OK, this is not a news item per se, but an interesting analysis of President Obama’s speech making skills, or lack of, from American Thinker:
Aleksandr Zinoviev wrote a book under the old Soviet Union called The Yawning Heights. He used it to describe, almost obscenely, the speeches of Communist Party boss Leonid Brezhnev. The Russian words for “glistening” and “yawning” are very close and with Comrade Leonid’s drunken slurring, “the glistening heights of socialism” to which he was forever summoning his chained peoples came out “yawning heights.”
President Obama is surely no drunk. And we are not yet a captive people. But President Obama is also a bore. It’s not his fault. It’s socialism’s fault. Irish poet Oscar Wilde was once asked what he thought of world socialism. Wilde archly replied: “I think it would consume too many evenings.” He was right about that.
The author goes on to contrast Obama with Reagan in a masterful way. Robert Morrison searches in vain for a memorable quote from Obama’s inaugural address. All he finds is “ennui” (OK, I had to look that one up. It means “a feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction : boredom” One example Webster’s gives is “the kind of ennui that comes from having too much time on one’s hands and too little will to find something productive to do”). Apparently Obama’s speechwriter gets part of the blame for that. His speeches are chock full of ennui. It’s prevalent in every speech Obama gives., even at Normandy:
Compare Mr. Obama at Normandy with President Ronald Reagan at the same location twenty-five years earlier. Reagan spoke movingly of “the Boys of Pointe du Hoc”-our heroic Rangers-in cadences that gave echoes of Henry V and Gettysburg.
Mr. Obama was said by Newsweek’s Evan Thomas to hover over the nations at Normandy “like a god.” Awesome, but what did he say there?
To me, Reagan was a wordsmith, whether it was off the cuff or delivering a prepared speech. Obama, on the other hand, falls flat with the teleprompter and especially off the cuff. He may be charismatic, as Morrison notes, his voice might be powerful but then again:
The way he speaks would be truly marvelous-if he had anything interesting to say.
Morrison sums up his critique with this:
When Ted Kennedy toasted Democratic Wise Man, Averell Harriman, the Massachusetts pol said Harriman at ninety was not so old: “Averell, you are only half as old as Ronald Reagan’s ideas.” All the liberal partygoers roared their approval.
President Reagan graciously responded to the jibe with thanks to the senator. “The Constitution is almost two hundred years old, and that’s where I get all my ideas,” the president said.
*Sigh* I miss that man, that leader. So does the country. Obama’s responses to critics, world crises, our crises, just leaves us with a greater sense of… well.. ennui.