Obama Bores; the Nation Snores
President Obama talks too much. Earlier this week, I listened to him introduce his latest nominee to lead the Veterans Administration, Robert McDonald .
It wasn’t hard to pick up on a predictable pattern that characterizes just about all of Obama’s talks. Likely influenced by his speechwriters, the president’s rhetoric ends up sounding boringly familiar and annoyingly self-effacing. The following talking points in his McDonald remarks underscore, in a nutshell, how team Obama frames the message:
(1) Begin by thanking (and even congratulating) all those employees who work for the Veterans Administration for their years of dedicated service to America’s heroes, wounded warriors, and others who have given so much for their country.
(2) Recognize the problems (in this case within the V.A.), but make very clear that they were systemic to the agency long before you became president.
(3) Point out, furthermore, that the reason the problem may have grown is that two (unnecessary?) wars have dumped many more sick and injured veterans into the V.A. system and gummed up the works.
(4) Having said that, indicate a full awareness of the problems (after six years?) and a determination to continue doing everything possible to see that these worthy citizens get the health care they deserve.
(5) Remind the American people, however, that a chief executive, no matter how hard he works in the interest of the people, cannot solve the nation’s problems without the help of the Congress, and so he hopes that his nominee will be approved – along with a host of others in various offices – as quickly as possible.
(6) Make folks aware of the exemplary work accomplished in the area of V.A. affairs by wife Michelle and running mate Joe Biden, two stalwarts in the assurance that America’s treasured veterans will not be forgotten – even if the first lady and the vice president seem to have been ignorant of what’s actually going within the V.A.
(7) Assure (those who are still listening) that the misconduct in the few instances in the VA. is “totally unacceptable” and that measures will be put in place to make it less tempting to subvert or even benefit from the present policies.
(8) Act humble and use brief, declarative sentences to show no-nonsense resolve, such as “We must do this” and “We shall not do that.”
(9) After going on at length about your own personal dedication, remember to praise (and introduce) the nominee. Make him and his background sound so exemplary that the Senate will feel bad about even questioning his fitness for the position.
(10) Try to make it seem as if the hoopla at the V.A. is a “real” scandal, as opposed to, say, the IRS, the NSA, Benghazi, or the border.
This is all part of the Obama theme to hype “hope over cynicism,” much in evidence during his commencement addresses this summer. And as he sees it, those who don’t hitch their wagon to his star power are only out to make political hay.
Obama doesn’t need new speechwriters. He needs a new persona and a less hackneyed response to the problems he and our nation face. He needs to quit tooting his own horn and face the music. Because it’s reached the point where even his teleprompter can’t save him from coming across as a colossal bore.