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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Washington Post on Obama: The Affirmative Action President


I am no fan of Obama, and I absolutely agree that race played some role in the Democratic party's willingness to gloss over his deficiencies. However, I adamently disagree with the second half of this essay. It woefully underestimates him. There are many reasonable criticisms of President Obama, but that he is unintelligent is not one of them. That he is a poor orator is not one of them. The man is a BRILLIANT orator. That's how he convinced everyone to overlook his lack of experience, because he could talk about change in a manner that made people believe he was really different, that inspired people, that made disgruntled voters into believers. Yes, part of that is cliche's, but cliche's are oftentimes very effective as figures of speech. Don't think for a second that Reagan was above a good cliche.

And don't give me that "oh, but he just reads off the teleprompter!" crap, because a teleprompter can only give you the words. The words are the speechwriter's doing; oration is much different than that. Oration is your voice inflection, your facial expression, your use of hand gestures, your delivery, the emotion you put into the sentences, the "it" factor that makes people trust you, that makes every word that comes out of your mouth sound good to any audience that isn't biased against you before you start (like all of us are!). So good, in fact, that by merely hearing you speak people get so inspired that they feel inclined to give you the Nobel Peace Prize before you've actually even done anything. So good that people become convinced that this guy - regardless of where he's from or what he's done or who he hangs out with - clearly must have it all figured out. That is what makes a good orator, folks, and Obama's got it.

Criticize his policies, for sure. I know I do. Claim he's misguided, claim he's arrogant, claim his principles are wrong, claim he's bad for America. Write articles in the Washington Post explaining why he's bad for America. But do not be foolish enough to think the man occupying the white house is a nitwit. He is the same man who has avoided almost all of the verbal gaffes that turn into soundbytes on the news, unlike Bush and Biden. He's the same man who ran a perfect, and I mean flawless, campaign in 2008 to trounce Republicans. And he's the same man who will trounce Republicans again if they nominate a limp-noodle candidate and then tell him he'll be fine in the debates because "Obama just reads cliches off the teleprompter". Put Rick Perry next to President Obama in a debate when a question on energy is asked, and see who the voters choose. Put Herman Cain next to President Obama in a debate when a question on Libya is asked, and see who the voters choose. Only someone who matches Obama's fire, conviction, and ability to convey that conviction through rhetoric will stand a chance in those debates. In my mind, that narrows the field to three: Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich for their oratorical savvy, and Ron Paul for his conviction and fire. But no matter who we choose, we will lose if we regard our opponent as an incapable moron who was elected solely because he was black. Never underestimate the enemy.

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