Obama's West Point Speech signals a presidency in deep trouble

Yesterday’s speech to the graduating class of West Point by President Obama may be remembered as the signal that his presidency has entered a crisis of confidence, much as Jimmy Carter’s infamous “malaise” speech has gone down in history  as marking a failed presidency.  Not only was the content of the speech delusional (calling Russia “isolated” in the wake of a massive and historic gas deal with China that marks a major rapprochement between two powers hostile to the United States; claiming Ukraine as an example of the success of his coalition strategy), the delivery was wooden, as if Obama were wishing he were on a golf course or basketball court, and felt a hostile vibe. And the visible reception was embarrassingly icy, with only a few people applauding at key lines, and a standing ovation in which the vast majority remained seated and unmoved, suggesting the commander in chief is held in contempt by the next generation of military leadership.

Writing at Powerline, Scott Johnson titled his quick reaction to the speech, “More mush from the wimp.” This is an allusion to an infamous Boston Globe op-ed critical of a Jimmy Carter speech written by the late Globe op-ed page editor Kirk Scharfenberg. As a joke among the newsroom staff, Scharfenberg wrote “More mush form the wimp” on the piece, which was supposed to bear the headline “All must share the burden.” But his sarcastic barb was printed in 161,000 copies of the paper before being corrected.

The comparison is apt. Carter was a disaster who has been exceeded by Obama. As Carter fostered the rise of Iran’s mullahs and emboldened the Soviets, Obama has allowed Al Qaeda to spread and grow, all the while claiming it was “on the run.” As Carter’s economic policies gave rise to the neologism “stagflation,” Obama has managed to shrink the work force, hide inflation by keeping food and gasoline costs out of the CPI, and make the title “recovery” a joke, as the nation remains mired in stagnation throughout his presidency.

The big difference is that Obama has enjoyed the enthusiastic support of most of the media, and their willing complicity in papering over his scandals and failures. But as of recent days, I think the limit has been reached, and his media supporters demoralized to the point of ineffectiveness.

There was something visually striking about his speech at West Point. For the first time I can remember, his teleprompter screens were visible in a good portion of the media coverage. And because of the lighting, they stood out very clearly as dark shapes. He looked absolutely pathetic, going back and forth between the two of them, in his trademark tennis match style of delivering a speech. When the prompters are invisible, it is an annoying tic, but justifiable on the presumption that he is addressing the entire audience. But when the screens are visible to viewers, the fakery leaps out, making him look like some sort of puppet whose master knows only a few moves.

 Fox News showed the prompters throughout his speech.

But as this brief clip below from Reuters, showing the cool reception he received demonstrates, the awful truth was visible elsewhere. Needless to say, the Official White House version was a tight shot, keeping the prompters outside the field of vision.

While as an opponent of the president, I am glad that the truth of his incompetence is becoming more visible, as an American I am alarmed that we have two and half more years of him to survive. The villains of the world who run entire countries (and they are legion) see a man floundering and know how much time they have left to take advantage of our weakness. We are still paying the price for Carter’s incompetence. The ultimate toll of the Obama presidency could be far, far worse.