December 29th, 2009

Suddenly, Obama’s not so fluent any more

Obama was always a fluid if vapid speechmaker, although his off-the-cuff statements featured a lot of hemming and hawing. But I’ve noticed something that seems new: hesitancy even when he speaks from a prepared text.

Obama now seems to go off-teleprompter more often—perhaps because he’s been critiqued so much for its use—and when reading from notes on a lectern he stops and starts, as well as using a tennis-match-like repetitive back and forth movement of his head.

What’s more, Obama’s disfluencies have an odd cadence, coming at times that seem unnatural, as though he’s distracted and not even thinking about what he’s saying but rather merely reading it from a text he’s never seen before. Is he nervous? Lying? Nervous about lying? Nervous about being caught in lying? Aware that the gift he’s relied on his entire life is going or perhaps even gone, now that he needs it most?

Whatever the cause, I imagine it must be quite frightening to Obama (rather like losing your turns). He’s accustomed to having the magic touch when he speaks, and now he’s become self-conscious, watching every word. Many have remarked on his changed affect, as well; we hear descriptions such as “passionless” and “not properly engaged.”

Here’s a tape of Obama speaking about the Northwest Airlines bomber (we’re still searching for the proper name for the incident; I prefer the “BVD bomber” myself). I think you’ll be able to see what I’m talking about:

[ADDENDUM: It may be time to revisit this, which I wrote at a moment of low ebb in Obama’s campaign. And then there’s this, which if I’m not mistaken is the first piece I ever wrote about Obama. It was posted in May of 2007, and features the following observation:

]The problem is twofold. The first is that it may indicate not only a certain lack of toughness on Obama’s part, but a willingness to offer up excuses too easily. It’s okay for a Presidential candidate (or President) to be tired, but I’m not so sure he should be so eager to excuse himself on that score. I’ve often thought that, if the campaign is a grueling marathon, it’s probably a (pardon the phrase) cakewalk compared to the actual Presidency.

Just as the Presidency is not for the shy or those tortured by ambivalence, just as it requires a certain amount of narcissism (perhaps more than is healthy in ordinary life), it also requires true grit and enormous—almost superhuman—endurance. And if the President doesn’t feel up to it all the time, he/she is supposed to shut up about it and not let others see.]

[ADDENDUM II: The Anchoress has more to say on the subject, including this:

I suspect that what Obama wanted was to be the King, not the President. The King’s role is largely ceremonial. In time of national tragedy the King goes before the camera and says, “this is very sad.” If he can assign blame on a perceived enemy he does so, and then he steps aside and retires to his amusements while those actually in charge clean up the mess and determine how to prevent future messes. Everyone loves the King, defers to the King, rushes to do for the King, but the King -who tends to get bored and distracted by the dry business of actually governing- is responsible for very little, and most are just as glad of it.

And American Digest has more as well.]

[ADDENDUM III: Michelle Malkin takes note of the tiredness factor.]

157 Responses to “Suddenly, Obama’s not so fluent any more”

  1. Steve G Says:

    I think that, as he never had to give so many speeches in so short a time frame (one year), he is tired of hearing his own voice and getting bored with the exercise. Worse, because the speeches no longer work and he has no other arrows in his quiver, he is coming to the realization that he has marginalized himself both here and abroad. Will he get angry (it seems he already is) and blame the Democrats in Congress for not adopting HIS healthcare bill? Will we soon see him on TV behind his desk in the White House, wearing a sweater and telling us, like Carter, to turn the thermostat up in summer and down in winter? Is he warming up for his malaise speech? Will he disappear to the golf course (please, please, please)? Do we care any longer?

  2. Hong Says:

    A dull summation of the day’s events and largely a bureaucratic run down of steps taken…blah blah blah. This sounds like the biggest ass covering speech I’ve ever heard from any President. Just so he can say he wasn’t surfing all day. Can you imagine Reagan or Lincoln treating terrorism so…casually?

  3. Promethea Says:

    I think we should call the bomber “the Panties Bomber.” It makes this killer-wannabee even more foolish than he already is.

    Obama will be known as the “Wussy President.”

  4. Rob De Witt Says:


    Great minds think alike, indeed. A slightly more streamlined “The Pantybomber” should do it, don’t you think?

  5. K Says:

    The Unitbomber.

  6. Promethea Says:

    Rob De Witt . . .

    Yes, definitely. The Pantybomber!

  7. huxley Says:

    I was rather shocked at how poorly Obama handled the incident — three days late, no tie, an amateurish, passionless reading of a speech, staring down at his notes on the lectern much of the time.

    Hundreds of Americans barely survived the most serious terrorist attack against the US since 9-11 and this is the best Obama can do as Commander-in-Chief?

    Even if Obama doesn’t understand his responsibility to protect America — as opposed to remaking our country so that it meets Obama’s exacting standards — doesn’t he have advisers?

    Well, maybe we are lucky in that it makes it all the easier for Americans to see through Obama for the lightweight that he is.

    But God help us if we face a major crisis on Obama’s watch. We’ve already got two real wars on our hands plus the global litigation on terror.

    I fear we are going to find out how important a presidential election can be.

  8. Obama and Doing vs Being » The Anchoress | A First Things Blog Says:

    […] is wondering what has happened to Obama’s vaunted fluency? Obama was always a fluid if vapid speechmaker, although his off-the-cuff statements featured a […]

  9. Occam's Beard Says:

    Imagine the horror of getting the job you’ve always wanted…then realizing that you’re fundamentally not up to discharging its responsibilities…and that you’ll have three more years in fishbowl flailing and floundering before God and everybody. /shudder

    It must be like getting in the ring with Mike Tyson and realizing the ref has left the building. This bout is going to go 15 rounds, or until Mike’s exhausted from whomping on you, regardless of how many towels your seconds throw into the ring…

  10. gcotharn Says:

    Alternatively, what if the job is beneath Barack? What if his stupendous wonderfulness is above dealing with the pettiness of D.C.? above dealing with the ignorance of Repubs, media, voters, and Kos Kids? above dealing with the impure original sin of the British? above dealing with the foolishness of Sarkozy, Putin, and Karzai? above dealing with the obstreperousness of China, Iran, N. Korea? What if he is bored with the job? and disgusted that he must remain in the job for 3+ more years? You can tell, if you look, that Barack feels put-upon and abused.

    The Thrill Is Gone

    BB King

    The thrill is gone
    The thrill is gone away
    The thrill is gone baby
    The thrill is gone away
    You know you done me wrong baby
    And you’ll be sorry someday

    The thrill is gone
    It’s gone away from me
    The thrill is gone baby
    The thrill is gone away from me
    Although I’ll still live on
    But so lonely I’ll be

    The thrill is gone
    It’s gone away for good
    Oh, the thrill is gone baby
    Baby its gone away for good
    Someday I know I’ll be over it all baby
    Just like I know a man should

    You know I’m free, free now baby
    I’m free from your spell
    I’m free, free now
    I’m free from your spell
    And now that it’s over
    All I can do is wish you well

    Written by Rick Darnell & Roy Hawkins

  11. Hangtown Bob Says:

    You say “we’re still searching for the proper name for the incident; I prefer the “BVD bomber” myself.”

    I was kind of thinking, considering where he had the explosives placed, and in homage to our Dear Leader, that the “all wee wee’d up bomber” might be appropriate.

  12. OlderandWheezier Says:

    On another site, I think, Abdulmutallub was referred to as the “UndieBomber.” That gets my vote.

    Perhaps the blameduck is now hoping to be able to saddle INTERPOL with the guilt the next time an ungrateful human-causer-of-disaster ignores the “Why Can’t We Be Friends” strategy and attacks us.

  13. huxley Says:

    Occam’s Beard: At this point I don’t think Obama wants a second-term either.

    Being president is much more than giving speeches and basking in praise.

    I’d bet 50-50 odds that he won’t finish this term. I don’t think he has the stamina for it, especially as his polls continue to sink and the adulation is, like, over baby.

    Plus there are rumors that Obama has health problems — Parkinson’s in particular. Obama never did release his medical records and he does have a nasty scar on the right side of his skull.

  14. Javert Says:

    Barry Soetero is an asshat who has surrounded himself with more asshats.
    We will pay the price for this foolishness, some with our lives.

  15. Person of Choler Says:

    Steve G said, “… he is tired of hearing his own voice and getting bored with the exercise.”

    Not half as tired and bored as I am.

  16. Jim Says:

    “Crotch Bomber” has a nice ring to it. Er, boom to it.

  17. Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate Says:

    I like Mark Steyn’s turn of phrase (so what else is new):

    “The Knickerbomber”

  18. David in San Diego Says:

    Somewhere in the near past I read about a meeting that President-Elect Kennedy had with President Eisenhower. When asked about the job, Eisenhower responded to the effect, that all of Kennedy’s problems would be hard, because all the easy ones would be handled at a lower level.

    Obama is slowly discovering that it’s not just teh Math that is hard.

  19. mcnorman Says:

    POTUS is tired, you know. The left keeps screaming so. So what happened to being prepared for that 3am call anytime?

  20. Flyover Sam Says:

    We had a senior executive in my organization that came on board two years ago at the unilateral invitation of the CTO. Hired as a senior VP for a Fortune 500 global financial firm, the gentleman’s prior experience was as a low-level IT director for a large financing corporation handling a team of a dozen people maintaining mainframes. He arrived to our world with a swagger identical to Obama’s — extreme confidence and a perception that all SVPs did was look great, sound great and make proclamations.

    Executive politics were beyond him; he immediately withdrew and allowed those poaching on our turf to seize it. Obama’s done that with the Enroneseque climate business, Iran, North Korea and Russian nuclear treaties. I fully expect China to seize Taiwan given they know Obama will not even utter a peep as he flees to the golf course.

    Every other aspect of senior executive leadership was beyond our token SVP and he lost all confidence in his speech. At meetings, he’d hide in the corner – even take a chair against the back wall instead of sitting at the big boy’s table. Obama’s hit the wall he has no means to ovecome: he cannot handle executive leadership. He can’t quit. He can’t learn on the job. It’s beyond him. All he can do is deny, run and hide. Expect Rahm and the other czars to run the show while Obama gives meaningless speeches the next three years.

  21. Political correctness and ‘lying to ourselves’ arms terrorists like terrorists themselves can’t « The Western Experience Says:

    […] neo-neocon […]

  22. bdb777 Says:

    maybe becoming president just does it to you. I certainly remember bush getting reamed for his inability to speak publicly; but as this video shows he was articulate enough as a governor…

  23. Sgt. Mom Says:

    I rather think that Neo and the Anchoress are both right – The Won wanted to be king (and perhaps M’Shell REALLY wanted to be Queen!) , and then he found out that the King really does have serious duties, no expectation of privacy, and that the fun of dressing up and appearing before adoring crowds, having your every wish granted and yourself constantly flattered, really does pall after a bit. And that the office of President really does weigh on those – hey, take a good hard look at the before-and-after pictures of those who took it on. It aged them something awful – and I wonder if The Won somehow thought that he could skate out from under what was required. (Or, more horrifying – that he didn’t really believe that real work WAS required!)
    Be careful of what you ask for … you may get it.

    I think he will have a very public and very nasty melt-down, very soon, a melt-down that can’t be excused, explained or remedied. A merciful providence will ensure that it happens in public and is captured on video, to show up on YouTube almost immediately.

  24. Ned Says:

    Well said on all fronts…he can’t do the job…he doesn’t understand the job…he can’t remember why he ever wanted the job…he doesn’t like the job…and every time he looks in the mirror he knows he is up shit creek without a paddle. Very bad feeling.

    In my business career I saw people on 2 occasional admit to their boss they just couldn’t handle it…humiliating…yes…followed by relief and peace of mind.

    Unfortunately…obama lacks the humility to bow out(or ask for adult supervision/guidance)…nor the courage to step up…

  25. Rich K Says:

    Sorry but the best so far that Ive heard is”Fruit of the Boom Guy”

  26. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Obama has run smack up against the wall surrounding the President, the one known as “the accountability of decision making”…

    Afghanistan nicely illustrates the wall’s essential nature as conundrum; one one hand, victory requires that he must stay and commit, on the other hand is political expediency, as his core base wants to cut and run. What to do?

    Most troubling of all is that he can do neither, victory requires more than his inclinations permit and retreat is not politically viable.

    Of such are Presidential decisions made; no good answer is available, merely a ‘menu’ of very bad and even worse choices.

    Has anyone not failed to notice how much older and drawn he has looked for the past many months?

  27. Ned Says:

    One other thing…to be an effective President, you have to love and respect the country AND its people…and have a passion to improve it…take it somewhere better…

    He lacks both.

  28. Ernie G Says:

    Fifty years after I graduated from MIT, I still have a recurring unpleasant dream. You know the one: I’m back in school. It’s exam day and I can’t find the exam room. I haven’t attended a single class in a key course. I didn’t know the course was on my schedule until just now. If I don’t pass I’m ruined.

    Obama is living that dream.

  29. Ned Says:

    Ernie G Says:
    December 29th, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    I know so many people who still have that dream including me (Class of ’77)….wierd isn’t it???

  30. Less Says:

    Well, has the man ever had a job for a full year without beginning a campaign for the next promotion?

    He’s now in a job that he has to just DO for two full years before he can legitimately campaign for re-election.

    I think he’ll perk up when it’s time to run for re-election, he likes that part. But for now…just another year of drudgery until the campaigning can begin.

    Oh…and who cares what really happens between now and then. Once on the campaign trail he can blame the past, racism, evil profitmongers, etc. and of course those nasty teabaggers.

  31. mhr Says:

    The campaign taught Obama that his very words should elicit long spasms of applause from adoring fans. Even the Germans joined in on the ceremonies of Obama-worship. Coming out to talk about a massive failure of the security system that he appointed a political hack to head does not fit into the the campaign mode. There is no applause and the man is bright enoough to know that his words are not convincing; in other words that he is giving the American public another load of BS.

  32. Mike G in Corvallis Says:

    I think he will have a very public and very nasty melt-down, very soon, a melt-down that can’t be excused, explained or remedied.


    My fear is that the Chinese will wait until 2013 to make their move, so we’ll be stuck with this clown for two terms.

  33. Liz Says:

    The real scary thing is that if something happens to Obama where he gets sick or burns out on the job, then we would have Biden. And until Biden selected a VP, the next in line would be Pelosi.

  34. jms Says:

    we’re still searching for the proper name for the incident; I prefer the “BVD bomber” myself

    Weapon of Ass Destruction?

  35. Nolanimrod Says:

    I’m with gcothern. I just think he is thoroughly nonplussed and bored by the whole tiresome mess.

    Here he is leader of the world, and 4500 miles away some idiot sets his pants ablaze. OK, it was supposed to be a bomb, but it wasn’t. Nobody was hurt. The idiot is in the hoosegow.

    So why do I have to take off my plus fours and my really cool tartan tam o’shanter, throw on a dress shirt (NO tie! It’s my vacation, damn it!) and come out to announce what everybody already knows.

    I don’t mind cheering multitudes but this puppet crap is a real bore, and that’s what it is because I’m only here to keep my cheering Myrmidons from muttering under their breath about pet goat moments.

    You know, I’m SUPPOSED to be on the golf course.

  36. Nolanimrod Says:

    P.S. And thanks for the link to losing your turns. That was interesting. And nice.

  37. Nick Reynolds Says:

    Blithering idiot . . . needs to go back to academia where he can’t do any more damage. He’s so typical of the ‘ivory tower’ professors I used to know and work with. Boobs. Everyone of them.

  38. Occam's Beard Says:

    Even the Germans joined in on the ceremonies of Obama-worship.

    Yeah, even the Germans can be mesmerized by a charismatic speaker. Imagine.

    Obama’s situation has all the elements of Greek tragedy. He trampled all over lots of people, and got what he thought he wanted, only now to realize that it’s not what he wanted at all. It must be a nightmare. And it’s only just beginning.

  39. Omnibus Driver Says:

    I giggled myself silly over the term “Knickerbomber,” myself.

  40. Occam's Beard Says:

    neo, I also liked your essay on “losing your turns,” especially in the reference to baseball (to which I more readily relate!). I still play, and still go through sudden inexplicable slumps at the plate where I can’t hit a beach ball off a tee, and on the mound where I can’t miss a bat or find the strike zone. Just as suddenly and inexplicably the slumps disappear, the baseball gods relent and I snap back into the mirror universe. Humbling to think that one cannot control even one’s own psyche and body.

  41. PA Cat Says:


    Your good friend and admirer Gerard also has a new post up about your insights: “The Emperor’s New Speech Impediment.”

  42. John Blake Says:

    Nothing anyone can say does justice to BHO’s bad faith, ill intentions, willful destruction of his despised White America and all its works. He is a vile anti-Semite, Black Supremacist quota-baby: An impostor of ineluctable Kenyan origin, on record as an Indonesian national of Mus-lump persuasion, not merely non-native but an illegal alien, illegitimate and fraudulent to the very core.

    Call Soetoro a Maoist for convenience, but he and all around him are anarcho-syndicalists, death-eating Luddite sociopaths intent on fostering chaos as an excuse for imposing martial law. Raging hyper-inflation, geopolitical crises including nuclear exchanges, recurrent terrorist assaults as dollar values crater amid Depression-level bankruptcies and unemployment, would greatly please this abominable, narcissistic little twerp.

    Quite probably, within three years “there will be blood”. Meantime, surviving citizens can only hope that this disgraceful episode will inoculate the polity against D-rat rule for generations, perhaps even producing a much-needed, unambiguously libertarian Constitution II.

  43. Occam's Beard Says:

    Blithering idiot . . . needs to go back to academia where he can’t do any more damage. He’s so typical of the ‘ivory tower’ professors I used to know and work with. Boobs. Everyone of them.

    Hey, I resemble that!

    Actually, Obama never was an academic. Giving a few lectures as an adjunct prof no more constitutes being an academic than being a parade marshal makes one a military man.

  44. neo-neocon Says:

    PA Cat: thanks! I added a link.

  45. Cold Atlantic Blue Says:

    Occam’s Beard is spot on. Obama’s story really is a Greek tragedy. He has been prepping for it his entire life, ruminating since his youth on being cool and translating that into being President. If he prayed at all in his youth, it was for this culmination of his dreams.

    Now, he’s trapped.

    It reminds me of Truman Capote’s observation that more tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.

  46. neo-neocon Says:

    And to all those who enjoyed “Losing your turns”—glad you appreciated it on its second go-round. It’s always been a sneaking favorite of mine.

  47. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Now here, along with Max Baucus, is true eloquence:,-Untrue-Personal-Smear-Internet-Rumor.html

  48. Luther Says:

    Against the grain here and not meaning to be off topic. But I don’t understand why it is that Obama was expected, or should be expected, to give a statement on the attempted bombing. To my mind this incident was something more worthy of a Robert Gibbs announcement of ‘a’ Presidents thoughts than something meriting a Presidential appearance and speech. Seems we’re all a bit too willing now days to expect the ‘President’ to be everyones comforting daddy/mommy versus an executive that need concentrate on the true duties of the job and not attempting to make everyone ‘feel good’.

    This is not to say that I don’t agree with most if not all of the comments here concerning Obama personally. I just think that we at times need to separate the office, and our expectations of it, from the person holding the job.

  49. mike Says:


  50. Luke Says:

    Obama is smart. Intelligent, in a seemingly natural way. Always has been. His ability to appear smart and say smart-sounding things has caused those around him to take his ability for granted, and as a result, no one has ever really held him accountable for results. There’s a vast difference between being smart and being able to accomplish tangible results.

    In many ways, this is likely the first time in his life when he’s been judged not by his ability to say something smart, but to actually do accomplish something and be held accountable. And it scares the shit out of him. Because, deep down, he always expected to coast through life on his smarts, not his accomplishments.

    You can see it in the ridiculous number of excuses he makes. I mean, I have never heard something so unbecoming of the most powerful man in the world than Obama’s excuse-making today – blaming “the system I inherited” for the whole panty-bomber fiasco. You were in Congress when the TSA was born, why didn’t you propose something better? Man up, Mr. President.

  51. Occam's Beard Says:

    The irony is staggering. Obama thought he was conning the electorate into overlooking his inexperience, when in fact he was conning himself. He failed to realize that the experience issue cut both ways: the electorate looked to experience to judge his ability to do the job, but he needed experience to decide whether he actually wanted the job.

    At this juncture, I bet Obama wishes to God the Republicans and (especially) the MSM had gonged on him about his lack of experience.

  52. neo-neocon Says:

    Luther: because, as president, Obama is commander-in-chief, and this was an attempted attack by an agent of a group, al Qaeda, that has declared war on us and killed thousands of Americans both on our soil and around the world. And when I use the word “attempted,” note that it came very very close to being a successful attempt.

    This is very very serious. It will also result in a great deal of annoyance and frustration for all Americans who travel, due to restrictions in response to it. That needs to be addressed by a president, as well.

    But the biggest reason this needs to be addressed by the president is that it represented a series of failures of the entire security system. The terrorist’s father warned the US. He apparently boarded the plane without a passport, paying cash for a ticket the same day. These aren’t just red flags—these are glaring sirens, and several of them at once.

    President Obama should be outraged. I am; aren’t you? He should want to address the American people and underline the seriousness of the threat, the seriousness of the attempt, and the seriousness of his resolve to plug the holes in our security system that it revealed.

  53. Tuesday: December 29, 2009 : DBKP REPORT Says:

    […] Suddenly, Obama’s not so fluent any more Cheerful and looking forward to 2010: A Fist Bump for Kevin Dowd. Another informative, helpful Jeffry Lord offering at AmSpec. CAPITAL CULTURE: Big first year leaves Obama tired The Left’s Blind Eye to the Obvious Mousavi supporters say Iran ordered murder of his nephew Texas Tech suspends coach Mike Leach Rough year for everybody: AP: Ponzi collapses nearly quadrupled in ‘09 Technology Predictions Are Mostly Bunk Janet Napolitano Mall Cop iOTW IMAGE CONTEST: Submit Your Favorite Images In The Comments Section The Tipping Point in Iran […]

  54. tree hugging sister Says:

    Crotch Bomber.

    I have to be honest and admit I really wasn’t aware of the lessening of the Precedent’s rhetorical gifts. For about the last 6 months, I’ve turned the telly off if there’s even a hint that it’s time for his daily dreary droning declamation(s).

    I can’t take it any more.

  55. Jonathan Bailey Says:

    “(we’re still searching for the proper name for the incident; I prefer the “BVD bomber” myself). ”

    That’s good, but I was leaning more towards Fruit-of-the-Loons bomber myself.

  56. Baklava Says:

    Panty-waisted bomber

  57. BlogDog Says:

    I think it should be BVIEDs

  58. Daniel Says:

    Could it be as simple as – he keeps losing track of his place when attempting to read what is written before him?
    When he shifts his vision around and then back, that could be the – uh – problem.

  59. Luther Says:

    “But the biggest reason this needs to be addressed by the president is that it represented a series of failures of the entire security system.”

    Then let him address that problem. Which he didn’t in this speech, but which he now has apparently done so.

    “President Obama should be outraged. I am; aren’t you? He should want to address the American people and underline the seriousness of the threat, the seriousness of the attempt, and the seriousness of his resolve to plug the holes in our security system that it revealed.”

    Of course I’m outraged. But then again I’ve worked for the government, and quit due to the incompetence I couldn’t stand, so my expectations are so much lower than the average citizen’s.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on my main point.

  60. rickl Says:

    I just finished reading Sarah Palin’s book “Going Rogue” and I’m shaking my head in wonderment that during the campaign she was called “unqualified” to be Vice-President. Incredibly, many people still believe that.

    And look what we ended up with as President.

    It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so deadly serious.

  61. Baba Ganoush Says:

    @Ernie G: More than 4 decades after we both graduated from Harvard, my wife and I still have the occasional “Exam Dream,” accompanied by sweaty palms and nervous sleep. In my case, the circumstances are usually the same, arriving several hours late to Memorial Hall after the beginning of the exam and finding everyone gone, the proctor and all of my fellow students.

    As for Obama’s vaunted oratory, as a former university research scientist I have listened to literally thousands of public speakers over the years. I have had the good fortune to hear many skilled ones. I have never felt that Obama is (or was) a great or even excellent speaker. He is merely passable. He seems preachy, too condescending, and devoid of passion. Add to that his annoying tennis headshots—first gaze to the right, then gaze to the left, but never directly to the audience behind the camera in front of him—and his sermons just bore the lifeblood out of me. I cannot listen when he “speachifies” on TV, I just wait to read the written transcript. It helps me to get over the pain much faster that way.

  62. PA Cat Says:

    More than 4 decades after we both graduated from Harvard, my wife and I still have the occasional “Exam Dream,” accompanied by sweaty palms and nervous sleep.

    It hasn’t been 4 decades since I completed my Ph.D. (Yale), but I still have recurrent nightmares about my three-hour dissertation defense (which doesn’t make sense, because the actual event wasn’t traumatic in the least, and professors and a much-relieved grad student all went out to a nearby pizza place for beer and munchies afterward). There must be something about any type of qualifying exam that generates this type of dream. I wonder whether MDs, DDSs, DVMs, RNs, and other medical/dental professionals have “Exam Dreams.”

  63. David Says:

    Fluency evaporates when you don’t know your subject or don’t believe what you are saying.

  64. Luther Says:


    Second thoughts. I’m not trying to be obstreperous. I think your observations quite relevant and telling. But, somehow, in the present climate, I’m reminded of Nixon’s imperial helmets on the White House guards. Pomp and circumstance, versus nitty and gritty. The country has become that way… I could go on.

  65. Eric Says:

    Would it kill him to put on a tie? He would at least look serious.

  66. neo-neocon Says:

    Luther: I hear you. But it’s not pomp and circumstance to make a serious and emotionally intense statement when one is called for. The American public has known for days that this represents a catastrophic systemic failure of intelligence and protection. What took Obama so long? His first instincts were WAY off: silence on his part, then coverup and minimizing by his subordinates, and then his weak and legalistic statement, and only later (just a couple of hours ago, actually) a stronger statement about the failure of the system. It’s almost as though he has to hear the blogs (or the talking heads) tell him what he should be saying, and then he can play catch-up and say it. Not good.

  67. wuzzagrunt Says:

    mcnorman said: “So what happened to being prepared for that 3am call anytime?”

    Just leave a message. He’ll get back to you on Monday.

  68. Concerned Citizen Says:

    Eric: Would it kill him to put on a tie?

    Well…he is in Hawaii and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a person wearing a tie in Hawaii. I’m surprised he wasn’t wearing a Hawaiian shirt, given how checked out he seemed this weekend.

  69. Steve G Says:

    You know, it’s been a long while since anyone has been thrown under Obama’s bus. With his rapidly decreasing poll numbers (but note the slight rise when Obama is on vacation and out of Washington) there must be some real infighting going on among the Chicago Obami. Somebody has to be at fault. Will we soon get an inkling of the dynamic at work in this White House? Does Obama listen to advice (my inclination is no). Do Emanuel or Axelrod even try to give Obama advice? Is there humility in the man? Is he capable of learning from his mistakes or will he externalize his problems? From his hurried readings of his speeches recently, one gets the impression that he is not reading them beforehand. This presupposes that someone else is writing the speeches. Who takes the lead in setting the direction and tone of the speech? Will we soon get to see the real Obama, one that even he does not know exists?
    Stay tuned.

  70. Luther Says:

    Neo, I don’t want to rumble with you, I’m not that smart.

    “What took Obama so long?”

    Because he’s playing to the audience, which is what our politics has become. A reality ‘show’ versus ‘reality’. Which is much of my point.

    Imagine Patton on that stage, imagine his response to current events. Let loose the dogs of war or STFU. It’s a simple choice, really. One that this country was capable of in days gone past.

    I can only lament.

  71. MassJim Says:

    I call him the “Tighty-Whitey” bomber

  72. martise Says:

    He just doesn’t care. Not about us, not about the country. Tired and bored.

  73. Ned Says:

    would rather be filming an episode of “Cribs” with his homies…

  74. neo-neocon Says:

    Aw Luther, you’re plenty smart. I agree—that fighting spirit isn’t present right now. People mocked Bush when he tried to exhibit it, and Obama has banked his presidency on showing the opposite attitude. But somehow, it’s just not working out for him as it was supposed to.

  75. huxley Says:

    Luther: Plus consider the all too recent context of the Ft. Hood massacre in which an “isolated extremist” killed 12 Americans and wounded 31 others.

    Obama’s response was to send a folksy “shout-out” to Dr. Joe Medicine Crow (and credit Dr. Crow with the wrong award), before moving to the solemn business of addressing the nation about the massacre at Ft. Hood.

    It’s bizarre. Obama appears to have no sense and no sensible advisers for the occasion of murdered or almost-murdered Americans. He’d much rather be playing golf or trying to ram through multi-trillion dollar bills to remake the country to his liking. But defending and reassuring Americans … aw, does he have to?

    It gets worse. Turns out these two isolated extremists with no clear motive to kill Americans that the Obama administration can discern were counseled by the same al-Qaeda cleric. What a strange coincidence

    This is very bad and when it sinks with Americans, and it will, it will hurt Obama bad.

    If Obama is nervous and lacking fluency, it’s not surprising. He’s in big trouble.

  76. turfmann Says:

    @Ernie G Says:
    December 29th, 2009 at 7:12 pm
    Fifty years after I graduated from MIT…

    Oh my. My wife and I are not alone! With me its showing up for a final exam never having attended a single class.

    @rickl Says:
    December 29th, 2009 at 8:39 pm
    I just finished reading Sarah Palin’s book “Going Rogue” and I’m shaking my head in wonderment that during the campaign she was called “unqualified” to be Vice-President. Incredibly, many people still believe that…

    Having read the book and watched her intently I am pretty confident that immediately after the incident, a President Palin would have briefed the hypothermic press from the front stoop of her Wasilla home and reassured everyone that we would get to the bottom of this problem and hold each and every person responsible for any failings in security including herself, and that the terrorist had been deemed an enemy combatant and was in the custody of MP’s awaiting transfer to a military detention facility where every effort would be extract as much information from him as possible under international law.

    And while she had the attention of the press, she would like to offer her unequivocal support and prayers to the very brave revolutionaries working to overthrow the Iranians mullahs. She would remind everyone that human beings the world over yearn to be free, and that we wish for them the same things that our founders bequeathed to us – freedom, liberty, the rule of law.

    These things do not require a genius to articulate, just a good leader that loves her country and is willing to stand up and fight for it when it is in dire trouble.

    And I honestly think that people would follow her.

  77. Tom Says:

    He may be tired, but not bored. Herding cats is what he’s seen himself doing, and that’s frustrating. We should be even further down his road than we are. Should’ve signed the public option bill long ago, he thinks, but lookit, it’s like pouring molasses.
    He is as full of I-messages as ever. “I find this unacceptable”, speaking of the “systemic” failure.
    He is a blackguard. Don’t let’s get lulled!

  78. Promethea Says:

    Luther . . .

    I understand your point. You are sick and tired of spin. You want a real President who can show leadership as political leader and as commander-in-chief.

    Although most Americans now take spin for granted, a leader who spoke decently and decisively would be well received, even though the MSM would try to take him/her down.

    I don’t see any political leader on the horizon, except maybe Sarah Palin, but surely there is someone…someone…who can be a good President.

    I have HOPE.

  79. Obama’s Uninspiring, Tired, Meaningless Speech on the Terrorist Attacks : Stop The ACLU Says:

    […] Neo-Neocon: Obama was always a fluid if vapid speechmaker, although his off-the-cuff statements featured a lot of hemming and hawing. But I’ve noticed something that seems new: hesitancy even when he speaks from a prepared text. […]

  80. Wandriaan Says:

    I noticed indeed a deep emptiness in his eyes, as if he was ‘so tired of it all’. But it can mean two things:
    1. He is tired of the whole job. The narcissistic gratification has worn off, and why the heck go on with the same old drudgery any longer…
    2. This was about an attack by Islamic radicals. His soul is not in this, because he inwardly identifies with Islam…

  81. Frantz Fanon Says:

    He is gunshy now that so many of his speeches have backfired.

    Now he always has this little voice in his head while he speaks saying, damn Democratic primary voters ate this stuff up. What is going on now? I mean the kind of leftwing kids who take over a Democratic caucus. But either way they ate it up. Why am I not getting credit for ending the criminal Bushitler administration? As many apologies for the sins of this wicked land as I’ve made, you’d think my numbers would be through the roof.

  82. Dave Says:

    I vote for Pantie Waste Bomber.

  83. huxley Says:

    It keeps getting worse.

    The bomber’s father met directly with the CIA on November 19. The following day the information was shared with Homeland Security, the FBI and the State Dept. How much more warming can we expect of a terrorist attack?

    This is indeed “a catastrophic, systemic failure.”

    And the Obama administration very much the set the tone for it by moving our efforts against Islamic terrorists from a serious military footing to a legalistic approach aimed at safeguarding the rights of terrorists while threatening those who defend us with criminal charges.

  84. rickl Says:

    turfmann Says:
    December 29th, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    These things do not require a genius to articulate, just a good leader that loves her country and is willing to stand up and fight for it when it is in dire trouble.

    And I honestly think that people would follow her.

    I have seen countless comments at many different sites from actual military veterans saying something like, “She’s a leader. I would follow her.”

    I’m not a veteran, but it’s pretty obvious to me that she does genuinely love her country, which is a jarring contrast to the current occupant of the White House.

    And I’ve always maintained that a President doesn’t need a genius-level IQ. They just need good values and instincts and surround themselves with good advisors.

    There’s a great quote I saw once: “First-rate people hire first-rate people. Second-rate people hire third-rate people.” I don’t remember who said that, but it says to me that first-rate people want the best people they can find working for them, while second-rate people are afraid of being outshone by their subordinates.

  85. huxley Says:

    It’s almost as if God, karma, or what-have-you, had set this all up to show Obama’s mettle or the lack of it.

    After this can the Obama administration really go forward with the KSM trial?

    Imagine a daily OJ/Chicago 8 courtroom spectacle rubbing the voters’ noses in the horror of Obama’s law enforcement model for dealing with Islamic terrorism.

    Maybe the trial is a good idea. By the time it’s over voters will so despise Obama and AG Holder that the experiment will never, ever be repeated.

  86. Luther Says:

    You’ve all touched on it. I just want a man/woman to stand up there and tell us the truth. No matter how horrible.

    Though still, that’s not adressing my original point of what our expectations should be of the ‘office’ of the President itself. It’s gone way beyond what the Founders intended I think.

  87. Zeek Says:

    BVD bomber?

    Nah. It’s “Crotch Bomber”. I heard that first on “No Agenda” a podcast featuring John C. Dvorak.

  88. turfmann Says:

    rickl Says:
    December 29th, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    “I have seen countless comments at many different sites from actual military veterans saying something like, “She’s a leader. I would follow her.”

    You are correct. She professes a genuine admiration and gratitude for our men and women in uniform as well as an appreciation for the trials and tribulations of the art of war.

    Flaccid appeasement has been shown again and again to be a sure invitation to exactly the thing that seeks to be avoided – conflict. And conflict we have aplenty.

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

  89. TmjUtah Says:

    The President of the United States is a lot of things.

    Community Organizer isn’t even on the elective list.

    Sheriff at high noon is damn near the top of the list.

    Good presidents make sure that the “sheriff” part makes few appearances.

    Great presidents spend their four years in the street, at high noon.

    Mr. Obama is finding out that it is a deeds world, not even remotely close to a words world.

    He is a pitiful figure; when the media finally realizes that they are going down with him it will be about as ugly a circus as there has ever been.

  90. William Says:

    Baba Ganoush Says:

    “I have never felt that Obama is (or was) a great or even excellent speaker. He is merely passable. He seems preachy, too condescending, and devoid of passion….I just wait to read the written transcript. It helps me to get over the pain much faster that way.”

    I couldn’t agree more, for most of the same reasons. I don’t even watch/listen to the man anymore. We all know what he’ll say, who he’ll blame, and how he’ll end it, with everything being our fault anyway. When I read excerpts on the conservative blogs I visit, I usually think “He must hate us so.”

    I wanted to add one more observation to Baba Ganoush’s comment. I always thought, still think, that an Obama speech is all style, no substance, and damn little logic. People are or were mesmerized by the style. Dazzled and even hypnotized, perhaps.

    This phenomena always reminds me of a story Theodore White relayed in “The Making of the President, 1960.”

    Democratic governors were meeting in Arkansas, and couldn’t tune in to the first (I think) Kennedy-Nixon debate. History tells us that JFK cleaned Nixon’s clock, but the Democrat governors, who could only hear, not see, thought the debate was a tie. And it was their own man.

    Witness the power of the visual.

    So it is with an Obama speech. It’s all visual and smoke and mirrors. (Now I will speak very deeply from the chest, in my best James Earl Jones bass voice.)

    There’s nothing there. My advice to anyone who swoons at the man’s speechifying needs to do what Baba and I have done: read the transcripts. They’ll read one flat, nonsensical, absurd wet dream comment after wet dream comment.

    I honestly think all but the true believers are onto the guy. Proving yet again that there is a God.

    Let’s all promise to hold our dear, beloved country together til we can elect responsible SERVANTS.

    Sorry for the length of the post.


  91. Koblog Says:

    I used to totally enjoy Neo-Neocon’s podcasts (sorry you stopped, N-N) featuring a panel of psychologists.

    As the topic at hand is Obama’s psychological demeanor and possible extensions/meltdowns, I remember reading a Tom Clancy novel where the President absolutely lost it and ordered a nuclear strike in response. In usual Clancy accuracy, it was truly chilling.

    I fear the boy-president we have will behave very poorly when under real pressure.

    What would Obambi have done if, say, eight arriving aircraft had been blown out of the sky almost simultaneously — on Christmas Day — and 1,500 or 1,600 died?

    Or, up the ante: what would he do if a US city had a nuke go on in it?

    He is celebrated for his coolness. I think he’s faking it.

  92. Pat Patterson Says:

    A very bad case of the yips!

  93. huxley Says:

    Luther: No doubt the modern presidency and the modern world are beyond what the Founders imagined or could have imagined.

    Nonetheless, I don’t think it’s that hard to calibrate our expectations of a President when our nation is under attack and our government has botched its job.

    Consider JFK’s response after the failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion.

    I know when things don’t go well, they like to blame the President and that is one of things Presidents are paid for…. Victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan.

    Can you imagine Obama saying something like that? Of course not. And he didn’t. Not by a long shot.

    Obama’s responses have been just plain terrible.

  94. Occam's Beard Says:

    Jimmy Carter is off the hook. I hereby nominate Obama as the worst President in American history, less than one year in.

    And no, 19th century candidates don’t count. God knows some of them messed up big time, but the scope in which they could mess up was much more severely circumscribed, as were the consequences.

  95. Peter Shalen Says:

    Mark Steyn calls him the Knickerbomber.

  96. Adjoran Says:

    Luke makes an excellent point: Obama has achieved his high position the same way he moved up the ladder along the way, by being able to sound competent, compassionate, and effective in an eloquent manner. He’s never actually had to DO anything to advance before.

    In the Illinois State Senate, he marked time by voting “present” to avoid giving offense by creating a record. In the US Senate, he spent most of his time running for President, missing the majority of votes. There was no real argument that he had earned reelection to the Senate, much less the top job.

    Now it is too late – no higher position beckons, and he has to put up or shut up. He’s proven himself incapable of doing either.

    Huxley’s conjecture about Obama not finishing his term is interesting. We have only elected four sitting members of Congress to the Presidency in our long history: Garfield from the House, and Harding, Kennedy, and Obama from the Senate. None of the previous three survived their first term in office.

  97. Targets Plentiful but Often Fail to Go Bang Says:

    […] a thought­ful piece by Neo-Neocon in which she writes the fol­low­ing passage Obama now seems to go off-teleprompter […]

  98. huxley Says:

    Adjoran: Thanks for the stat on Congress and the Presidency!

    Harding is perhaps the most comparable President to Obama: almost no experience and elected on the basis of how presidential he seemed to voters.

    Malcolm Gladwell has a great discussion of Harding in his book, “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking.”

  99. MeTooThen Says:

    A very interesting post.

    Although very late to the thread, I would like to add this observation.

    In watching Mr. Obama deliver his remarks, the outstanding feature of his delivery is his near total lack of eye contact.

    Yes, he glances left, right, at the notes, and so forth, but he does not actually look at anyone, or the camera, or anything really to impart a sense of authority, confidence, or believability.

    Perhaps these are my biases, but after watching the address without the sound, I get the sense that he could be talking about anything: corn subsidies, a low-level appointment, you name it – but not generally, something as important as commercial air safety and the prosecution of the war (or criminal conspiracy, take your pick) against those who do us harm.

    Moreover, his posture is weak, chest and shoulders pulled toward the lectern, and not upright, erect (yes, I chose that word intentionally) and defiant against what is known to most Americans as a common and dangerous threat, radicalized Islam.

    And no, I cannot imagine Mr. Obama has the stomach, strength, inclination, or desire for another four years, this, after 11 months in office.

  100. Rob De Witt Says:

    Several points that have been raised here interest me – most prominently that so many common-sense people continue to debate on the content of this man’s character.

    I confess that I would have been scornful of most conspiracy theories even a few years ago; nevertheless it is unquestionable to me that 0bama is not the issue here, since he is manifestly the creature of larger forces. The lunatic Left has been steadily taking over the once-great Democratic party for the last 40 years, ever since they realized that campus demonstrations weren’t going to take them very far. I remember (as though it were yesterday) that most people I knew in the ’60s dismissed the radicals as inconsequential and clownish, and their dedication to the dead religion of Marxism worthy not of scorn but ridicule.

    International Communism collapsed publicly with the fall of the Berlin wall, and the same people segued effortlessly into Environmentalism – Red became Green. In 1992 they had what I, at least, hoped was the pinnacle of their ambitions when they elected one of their own, and his enabler. Clinton, I think, was simply what he appeared – a sociopath who would say whatever his auditor needed to hear. This was apparent in his business dealings, his speaking patterns, his lifelong use and manipulation of women. Ugly, and toxic, but transparent to anybody who’d ever encountered sleaze on a personal level.

    0bama’s something else, and can only be seen, I think, as the perfect foil for someone with a vastly larger agenda. George Soros’ MoveOn publicly stated after 2004 that “We own the Democratic Party now.” Keep that in mind. Discovering 0bama had to feel like winning the lottery for them – a young, putatively Black, spoiled, arrogant, not-very-bright but cunning and vicious-in-the-extreme young pol who had been carefully nurtured in the age-old swamp of Chicago politics. An indescribably spoiled and privileged child who had been given every possible advantage through the intercession of powerful True Believers, and who nonetheless felt put-upon, singled out and abused every time a pigeon crapped on his head.

    Imagine the glee felt by the Russians when they discovered the arrogant and entitled young Fidel Castro – and all they had to gain was Cuba, albeit it seemed like the unguarded back door to the US at the time. The Left has always played the long game, and in due course 0bama fell in their lap.

    He is in fact the perfect puppet for those who would destroy their last and apparently only obstacle to the hearts of free men. Their envy and bitterness at the prospect of humans who would pursue their own happiness has led them to crush the human spirit in every way they could imagine ever since 1789. And now they had discovered the perfect symbol for all their lies, and the primary customer for those lies is His Oneness. His Majesty The Baby Boomer, Incarnate.

    I am among those who was mystified at the claim that he is a charismatic speaker, probably because I have been a speaker and performer much of my life – and nobody had to teach me how. For some reason, some of us are born with an instinct for an audience, and what works, and when you’re losing them. What this comes from, I think, is that God made us with a profound need to reach out, and to share what we consider important and beautiful with other people. And what we get in return is an enormous sense of humility and gratitude that people do in fact care, and are willing to show it in return.

    No amount of training and checklists can instill that in someone who just doesn’t have it, and 0bama’s performance reeks of someone who’s been taught how to imitate an orator but just doesn’t get it. He doesn’t inspire, he lectures. He doesn’t share himself as a means of inspiring sympathy for his ideas, but holds himself up as an example for his audience’s adoration – and has absolutely no sense that he’s not getting through. The frustration we’re seeing now is comprised primarily, I think, of his sincere astonishment that anybody could be less than fascinated and awe-inspired at the miracle that is Him.

    His puppet masters have invested in him what I pray is their last best shot, and it’s not working, simply because enough people are coming awake to the bone-deep hatred and emptiness that has been the Left throughout history. The chattering classes and the Wired generation have been progressed from public inanity to public insanity, and they have yet to hear themselves. But we do.

    God bless us every one, and may we pray for our country, which is indeed the last best hope of mankind.

  101. Clomerdug Says:

    Burnt Weenie Bomber.

  102. Luther Says:


    “Obama’s responses have been just plain terrible.”

    As I’ve said, I do not disagree at all. The man is a clown without laughter.

    Still, my point is, is this particular incident worthy of Presidential mutterings. Once he has gathered facts, of course. But to expect something similar to JFK’s speech within 12 hours or so is expecting a bit much in my opinion. He would have been better off waiting until he had all the facts, not taking the quick route to please his audience with bombastic rhetoric before hand. And it is ‘we’ who force that hand with our heightened expectations of what a ‘President’ should be nowadays.

  103. Rathtyen Says:

    Obama was fresh and new when he burst on the scene. His campaign raised masses of money, so much so that was able to considerably outspend the well-oiled Hillary campaign. It all seemed to happen so smoothly and easily (as campaigns go). Given his light resume, I think Obama may have been as surprised as anyone when it became apparent he was beating Hillary. He may have hoped to win, but could not have expected it.

    In the Presidential campaign, he was probably a bit surer. McCain was an odd candidate: a bit too old, a bit too dour, and not necessarily all that popular with many Republicans (he probably wouldn’t have won a Democrats style primary). His best asset was Sarah Palin, and the Democrats smeared her good and proper, while the McCain campaign handled her badly. Plus, Obama continued his dream run with press, and faced remarkably little scrutiny from the MSM (big surprise there! lol).

    And if that wasn’t enough, he benefited hugely from the “its time for the first African-American President” sentiment. A lot of the feel-good about Obama came from that sentiment, and he was a superb candidate to take advantage of it (and his good luck: the times suited him).

    And then he was President, and everything changed.

    Obama has squandered so much of the goodwill he had a year ago. Almost everything he has or hasn’t done has been at odds with the “Obama message” he was elected on. Earmarks, wasteful spending, lack of transparency, the Tsars (bypassing Congressional approval processes), back-room deals (where’s C-Span?), bribes to pass Health Reform, not closing Gitmo (not that that is bad, but he was very clear he would, within one year), no Cap and Trade (as North Americans shiver under the effects of Global Warming?), et hoc genus omne ad nauseum. At least everyone in the world now loves America…..except the usual suspects, plus all of the USA’s allies who have in one way or another been slighted or offended by the new administration.

    2009 has not just been a wasted year, its been a year of going backwards. The main “achievement” was the huge spending bill, and politically that is likely to backfire as concerns over the deficit continue to grow. Then there is the Health Bill, and at this stage it is hard to say what will hurt Obama and the Democrats more: passing or not passing it. Given its becoming a bill about saving face, its hard to see much shorter term upside, and 2010 is an election year.

    After a dream run to the presidency, Obama is finding everything is turning to crap. Nothing is working out for him, and even the press, the hitherto staunchly supportive MSM, is turning against him (albeit very slowly). His war on FOX was big mistake because it forced the general press to take notice of White House bullying, and all that implied.

    Once Health is done, what then? No easy options with Afghanistan, particularly if Pakistan starts to implode (with its nukes). Venezuela is kicking up trouble in South America. Russia is being belligerent, and China is flexing its muscles. Yemen is warming up (a Nobel Peace Lareaute who conducts a covert war? Go figure); North Korea risks slipping down the priority list, so it will do more to attract the attention it needs, and whatever way it pans out, Iran is going to be a big and messy issue. Cap and Trade is dead, and the whole Global Warming scare well on its way to being exposed as the scam it is. An economic recession is quite possible for late 2010 because too much recovery in the US and China is based on artificial stimulus spending.

    2010 will be a tough, tough year for Obama. Problem is, he’s used to the big easy, where the way just seems to open up for him (and so far, he’s had fantastic success with that). He’s not someone who likes a scrap, who relishes the fight before the win. Yes, he wants to be the king, not the hard-working Prime Minister.

    And to top it all off, the USA now has its African American President; been there, done that. Its just so 2008! Now its time for a female president, and that will likely be the next big sentiment. It’ll be aimed at Hillary of course, but Sarah will likely benefit from it too.

    No wonder he’s sounding a little jaded lately.

    My pick for 2012: Obama will either not run or will get beaten by Hillary in the primaries, and it’ll be Clinton vs Palin.

    My pick for the bomber: Mark Steyn’s “Knickerbomber”
    The thought of pink frilly knickerbockers under those Jihadis’ robes just cracks me up!

  104. Chester White Says:

    Somebody on another blog had the best name for this guy, since he burned his balls off:

    The Eunuchbomber”

  105. Portia Says:

    as I was telling Marcus Junius (well, I AM Portia!) the other night “The moonbats were right. The man IS a miracle worker. He’s made me revise my opinion of Carter as the worst president possible.” I’ve already handily won a bet over a friend who insisted on election night that Obama would be more “with it” (though as or more poisonous) than Carter.

    And my naming vote is Weenie Bomber.

  106. Occam's Beard Says:

    My pick for 2012: Obama will either not run or will get beaten by Hillary in the primaries, and it’ll be Clinton vs Palin.

    I’ve presumed all along that Hillary had taken the Messiah’s measure, deemed it wanting, and accepted the Cabinet position with a view to resigning on principle in 2011 to run against the Messiah in the primaries.

  107. Self-Triangulation « The View from Alexandria Says:

    […] wonder Neo-Neo-Con notes that Obama has lost his magic touch. If he ever had it; I maintain that it was always hype […]

  108. SteveH Says:

    Fat man on little boy bomber.

  109. ms Says:

    This may be the answer:

  110. JohnC Says:

    Rob De Witt: thank you very much for your insights into the gift of connecting through public speaking. I share two things with you. One, I too have had a lot of experience in speaking to groups. Unfortunately, it is often difficult for me to articulate – even to my wife – the subtle dynamics involved. You have described them well and I appreciate that. Two, my eyes and my expeience tell me that your analysis of Obama and his lack of the gift is spot on. You are correct —

    “No amount of training and checklists can instill that in someone who just doesn’t have it, and 0bama’s performance reeks of someone who’s been taught how to imitate an orator but just doesn’t get it.”

  111. Gary Rosen Says:

    “I just want a man/woman to stand up there and tell us the truth. No matter how horrible.”

    A few months ago I saw a documentary on the History Channel about Harry Truman. It nearly brought me to tears to think that a man that plain spoken, a complete straight shooter, could be President and how far we have gone from that. The thing that outrages me most about BO is that he seems to have a sign on his desk, “The buck passes here”.

  112. Stakes Says:

    It has been said, by many more clever than I, that a communist is one who loves humanity in numbers greater than 1,000,000. By that logic, dear leader simply had too small a potential body count to be truly bothered.

    Our sad reality is that he also truly adores being adored. For that reason, when the peasants (make no mistake, that is how he perceives us) became restless, he knew he had no recourse than to offer that perfunctory piece of tripe he did, (three days late, underdressed, and goddamned well not interrupting his down time more than absolutely necessary to do so).

    His singular ability to read aloud before large groups of people qualified him for this august office in the minds of a small, but definitive, majority. I sincerely doubt he will be afforded such credibility in the next presidential election cycle.

    My true desire is that he is more ambitious than ideological. Presumably, looking at today’s tea leaves there will be significant turnover as a result of the 2010 congressional and senate election. If so, and he has a clintonian change of heart, preferring the trappings of the white house to the completion of his agenda, there may yet be hope for the republic.

  113. Baba Ganoush Says:

    Rob De Witt has indeed made a good point about Obama’s failures as a public speaker. A good speaker has the knack of reaching out to his audience, making them feel he is speaking to every one of them as an individual, thereby seducing them to buy in to what he is saying. To me, Obama always seems too impressed by himself, standing there with his chin uplifted, eyes staring upward to the heavens (or the ceiling), as if to proclaim, “I am The One you have been waiting for.” No, Mr. Obama, I prefer one Savior at a time, and mine is already Chosen.

  114. Nortius Maximus Says:

    Neo, FYI, your “passionless” link is giving me a “This video has been removed by the user.” page at YouTube.

  115. Various And Sundry Items « Nice Deb Says:

    […] Neocon says Suddenly, Obama’s not so fluent any more: Obama was always a fluid if vapid speechmaker, although his off-the-cuff statements featured a lot […]

  116. Prospector Says:

    Call him “The Knicker-Bomber”

  117. Guy who throws spear at English guy at the start of the movie Says:

    I think obama is like clinton: he ran for President for the self-validation. But while clinton was happy just to hold down the chair with his butt for 8 years, obama seems determined to make every mistake in the book, because he doesn’t know that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Hopefully, America will survive this fool.

  118. John D Says:

    I believe there is an old saying that “Republicans run for President; Democrats run for King.”

    Listening to Democrats campaign just reinforces that. They always talk like all they have to do is command that something happen and it will.

    Not so in a country with an entrenched bureaucracy and 24 hour news networks, if it were ever true at all.

    Obama has made the amateur’s mistake of believing his own press.

  119. J. Peden Says:

    I’d be tired too if I lived in a Progressive Fantasyland which had worked on a small scale perfectly because of my “gift”, but was now not working at all because of the Fantasyland’s failure to be able to confront reality when it has to do so very frequently and openly, especially when some actual responsibilities are involved and performance is judged by real results, not bought allegiences and Cult worship.

    What else defines a Progressive but having only an impotent, inept Narcissistic Fantasyland which can only do net damage, as reality?

    Not only is nothing working for the Obama adm., everything is backfiring and even going exponential with more and worsening problems, increasing almost by the minute.

    No one in the Obama adm. seems to know how to do anything in the real world except play their little feckless Fantasy Games with anyone who is of like mind and equally feckless. That ain’t power.

    Like many, I’m stunned that those in the Obama adm. actually believe their Fantasyland thinking to be reality. They are not cynical manipulators anywhere near enough up to the problem of knowing that their fantasies are only tactics toward the goal of control, and not designed to achieve the enaction of the Fantasyland itself by fulfilling the needs of Narcissistic nobodies, including themselves, because it can’t work! Even a “successful” Despot has to know it.

    I just wish they’d left themselves the option of debarking by way of the next Comet.

    I’m amazed, but the way things were going and what our very wealth has allowed to come into existence and flourish, I guess it had to happen sometime – the election of an Administration of ingenuous Progressives who actually believe their own Narcissistic fantasies.

  120. J. Peden Says:


    Plus there are rumors that Obama has health problems — Parkinson’s in particular.

    My rumor is that he does not have Parkinson’s.

    Parkinson’s would not really be worrisome. In fact Obama’s ability to speak the way he does would almost mean that he does not have Parkinson’s. He moves very well – otherwise he wouldn’t be able to bounce up and down stairs like that – has no “resting” tremor – tremor which goes away with intentional movements. He does have a kind of “flat affect” facially, but that’s probably just him. Someone with advanced Parkinson’s looks almost “locked in”, because their face is expressionless and they hardly move. Muhammad Ali. That is not drug treatment for Parkinson’s you see, that’s Parkinson’s.

    The things you saw Michael Fox do in that commercial were not Parkinson’s, until proven otherwise, though he could have had a milder case of that too, still present and worse now. [If that was Parkinson’s, he was so well controlled by meds otherwise that he would be an example of someone who does not need stem cell treatment, if it existed, but it wasn’t Parkinson’s on screen anyway. I’d really like to see him in a recent production or something, just to see how he is functioning. But I’m not going to pay money for that.]

    Parkinson’s doesn’t affect the thinking brain – though people say there is a “senile” Parkinson’s which does occur in a small percent of people. In Parkinson’s it’s mostly motor/voluntary movement function that’s affected. The area of the brain affected, Basal Ganglia, is more like an automatic regulator or next-down from Gray Matter controller of this movement.

    I stand to be corrected.

    I just don’t like these kind of rumors. And they get faddy.

  121. Ned Says:

    Love this thread! Most reasoned, articulate analysis of our Prez in over his head.
    At some point, I for one, move from disdain and hate to a bit of sympathy for a boy being asked to do a man’s job. He, like we all, is a product of his life experiences and he has had none, zero, nada that would begin to prepare him for this. He is doing all he knows and it ain’t playing…at all.
    The real criminals in this are the MSM for not doing their job and a totally uninformed electorate, thanks to zero education, who know no way to evaluate who would make a good President …other than Jon Stewart…

  122. expat Says:

    Shelby Steele has a great analysis here:


    Forget the Diva election (although I’ve voted for you daily). Your posts and the excellent comments they inspire put you in a much higher league of thinkers. You and Wretchard have an amazing ability to draw out readers to contribute their little bits of life experience to add to our total understanding. I doubt that anyone can ever sum up truth in one post, but you inspire responses that sharpen our analytic ability and work under the radar to inform our gut level reactions to the world around us. Thanks.

  123. bandit Says:

    Without a prepared speech and teleprompter he’s always been a stammering pedantic idiot.

  124. bandit Says:

    God knows some of them messed up big time, but the scope in which they could mess up was much more severely circumscribed, as were the consequences.

    Like the Civil War?

  125. huxley Says:

    Parkinson’s would not really be worrisome.

    I don’t put all that much weight on the possibility that Obama has Parkinson’s beyond the fact that Obama has not released his medical records so we don’t know what ailments might be lurking beneath those buffed pecs.

    Though I didn’t connect it properly, my point was that if Obama did leave the presidency before his term was up, I think he would do so for “health reasons.”

  126. OBloodyhell Says:

    Obama wants answers after botched terror attack

    He’s got no interest in solutions, mind you. But this man wants ANSWERS!!

  127. huxley Says:

    Rob De Wit, JohnC: I don’t think Obama is all that good a speaker either.

    However, millions of people say they are deeply moved by his speaking and I believe them.

    Obama does have some kind of gift. I know that he tape-recorded Rev. Wright’s sermons and practiced them repeatedly alone. He also studied Denzel Washington’s performance closely in the Malcolm X biopic.

    I can hear those rolling cadences and folksy mannerisms, and if I close my eyes and imagine that Obama is my friend and represents ideals I hold dear, I can sort of go with it. However, it all falls apart when I look at his words in cold print and match them against reality.

    I believe some of Obama’s appeal, quite a lot actually, is hearing echoes of JFK, MLK, RFK and Malcolm X — all the assassinated heroes of the sixties — and wanting to believe that their magic has returned, this time for real, this time to stay, this time with a happy ending, at last.

  128. Jim Sullivan Says:

    Guy who throws spear (blah blah blah) said:

    “…because he doesn’t know that he doesn’t know what he’s doing.”

    My martial arts teacher always calls these individuals Category 3.

    Most of us are Category 2. We don’t have a clue. But at least we know it.

    We aspire to be Category 1, the rarest people (like Neo). People that have a clue.

    But unfortunately for all, there are way too many Category 3. Those people that don’t have a clue that they don’t have a clue.

    Yep, our president is Category 3. Flee while you can.

  129. ilona@israel Says:

    obama is number 2 most unpopular president of usa. he is too new to predict his policy or to resume his work but i think he is really concerned about the peace and maybe he will be able to prevent nuclear programm of ahmadinejad even though the latter does not give a sh… about all sanctions and deadlines…

  130. SteveH Says:

    I’m afraid Obama is just the first in a long line of unnaccomplised narcissist we’ll have to put up with.

    Look at the kids coming up. They put more time and effort into playing Guitar Hero than would be needed to be an accomplished musician and play an actual guitar! I don’t get it.

  131. Trimegistus Says:

    Here’s what will happen: Soros et al will recruit someone to assassinate him. It will be blamed on “right-wing racists.” The Democrats will get rid of an embarassing idiot in the White House, and Axelrod and Rahm will be able to use the full panoply of anti-terror measures to hound the Republican Party into extinction. Win-win all around!

  132. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    While “knickerbomber” is certainly good, I believe the New York Post should get major credit for its front-page splash headline: “Great Balls of Fire!”

    As for Parkinson’s, I have some personal experience with this vicious disease and see nothing in Obama to suggest that the rumors are on target. I believe, though, that it can affect mental function. Prolonged and frequent hallucinations are not uncommon, though I am not sure whether they result from the condition itself or from the drugs given to treat it.

  133. Tom Says:

    As a seasoned MD with considerable neurology under my belt, I state emphatically that there is no Parkinson’s here, all of your speculations to the contrary. Stick to what you know. “Prolonged and frequent hallucinations” is utter balderdash except occasionally in the preterminal stage of brutally advanced Parkinson’s.

  134. Occam's Beard Says:

    Once he has gathered facts, of course. But to expect something similar to JFK’s speech within 12 hours or so is expecting a bit much in my opinion. He would have been better off waiting until he had all the facts, not taking the quick route to please his audience with bombastic rhetoric before hand.

    Would that he’d followed your advice in the Skip Gates fiasco.

  135. huxley Says:

    Krauthammer is dead-bang on as usual:

    …it’s [Obama’s] reaction. The reason he showed up again today [is] because yesterday he just looked cool and detached and unconcerned. He shows up without a tie, and then he says in his statement “We will not rest until we find those involved” — and then he hops into a golf cart and continues his game.

    You know, this is serious stuff. You have to demonstrate seriousness.

    And the fact that he continually avoids speaking of the nature of the enemy, which is jihadism, is a sign of him not willing to acknowledge what every American understands is reality.

  136. Occam's Beard Says:

    Soros et al will recruit someone to assassinate him. It will be blamed on “right-wing racists.” The Democrats will get rid of an embarassing idiot in the White House

    This possibility has been my nightmare scenario for some time, and it’s easy to imagine how it would be done. Find some mentally unstable type (spoilt for choice among lefties here) that is nevertheless functional (narrows the above field down considerably). Under a false flag, and through intermediaries obviously, train him, then wind him up and direct him toward Obama. Leave a bunch of Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter books in his apartment, along with some white supremacist crap (just to make the point obvious). Leave a trail of bread crumbs that suggest Mossad (because of Obama’s Iranian policy), oil company, and/or U.S. military involvement in the recruitment and training.

    Voila! A growing liability is turned into a durable asset – a martyr – and a pretext for whatever “emergency measures” those in power want to take.

    Are the leftists ruthless enough to do this? Yes, I suspect that they are. (Soros by some reports has admitted to involvement in five coups overseas.) Do they have the nerve? That is less clear, but I fervently hope not.

  137. huxley Says:

    I almost feel sorry for Obama.

    He really did believe that his Muslim heritage from his African father and Indonesian stepfather, his honeyed apologies to Muslims, his soi-disant knowledge of Urdu poetry, and of course his sheer iconic wonderfulness would melt angry Muslim hearts. The attacks would stop and the misunderstandings cease.

    Listen to a funny clip from Ed Driscoll titled Return With Us Now To The Thrilling Days Of Hopenchange in which Obama babbles on about how his having an Indonesian half-sister changes everything.

  138. Tom Says:

    Assassination strikes me as a fantasy, even for Soros.
    The Secret Service folks are not stupid. They have him protected like never before. It would require an extraordinary, superskilled sniper (very rare, that skillset) to take him out at >1000yards. At closer range, the Secrets will have it secured. A jihadi might be able to get close enough to explode something, though.

  139. Bob From Virginia Says:

    A word everyone seems to be searching for is pontificate. Obama’s lectures should earn the the title “The Great Ponificator”, which I suspect is why the grow ups at Copenhagen tried to avoid him.
    “Ponificating” is also a great way to try and hide ignorance and inability obviously.

  140. luagha Says:

    As an aside, Michael J. Fox has admitted that he went off his Parkinson’s medications and relaxed his personal self control during that commercial to demonstrate what Parkinson’s disease is like. In reality, his Parkinson’s is well-controlled by his medications – although it is still a horrible affliction and greatly limits his capabilities and energy and ability to work in his profession which he does only rarely if at all now.

  141. Paul_In_Houston Says:

    The quote from The Anchoress, “I suspect that what Obama wanted was to be the King, not the President. The King’s role is largely ceremonial.” nails it, I think.

    Neo: Your first three paragraphs, on his speaking style, seem to describe someone in so deep he no longer has a clue as to which way is up.

  142. huxley Says:

    The Secret Service folks are not stupid. They have him protected like never before.

    We’d better hope so.

    Nonetheless, even after the horror of the JFK assassination, two(!) assassination attempts were made on Gerald Ford and one on Ronald Reagan, and those were close calls. Reagan, as you may recall, was hit and injured more seriously than we were told.

    Given the recent “Crashergate” and the continuing ineptness of the Obama administration, I wouldn’t rule anything out.

    The assassination of Obama would indeed be one of the worst things that could happen to the country.

  143. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    I hope my post didn’t suggest that I was buying into any rumors that Obama has Parkinson’s. I don’t, and I fully agree that any such speculation should be left to experts. However, as I said, I have reason to know more about this disease from a layman’s point of view than I wish I knew, and I see no signs of it in him. My reference to hallucinations was based on my personal experience, was meant as an aside, and was not intended to have any reference to Obama.

  144. Occam's Beard Says:

    Assassination strikes me as a fantasy, even for Soros.

    Absolutely. I meant that the thought would probably cross Soros’s mind that Barry had become a liability, but in certain circumstances could become a great asset. How far beyond that he would go is anyone’s guess.

    It would require an extraordinary, superskilled sniper (very rare, that skillset) to take him out at >1000yards. At closer range, the Secrets will have it secured.

    I dunno about this. Yitzakh Rabin, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Olof Palme, Anwar Sadat, Benazir Bhutto, and Louis Mountbatten might beg to differ.

  145. Hyphenated American Says:

    BTW, did you notice that Obama was much more engaged and excited when he talked about “sexy” insulation than when he talked about terrorism? I mean, for all intents and purposes, it’s amazing that we got a man who sees as his primary duty to promote new house insulation, while he puts and protecting the citizens from external enemy on the backburner. Amazing…

    P.S. Do not forget to visit my blog

  146. Tom Says:

    Occam: I obviously meant >1000yds in the context of Baraq’s intense protection.
    But US Presidential assassins, actual and would-be, since Lincoln, are anarchist, Leftist or insane. No real difference when I think on it! No right wingers, none.

  147. Rick Says:

    He sounds a little better when you don’t watch him.
    Needs more radio, less TV

  148. J. Peden Says:

    Though I didn’t connect it properly, my point was that if Obama did leave the presidency before his term was up, I think he would do so for “health reasons.”

    Good idea, imo.. That MJF got me because what he did just does not look at all like the Parkinson’s I’ve seen. I looked at that act about 8 times and thought I could even see when he started it – he was not moving just when the video came on.

    First he said he’d been off meds, because that would at least make some sense, then after a couple of days of pressure a statement was released which said he was over medicated.

    If I had to bet my life on it, no contest, he didn’t have it, at least as shown. More FBNA.

  149. J. Peden Says:

    If Obama thinks he’s King, what about all the King’s men? What are they doing the whole time that’s so different? Obviously they are making the same bad decisions, together.

    No, I think they’re all/i> in the same Fantasyland, stronly divorced from reality: you just enter something into the Fantasy Game Book and out comes a new answer, same as the old answer that’s “supposed to work, according to Marxian Political Science or somethng.

    Why did Obama just have to “close Gitmo” right off? I was amazed when I heard some politico say that that’s the first thing he should do – it hadn’t even crossed my mind. I thought everyone in control up there knew it was purely political game playing.

    Surely Obama could have made some credible excuse and waited – “to study it and make sure how to do it right.” But no, apparently the fantasy game says it’s easy. And that Bush was just not closing Gitmo because it’s really only all symbolic, and Bush is by definition stupid and wrong, to boot. So you just do the opposite and everything’s fine. Right!

    There can’t be any reality to anything in the Fantasy Game, which stipulates that “Bush” and the neocons are playing it too! Then Obama takes 3 months to decide on troop levels in Afghanistan, “sudying assiduously to get it right”, when it should have taken him about 2 minutes after he got McChrystal’s finding. That’s what he was originally waiting for – supposedly.

    So, apart from chiseled-in-rock-tablet political game-playing, reality had nothing to do with the Afghan decision either.

    I’m convinced that there’s no need to analyze what Obama, enc., do from just about any other standpoint than that they operate solely from their way, way, way behind the curve Fantasyland.

    What else could explain their so consistent, totally incorrect decisions, now multiplying exponentially between themselves as they mix out there in reality?

    And how often around here has anyone seen a Progressive deal with reality? Zero is what I’ve seen.

    So my Theory is that we really know Obama, enc., as well as we need to, just like we know Islamofascists – there’s no need for further “understanding”, at least until we’ve gotten rid of both of their theats, which will otherwise lead to the same thing.

    We know their “books”. Where’s Patton?

  150. J. Peden Says:

    I hope my post didn’t suggest that I was buying into any rumors that Obama has Parkinson’s.

    No confusion, “he’s got something much worse.”

    Unrelated digression: Ya’ know I heard my father make this quip only once, in 1967, because I still remember the rather mundane but potentially serious situation it applied to. But I didn’t understand what he meant – until right now!

    I thought he was truely speaking medically and that the guy he was quipping on was going to die or something. But now I know he was “only” speaking about this guy’s personality, after only knowing him for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile I’m thilnking, “Gee, Frank doesn’t look that bad.”

    Frank had had some kind of not major illness, VD no doubt, which he was recovering from, but the thing which must have helped confuse me was that I’d lived with Frank for 2 years, and thought he was really unique in a good way. He would not study at all and get D’s then put in 15 minutes and get A’s the next semester. He solved one of those Arabic number riddles one time by converting to Roman Numerals, and it worked perfectly. I don’t think anyone had ever thought of that.

    But my father had given him a death sentence at lunch.

  151. J. Peden Says:

    “converting to Roman Numerals”

    Among other things, Frank had to turn II into an = sign.

  152. Stakes Says:

    Obama = the Great Bloviator, especially, it seems vis-a-vis Copenhagen!

  153. Francesca Says:

    Has anyone else noticed how Obama’s intonation rises at the end of many thoughts instead of falling? The inappropriate rise of his voice makes him sound unsure, and disengaged. When one’s voice falls at the appropriate time, there is a sense of determination and control. I have noticed this for a long time.

    The other thing I noticed was how fast and hurriedly he was speaking as if he couldn’t wait to get out of there.

    Speech patterns such as these tend to negate whatever words are being used.

  154. Artfldgr Says:

    Has anyone else noticed how Obama’s intonation rises at the end of many thoughts instead of falling? The inappropriate rise of his voice makes him sound unsure, and disengaged.

    it also makes him sound female..
    ask any TG who has taken speech classes…

  155. neo-neocon Says:

    Artfldgr: female and teenaged, actually.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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