Commentary Magazine


Topic: Charlotte

Eloquent No More

The mainstream media is slowly waking up to the fact that Obama is a bore. No, really. He’s long since stopped saying anything new or interesting, and he talks constantly, at great length. So when he went into a mind-numbing filibuster to a perfectly reasonable question from a woman at a Q&A session in Charlotte as to whether it was smart to throw a load of new taxes into health-care “reform,” not even the Washington Post’s Anne Kornblut could conceal her — and the audience’s — disdain for the Condescender in Chief:

He then spent the next 17 minutes and 12 seconds lulling the crowd into a daze. His discursive answer — more than 2,500 words long — wandered from topic to topic, including commentary on the deficit, pay-as-you-go rules passed by Congress, Congressional Budget Office reports on Medicare waste, COBRA coverage, the Recovery Act and Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (he referred to this last item by its inside-the-Beltway name, “F-Map”). He talked about the notion of eliminating foreign aid (not worth it, he said). He invoked Warren Buffett, earmarks, and the payroll tax that funds Medicare (referring to it, in fluent Washington lingo, as “FICA”). . .

Halfway through, an audience member on the riser yawned.

But Obama wasn’t finished. He had a “final point,” before starting again with another list — of three points.

“What we said is, number one, we’ll have the basic principle that everybody gets coverage,” he said, before launching into the next two points, for a grand total of seven.

His wandering approach might not matter if Obama weren’t being billed as the chief salesman of the health-care overhaul. Public opinion on the bill remains divided, and Democratic officials are planning to send Obama into the country to persuade wary citizens that it will work for them in the long run.

It was not evident that he changed any minds at Friday’s event. The audience sat politely, but people in the back of the room began to wander off.

And, of course, he never answered the lady’s question. Why is it we are raising taxes for those making less than $200,000? Why are we raising $52.3 billion in new taxes over 10 years? Obama has no response, or no effective one, to these queries; so he vamps and bloviates, as he did in the health-care summit when confronted with troublesome facts to which he had no adequate response (e.g., Rep.Paul Ryan’s list of fiscal tricks). Just as he failed to keep the attention of the Charlotte crowd, he’s long since lost the American people who now tune him out. Eloquent? Hardly. Persuasive? Not in the least, as evidenced by multiple polls showing that a large majority of Americans aren’t buying his health-care arguments. (And he’s eroding his party’s credibility on issues over which they previously held a commanding advantage. Rasmussen reports, for example: “Following the passage of the health care bill, 53% now say they trust Republicans on the issue of health care. Thirty-seven percent (37%) place their trust in Democrats.”)

His rhetoric (which to the amazement of many conservatives – who noticed he was largely talking New Age gibberish during the campaign – transfixed a great number of people for a very long time) is now seen for what it is — a smokescreen for bad ideas and an exercise in misdirection. Unfortunately for Obama, he may discover that once the president has lost the interest and trust of the voters, it’s hard to get these precious commodities back.

The mainstream media is slowly waking up to the fact that Obama is a bore. No, really. He’s long since stopped saying anything new or interesting, and he talks constantly, at great length. So when he went into a mind-numbing filibuster to a perfectly reasonable question from a woman at a Q&A session in Charlotte as to whether it was smart to throw a load of new taxes into health-care “reform,” not even the Washington Post’s Anne Kornblut could conceal her — and the audience’s — disdain for the Condescender in Chief:

He then spent the next 17 minutes and 12 seconds lulling the crowd into a daze. His discursive answer — more than 2,500 words long — wandered from topic to topic, including commentary on the deficit, pay-as-you-go rules passed by Congress, Congressional Budget Office reports on Medicare waste, COBRA coverage, the Recovery Act and Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (he referred to this last item by its inside-the-Beltway name, “F-Map”). He talked about the notion of eliminating foreign aid (not worth it, he said). He invoked Warren Buffett, earmarks, and the payroll tax that funds Medicare (referring to it, in fluent Washington lingo, as “FICA”). . .

Halfway through, an audience member on the riser yawned.

But Obama wasn’t finished. He had a “final point,” before starting again with another list — of three points.

“What we said is, number one, we’ll have the basic principle that everybody gets coverage,” he said, before launching into the next two points, for a grand total of seven.

His wandering approach might not matter if Obama weren’t being billed as the chief salesman of the health-care overhaul. Public opinion on the bill remains divided, and Democratic officials are planning to send Obama into the country to persuade wary citizens that it will work for them in the long run.

It was not evident that he changed any minds at Friday’s event. The audience sat politely, but people in the back of the room began to wander off.

And, of course, he never answered the lady’s question. Why is it we are raising taxes for those making less than $200,000? Why are we raising $52.3 billion in new taxes over 10 years? Obama has no response, or no effective one, to these queries; so he vamps and bloviates, as he did in the health-care summit when confronted with troublesome facts to which he had no adequate response (e.g., Rep.Paul Ryan’s list of fiscal tricks). Just as he failed to keep the attention of the Charlotte crowd, he’s long since lost the American people who now tune him out. Eloquent? Hardly. Persuasive? Not in the least, as evidenced by multiple polls showing that a large majority of Americans aren’t buying his health-care arguments. (And he’s eroding his party’s credibility on issues over which they previously held a commanding advantage. Rasmussen reports, for example: “Following the passage of the health care bill, 53% now say they trust Republicans on the issue of health care. Thirty-seven percent (37%) place their trust in Democrats.”)

His rhetoric (which to the amazement of many conservatives – who noticed he was largely talking New Age gibberish during the campaign – transfixed a great number of people for a very long time) is now seen for what it is — a smokescreen for bad ideas and an exercise in misdirection. Unfortunately for Obama, he may discover that once the president has lost the interest and trust of the voters, it’s hard to get these precious commodities back.

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