Green Room

Little Note, Nor Long Remember

posted at 10:17 am on January 30, 2010 by

Barack Obama isn’t feeling the love these days. Delusional clowns at townhall meetings are no longer jumping to their feet and squealing “O, thank you, gracious God” when the microphone is trained at them and it is their turn to kiss the hem of St. Obama’s gown. There is no longer talk of reprinting his speeches in their entirety in textbooks so that future generations of schoolchildren can appreciate, if vicariously, an era when the seas parted and the mountains toppled (or whatever that foolish bit of bravado was that came out of the mouth of the orator-in-chief-to-be on the campaign trail).

One of the reasons the talk of reprinting the speeches has died is that there have simply been too many of them. The speeches he delivered on the campaign trail combined with those from his first year in office would alone fill a 12-volume set.

Another reason is their increasing vapidity. Maybe Obama no longer contemporizes on the healing of the planet, but whatever the topic these days, it is the case that the more he speaks, the less he says. He stumps at a rally for a candidate running for office on his party’s ticket and the other guy wins. Either no one’s listening or — worse — his words are beginning to have a paradoxical effect.

But maybe the problem for Obama isn’t his words but the lack of substance behind them. Or at least thought. It now appears that his plan to try the 9/11 co-conspirators in a civilian court in New York City is DOA. If he had given a moment’s thought to the idea, he would have realized how lame it was. And how unpopular it would be.

Early on, the legions of the brain-dead drew comparisons between Obama and one of his heroes, Abraham Lincoln. Obama never balked at the idea. In fact, he encouraged it — which right off the bat should have tipped off anyone to the reality that Obama is no Lincoln.

Lincoln gave a speech in 1863 to consecrate the new national military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, hastily scribbling the words during the short train trip from Washington. In that speech, which lasted all of ten minutes, Lincoln opined that “the world will little note, nor long remember” the remarks he made on that solemn occasion. He wasn’t just being modest; he really believed this. He confided afterward to his bodyguard Ward Hill Lamon, “Lamon, that speech won’t scour! It is a flat failure and the people are disappointed.”

Lincoln was wrong. That speech is remembered and recited. It is reprinted in its entirety in schoolbooks. The fact of Lincoln’s self-effacement makes his words all the richer and worthy of memorization. And as for Obama, who fancies himself an orator but who is all style and no substance? He couldn’t pack Lincoln’s lunch.

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I believe it was Emerson who said (paraphrasing) that the closer two minds are, the less words needed to communicate between them. Lincoln was an American mind – he communicated what we all know (though, of course, he is slandered these days with revisionist history, the whole totalitarian bit, etc). Obama cannot tap into that, hence he is always speaking.

Spirit of 1776 on January 30, 2010 at 10:35 AM

Good post. But I believe Lincoln edited the speech on the train trip. He wrote it back in Washington. “The Gettysburg speech was written on the back of an envelope” is a legend.

Fred 2 on January 30, 2010 at 11:43 AM

The Won’s speeches are going to get longer as he feels the need to self medicate. He’s going to be feeding his inner need for self gratification and when he doesn’t get the applause, the tone will change as well.

Kissmygrits on January 30, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Fred2: You’re quite right. I stand corrected.

Howard Portnoy on January 30, 2010 at 12:33 PM

I listened to the SOTU speech. To compare Obama to Lincoln is like comparing demons to angels. Obama will never love the Republic he now presides over. He said nothing in his speech, absolutely nothing. He talked about money spent on two wars, but nothing about the sacrifices of the American people in that effort. The shout out to “my Progressive friends”, but never mentioned the word Democrats.(guess ALL Dems are now Progressives, not) He offered zero solutions to any issue, just whines. All in all he was just repetitive and vainglorious.

elclynn on January 30, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Folks are just plain tired of listening to and seeing Obama. He’s like the old joke about the sock on the mantelpiece–if it stays there long enough no one notices it anymore.

jeanie on January 30, 2010 at 3:16 PM

could Obama have gotten Lincoln coffee?

das411 on January 30, 2010 at 6:46 PM

I now attempt to avoid his speeches, preferring to read others’ takes on them. Still, on occasion certain segments are re-shown to highlight various points. Two points struck me as I watched a few this last week.

You can actually see him pause and soak up applause. It’s like he feeds on it. He tilts his head back and semi closes his eyes. Watch for it yourselves.

He is truly in love with the dual TOTUS setup. I took effective speaking once. One of the early lessons is to not lock your eyes into a fixed spot, but to sweep back and forth across your audience to engage them all. But Obama will do this even if his main audience is the front camera. It is like he learned this one lesson, sweeping, and uses it for all occasions. Just an observation.

As to the content of his speeches, I’m sure Queen Elizabeth uses her IPod gift as a sleep aid.

GnuBreed on January 30, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Good take on it Howard. Not to be a nit-picker, but methinks there may be an underlying plan, very subtle in nature with all BarryO’s speech-making. After all the speeches of the, hopefully four year term, not eight, are all reprinted in their entirety, there will be quite a large number of jobs saved and created. Think of all the loggers chopping down all the extra trees it will take, truckers to haul them, paper mill employees, printers, and then of course we’ll have twice as many contractors and builders working on the extra wing of the Presidential Library just to hold that much paper.

Take the long view.

Robert17 on January 31, 2010 at 12:37 AM

Obama sucks.

uknowmorethanme on January 31, 2010 at 12:25 PM

GnuBreed on January 30, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Heh, better yet is his handy new speech saver – when he gets cut off or goes off track he blurts out “here, here’s the thing…” to buy time time to find his place, or a rational train of thought. I keep hoping a heckler will say “I don’t want your thing”. Watch the SOTU & the Mass speeches he used it a few times. It’s funny. He can’t just be quiet.

batterup on January 31, 2010 at 5:03 PM