Barack Obama blows nose and receives standing ovation from adoring crowd
I had computer problems today (Wednesday), so I'll wait until tomorrow to end my discussion of Obama's mediocre Inaugural Address. He had suggested we were going to get a "new Lincoln," but instead all we got was a used Hyundai. Barack Obama may be from Illinois, but he's no Lincoln.
Obama has a great voice -- not James Earl Jones, but good nevertheless. He's very effective with his pregnant pauses. Unlike, say, John McCain, he doesn't read a speech as if he's running a race. He's slick; he's smooth; and, with his somewhat emaciated form, he looks good on TV.
But that eminently forgettable Address! President Bush's former speechwriter, called it a "rhetorical failure." It lacked the verbal magic of a Lincoln or an FDR. If there was an one truly powerful line in it (something like Kennedy's "Ask not . . .") no one has pointed it out yet.
Abraham Lincoln talked about "the mystic chords of memory." In Obama's speeches, there's no mystery -- no chords that resonate after the deep baritone voice fades into blissful silence. What remains generally are a handful of abstractions, mostly about "hope" and "change."
What Obama should change is his speechwriter. High school students presumably still memorize Lincoln's Gettysburg Address -- as they should. However, anyone who memorizes one of Obama's speeches should receive hazardous duty pay.