Twice in a lifetime

Drawing on Obama’s luncheon speech on the budget to (his supporters at) the AP this week, the RNC has posted the video below comparing this year’s model with last year’s. Hmmm. Same as it ever was — as the RNC has previously demonstrated for Obama’s 2011 and 2012 State of the Union addresses.

The RNC calls the ad “Same tired rhetoric.” Tired rhetoric is no crime. What can we learn from it? The RNC doesn’t say. I have a few thoughts, as I’m sure readers do as well.

There is no premium on originality in political rhetoric, but Obama is testing the limits. He is extending the concept of recycling into previously uncharted territory. Unlike traditional waste recycling, however, Obama’s rhetorical recycling actually saves energy! He’s saving the energy of his speechwriters.

In order to soar, words must have the force of truth. Obama left the area some time ago.

There is no contrast between Obama 2011 and Obama 2012. He’s been in formal campaign mode since August 2011, and informally well before that. There is a contrast to be drawn — the contrast between Obama as a candidate for election in 2008 and as a candidate for reelection in 2012.

The contrast is stark. In 2008 Obama ran as a redeemer come to save the time. In 2012 Obama is in old hard left class warrior.

Does Obama ever express a thought using words in a new form? It seems that political cliches are the essential medium of his expression. His speeches are like New York Times editorials. They ought to be accompanied by a warning: Reading them can kill brain cells.

Is this really the somewhat interesting guy who wrote Dreams From My Father I doubt it. I don’t say Bill Ayers necessarily wrote the book, but it couldn’t have been Obama. He has yet to formulate a political thought in an original way.

Conservatives had Obama’s number last time, but a lot of voters chose to ignore the evidence and hope he was who he pretended to be. As Samuel Johnson said of remarriage, it was the triumph of hope over experience.

This time around, pretty much everyone has Obama’s number. He isn’t even trying to conceal it or present it as something other than what it is. That’s progress, isn’t it?

If Obama is reelected, we will hear a lot more of this. But to what effect? Republican forces in the Senate will be enhanced and probably only modestly diminished in the House. What then? If he is reelected, it will be a long, long four years.

Well, let’s hear it from the Talking Heads. Key question: “You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”


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