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May 25, 2009
Obama Reaches the Limits of His Oratorical Prowess
Two recent events demarcate the boundaries of President Obama's speech-making skills. One national. One international.
First, it was former Vice President Dick Cheney's speech on the same day as President Obama's about the same topic: national security and the alleged torture of terrorist detainees.
Obama used his customary teleprompters to look from side-to-side, chin held high, voice echoing god-like in a large marble chamber.
In contrast, Cheney read from a manuscript, few gestures, shoulders humped slightly forward, a professorial drone to his words -- but with content delivered with conviction at least equal to Obama's. Not a polished speaker, but a polished thinker.
The fact that there's even a debate underway as to who won the match-off indicates that the public's perceptions of Barack Obama's oratorical skills have crossed the Rubicon and are diminishing.
How come? From over exposure? Too little variety of style? Or, is it that side-to-side teleprompter swing where he talks to the scrolling mirrors? We figure Cheney wrote his own speech. Who wrote Obama's?
Then along came a second boundary drawn by the man in Pyongyang, North Korea, proclaimed by his countrymen as the greatest golfer in the world. But he's not known worldwide as a great public speaker.
He let his nuclear and missile weapons tests -- a twofer -- speak for him on our Memorial Day. He likes to do that -- pick special U.S. days to test weapons. Show stealer.
In the response, the talking house spoke.
Even as you read this, the North Korean golfer must be bracing himself for a speech by President Obama calling his actions "unacceptable." Maybe even accusing him of "breaking the rules" yet again.
Then there'll be the requisite U.N. Security Council meeting where stern-faced diplomats will debate a resolution condemning the Golfer's aggressive behaviors. Might our President attend and speak on behalf of our nation? The people of the world need his oratorical skills to temper the belligerence of the North Koreans. "Oh no, not that!" the Golfer will say if the President chides him, yet again.
In the CNN article cited above, Jim Walsh, "an international security analyst at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology" is quoted as saying,
Well, of course not. But it does, though, mean another President Obama speech wherein he wags his tongue at the Golfer, no doubt cowering him into submission.
Barack Obama has reached the limits of his oratorical prowess in a little over 100 days.