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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

All Gargle and No Guts

All Gargle and No Guts

I had planned to watch the president’s speech on Afghanistan last week, but we went out to eat at Pine Tree Lodge where I not only enjoyed a tasty meal of grilled catfish but rolled pool balls on the table with my three- and five-year-old grandsons.

Truth is, I had a better time with them than I would have listening to the speech.
I watched bits and pieces of it later on various networks. One thing you’ve got to give the president, he is one dandy speaker.

You ever notice how he always poses after making a statement? Presidential type poses. He has mastered the technique of tilting his chin and staring into space as if he is seeing into the future. Another pose is turning his head sharply and glaring over the heads of the audience.

I wonder how long he had to practice all the poses so they would become part of his demeanor, or does the teleprompter suggest the gestures.

Can you imagine such a prompt on the teleprompter? The screen might look like this.

“Time is critical. We must act now!”

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not trying to be critical of his delivery. That delivery is what got him elected in the first place. It is smooth and slick and engaging. Of course con men are smooth and slick and engaging. All I’m saying is that no one is born with such a well-developed gift in place. They have to work to develop it, and obviously, he has.

There have been many gifted orators, perhaps the most notable being Martin Luther King, Jr. There was Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, and yes, Adolf Hitler as well as many, many more.
The gift of oratory is like the Sirens’ Song, leading an audience to whatever goal the speaker has in mind, imbuing the listeners with rosy visions the future has for them. Unfortunately, his oratory will have the same effect as the Sirens’, a shipwreck.

King’s oratory had goals, specific goals.

Obama’s speech did not. Not really. Of course, I’m probably wrong, but here is what I came up with after winnowing the chaff from the seed. He’ll send in more troops, but will start pulling them out in eighteen months. And now, true to form, he’s even waffling on that. At least Bush took a stand.

Now you tell me, what sort of message did he send?

Republicans put one spin on it, Democrats another. We Independents just sit here and scratch our heads, recognizing another example of his lack of substance. Other countries just laughed.

It was the same sort of speech you would use to mediate problems between warring Chicago neighborhoods whose leaders have trouble spelling ‘duh’.

Hate him or not, you can’t say Bush waffled on the fight against terrorism—and I’m sorry, but the word ‘extremists’ is not specific enough to describe those fanatics our young men and women are battling; that we are battling. We’re battling terrorists, not just extremists!

This president made over five hundred promises during his campaign. He’s kept fifty-eight, broken seven, compromised on fifteen, had eighteen stalled, working on one sixty-eight, and has not addressed two hundred fifty-seven.

And he’s twenty-five percent of the way through his term.

I hope your promise isn’t in that two fifty-seven.

In all fairness, he’s done a few good things such as rebuilding schools in New Orleans because of Katrina.

But even that makes you wonder. Why didn’t he do the same for the rest of the coast devastated by Katrina? If you’ll remember, New Orleans was on the west side of the eye. The bad stuff hit thirty miles east, in Mississippi. The problems in New Orleans arose because of the levees, which were the responsibility of local, state, and federal agencies.

But he did help the Big Easy and ignored the rest of the coast. Again, I ask why, but then, foolish me, I didn’t consider the demographics.

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