Our Plagiarizing President
John Podhoretz notes - as have others, including the Obama-worshipping Jonathan Alter over at MSNBC - how boring Barack Obama's speech was yesterday in Ohio. Not only was it long-winded but it just recycled the same rhetoric Obama has been using for the past few years. Literally recycling - using the exact same phrases from previous speeches.
The president gave a speech about the economy yesterday to put his stumbling campaign on a strong new footing - and cribbed most of it from speeches he delivered last year...
... Obama dug back into his bag of tricks and brought out a bunch of unsuccessful arguments - ones that failed to generate support when he first advanced them and failed to move the policy needle in his direction.
A long passage about how Abraham Lincoln was both the first Republican president and the first Big Government president came directly out of his Sept. 9, 2011, speech before a joint session of Congress to push his "American Jobs Act."
Remember what a triumph that was? Me neither.
Obama yesterday: "As much as we might associate the GI Bill with Franklin Roosevelt" (odd, since Roosevelt had been dead two years when it was passed), "it was a Republican, Lincoln, who launched the Trans-Continental Railroad, the National Academy of Sciences, land-grant colleges."
Obama on Sept. 9: Lincoln was "a Republican president who mobilized government to build the Transcontinental Railroad, launch the National Academy of Sciences, set up the first land-grant colleges."
Here's the oddity: Using Lincoln to sell Obamanomics was a flop nine months ago, when it was part of a nationally televised address seen by 10 times as many people as watched yesterday's speech. If it didn't work then, why would it work now?
Over and over yesterday, the president returned to stale rhetorical tricks ("This isn't spin," he said repeatedly as he spun Republican budget proposals to make them look as bad as he could) and flat rhetorical tropes ("Don't let anybody tell you the challenges we face right now are beyond our ability to solve").
Why should we be surprised that Barack Obama just goes through the motions? This is not the first time he has been too lazy to come up with new rhetoric.
A Danish TV network compiled a hilarious list of the number of times Barack Obama has recycled phrases when describing foreign leaders and nations. It is an insult to those leaders and the people of those nations that our President does not even bother to address them as individuals and unique (one might say "exceptional" nations). America can again be perceived as a behemoth that just looks down at other nations, unworthy of the time to learn about or respect enough to describe them in ways that honor them.
He is on autopilot - just going through the motions, reading "cut and pasted" lines on the teleprompter.
By the way, this is far from the first time that the greatest communicator and persuader of our era has plagiarized lines - he has done it from others. For example, in 2008 he "borrowed" some of his most winning lines in the campaign from his friend Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts. This was a charge, made by the Clinton campaign (with reason). Both Obama and Patrick had David Axelrod as their campaign strategist so maybe he should be credited with the rhetoric since it seems, like the best ad lines and slogans, to have been so successful in inducing voters to pull the lever.
So perhaps Joe Biden is not the only plagiarizer at the top level of our government.
This borrowing and boringness is especially insulting since Barack Obama made his young speechwriter, Jon Favreau, the highest-paid staffer at the White House. They apparently believe the American people - and people in other nations - won't realize they are hearing the same "stuff" used before. Not an particularly admiring view of people - especially those in the media who may pick up the recycling.
Perhaps, Barack Obama is just too lazy to come up with a new spiel, after all he does have a terrible work ethic, something that was apparent from the earliest days of his adulthood.