The Corner

Re: Thumper Obama

Steven: Good points all about what a fundamentally poor public speaker Obama actually is. It’s amazing that he has a reputation as a good communicator; what he perfected long ago is the art of saying nothing in a convincing fashion to “folks” who already believe — not in what he’s saying, but in him. Without that — and when the speech is not all about him — he’s limp, tired, petulant, angry, or all of the above. 

That’s why he does so poorly without a sympathetic audience. What he needs, as his best campaign appearances showed, is an adoring crowd of true believers that he can whip up and then, as their enthusiasm crests, feed off their energy as he sings his song of himself. He’s like a surfer, catching one wave after the next for an exhilarating ride.  But you can’t surf in a placid, shallow lake. 

Reagan was his own man, secure in his hard-won sense of self. The Punahou Kid really is “a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

And that monotonous rhythm! Those dreary cadences! Obama is the Salieri of speechifiers. If the Republicans can find someone who approximates even the Mozart of, say, La finta giardiniera, they’ll win in a walk.

Some of us caught on to his little rhetorical tricks ’n’ tics ages ago:

I woke up this morning with a song on my lips. Well, not exactly a song — more like a tune, a song without words. I’m sure you know it. It goes something like this: ha-huh-ha-huh-ha-huh-ha-HUH . . . ha-huh-ha-huh-ha-huh-ha-huh . . . ha-huh-ha-huh-ha-huh-ha-HUH . . . ha-huh-ha-huh-ha-huh-ha-huh . . . I’m referring, of course, to the music of His Serene Highness, the Emperor Barack Hussein Obama II…

Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.

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