Usually when I catch a political speech after its delivery, I read the speech before reading its reviews. Yesterday, our Green Room contributor Sarjex came into town with her partner and had dinner with us after a brief appearance on yesterday’s TEMS, so I didn’t get a chance to do any of it until very late last night. When I did read it, it shocked me at just how bad and tone-deaf Obama’s address was — and when I watched it on video, his delivery was even worse.
Andrew Malcolm has a great review that should be read in full, but here is a key point:
But watching the president and hearing him was a little creepy; that early portion of the address was robotic, lacked real energy, enthusiasm. And worst of all specifics. He was virtually detail-less.
After almost two months of waiting through continuously contradictory reports, an anxious American public wanted to know, HOW are you going to accomplish all this?
Even Obama’s cheerleaders over at MSNBC were complaining. “Where was the How in this speech?”demanded Keith Olbermann. Seriously.
Everyone’s assumed that fixing the leak was a given since Day Four, which was still five days before the Democrat got his big plane and presidential entourage down there. …
Trust me, the president said, tomorrow I’m going to give those BP execs what-for. As CBS’ Mark Knoller notedon his Twitter account, the president has allotted exactly 20 whole minutes this morning — 1,200 fleeting seconds — to his first-ever conversation with the corporation responsible for the disaster.
Then, he’s got an important lunch with Joe “I Witnessed the World Cup’s First Tie” Biden.
This speech was suited for Day 1 of a catastrophe, not Day 57. It had no answers at all. None. It’s as if Rip van Obama awoke after eight weeks of slumber and had been told just that morning about a massive problem in the Gulf of Mexico. For a man who has repeatedly claimed to be “fully engaged since Day 1,” and who repeated that claim last night, Obama gave every impression of still being in the spitballing stage of crisis management.
Obama didn’t even offer an original thought for spitballing. In his short presidency, Obama has had two responses to any issue: appoint a czar or create a commission. The auto industry got a czar, for instance, and the deficit that Obama’s spending has driven out of sight got a commission. Last night, Obama wanted people to know he was taking this seriously by appointing a czar and a commission, the latter of which had been announced weeks ago. That was the sum total of his substantive response last night. Small wonder Obama chose an Oval Office speech rather than face another press conference.
During the 2008 campaign, we repeatedly criticized Obama’s lack of executive experience, but perhaps even Obama’s critics might be surprised to see how badly Obama has performed in this crisis. He has nothing left to offer; Obama is running on empty. In the face of a crisis that has unfolded for almost two full months, Obama chose to talk about wind turbines. A nation waited to see if a leader would emerge from the White House, and instead it got an absent-minded professor desperate to change the subject.
Even Obama’s supporters have begun to see what his critics have long known: Obama is an empty suit. His sorry performance last night showed just how little he understands his job, the situation, and the expectations of the American people.
Update: Nick Gillespie sums up his impression of Obama’s speech in two words: “Icarus Descending.”