The Campaign Spot

This Speech Didn’t Gush, It Didn’t Leak, It Mostly Dribbled

In today’s Morning Jolt, a look at the buzz around Mitch Daniels and at Glenn Beck’s new thriller novel, The Overton Window. But in today’s sample, a gathering of quotes and reactions that suggests that nobody walked away from President Obama’s speech last night all that impressed:

A Credibility Gulf

Immediately after Obama delivered his address from the Oval Office about the efforts to contain the Gulf oil spill, Jen Rubin sent me an e-mail that included the highly technical political science term, ‘zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.’ She assesses: “Frankly, Obama was a crashing bore. He’s been that way for awhile, but at moments like this when you know what he is going to say (‘Bad BP!’ ‘Pass Cap-and-trade!’) he is especially so. And he can never pass up the chance to pass the buck. He describes the difficulties with the Minerals Management Services as if someone else was president for over a year and as if this is the fault of ‘deregulators’ rather than a massive bureaucracy without accountability . . . Obama spoke about ‘shrimpers and fishermen’ and ‘empty restaurants’ but neither his voice or demeanor betrayed any sense of emotion. He remains cool and distant — cataloging suffering but reflecting none of it.”

RealClearPolitics catalogues Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, and Howard Fineman — about as pro-Obama a trio as you could assemble on one television panel — sounding like . . . well, any of us: “It was a great speech if you were on another planet for the last 57 days . . . Nothing specific at all was said . . . Where was the ‘how’ in this speech, when the nation was crying out for ‘how’? There wasn’t any specificity to it . . . It’s startling to hear this . . . Why does he keep telling us that the Secretary of Energy has a Nobel Prize? It’s not important now . . . Can’t we go any quicker here, than to name a commission?” They worried his assessment of how quickly they could cap the leak was wildly optimistic.

Laura Ingraham is left yawning: “One of the worst speeches ever . . . another day, another special commission.” Stephen Green is left supremely underwhelmed: “There wasn’t even enough meat to make proper fun of . . . I keep waiting for somebody else to come on TV, maybe a cabinet member, to read the real speech, the one that tells us

. . . I dunno . . . stuff. Seriously, sorority girls have done the Walk of Shame home from frat parties feeling more satisfied.”

Erick Erickson leaves no metaphor unturned, calling it “the most depressing Oval Office speech since Jimmy Carter’s malaise speech. He didn’t just embrace defeat, he wore it on his suit as a substitute for an argyle sweater. He tried to sound upbeat in the way a cop in a movie might sound when his partner lay mortally wounded and the cop needs to get the partner’s wife to the hospital without letting her know her husband is dying. It was a false optimism with Barack Obama distracting Americans in a game of three card monte.”

Charles Krauthammer, on Fox News: “He looked sincere for most of it. He’ll get a point or two for a day or two, and then the story will be the spill-cam, and not his speech.”

Within Frank Luntz’s focus group, a few liked it, but most felt it was about 50 days late.


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