January 24, 2009

ON THE UNICORN'S HINDER LEGS:

Conformity’s Seduction: Oh, yes, yes, yessssssss, we can! (Mark Steyn, 1/23/09, National Review)

How dazzling is President Obama? So dazzling that he didn’t merely give a dazzling inaugural speech. Any old timeserving hack could do that. Instead, he had the sheer genius to give a flat dull speech full of the usual shopworn boilerplate. Brilliant! At a stroke, he not only gently lowered the expectations of those millions of Americans and billions around the world for whom his triumphant ascendancy is the only thing that gives their drab little lives any meaning, but also emphasized continuity by placing his unprecedented incandescent megastar cool squarely within the tradition of squaresville yawneroo white middle-aged plonking mediocrities who came before him.

At a stroke—okay, that’s two strokes, like an Italian moped, but that just shows how cosmopolitan he is—Obama artfully charted a middle course between the Scylla of unmeetable expectations and the Charybdis of his own charisma, and chugged instead in the placid rhetorical shallows of “gathering clouds,” “raging storms,” “icy currents.” In a speech on climate change, this would send the crowd fleeing in terror to hole up in the hills and forage for berries. But, in an inaugural address, this was Obama’s most inspired gambit yet. Only a truly great leader would have the courage to reach for the skies in such leaden and earthbound prose.

Oh, well. So much for the consensus of the expert analysts.


At least when he made a hash of his Reverend Wright denunciation he was able to redo the speech several times over the next week. But he only gets one bite at stuff like the Convention Speech and the Inaugural and they've been historically awful. Given how much everyone on the Left loves him, is it really that hard to hire someone who can write a decent speech?

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Posted by Orrin Judd at January 24, 2009 9:08 AM
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