part of the "federal family"....


Projection much?

Alex said...

Ann - remember that Reagan was an actor. Of course he made you believe in him.

Alex said...

However, go watch Reagan's "A Time For Choosing" speech in 1964. That is truly heartfelt and Reagan at the height of his rhetorical powers. I won't post the link, as I assume ya'll have the requisite internet skillz.

jr565 said...

Michael wrote:
He made a speech explaining how he is willing to allow the known murderer to turn in his gun and let bygones be bygones. And how that is a good and moral thing. It, of course, is an awkward argument even a stupid one.

Who are you talking about? Obama or Rand Paul?

avwh said...

"I always assume some balance of sincerity and insincerity. The proportions are unknown. Any politician is making political calculations and hiding some knowledge and motives. Who knows what any given character's sincerity/insincerity ratio is? Anyone who is 100% sincere would be incompetent in politics."

Last night, I heard and saw Bob Woodward. Your comment reminded me of his best line of the night, when he described "the Hillary Clinton rule: fake it until you make it".

Is it actually still unclear to anyone paying attention how incompetent the current occupant of the White House is?

NotquiteunBuckley said...

"Reagan was probably no better a leader or patriot than TRuman, Eisenhower, LBJ, Nixon, or Clinton. But his timing was good..he followed Carter's debacle."

So I wonder if Carter, or Ted Kennedy for that matter, were to have followed Carter after the 1980 election everything would be just the same as it is now.

You know, it's all based on timing of course.

Real American said...

Obama doesn't believe in God or America.

cokaygne said...

Insincerity is the stock of dictators like Assad and Putin. Stalin let it slip when he is supposed to have said, "One death is a tragedy, a million dead is a statistic."

Obama is not in that league. His problem is the opposite. He is so sincerely against chemical warfare, never mind the deaths of 100,000 Syrians by more conventional methods, that he cannot think straight or act as if he is the president of the United States.

These are scary times. The Putins and Assads will, correctly, see Obama as a pushover. They will do what they want to do. Our allies, if any (it is indeed a sad day for our country when the only support our president can get is from the Socialist president of France), will see that they are now defenseless unless they do it themselves. Will East Asian countries be restrained from going to war with each other? Will any Israeli government heed advice from Washington?