I have just watched the Obama Oval Office speech, the second of his time as President.
I know the talking heads have already made a big deal about the stilted, professorial style, the lecture tone, the folded hands in front, the total formality. It was certainly no fireside chat. But something else was missing, and it is dire-more than a lack of policy, or a boring lecture on war and deficits.
What was missing? A Story. This is a President who just visited the wounded at Walter Reed and the troops in Texas to express the appreciation of a gratelful nation, and what did he bring back????Nothing but talking points. This is the president… speaking in the Oval office, THE OVAL OFFICE, with the ghosts of FDR after Pearl Harbor, LBJ after Vietnam. The place screams of stories, but that hallowed place did not speak tonight. This president who once snuck out to Dover to greet the remains of warriors on their last journey home, is determined to keep his feelings private. All we are good for tonight is Cliches and Pabulum. Not a story in sight-No witness, no personal sense of the weight of war and how it weighs on any Commander in Chief. Stunning performance, Mr President.
Iraq has cost us almost 5000 young lives and one trillion dolars, and the Commander in Chief can barely mention two names, Petraeus and Bush. What about Private Guiterrez, the first American soldier killed in Iraq, who was an immigrant from the streets of Guatamela City, whose only dream was to come to America and join the marines, or Specialist Morganne McBeth, a 19 year old African American from Virginia, one of the last to die before the US pull out. Are they worth a shout out along with Petraeus and Bush?
This President might want to ignore a Glenn Beck March on Washington for Votes and Ratings, but at least Beck can cry on camera, he can connect his feelings to the great stories that surrounded him on the weekend, the monuments to Lincoln and Washington and King. Whatever you might think of Beck’s views, he tells a story. I used to remember a Candidate who could quote Lincoln and King in almost every speech he made. Where did he go?
President Obama seems to have fallen prey to the grey bureaucrats who write safe,boring speeches, who warn him elections are close, and that he will be punished for any courage or honesty. So he decides its better to be boring. And he has no story to tell.
For the candidate who got elected on his story and his ability to tell it- to not be telling the nation a story about where we are, and how he connects to the visceral pain of a country at war, a country that feels more and more lost, is to choose to become irrelevant. If he doesn’t seem to care, why should we?
Memo to President Obama, and can anyone please, please forward this to him-his chief earnings come not from Executive Office but from “Dreams from my Father” when he told us his story. What has happened to convince him that in an address to the natio