Ed Driscoll

The Emperor has no Words

At the Daily Beast, Matt Latimer asks, “Where’s Your Mojo, Obama?”

Each time one of Obama’s tone-deaf speeches or depressingly missed opportunities is panned in the press, their response is the same. Some top White House aide is dispatched to tell us pooh-poohers that events ultimate will vindicate the president. That Obama’s calm, thoughtful, measured approach always is the right response. (The word “measured,” by the way, ought to be banished from the Obama team’s vocabulary.) History, the White House always says, will vindicate the president. Alas, the problem for the White House is that history doesn’t vote. People do. People who expect their president to be a top-notch performer on the world stage.

Which brings us back to Oscar night. During one of the mercilessly scathing reviews of Sunday’s performance—where the kindest cut was that the telecast was merely “bland”—Franco’s phone-it-in performance was said to be “smug,” “distant,” “unwatchable,” and “detached from everything he was supposed to be celebrating.” It was so bad that people were rooting for Billy Crystal to return mid-show and save the program, and more than one wag proclaimed a deceased Bob Hope (returned through the magic of CGI) the liveliest talent on the stage. Franco, most interestingly, was compared to a “one-term president,” a performer who seemed “to withdraw into himself as the show went on, growing flatter and more monotone until, by the end, he might have been reluctantly emceeing a distant cousin’s bat mitzvah.” If the Obama White House sees no parallels, then they are in worse trouble than I imagine. It ought to tell them something when people with a straight face now defend the rhetorical talents of George W. Bush.

Because at some point, a speech has to be about the substance and content, and not just the flash of the orator. Otherwise, all style and no heartfelt content is nothing but words. Just words.

Say, Hollywood should make a movie sometime about that someday. Maybe comparing two leaders, one who’s all style and speaks brilliantly, versus another who stammers and sputters, but is the right man to lead his nation during a time of war. I bet it might even win an Oscar or two…

(H/T: Hot Air.)