Obamateurism of the Day

Politicians love to flatter audiences. They talk about what a great city/county/state they have, what a great set of representatives they elected, and how great the local high school or football team is. Barack Obama managed to hit all of these cliches in the first two minutes of his appearance at Shaker Heights, Ohio, but he just had to push it with a final dollop of obsequiousness that even a friendly audience couldn’t take with a straight face:

Because folks here in Ohio and all across the country — I want you to know you’re the reason why I ran for this office in the first place. You remind me what we are still fighting for. You inspire me. (Laughter.) Okay, you do.

Andrew Malcolm also notes the paint-by-numbers speech, and the one suck-up too many:

Then, out of the blue Wednesday, came a tiny incident. A minute moment. There had been no signs of trouble, nothing to reveal that the Real Good Talker’s real good talking had lost his touch or control of his sitting subjects. The rest of the speech continued normally. Many there probably didn’t even notice.

The president of the United States has said the next line so many times over these 1,080 days of his reign. He says it as a kind of democratic gesture, a compliment to a crowd of American citizens, a public obeisance that the most powerful man in the world is profoundly connected to them.

Obama said, “You inspire me.”

And you know how the members of that crowd in the most Democratic district of Ohio responded to that campaigning Democratic president’s professed sincerity this time?

They laughed at him.

“Okay,” Obama insisted, “you do.”

Maybe it’s time to get a new script.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!