As Pete and I compile what seems like a very long list of “things wrong with Obama,” we should include the descent in tone and the crumbling of Obama’s inspirational rhetoric that characterized his campaign. Many conservatives (including me) didn’t care much for the somewhat inane “we are the world” campaign talk. How could we really be the change we were waiting for? Did he really think oceans would fall once he was in office? But at least he was aiming high and talking in sweeping terms meant to uplift the public. And lots of people felt good about politics. It was something.
Now we get bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo. Here is what Charles Krauthammer observed of the president’s appearance yesterday afternoon:
I find it mind-numbingly bureaucratic, flat, bloodless. It was almost inside baseball describing how bureaucracies work. And his conclusions? Directive # 1 is: High-priority intelligence will now have to be treated urgently not just some of the time, but all of the time. That’s a remarkable advance!! … A, he said the buck stops here, because it looked as if he was detached and blaming everybody else. Secondly, he said we are at war, which is a concession, because people are complaining about the fact, rightly so, that he gave the bomber over Detroit a defense lawyer and treated him as a civilian defendant.
Others have picked up on it too. Politico’s report explains:
In the case of terrorism, Obama recognizes too that he must be more out front, responding to the public’s gut fears and anger after the attempted attack on a U.S. airliner Christmas Day. “Ultimately, the buck stops with me,” he said. As a candidate, Obama’s cool was never fatal because so many voters simply imposed their own dreams on him. But wrapped in the bubble of the Oval Office and surrounded by Ivy-educated budget and economic advisers, this detachment is magnified and hurts him with lawmakers and voters alike, looking for more of a connection amid tough times.
Think about that: he realizes he has to be more out front when it comes to responding to a terror attack. It doesn’t apparently come instinctively to jump to the fore and rally the crowd. He doesn’t have anything he really wants to say to us? Indeed, he suggests that all that emotion and all the press conferences (the 24/7 news cycle he disparages) are beneath him. Suddenly it’s ice-water-in-the-veins time.
That inspirational candidate from 2008 is nowhere to be found now. He’s reduced to mouthing bureaucratic platitudes. Is it part of the gambit to de-escalate, once again, the war on Islamic terrorists? Or has he simply lost the rhetorical touch, run out of things to say? Maybe his “eloquence” wasn’t eloquence at all but a short list of buzzwords and New Age window dressing meant to disguise a candidate with a thin resume and limited repertoire of executive skills. Just wondering.