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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Small Man On A Big Stage

Some more thoughts on the Obama Afghanistan speech, the morning after.

I understood why Obama wanted to go to West Point to give the speech. It would show that he had the courage to give the speech directly to soldiers whose lives would be on the line in the coming years. It had the potential for great theater, which is either good or bad, depending upon whether you feel theater was appropriate in this instance.

But it didn't work. Looking at Obama standing on the large stage in front of a room full of cadets, Obama looked small and detached. While he was standing in front of the cadets, there was no sense that he was standing with them.

Obama had a lecturing style. He talked to us, not with us.

Perhaps that was unavoidable given the setting. While standing in front of cadets had the potential for making the speech more emotional, there is something to be said for the close-up shots of a President giving a speech from the Oval Office, to which we have become accustomed in times of national crisis and on issues of great importance.

Bush's speech just after the 9/11 attacks made an emotional connection, even though only the camera was in the Oval Office with him. He talked with us, not to us:

If Obama's speech was intended to make connections, it didn't work. Obama seemed all alone, not just physically, but politically and emotionally.

Which in fact is pretty much where he is.

Related Posts:
Is "Finish the Job" the New "Peace With Honor"?
Why Isn't The Troops' Urgency Fierce Now?
A Clintonian Defense of Our Nixonian President

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  1. Excellent analogy. I completely agree. Plus Obama is truly a small man. He is unworthy to even wipe the shoes of those cadets.

  2. I analyzed the President's speech on my blog (http://www.kauffmanscommentary.blogspot.com) Please feel free to make comments or give me any feedback.

  3. A few observable things during the televised speech:

    1. Obama's purple lips. Does anyone know if he smokes? A physician friend of mine said it's indicative of heavy smoking.

    2. Obama's pretentious, affected way of enunciating 'Pakistan'. PAAH-KEES-TAAHN....(presumably because he disdains the way it sounds in the American accent)

    3. Shots of randomly snoozing cadets.

  4. Love him or hate him, there was not often you couldn't tell exactly how much Bush loves this country. That speech was one of the most moving presidential speeches I've ever seen. It ranks right up there with Reagan's speech when Challenger exploded.

    I have NEVER seen a speech from Obama where I felt he was doing nothing more than blow smoke up the behinds of those watching/listening. He is ALWAYS playing to his base and to those who faint over his words. He's just pathetic. Obama could not give a truly heart-felt, moving speech if his life depended on it. Not unless it was written for him and shown on his teleprompter. And they'd have to teach him sincerity, which is something I don't think is possible.