Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Obama's The SOTU Speech Stunk

Last night, Obama showed why he is one of the worst speechmakers we’ve ever had as President. Liberals used to claim his speeches were inspiring, but that was the Kool-Aid talking. As proof, I offer a simple challenge: tell me anything he’s ever said in a speech that anyone remembers? Last night was no different, except this speech was notably horrid rather than just dull. Even liberal talking heads found little they could use to praise him. Here’s why:

● The style was awful. It was like Obama hired a team of writers to come up with a collection of trite platitudes: give it your best, be better than you can be, give 110%, be prepared, work smarter not harder, be excellent to each other. . . and then he spent the night reading randomly from the list rather reading a real speech.

● His speech bounced around between topics and doubled-back so often that it seemed almost stream of consciousness. I honestly kept waiting for him to say, “oh, wait, I already talked about that.” Indeed, he lapped himself several times.

● His tone failed him too. He was trying to achieve the tone of a black preacher speaking in soaring tones about his vision for the future, but Obama seemed afraid to use the necessary words like “faith” and “hope” and “vision” and instead he sounded like someone channeling a grocery list. . . “We can have cabbage, and America needs cookies too.” His pathetic speechwriters would have turned “I have a dream. . .” into “I thought about some things while I was sleeping. . .” And worst of all, he seemed to get angry at times for no apparent reason.

● His jokes were so bad people didn’t even know they were jokes, as evidenced by the smattered applause uncomfortably long after he stopped to wait for the nonlaughter to die down.

● Although he spoke largely in bipartisan terms, it was hard not to notice that much of what he said was hardly bipartisan: (1) Don’t you dare try to undo what the Democrats did, (2) if you have ideas, tell me about them because so far I haven’t heard anything from you, and (3) we need to work together to put in place the ideas of Democrats. . . pause. . . pause. . . and Republicans.

● There were no specifics. Indeed, what exactly does he want except a return to the 1950s and high-speed rail so firemen can get porn over the net? He wants to cut some taxes, make some spending cuts, jack up some “investment” (i.e. spending) and increase taxes on the f*&^#ing rich. . . not to punish the bastards mind you, but because they’ve been sucking the blood of the poor. He plans to reorganize government in ways he can’t tell us about yet and he’s going to cut some regulations he can’t name yet.

Oh, that’s right, he did propose a “freeze” in federal spending for five years, which he claims would save $400 billion over ten years -- that’s $40 billion a year, which is all of 0.01% of the budget, or 1 penny for every hundred dollars. Moreover, he didn’t say what he meant by freeze. He doesn’t actually mean “freeze” as you and I understand it, because that would have resulted in bigger savings. He means not adding more to budgets he’s already laid out, which already include healthy increases in each of the next five years. And how does a five year freeze give you ten year savings in any event?

● His speech was full of contradictions. Wasn’t it great when everyone had jobs? Well, those days are gone, be happy! We need more high-speed rails, which evilly knock down homes and must be stopped. China is our friend, fear China! Everything is fine overseas, because it’s a dangerous world. The economy is growing great, but we desperately need to make it grow.

● His view of America’s past was truly skewed as well. Who outside of a handful of union thugs sitting unemployed in Detroit for the past twenty years ever thought they had a job for life? When was that the norm in America? Americans have always been mobile, moving between cities, states and jobs. Americans have always expected to change jobs over and over in their lives. And what’s this garbage about NASA being created in response to Sputnik?

● Demonstrated knowledge of the US Constitution: N/A.

● Then it was time to knock out some minor foreign policy stuff you won’t care about. We won Iran, we made friends with North Korea and China is our closest ally. Forget what you heard about North Korean shelling South Korea, or Iran still building a bomb, or the fact Obama spent 30 minutes blaming China for our problems. . . Obama apparently has. Iraq is now a paradise where no American troops are fighting anymore. . . they just die periodically in explosions while on “policing missions,” along with hundreds of locals. Maybe someday we can bring the troops home. . . wait, didn't Obama already achieved that. . . twice?

● His very brief discussion of Afghanistan was a fraud. Wars have consequences. We won, the Taleeebaaaahn are beaten, and unicorns will now populate the Earth. Oh, and we beat Pakeeestaaaahn too for good measure. Thank you, come again.

● Ok, now the crux of our foreign policy achievements. . . the part Obama focused on because he knew you would care deeply!!! Did you know that Squeegy Umbaruta once saw his village in Sudan as a war zone? Today, the killing has stopped (temporarily) because of the combined efforts of the Eritrean military and the African National Union. What a crowning achievement for Obama! Oh, and go Tunisia! Never mind that we did nothing to bring about that revolution or that we have no idea what kind of government will emerge.

● And while we’re on foreign policy, Muslims are great Americans, dammit.

● Oh, and we need to continue to be the moral example for the world, which is a little confusing since Obama has continued all of the supposedly immoral policies of the Bush years.

● His false compassion moments fell flat too. The people he brought for the old gimmick of pointing to someone in the crowd didn’t seem too excited to be there and nothing he quoted them as saying sounded like anything they would have said. And why the heck did he keep harping on “Alan Brothers Roofing”? Does he have a sponsorship agreement?

● His mention of Gaby Giffords seemed wrong too, on many levels. He has already given “the speech” about her. So why start with that again? Did the first “the speech” not take? Or was he using this to try to gain sympathy at the beginning of this speech? It seemed like he was using her as a sympathy mascot: “I know people who’ve suffered. . . be kind when you grade my speech.”

● Finally, what’s the take away from this speech? “Ask not what you can do. . .”, “A new day in America. . .”, “Read my lips. . . new world order. . .”, “The era of big government is over. . .”, “A date that shall live in infamy. . .”???? Nope. “Do big things.” Are you kidding? Who wrote this speech? Bill and Ted? There was nothing in this speech that stuck with you. You could see where they tried to jam a bunch of those on-liners into the speech (e.g. “our Sputnik moment”), but they all fell flat. Even the Democrats didn’t applaud when he dropped those lines.

This was easily Obama’s worst speech and that’s quite an achievement. I don’t know who wrote this turkey for him, but he needs to fire whoever it was. When this speech was over, you were left wondering if Obama understood America, understood Americans and understood his job.

Compare that with Paul Ryan. Ryan came across as thoughtful, sincere and honest. Obama came across as a man trying to fake his way through a flat speech and getting increasingly upset as people weren’t clapping. . . a real narcissist. And unlike Obama’s grocery list of pointlessness, Ryan gave a tour de force in ten minutes, tying together his belief in limited government, restrained government, faith in capitalism to solve our problems, laying out our problems and offering solutions, and making it clear that the new Republicans feel indebted to the American public and see themselves as our servants, not our masters.

In ten minutes, Ryan showed a much deeper, fundamental understanding of both the country and the Presidency than the understanding shown by the man who’s been sitting in the chair for two years. . . when he hasn’t been playing golf.


Anonymous said...

Andrew: I was right. The only thing harder than critiquing crazed goals and political disasters is trying to critique a speech that meant absolutely nothing. What the hell was that fool talking about? I was reminded of some of my pothead former clients who thought everything they said was either funny or brilliant, when they were neither. Well done--I couldn't have pulled it together. I would simply have sputtered (metaphorically, of course).

Ed said...

Nice analysis! His speech was horrible! I could only watch a small part of it before I had to change the channel. 2012 can't come soon enough for me!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the critique Andrew. I can't stand listening to Obambi for any length of time. Although I would have loved to hear what Ryan had to say.


AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Lawhawk! What an awful speech! He just blathered on and on, going in circles, saying nothing and yet acting like he was spitting out profound thoughts about the universe. It almost felt like this was a parody speech and I just missed the joke.

Excellent reference to the potheads and other idiots who think everything they say is profound or hilarious, when it's really just stupid. That's exactly what he's like!

Of course, that's what his policy is like too.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, The only thing that made the speech standable was listening to Bev and T_Rav and the rest rip it apart. Otherwise it would have been too unpleasant to endure.

AndrewPrice said...

TJ, You're welcome. If you get a chance to see Ryan's speech online somewhere, I highly recommend it. He was a little stiff, but very compelling. He come across as truthful and sincere and extremely thoughtful. You had no doubt that he knew what he was talking about or that you could trust his solutions. Obama, by comparison, just seemed like a guy who was reading a speech he knew nothing about.

AndrewPrice said...

By the way, here is a link to Ryan's speech if anyone wants to see it:

SOTU Response

T_Rav said...

Thanks for the shoutout, Andrew!

In all fairness, I think we should also point out the good parts of Obama's speech. Let's see:

-He acknowledged the Giffords tragedy and didn't use it for grandstanding, such as calling for more gun control, as a lot of liberals were hoping he'd do. So...that's something.

-He mentioned malpractice reform when talking about health care.

-Let's see...oh, and he had a pretty good line once about smoked salmon.

Okay, I think that was about it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link Andrew. I will watch it as soon as I can.

I enjoyed reading Bev's, T_Rav's and the others comments. They were hilarious!


Notawonk said...

LINKED! you are the only "for real analysis" linked today. and i agree, if it hadn't been for the fun here last night, listening to the speech would have constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Thanks for coming last night -- it made the experience much better than it would have been sitting at home throwing tennis balls at the screen! :-)

He didn't blatantly milk the Giffords thing, but he did try to parlay it into a need for civility, which he then equated with "the American people want us all to work together."

The salmon comment... yeah, I guess you had to be there. Wait, I was there?! Seriously, it was easily his best line, and that's not saying much.

We'll see what he says about malpractice. He's been willing to mouth those words before, but he's never followed through with them. He uses the "I can agree with you in principle, but not on any proposal you ever make" gimmick.

By the way, if I'm wrong and he really did such a great job last night of laying out his agenda, why is it that no one seems to know today what he wants to do now legislatively? In other words, why is it no one is busy converting his proposals into a platform today? Here's a hint. . . he didn't actually say anything last night!

AndrewPrice said...

You're welcome TJ.

Yeah, it was fun. We have a good group of people who visit this cite -- much better than all of the "comedians" in Hollywood apparently! :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, LOL! Yeah, I think I saw that in the Constitution! I'm glad you came!

Thanks for the link and the honor of being the only one! :-)

Tehachapi Tom said...

Why don't we just give him his gold watch and pension the worthless illegal alien?

There are no adequate terms with the depth of meaning needed to cover bo.

Disgusted I am.

Turning it off saved my sanity. Your synopsis was mercifully shorter than the real thing. I still find it worse than some medical pre-test procedures that come to mind.

AndrewPrice said...

Tom, We suffer so our readers don't have to.

It was a painful speech. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt at the start, but it didn't take long before I started to get annoyed with his tone and his content. And it just kept getting worse and worse. Grrrr.

It's very hard to listen to him speak at this point.

Joel Farnham said...

Nice synopsis Andrew. I had the audio turned way down, and I had it on direct feed to my computer. I avoided the talking heads, acid in the stomach, and a headache.

This speech was not his longest, but close. What I found interesting is that he even went to Sputnik. Most people don't remember what Sputnik is, let alone what it represented.

From what I remember about NASA, it was created because there were too many military elements vying to be the premeire space agency. At the time, it was smart politics. It got the Air Force, Navy and Army out of space, making it more of a civilian agency. It reduced duplication. It also turned the military back to it's primary job. Bear in mind, my memory could be faulty.

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew you are a partisan, islamophobe hack! No less than Katie Couric, one of the most professional and independent (not to mention all that gravitas) said it was "reagansque.) I think you are letting just a wee bit of bias peep through. Let me give you a great example of a memorable line:

"you do want to pull the engine out of an airplane just when it's getting off the ground." Oh wait . . . you did see remember a line where you didn't laugh out loud.

No this is all very, very nice for the forces of good. I know there will be media water carrying and bullshit polls that would make you think he knocked it out of the park. But people are beginning to be able to see through that . . . .

as long as our people don't throw up on themselves and snatch defeat from the jaws (spoken like a true Repub., I know.) We must do more than Bush did to push back without becoming annoying like Obama's lackeys. And we have to hope a temporary economic bump doesn't save his ass in 2012.

Oh, don't forget the sputnick line. That one could be a joke for years to come. I doubt SNL will make it into his "I can see Russia from here moment.: O.k, my fingers are tire. I'll stop.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I am not an expert on the politics of NASA, but that is what I understood as well. NASA was created to handle civilian applications of space technology, whereas the Advanced Research Projects Agency was created to handle military space efforts. Sputnik may have spurred some people to get excited about the space race, but it was well underway at that point.

In terms of watching the speech, you were probably better off. Obama is getting harder and harder to watch because he seems more and more like a bad salesman. You never have the sense he genuinely believes what he says (or that he understands what he says), and he throws in these odd moments of anger, which I guess are supposed to show passion but come across as very unpleasant.

The talking heads said what they always say, except they had nothing they could point to to fawn over his speech. So they stuck with "workman like" and "important" and then attacked Ryan. And their attacks on Ryan were the standard liberal garbage -- "he's not being specific." That's liberal speak for "there's nothing I can criticize but he said things Republicans believe and I don't like that."

Oh, by the way, I just heard that Ryan actually wrote the speech himself. Even more impressive!

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I'm sure the SNL people are sitting there right now saying, "I'd love to parody Obama, but everything he said was just so perfect. . . but who is this Paul Ryan guy? And what was he going on about some constitution?! And where the heck is 'Wisconsin'?"

You're right about the polls, they'll run out and poll the newsrooms and come back with 99% think the speech was a homerun and that all Republicans should be put to death. And then they'll repeat this like it means anything.

I think the public is done with him, I really do. And you're right, unless there's a major, sudden uptick in the economy, or the Republicans self-destruct, then he's in a lot of trouble for 2012. Of course, you can't rule either out.

In terms of memorable lines though, what I've found in my experience with writing is that the great lines happen naturally. As you write something, the right words kind of find you and suddenly you have a memorable line. You really can't set out to write memorable lines because that just doesn't work -- they feel like things you jammed into the speech to try to manipulate people. All of the one-liners he used last night felt that way, like his writers wrote a bunch of one-liners and then tried to jam them into the speech in the hopes that the sheer volume would cause something to stick.

Tennessee Jed said...

The AP story and banner above the fold headline in my local paper was "We must move forward together, or not at all." It was coupled with the most complimentary photo imaginable. They neglected to run a story on Ryan's speech at all. I'm sure if I had called, they would have said, "too late for deadline," but they regularly get late Volunteer game stories in so that is patent b.s.

You are absolutely right about his speech, Andrew. It did seem like they were searching for historic lines, and it showed . . . as the old saying goes "who are we going to believe, his record or our lying eyes!"

T_Rav said...

Happy to contribute, Andrew! I happened to be alone in my apartment and figured, "Well, I've gotta do a stream-of-consciousness commentary somewhere..." Judging by the feedback, we must have been doing something right!

My prediction? Aside from those of us in the blogosphere who will be making hay out of this for a long, LONG time, this will be quickly forgotten. There were no good takeaway lines from the speech that will enter the public's memory (except maybe high-speed trains) and even a lot of liberals are unable to deny how poorly structured it was. In a few weeks, no one will remember anything about this address, which may or may not be a good thing.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I think we're going to believe his record, and that is why he fails.

It doesn't surprise me that your paper would completely ignore Ryan -- you've shown us they have a track record of heavy bias. I wonder if the NYT has even mentioned the existence of a Republican Party... except as hateful racists who seem to have something horrible to do with government.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I think you're right that it will be forgotten. But that is a little more significant than it sounds.

For one thing, he just blew a chance to use the biggest bully pulpit on the planet to lay out an agenda. So basically, he's got nothing to say. In fact, they were saying today that he's out there trying to "sell" his SOTU today.... but what exactly is he selling? He's got nothing, so the Republicans own the agenda momentum.

Secondly, this will be another blow to the myth that he's a good speaker. And that's all he has to commend him. So this is yet another blow to his "power."

Well, I'm glad you commented here. :-)

StanH said...

I knew I was right not to watch, and that some poor soul would give a capsule portrayal (it sucked). Thanks Andrew, you’re a braver man than me.

AndrewPrice said...

LOL! You're welcome Stan. Glad to be of service!

BevfromNYC said...

I think what I took away from Obama's SOTU is:

We need to invest in smoked fish because China has Sputnik.

Has he stopped talking yet?

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I'm afraid to turn on the TV to see if he's stopped yet! LOL!

Yeah, I think you summed up what his speech was about pretty accurately. . . those dirty Chinese and their Sputnik! Grrrr!! We'll show 'em!

Ed said...

I think the best proof they know his speech sucked is no one is repeating it. You don't see journOlists quoting it, you don't see lefto bloggers falling in love with it, and you don't see the MSM trying to play it up. Instead, they all just moved on, like "oh well, it happened, what's next."

Ed said...

Also, I want to thank everyone who commented in the thread yesterday, you made the speech a heck of a lot more endurable! This site rocks!

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, That's true. You don't hear them running around trying to repeat the speech in any way, they're just moving on with some nebulous agenda that we all know the Republicans consider D.O.A.

DUQ said...

Yep, his speech stunk. Nice review!

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks DUQ!

Dane said...

This guy is the Embarassment In Chief.

rlaWTX said...

We need to invest in smoked fish because China has Sputnik.

Fabulous, Bev!!!!

rlaWTX said...

oh - and you're my hero, Andrew! Not only did you sit through it, you watched and you listened!!!!

I'm glad I chose TNG reruns & What Not to Wear!!!!

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Thanks! I'm glad you were able to watch something infinitely better! :-)

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