Do you remember how liberals went off on Bush as stupid for eight years (not including the primary season leading up to the 2000 election) because of the way he talked?
Bush and the word “nuclear” was a favorite, of course. And there were always a few awkward sentence constructions from a president who – unlike Obama – wasn’t slavishly attached to a teleprompter:
Obama has relied on a teleprompter through even the shortest announcements and when repeating the same lines on his economic stimulus plan that he’s been saying for months — whereas past presidents have mostly worked off of notes on the podium except during major speeches, such as the State of the Union.
The same left that ridiculed George Bush over his every verbal slip are now rushing in with “intellectual” defenses as to why Obama sounds like a babbling fool every single time he can’t read his lines off a screen.
Case in point from today’s Los Angeles Times:
Meghan Daum: Obama’s fast brain vs. slow mouth
It’s not that the president can’t speak clearly; he employs the intellectual stammer.
Apparently, a lot of people consider President Obama to be bumblingly inarticulate. “The guy can’t talk his way out of a paper bag!” a reader wrote to me recently. “Sarah Palin is a brilliant speaker. It’s the president whose sentences are undiagrammable,” said another in response to a column I wrote about Palin. It’s not just my readers, nor is it exclusively conservatives, who hold this view. A Google search of “does Obama have a speech impediment” turns up several pages of discussion among the president’s supporters and critics alike.Admittedly, the president is given to a lot of pauses, “uhs” and sputtering starts to his sentences. As polished as he often is before large crowds (where the adjective “soaring” is often applied to his speeches), his impromptu speaking frequently calls to mind a doctoral candidate delivering a wobbly dissertation defense.
But consider this: It’s not that Obama can’t speak clearly. It’s that he employs the intellectual stammer. Not to be confused with a stutter, which the president decidedly does not have, the intellectual stammer signals a brain that is moving so fast that the mouth can’t keep up. The stammer is commonly found among university professors, characters in Woody Allen movies and public thinkers of the sort that might appear on C-SPAN but not CNN. If you’re a member or a fan of that subset, chances are the president’s stammer doesn’t bother you; in fact, you might even love him for it (he sounds just like your grad school roommate, especially when he drank too much Scotch and attempted to expound on the Hegelian dialectic!).
If you’re not, chances are you find yourself yelling “get to the point already!” at the television screen every time Obama’s search for the right word seems to last longer than the search for Osama bin Laden. And thanks to its echoes of the college lecture hall, you may think it comes across as ever so slightly (or more than slightly) left wing.
That’s kind of ironic, given that the godfather of the intellectual stammer is arguably none other than the paterfamilias of the conservative movement, William F. Buckley Jr. With his slouch, his glazed-eyed stare and a speaking style that suggested the entire Oxford English Dictionary was flipping through his mind while he searched for a word like “dithyramb,” he makes Obama’s extemporaneous speech seem canned — not to mention pedestrian — by comparison. In fact, if the people critiquing Obama’s meandering speech patterns were to see an old “Firing Line” segment, I daresay they would think Buckley was drunk or otherwise impaired.
Granted, Buckley didn’t hold political office (he made an unsuccessful run for mayor of New York in 1965). He was more an observer than a decider, which is pretty much the opposite of what you need to be to lead a nation. Obama, as much as his critics might hate to admit it, is more than a phlegmatic egghead. He’s proved he can act decisively; whatever his faults, he’s leading the nation far more effectively — albeit less colorfully — than Buckley would have led New York. (When asked what he’d do if he won the mayoral election, he famously responded, “Demand a recount.”)
Obama’s problem is not that he’s an intellectual (for the sake of argument let’s define it as someone who is scholarly, broadly informed and distinguished as a thinker). It’s that he sounds like an intellectual. Unlike other presumed political brainiacs — Bill Clinton or Newt Gingrich, for example — he isn’t able to bury his ideas behind a folksy regional accent or good-old-boy affectations when he wants to. Nor is he effective at “keeping it real” when he falls into traditionally African American cadences that he clearly never used when he was growing up.
By speaking as though he hails from everywhere, he ends up being from nowhere. The result is that people look at him and see not a Hawaiian or a Chicagoan or even a black man, but a university man.
Of course, the president enables that stigma by stammering his way through town hall meetings and other public dialogues as though they were philosophy lectures. Irritating? Sure. But inarticulate? Sorry, folks, but you’ll have to find another adjective. And take your time. The right word is usually worth waiting for.
Okay. I understand. Obama sounds so stupid because he’s so damned BRILLIANT. And here, look. There’s a conservative out there who did the same thing.
Or not. I don’t recall William F. Buckley Jr. having moments like this one:
But that is a fact. And such things are hindrances to most of the mainstream media’s “narratives.”
I don’t recall Buckley telling us about the 57 states (with one left to go) he’s visited in those sophisticated tones of his:
Nor do I remember Buckley making a visit to Westminster Abbey and getting the date wrong by three years as Obama just got through doing:
I don’t remember Bush – who of course was a moron (just ask any liberal) doing anything this braindead either.
Nope. It’s brilliant, intellectual “university men” who ascend to such marvellous heights of intellect.
One fellow pointed out that “Bush could not pronounce Nuclear but he knew what it was (Iran, Obama).” And, of course, that stupid Bush was right, and those “brilliant” Democrats were all wrong.
THE NATION – Democrats rip Bush’s Iran policy – Presidential candidates say a new intelligence report shows that the administration has been talking too tough.
By Scott Martelle and Robin Abcarian
December 05, 2007
Democratic presidential candidates teamed up during a National Public Radio debate here Tuesday to blast the Bush administration over its policy toward Iran, arguing that a new intelligence assessment proves that the administration has needlessly ratcheted up military rhetoric.
While the candidates differed somewhat over the level of threat Iran poses in the Mideast, most of them sought to liken the administration’s approach to Iran with its buildup to the war in Iraq.
“I vehemently disagree with the president that nothing’s changed and therefore nothing in American policy has to change,” said New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. “We do know that pressure on Iran does have an effect. I think that is an important lesson.”
Delaware Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the new intelligence report indicated that Iran dropped its program before international pressure came into play.
“It was like watching a rerun of his statements on Iraq five years earlier,” Biden said. “Iran is not a nuclear threat to the United States of America. Iran should be dealt with directly, with the rest of the world at our side. But we’ve made it more difficult now, because who is going to trust us?”
The debate was aired without a studio audience over NPR, live from the Iowa State Historical Museum. It covered Iran, China and immigration, offering the contenders a chance to delve more deeply into subjects that often receive less detailed debate treatment.
Clinton and Biden were joined by Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, Connecticut Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Ohio Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel.
But why should it matter that Bush was right, and we are now facing a disastrous crisis that it’s just a damn shame that liberals basically ENTIRELY created with their abject REFUSAL to deal with a crisis, and their DEMONIZATION of anyone who tried? Bush said “nuclear” funny, and that’s really all that matters if you’re properly sophisticated and, you know, professorial. Bush was stupid even though he was entirely correct and the liberals who attacked him (including the three top liberals of the Obama administration with VP Biden and Secretary of State Clinton) were entirely wrong.
It doesn’t matter how many times we’re right and how many times they’re wrong. Because they won’t acknowledge the truth and because the facts don’t really matter worth a damn to them.
There’s a concept in psychology called “accommodation and assimilation” that fits liberals in their steadfast refusal to follow the rules of normal learning. In normal psychology, one assimilates new information into one’s worldview and accommodates one’s worldview as new facts come in that run contrary to the picture one has of the world. Liberals don’t bother with that nonsense. Rather, they rigidly adhere to their doctrines and simply paste-over whatever reality happens to get in the way.
I think of Harold Camping and his followers. It didn’t matter than he falsely predicted the end of the world before in 1994. It didn’t matter that the Bible that he’s doing all his “calculations” from specifically says no man can know the day or the hour of such things. It doesn’t even matter that his prediction for the end of the world on May 21 turned out to be wrong. Such facts don’t work, so so much the worse for the facts. Now we’re assured that the world will end on October 21. Really. Better get ready.
Like Harold Camping and his followers, liberals are immune from any genuine learning. They simply lack the character to deal with reality in an honest way.
Obama is brilliant because he graduated from Harvard, but Bush is stupid even though he graduated from Yale. Previous Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry was brilliant because he graduated from Yale, even though Bush had also graduated from Yale and even though Bush actually had a better accumulated grade average (77 versus 76) than Kerry. Oh, and by the way, even though Bush also actually had a higher IQ than Kerry. But so what? Kerry had that arrogant Massachusett’s tone that just sounded so… so smart. And of course, Bush was stupid because he had a few gaffes; ergo sum Obama is brilliant whenever he’s off his teleprompter because his gaffes are supposedly somehow kind of similar to brilliant people’s.
Or Bush was evil because of Gitmo, and rendition, and the Patriot Act, and domestic eavesdropping, and indefinite detentions, and military tribunals, etc. etc.; ergo sum, when Obama goes back on his demagogic rhetoric and pursues all the same policies that he demonized when Bush did them, it is Obama magnificently adapting his foreign policy. Bush was evil for using enhanced interrogation and Obama was righteous to dismantle the CIA program that relied on such intelligence – even though Obama should get all the credit for killing Osama bin Laden and even though enhanced interrogation and the CIA program that Obama dismantled were absolutenly essential to getting Osama bin laden.
Or Bush was a poor leader because he wanted to raise the debt ceiling versus Obama showing his magnificent leadership in demanding that we raise the debt ceiling. Or Obama standing for the Constitution when he attacked George Bush for wars that he got congressional approval for, versus being the bold defender of human rights when he launches a third war in Libya without bothering to get congressional approval. Or Bush was a partisan hack and a failure as a leader because he divided the country, but the fact that Obama divided the country far more than Bush EVER DID after promising to “transcend the starkly red-and-blue politics” and “end the partisan and ideological wars ” is entirely due to conservatives. Because Democrats have a moral obligation to attack a Republican president, but Republicans have a moral obligation to bow down before a Democrat messiah. That sort of thing.
One has to wonder how their heads don’t just explode from containing all the contradictions. But it turns out that when you live in your own little world – and particularly when you get to control the media and shape the “narrative” for society to consume – irritating things like facts and contradictions just don’t really matter.