January 28, 2010


Obama's Dull, Cheap, Successful Speech (Jonathan Chait, January 27, 2010, New Republic)

The dropoff between rhetoric penned by Obama and that by his staff, always noticeable, was especially so tonight. When he declared, “health care experts who know our system best consider this approach a vast improvement over the status quo,” I wondered if his budget freeze had already claimed the entire White House speechwriting staff.

Obama suggested that we should embrace alternative energy sources even if you doubt climate science. (I’m pretty sure that, if carbon dioxide were harmless, we’d be better off sticking with the cheap energy.) He embraced some hoary populist tropes, in which “Washington” and “us” are homogenous, mutually exclusive categories, and he belongs to the second. (“Washington has been telling us to wait for decades.”) And his rationale for a budget freeze made no sense whatsoever. “I am absolutely convinced that [the stimulus] was the right thing to do,” he said, “But families across the country are tightening their belts and making tough decisions. The federal government should do the same.” Um, why?

...it's the staff that writes the coherent lines (which the comment suggests is the case), not the guy who can't even speak if his teleprompter flickers?

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 28, 2010 3:49 PM
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