Friday, April 23, 2010


I was walking from one room to another the other day and the TV was on. There was Obama, speaking to Wall Street. I don't normally listen to the guy, because, well, I just can't stand the sound of his voice, plus every time he speaks he flips me into crazy. Sure enough, this time was no different. What I heard him saying to the Wall Street "fat cats" (did he use the term in front of them during the speech, I wonder, since it's one of his favorite rhetorical ploys, as in he "did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street") was this: "We can and must put this kind of cynical politics aside." That's all I needed to hear, since I've heard that one from him over and over: finger-wagging Speech No. 79, where he's telling some group somewhere how he thinks they need to behave. Cynical politics? This guy is the King of Cynical Politics. OK, Barry, you go first. That's called leadership.

The Wall Street Journal had an excellent piece the other day, subtitled "Obama's ad hominem method and the politics of polarization." The gist of the article comes in the first paragraph: "While it takes two to tangle, we think the hyper-polarization owes more than a little to Mr. Obama's own rhetorical habits. More than any President in memory, Mr. Obama has a tendency [tendency?] to vilify his oponents in personal terms and assail their arguments as dishonest, illegitimate, or motivated by bad faith."

One of my favorite examples of Obama-Speak came the other day when he was asking for money in Miami from some "fat cat" Democrats and he decided to mock Tea Party Americans, saying he was "amused" by recent anti-tax Tea Party protests: "You would think they'd be sayin' thank you." Really? Well, we of the Tea Party persuasion are thinking that Obama might not be so "amused" come November. As it is, I find myself quite unamused at the way Obama regularly dismisses, demeans, mocks, and divides millions of Americans who are concerned that he is, indeed, "transforming" our country, in ways that we neither want nor asked for.

The WSJ says that most Presidents leave political attack to surrogates or Vice Presidents, but not Obama. If you're old enough to remember Vice President Spiro Agnew, Nixon's hatchet man, then you can appreciate this line from the WSJ: "Mr. Obama seems to enjoy being his own Spiro Agnew." And that's one of the most disturbing things to me about Obama-Speak: he really does seem to enjoy calling out his oponents in the most cynical, irresponsible way. It's as though President I-Won just doesn't get it--you're not campaigning anymore, Champ. You're IT now, President of all Americans. As the WSJ concludes, "his rhetorical method seems especially discordant coming from a President who still insists, in between these assaults, that he is striving mightily to change the negative tone of American politics."

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