Sailin’ shoes

I’m still thinkin’ about President Obama’s speech to the annual awards dinner of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation this past weekend. The White House transcript of the speech is here; the White House video is here.

There was much of interest in the speech. It would be a mistake to pass over it too quickly. Obama administration policies have been a disaster for blacks, yet they they make up Obama’s most loyal base of support. What’s his pitch? Showin’ he can talk the talk appears to be part of it. According to Politico, however, the speech was not an unqualified success.

The now controversial AP account by Mark Smith accurately quotes Obama droppin’ into his prissy urban dialect. Jay Nordlinger notes the controversy in his Impromptus column this morning. Serious chin pulling over the controversy can be found here.

I thought the speech required some translation that has been lackin’ so far. Over at the American Spectator Andrew Cline devoted a brief column to an exploration of what Obama was really sayin’ in the speech.

I started wonderin’ about that myself, ’round about the time Obama told his audience to “take off your bedroom slippers.”

Bedroom slippers? I guess he was speakin’ metaphorically, but it would have made about as much sense to say: “Stop listenin’ to Lawrence Welk. Stop waltzin’ ’round the livin’ room. Stop holdin’ hands. Stop spoonin’.”

Instead he said: “Put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin’. We are going to press on. We have work to do.”

Work? Actually, we don’t have work to do. That’s the problem. In Obamaworld, however, even the work is metaphorical — even “work” requires translation. Work — that’d be gettin’ Obama reelected.

Well, it all reminded me of a pretty good song by Lowell George and Little Feat. Key line: “Everyone will start to cheer when you put on your sailin’ shoes.” In the video below, an all-star band put together by Stevie Ray Vaughan covers the song with Chaka Khan, Maria McKee, Rosemary Butler, Omar Hakim, Arnold McCuller, Hiram Bullock, David Sanborn and Van Dyke Parks for an episode of NBC’s Night Music back in 1988.

UPDATE: I should have known that Rush explored the possible meaning of Obama’s reference to “bedroom slippers” earlier this week.


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