Little Note, Nor Long Remember
posted at 10:17 am on January 30, 2010 by Howard Portnoy
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.