Oval Office speech another low-key effort

posted at 8:45 am on September 1, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

When Barack Obama went out on the campaign trail in 2007, the media fawned over his oratorical skills as though he was the reincarnation of Edward Everett.  As President, however, Obama has revealed himself to be a mediocrity when not delivering campaign speeches.  Certainly some outlets remain for the kind of stemwinders he delivers at fundraisers and campaign appearances, but his addresses to the nation as President have been mainly filled with cliches, platitudes, and vague statements rather than anything profound or at least informative.

Last night, Obama delivered yet another mediocre performance in what should have been a perfect setting: a war speech as Commander in Chief.  He had the ability to be inspirational and talk of a great victory over tyranny and oppression; instead, he praised the performance of the troops without actually ever explicitly thanking them for it and skipped entirely any notion of victory.  Instead of being gracious and effusive, Obama seemed to want to tamp down any enthusiasm over the effort made over the last several years in Iraq, a curious position for a Commander in Chief to take.

His one reference to his predecessor, who bucked strong opposition from Congress (including Obama) to persevere in the winning surge strategy, was to note that George Bush loved his country and the troops, about as dismissive as one could be without simply ignoring Bush entirely in the speech.  Why bother mentioning Bush at all if that’s what Obama had to say about him?  It sounded very much like an afterthought, a way of checking a box on his way to get to the end of the speech.

Obama then watered down his C-in-C status by oddly interjecting four paragraphs about the economy.  Unlike a State of the Union address that moves cleanly from topic to topic in an omnibus manner, Obama shoehorned this brief speech on economics before returning to veterans affairs and reassuming the C-in-C mantle.  If Obama wanted to give a comprehensive speech on White House policies, that would have been his prerogative, but the speech was billed as a war speech, and Obama went right back to war issues.  Even that would have been a minor point had Obama said anything original to justify it — but instead, we got the usual platitudes and no specifics at all.  Once again, the sense was that of checking boxes on a list.  Bush?  Check.  Economy?  Check.

It’s not to say that the speech was bad, or that it had no redeeming qualities.  None of it was bad, really, just mainly unremarkable with a couple of exceptions.  I did like this part:

Two weeks ago, America’s final combat brigade in Iraq –the Army’s Fourth Stryker Brigade –journeyed home in the pre-dawn darkness. Thousands of soldiers and hundreds of vehicles made the trip from Baghdad, the last of them passing into Kuwait in the early morning hours. Over seven years before, American troops and coalition partners had fought their way across similar highways, but this time no shots were fired. It was just a convoy of brave Americans, making their way home.

That was a rather well-written (and well-delivered) acknowledgment of the reality of the war on terror.  There will be no surrender ceremonies on the deck of the USS Missouri, no capitulation documents, no terms of unconditional surrender.  We will exit this war victoriously simply by going home on roads that we have made safe.  This was the high point of the speech, perhaps made so by the utter lack of anything noteworthy, new, or even well-spoken in the rest of it.

Barack Obama took office as supposedly one of the most well-read, inspirational figures of our time.  With each speech, Obama diminishes in stature, essentially mailing in his efforts and seeming to care little if anyone notices it.

Update: Bill Kristol liked it better than I did, but he scored it on a curve:

President Obama opposed the war in Iraq. He still thinks it was a mistake. It’s therefore unrealistic for supporters of the war to expect the president to give the speech John McCain would have given, or to expect President Obama to put the war in the context we would put it in. He simply doesn’t believe the war in Iraq was a necessary part of a broader effort to fight terror, to change the Middle East, etc. Given that (erroneous) view of his, I thought his speech was on the whole commendable, and even at times impressive.

Well, he’s not Candidate Obama any longer, nor is he Senator Obama.  He’s President of all the people, and his performance should reflect that.  I don’t expect a speech written by John McCain, but an explicit acknowledgment of the successes gained in the past few years would have been nice, as well as specifics about the nature of our commitment to keeping them in place.  Other than platitudes of restating our commitment to Iraq in the vaguest possible terms, there was no there there.  Why bother with a speech filled with the same vague generalizations he’s been saying about Iraq for the past nineteen months?  Shouldn’t this have been a moment for specifics on issues like building an air force and navy for Iraq, the conditions that will allow us to fully withdraw, and why we want to remove ourselves from a key strategic location on Iran’s border rather than maintain a presence in Iraq much as we do for South Korea?  Or do we wait for another Oval Office address for those specifics?


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Blech…

TXMomof3 on September 1, 2010 at 9:48 AM

Obama is cracking. You can tell he isn’t feeling “it” anymore. More is going on behind the scenes that is being told. Mutiny perhaps?

The narcissist in him won’t let him ever be wrong.

He’s going to break within the next year, and I for one am going to love it.

MadDogF on September 1, 2010 at 9:48 AM

Cindy Munford on September 1, 2010 at 9:39 AM

Yes, indeed. He’s a typical leftist. The only people they regard as enemies worth fighting are their fellow citizens, i.e. the middle, aspiring class.

All Alinsky. All the way. INOW, Marxism.

Cody1991 on September 1, 2010 at 9:50 AM

This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting, and never use the word “victory” except when he’s talking about his own campaign. But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed … when the roar of the crowd fades away … when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot – what exactly is our opponent’s plan?
-Sarah Palin RNC convention speech 2008.

I guess someone had his number all along…..

unseen on September 1, 2010 at 9:53 AM

The speech was horrible. He looked rough. His sense of “Patriotism” is so out of touch with the majority of the country, it’s not even funny. We are getting close to the First Presidential Temper Tantrum (TM). Probably around 1 a.m. Eastern November 3rd.

kingsjester on September 1, 2010 at 9:54 AM

1) The combat troops are NOT out of theatre yet , the soliders are still clad in body armor and holding M-4 carbines with optical sights .Ask yourself if the 1200 National Guard troops sent to SECURE the AZ border look like that , nope they are all carrying gel wrist rests to help with CTS as they TYPE .
2)The SAME people (Obama,Biden, Hillary,Reid, Pelosi ,and KERRY )that were AGAINST the surge and KNEW it was wrong , are using the SAME strategy with Petreaus and Gates ( failed BUSH Strategy )in Afghanistan , So were they wrong then , or are they wrong now ?
3) We have no business leaving IRAQ , how long did it take East Berlin to cease to exist ? North Korea the pesky thorn in the world’s side ? where is CHECKPOINT AKBAR ?
The job is not done there , we simply allowed them ( under BUSH ) to flee to SYRIA , and now ( OBAMA) has allowed them to flee to Somalia and YEMEN
4) Obama re wrote HISTORY last night , up until that POINT , I thought BUSH sent troops ( authorized by Congress and the above mentioned buffoons ) to search out and destroy the TERRORISTS that caused 911 and destroy the various TERRORIST networks and infrastructure?The BUFFOON BUNCH claimed it was ALL ABOUT OIL for almost a DECADE , now suddenly the tune changes and it’s about ” ensuring safety for the Iraqi people”?
5) The campaign in Afghanistan is in SERIOUS jeopardy , and Obama gave the TERRORIST new hope ” just hang on another year and I will get the infidels out of Afghanistan also ”
6)Obama looked sad and TORTURED , simply because he was .He had to make a speech for all MUSLIMS to see, and it almost for a few minutes looked like he was saying we have defeated MUSLIM EXTREMISTS ( previously known as TERRORISTS under the ” failed Bush Policy decade “) and that was PAINFUL for him to do as we all know MUSLIMS are not supposed to inflict harm on other MUSLIMS

ELMO Q on September 1, 2010 at 9:56 AM

Jenfidel on September 1, 2010 at 9:05 AM

Nope, he’s right the drapes are the same along with the end tables. The NYT mad a big deal of the coffee table having fruit instead of flowers but that appears to be a hold over from W also. I think the carpet is boring and the coffee table is hideous.

http://photoblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/08/31/5009109-redecorating-the-oval-office-

Cindy Munford on September 1, 2010 at 9:57 AM

Was it just me, or did the placing of all the family pictures behind him seem a bit phoney and forced?

kingsjester on September 1, 2010 at 9:45 AM

The pictures were pulled to the front edge of the table, like items for sale at the dollar store (no disrespect for Newsweek intended)

faraway on September 1, 2010 at 9:57 AM

Monday 17 November 2008: All US forces will leave by 2011, Baghdad cabinet agrees

Obama did not become President until January 2009.

albill on September 1, 2010 at 9:45 AM

That was a draft drawn up by the Iraqis…
I doubt President Bush agreed to it.

Notice also that it was put forth in Baghdad after Barry Poppins (see photo of Zero with the umbrella!) was elected.

Jenfidel on September 1, 2010 at 9:57 AM

Barry Poppins

giggle

faraway on September 1, 2010 at 9:59 AM

Ed, you brought tears to my eyes with this:

“There will be no surrender ceremonies on the deck of the USS Missouri, no capitulation documents, no terms of unconditional surrender. We will exit this war victoriously simply by going home on roads that we have made safe.”

I know who President Palin’s speechwriter should be. Your nation needs you.

bonnie_ on September 1, 2010 at 9:59 AM

Missed the speech…

Took my 3 year old out to dinner at TGI Friday’s!!

Better use of my time…

Khun Joe on September 1, 2010 at 9:59 AM

doubt President Bush agreed to it.

Notice also that it was put forth in Baghdad after Barry Poppins (see photo of Zero with the umbrella!) was elected.

Jenfidel on September 1, 2010 at 9:57 AM

That was after the election and Bush was following what the new dem congress and POTUS wanted…..

unseen on September 1, 2010 at 10:02 AM

The dream is to take the House and Senate to start correcting all of the backdoor corruption that has been secretly conducted by his appointed czars. If neither the House or Senate is taken back, two more years of continuing the unbridled corruption that is already in place could put us in a position that the country we have always known will be unrecognizable after four years of this narcissitic thug and his democratic lemming socialists.

volsense on September 1, 2010 at 10:02 AM

Ed, I concur.

This is one of the few times I’ve ever sat and listened all the way through one of the President’s speeches. For the most part, it was … fine. It wasn’t bad. Most of it I appreciated or agreed with (although I laughed out loud at the repetition of the promise to have all troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011. To steal SNL’s version of Bush, Sr.: “Not gonna do it, not gonna happen.”).

But it certainly wasn’t … inspired. Or inspiring.

What struck me most, even setting aside the content of the speech, was how mediocre and tepid the delivery was.

This mad is indeed supposed to be the greatest orator evah, right? And from what I’ve seen, he’s usually decent as long as he’s reading the Teleprompter-in-Chief.

But this time, even reading, it was just … flat. Bland. Lame.

Only a few possibilities:

1) He’s getting tired of the whole shebang.
2) He actually sucks as a speaker even worse than I thought.
3) He’s neither tired nor inherently sucky at the podium, but he just didn’t have his heart in it.

I’d lean toward the third option. He didn’t want to give any speech, and if he did – it wasn’t this one.

Graciousness is not his strong suit. Having to act mature and Presidential, even for an hour (and even though he failed at it) just is not in his character.

Shorter version of the above: Dear sweet God how I miss George Bush. No matter how much he mangled the language, he never failed to be sincere or heartfelt in his remarks. I’d trade fumbling, honest passion for insincere eloquence any day of the year.

And this guy ain’t even all that eloquent. Hell, Dubya did give a better speech.

Why did we elect this guy, exactly?

Professor Blather on September 1, 2010 at 10:03 AM

Nope, he’s right the drapes are the same along with the end tables. The NYT mad a big deal of the coffee table having fruit instead of flowers but that appears to be a hold over from W also. I think the carpet is boring and the coffee table is hideous.
Cindy Munford on September 1, 2010 at 9:57 AM

The drapes may be the same, but the atrocious coffee table is new.
Don’t miss the rug with the more Leftist sayings of famous men.
When was Martin Luther King, Jr. our President? Oval Office makeover

Jenfidel on September 1, 2010 at 10:04 AM

To turn the tables a little…

Exit question: What if George Bush had given this speech?

Where would it be held?

How much passion?

Would he have talked about the economy?

faraway on September 1, 2010 at 10:07 AM

That was after the election and Bush was following what the new dem congress and POTUS wanted…..

unseen on September 1, 2010 at 10:02 AM

Did he agree to it and sign it?
And did the U.K.? (Probably…)

Jenfidel on September 1, 2010 at 10:08 AM

The speech was SUPPOSED to be about Iraq. And frankly should have focused on the elimination of a source of evil in the world (Hussein) and our giving a country (Iraq) a chance…whether they take it or not.

And I can even see bringing Afghanistan into the speech.

But then tying the “end of offensive operations” to your CAMPAIGN????? and then launching into the FREAKING ECONOMY??? Are you f**king kidding me???

Barry, 2012 can’t come soon enough…I just pray there’s enough of our country left by then!!!!

Justrand on September 1, 2010 at 10:08 AM

When was Martin Luther King, Jr. our President? Oval Office makeover

Jenfidel on September 1, 2010 at 10:04 AM

The MLK quote was actually King quoting someone else, too, but King keeps getting credit.

Wethal on September 1, 2010 at 10:09 AM

Why did we elect this guy, exactly?

Professor Blather on September 1, 2010 at 10:03 AM

That’s a rhetorical question, right?

Cindy Munford on September 1, 2010 at 10:15 AM

It was a very dull and meandering speech. Why he discussed the economy is beyond me. It should have been a speech about Victory – military as well as moral.

antisocial on September 1, 2010 at 10:16 AM

But I know his mentality and he won’t resign.

The very best thing about Ozero is that he simply will not do the right thing to save himself. It’s gotten to the point where any 10 year old could tell him what he needs to do (and it would work, too): lower taxes, fight wars to win, and actually act like he’s on our side for a change. But he NEVER will. There is no other thing that will save him, and he still,… NEVER WILL.

In some other thread I was reading, someone made the point that Sarah Palin is looking more like a star every day by simply giving Zero good, sage advice going into everything, advice that would actually save him, safe and secure in the knowledge that he will OF COURSE do the exact opposite all the more so, just because she said it. That’s what you do with bull-headed idiots who think that only they have brains – tell them the right answers! It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. They just CAN’T take it, because it would be to admit that you were right.

It sure is fun to watch, idn’t it?

Dirty Creature on September 1, 2010 at 10:19 AM

Personally I found the speech BORING!!! I hate to agree will Bill O but it was. If President Obama wants to give an inspiring speech I suggest he fire his speech writers and hire Dr. Zero, because the crew he has working for him now are failing epically

JKotthoff on September 1, 2010 at 10:21 AM

Jenfidel on September 1, 2010 at 10:04 AM

LOL, we’ve become the HGTV thread. The coffee table is the worst, I would love to know how much it cost and will it survive the bad reviews it’s getting.

Cindy Munford on September 1, 2010 at 10:21 AM

One of the problems for presidents now is the political impossibility of admitting a mistake. We saw it with Bush -the media hounded him to try and get him to admit he was wrong about weapons of mass destruction.

The problem is, they desparately wanted a sound-bite for the dems to use against Bush over and over, sob Bush politically could not admit any mistakes (and by mistake, I mean the mistake of relying on intelligence that everyone – bill clinton, hillary clinton, dem senators, etc agreed with).

The political inability to admit a mistake makes it hard to gain credibility going forward. If Bush had been able to give a speech where he said something like – “Our intelligence was wrong, we did not find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but I acted in what I believed were the best interests of U.S. National secrurity based on the information I had” – I think a lot of the mushy middle would not have deserted him in the second term.

So, to some extent – even though I oppose everything O!stands for – I understand his inability to say “I was wrong about the surge”.

For one thing, O!’s “judgment” was sold as the reason for his entering the race and his judgment was allegedly superior as evidence by the fact that he was against the Iraq war from the get-go and was against the surge.

To admit he was wrong would admit that his judgment is not superior, and in fact is inferior.

Monkeytoe on September 1, 2010 at 10:24 AM

Dang could the Oval Office be any uglier. Those curtains are awful – worse than the coffee table and I didn’t think that was possible.

gophergirl on September 1, 2010 at 8:53 AM

My thoughts too. This extreme make over is the radical mis-match of decor, paint and wall treatment in the room to acheive an effect that is not mainstream.

The coffee table just begs the question of who thought that was appropriate with the more tradiational furniture. Positively ghetto as if bought at a second hand store.

The couch looks comfortable if you have long legs or big body, but is low enough and deep enough to insure a less than graceful getting out of it. Many of the visitors to the office will be of short stature which will keep them perched on the edge so they can keep both feet on the floor.
It does look comfortable for napping, which is probably the main job of the POTUS now days.

The formal chairs certainly got a downgrade. They look more like ones you find in an office or a community organizers office, or more appropriately, a western decore. What ever you think, formal is not what they are now.

That coffee table stands out like a sore thumb in contrast to the more formal settings. It crys out the question of who thought that went in this office!?

Taking into account that Berry was happy with it when he moved in, this leads me to believe that it was Michelle that put got it into her head to redo it. Having looked at the embarassing way she dresses, more in the style of a downtown community organizer’s wife than the first lady of our nation, this just seems to have her prints all over it.

It probably came as a suprise to them just before the none invite to the clinton’s wedding that he is a one term president. This is just the “Leroy was here” scrawl on our nation that she hopes will remain for years to come.

Franklyn on September 1, 2010 at 10:31 AM

Shouldn’t this have been a moment for specifics on issues like building an air force and navy for Iraq, the conditions that will allow us to fully withdraw, and why we want to remove ourselves from a key strategic location on Iran’s border rather than maintain a presence in Iraq much as we do for South Korea? Or do we wait for another Oval Office address for those specifics?

Obama is not going to get into specifics or what was actually gained in the Iraq war because he and his left wing base still feel like it was some right wing boondoggle.
Democrats cruised into power off of the hatred of George Bush and demonizing this very war….a war they voted for and funded.
Obama justs wants out of this conflict and the same goes for Afghanistan.He is doing just enough in Afghanistan to give the appearance of “winning the good war” but no where near enough to eradicate the terrorist threat in that region.He has made it clear that he is leaving in a few short months and he will… whether the job is done or not.
Both Iraq and Afghanistan are distractions from his efforts to socialize America.They are draining money and political capital from his agenda to “transform” this Nation into the bankrupt failure of liberal strongholds like California.
This is the kind of speech you get when given by someone who is more concerned about scoring political points than they are about recognizing the sacrifice and honor of what America has done in fighting the jihadist threat and freeing over 25 million people.

Obama makes a point of the Trillion dollar cost of Iraq as if to put a monetary limit on the fight against our enemies and Freedom.

He spent that much on a failed stimulus that only was good for paying off his union friends and other campaign promises.We have lost jobs and the economy is at a standstill since the stimulus and other bailouts were enacted.

Seems to me if you compare what each Presidents return on a Trillion dollars spent was….Bush wins by a landslide.

Obama is incapable of delivering a meaningful speech about bottom line issues domestically or internationally because he is all politics all the time.Obama is about Obama….and that does not transfer well to the American people from the oval office.It only works on the campaign trail in front of like minded people.

Baxter Greene on September 1, 2010 at 10:35 AM

I’m with you, Ed. I’m not getting the nether vapors over the President’s patriotism in a bottle, but I can keep an open mind that even he can change at some point when it dawns on him that he’s been entrusted as the leader of the most civilized, most free, and most compassionate nation the world has ever seen. Someone sent me a vid clip of him intimately addressing our returned troops at Fort Bliss yesterday. Obama should see the vid for himself, dark suit wearing the flag pin, somber tone, no teleprompter–even the platitudes were in short supply. He appeared so stately and presidential. Not the petty scowling Leftist apologist CIC.

RepubChica on September 1, 2010 at 10:36 AM

For one thing, O!’s “judgment” was sold as the reason for his entering the race and his judgment was allegedly superior as evidence by the fact that he was against the Iraq war from the get-go and was against the surge.

To admit he was wrong would admit that his judgment is not superior, and in fact is inferior.

Monkeytoe on September 1, 2010 at 10:24 AM

Other than claims of his supporters that he is ‘brilliant,’ a ‘thinker,’ implying that he was someone of sound judgment they had nothing material to support that claim. Where was the proof?

This was a colossal snow job, and the public bought it. Of course, this followed eight years of aggressive Bush bashing by the MSM.

Now that much damage has been done we see a man who cannot manage his job and moreover doesn’t like it while the MSM continues to claim he is exactly what this country needs. To say there is a disconnect is an understatement. BO is the MSM’s worst enemy. No matter how much they try to pump him up he keeps deflating.

Cody1991 on September 1, 2010 at 10:39 AM

Ed:

I did like this part:
.
.
That was a rather well-written (and well-delivered) acknowledgment of the reality of the war on terror.

How does that part square with his action (non-action really, he’s on vacation to even bother to greet the troops) and his DOJ action (too numerous to list)?

Sir Napsalot on September 1, 2010 at 10:40 AM

It’s not to say that the speech was bad, or that it had no redeeming qualities. None of it was bad,
Oh heck, just say it: The speech was bad, no redeeming qualities, pretty much like the speaker.

indypat on September 1, 2010 at 10:42 AM

His speeches are starting to sound the same. It is hard to discern the subject of the speech, therefore nearly impossible to define the “take away” idea.

BobMbx on September 1, 2010 at 10:47 AM

Giggles really did seem small and uncomfortable last night.
It was like he dreaded having to give a speech in front of the whole class. Having to give credit to the military galls him. And giving a backhanded compliment to Bush galls him even more. It has become clear to all non-moonbats by now that he is not a serious man and he is not up to the job. His only purpose has already been fulfilled. He slipped the virus of Obamacare into the mainframe of American life. The silly boy king needs to be neutered in November which will allow him to resign for ‘health reasons’ before he can destroy what remains of the democratic party.

DeweyWins on September 1, 2010 at 10:48 AM

Barry threw a bone to his base. Other than that, his lack of enthusiasm was probably because he’s already planning his next vacation.

GarandFan on September 1, 2010 at 10:48 AM

Hmmmm.

So Kristol’s schtick is that it is ok that Obama basically phoned it in?

How hard is it to fake enthusiasm? How tough is it for a politician to fake admiration for the troops? For his country?

memomachine on September 1, 2010 at 10:51 AM

…spoken from the Fairways of indifference…

joepub on September 1, 2010 at 10:52 AM

Why did we elect this guy, exactly?

Professor Blather on September 1, 2010 at 10:03 AM

Posing the question to the wrong group. Not many “we’s” here.

bloviator on September 1, 2010 at 10:56 AM

His only purpose has already been fulfilled. He slipped the virus of Obamacare into the mainframe of American life.

DeweyWins on September 1, 2010 at 10:48 AM

I think you’re on to something.

faraway on September 1, 2010 at 11:05 AM

How hard is it to fake enthusiasm? How tough is it for a politician to fake admiration for the troops? For his country?

memomachine on September 1, 2010 at 10:51 AM

The short answer: Very.

As I said earlier, this speech is an absolute disaster for Obama. He didn’t accomplish one thing that he needed to, further demoralized his base, and left his entire nation shrugging at his irrelevance. Honestly, I disagree with the entire idea that this was just a ‘boring speech’ – it was a nuclear explosion of bad for Obama and the democrats. As a baseline he had to connect with the people, he failed. He had to re-invigorate his base, he failed. He had to look presidential, he didn’t completely fail. He had to put the recent vacations out of everyone’s mind, I’m not sure there, it didn’t work for me. He had to energize and captivate, massive fail there. He had to recapture the narrative, he failed.

If anything he just lost votes for his party and respect for himself.

I almost…. ALMOST… feel bad for the moron. He’s just too dumb to know he’s toast.

WashingtonsWake on September 1, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Shouldn’t this have been a moment for specifics on issues like building an air force and navy for Iraq, the conditions that will allow us to fully withdraw, and why we want to remove ourselves from a key strategic location on Iran’s border rather than maintain a presence in Iraq much as we do for South Korea?

Did you miss the line about all troops being out of Iraq by this time next year? Who needs specifics when simply wishing it makes it so?

Onus on September 1, 2010 at 11:08 AM

O/T: In 50 minutes, our American basketball team plays Iran. Can’t wait for that – hope they beat the sh*t out of them. Kevin Durant is the man (ours in Oklahoma)!

silvernana on September 1, 2010 at 11:13 AM

Did you miss the line about all troops being out of Iraq by this time next year? Who needs specifics when simply wishing it makes it so?

Onus on September 1, 2010 at 11:08 AM

Something like signing an Executive Order to close Gitmo by January 2010? Was there a wee bit of slippage in the deadline? Must have been those EEEEEEEEVIL Republicans dragging their feet! It had NOTHING to do with silly little details like where do we put the terrorists human disaster causers prayerful followers of the religion of peace while they wait for “fair” trials.

Steve Z on September 1, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Since I have never been able to sit through any of Barry’s speeches,I don’t see how anyone ever thought he was any good at it.Being able to talk for long periods of time without saying anything does not make one a great speaker.I think those who called him a great speaker were actually looking for something somewhat synonamous:Great=Big Speaker=Talker
So In conclusion, Barry was never a Great Speaker,just a Big Talker.

DDT on September 1, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Boy o Boy…that Oval Office decorating looks like the inside of DeNiros house in the movie Casino. 1970′s guido…yech…

PatriotRider on September 1, 2010 at 9:16 AM

Oval office…1970′s Mob guido look..

PatriotRider on September 1, 2010 at 9:17 AM

The Bammies’ chosen decoration period is called ’1964 Havana’. Such nostalgia.

slickwillie2001 on September 1, 2010 at 11:23 AM

Could NOT bring myself to watch the “speech.”

However, re the office makeover, what’s with the vomit green (Exorcist) sofas??

Ignorant Mensan on September 1, 2010 at 11:37 AM

Small and nervouse, tepid, I agree he is cracking up. He kept his hands folded and did not gesture with every sentence as he always does. Looked like a scared little school boy at a big desk surrounded by aweful overdone curtains and a collection of yard sale items as props. Waiting for the propeller hat!

I am not a racist on September 1, 2010 at 11:42 AM

With each speech, Obama diminishes in stature, essentially mailing in his efforts and seeming to care little if anyone notices it.

Mr. Obama has become Margaret Hamilton in that unforgettable scene from the Wizard of Oz.

Mason on September 1, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Certainly some outlets remain for the kind of stemwinders he delivers at fundraisers and campaign appearances, but his addresses to the nation as President have been mainly filled with cliches, platitudes, and vague statements rather than anything profound or at least informative.

Because I really like antique watches I also am a little amused that the term “stemwinder” has come to mean an exciting speech!

If you wind your watch during a speech you are bored by the speech and you are watching the time… the perfect word for a long and boring speech.

I would use that word to describe Obama’s speech last night.

But I guess because it seems such an active word we have lost it’s true meaning.

petunia on September 1, 2010 at 11:45 AM

Why did we elect this guy, exactly?

Professor Blather on September 1, 2010 at 10:03 AM

1. The “objective” media sold their collective souls to get him elected. Had they actually “reported” on him, he’d never have won the nomination, much less the election.

2. 33% of Americans old enough to vote stayed away from the polls. Many of them did it “to teach the Republicans a lesson”.

3. Many Republicans who did turn out then refused to hold their noses and vote for McCain.

Del Dolemonte on September 1, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Didn’t watch HIS SPEECH, nor will I click on the link. But the photo of HIS WONDERFULNESS reminds me of Lily Tomlin’s “Edith Ann” character on Laugh-In. The Won resembles nothing more in the world than a four-year-old tyke,in his first suit playing “grown-up”.

oldleprechaun on September 1, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Over seven years before, American troops and coalition partners had fought their way across along similar highways, but this time no shots were fired. It was just a convoy of brave Americans, making their way home.

Fixed it for him.

unclesmrgol on September 1, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Was Michelle off camera glaring at him through the whole speech?

“Don’t you touch my new curtains, Barack!”

He looked wussypipped.

profitsbeard on September 1, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Over seven years before, American troops and coalition partners had fought their way across similar highways

We had a coalition? I thought we acted unilaterally.

JavelinaBomb on September 1, 2010 at 12:16 PM

Re: The big “Lie” of weapons of mass destruction in Iran; let’s not forget it was the new hero of the left, Colin Powell, who got on TV and assured us there was a real threat that had to be handled. That speech (with numerous visual aids, if I recall) definitely had me convinced. If Powell believed it, you figured there had to be validity to it.

teacherman on September 1, 2010 at 12:28 PM

Mark Steyn: “It was a small speech by a small man.”

petefrt on September 1, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Explain how that wasn’t a surrender speech.

Christien on September 1, 2010 at 1:17 PM

unseen on September 1, 2010 at 9:53 AM, hear hear! Is there a speech writer out there who can write a better speech for Gov. Palin than she has written for herself? I don’t think so. Folks were claiming that a McCain drone did her Convention speech; not likely. The stance she took to Obama in that speech is reflected in all her speeches and public pronouncements. No speech writer has the kind of balls that Palin shows when she writes for herself. No speech writer can summon up pithy and graphic phrases as Palin can. Not Noonan. Not Frum. Not the little boy who’s writing for the man-child Obama.

SilentWatcher on September 1, 2010 at 1:54 PM

To admit he was wrong would admit that his judgment is not superior, and in fact is inferior.

Monkeytoe on September 1, 2010 at 10:24 AM

This is so. However, his inability to admit error and his determination to persist on a failing course (economy) demonstrates quite clearly that his judgment is seriously inferior. Not only can he not admit mistakes, but he cannot adjust his policy decisions to accommodate new data. Dubya did that vis a vis Iraq. Obama does not allow new facts to persuade him from his ideological follies. That is why Obama’s judgment should be excoriated.

SilentWatcher on September 1, 2010 at 2:04 PM

petunia on September 1, 2010 at 11:45 AM

I think the original idea was that a stem-winder watch was a significant technological improvement at the time, and that having one was even considered a little prestigious.

The expression morphed into meaning that, when describing something as a stem-winder, the speaker was saying it was something first-rate . . . as in a speech.

One old source I have also includes “stem-winder” amongst nautical terminology — referring to a “stem winder” as a colloquial expression meant to describe a boat, presumably deriving from “stem, stemmed or stemming” — as in the general sense of successfully keeping course in tidal waters . . . but it is unclear from the context what calling a boat a “stem-winder” might have meant at the time — a vessel that was deft at steering a proper course? Could be.

Trochilus on September 1, 2010 at 2:05 PM

He really made the case for our continued efforts in Afghanistan under his personal leadership with the word “continued”. What ever that means.

Perhaps this is best we could hope for from this poor excuse for a US President, but somehow I was expecting something better .. like Roman columns, maybe. Instead we get a newly redecorated Oval Office .. done with scraps left over from Michelle’s inauguration dress.

J_Crater on September 1, 2010 at 2:13 PM

that photo is funny. big desk, big windows and a little guy sitting there.

cues.

ted c on September 1, 2010 at 2:14 PM

Hmmm.

Beige. I think I’ll decorate the Oval Office in beige….

Looks like the inside of an eggshell. From the inside. Honestly that would drive me bonkers.

memomachine on September 1, 2010 at 2:29 PM

The Unbearable Lightness of Barry.

Maquis on September 1, 2010 at 2:36 PM

I think he just came off as totally unprepared. It is an unimportant topic to him and he just got back from vacation. I doubt he prepared at all. He told the staff, “Just load the teleprompter and I’ll wing it”. And it showed.

tommyboy on September 1, 2010 at 2:54 PM

Except for the big desk, it looks to me like The One could have made this address in the Emir of Abu Dahbi’s office.

kens on September 1, 2010 at 3:37 PM

I don’t know if its been said already, but I expected more plastic on the furniture…

Neo-con Artist on September 1, 2010 at 3:53 PM

Instead of being gracious and effusive, Obama seemed to want to tamp down any enthusiasm over the effort made over the last several years in Iraq, a curious position for a Commander in Chief to take

.

Perhaps not so curious. In his dopey foreign policy, Obama tends to think first and foremost of how everything he does is received in the Middle East, Iran, etc. In this light Obama would curb any enthusiam if in fact he felt it…(which is also doubtful, but beside the point)

In Obama’s head, effusiveness and triumphalism would enrage our Islamist extremist enemies. Obama must pander (as he bows) to his Muslim overlords.

marybel on September 1, 2010 at 3:58 PM

Who approved those hideous drapes?

capejasmine on September 1, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Just like Bush I, I didn’t nor don’t think it takes class to stand next to Clinton. I think it is classless to stand next to the likes of someone like Clinton.
Bush II showed no class in taking a call from Obama.

Class IMHO is when you stand for something.

lilium on September 1, 2010 at 4:20 PM

OMG! Was that really The One?

I thought it was some kind of a skit making fun of how a guy can make huge events seem trivial and vague. Then there was some stupid comments about the economy… I went to bed.

IlikedAUH2O on September 1, 2010 at 5:08 PM

Roger Kimball has come up with a phrase that perfectly describes The One:

MALEVOLENT ABSURDITY.

Dhuka on September 1, 2010 at 5:14 PM

Ed, I agree with you. Please inform your buddy Hugh Hewitt that Zero still can’t speak. I may have to cancel the Hughniverse.

HellCat on September 1, 2010 at 5:46 PM

So Kristol gave it a positive review, Howard Fineman and Keith Olbermann panned it, and Meghan told O’Reilly she gave it a “tee-hee. C-plus. OK, a C. tee-hee C-minus.” Got it.

Marcus on September 1, 2010 at 8:54 AM

Nice to know it has been sternly “critiqued” by the usual intellectual giants!

//

cableguy615 on September 1, 2010 at 5:55 PM

Perhaps Kavuto was right, he wont run for a second term. He seems bored, he can’t take the criticism, even the Europeans think he is a piss poor leader. Responsibility is over-rated, he can collect two pensions, play Golf, and make millions running his mouth. Nobody to ask for his birth records, school transcripts, nobody to question his moronic agenda, his moronic statements. If a Nation wont worship him, millions of morons will.
Please retire Mr. President, we all will be happier if you do…

M-14 2go on September 1, 2010 at 9:26 PM

Doesn’t he look like he’s sitting in an adult’s office playing grown up. The colors of the office, etc., nothing seemed right, his posture, his suit color, his tie, nothing.

Bambi on September 2, 2010 at 9:36 PM

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