As an old speechwriter, Mark, I entirely agree: Obama is bad and getting worse.
Political rhetoric is intended to be effective — to get stuff done. What did Obama need to do tonight? Reassure his liberal base that he remained with them in substance while striking the right rhetorial and stylistic tone to reassure independents that he was still the same cool, composed, and in-control figure they found so appealing during the campaign. What did he actually do? Precisely the reverse. While offering up such stale, unimaginative policy proposals that liberals could only have moaned and gnashed their teeth, Obama adopted a tone of such petulance, peevishness, and condescension that independents could only have recoiled.
Not a single memorable phrase. Not a single image of real freshness or beauty. Just a ponderous, self-indulgent, long-winded botch.