Yesterday, writing about former president Obama’s hack remark to David Letterman on the absence of “a common baseline of facts” shared by Americans, I asked whether Obama really is as shallow a thinker as he appears to be. It was not a rhetorical question. To be sure, Obama has failed to display appreciable depth since he wrote his fictionalized autobiography, Dreams From My Father.
His signature pronouncements and phrases are banal and borrowed. “The audacity of hope,” borrowed from his spiritual mentor the Reverend Wright. “Just words,” lifted from Deval Patrick. “You didn’t build that,” the obnoxious contribution of Elizabeth Warren. “Right side of history,” the conclusory rallying cry of countless Marxist hacks.
Yet, I’ve always suspected that Obama has a gear in reserve, one he’s never been called on to display given the desire of so many to anoint him on sight (I assume his Harvard law professors called on him to display his full intellect, but we don’t know his law school grades). First gear will suffice with David Letterman and his audience. Second gear was always good enough for the mainstream media.
But after the Letterman interview and his chat with Prince Harry, perhaps it’s time for me to conclude that Obama has no gear beyond second. Perhaps it’s time for me to accept Rich Lowry’s assessment:
[T]he deepest truth about Obama is that there is no depth. He’s smart without being wise. He’s glib without being eloquent. He’s a celebrity without being interesting. He’s callow.
And that of Kevin Williamson:
Barack Obama doesn’t speak a foreign language or play a musical instrument, exhibits no sign that any great book has left a mark upon his mind, has never, so far as the printed word can document, uttered an original thought or put forth an interesting idea.
Perhaps it’s time for me to conclude that Obama is too fixated on himself and his image to be other than shallow.