|Not actually Ms. Dowd. Just a sexy
librarian with which to start your day.
If President Obama’s lost America’s Sweetheart and conscience of a generation (the perpetually upbeat and never cynical Maureen Dowd), he’s lost America. Well, he’s lost those few densely-populated coastal cities that relaibly vote Democrat, which as we all know are the only parts of America that matter. Stupid flyover country. Voting Republican. How dare they second guess their intellectual betters?
Ms. Dowd writing in yesterday’s New York Times shared the following observations:*
The legendary speaker who drew campaign crowds in the tens of thousands and inspired a dispirited nation ended up nonchalantly delegating to a pork-happy Congress, disdaining the bully pulpit, neglecting to do any L.B.J.-style grunt work with Congress and the American public, and ceding control of his narrative.
Ms. Dowd further notes:
But superheroes and mythic figures must boldly lead. Obama’s caution — ingrained from a life of being deserted by his father and sometimes his mother, and of being, as he wrote to another girlfriend, “caught without a class, a structure, or tradition to support me” — has restrained him at times.
In some ways, he’s still finding himself, too absorbed to see what’s not working. But the White House is a very hard place to go on a vision quest, especially with a storm brewing.
Every now and again a blind squirrel finds an acorn, and Ms. Dowd’s found hers. Unfortunately, much like the aforementioned squirrel, rather than opening the acorn and examining it, Ms. Dowd hurriedly buries it, scurries off and promptly forgets she ever had an acorn in the first place, much less where she buried it.
In the first passage Ms. Dowd registers her dissatisfaction in President Obama’s failure to translate his campaign rhetoric into concrete action. In the second passage Ms. Dowd complains that President Obama, Hamlet-like, is crippled by self-doubt. Ms. Dowd’s choice of words is excellent here, though she’s too bought into President Obama’s cult of personality** to realize how apt she is. Let’s go the chalkboard, and ‘Puter’ll show you what he’s getting at.
Point 1: President Obama Is A Great Public Speaker
President Obama is certainly an excellent public “speaker,” provided he’s on TelePrompTer and someone else writes the speech. But being a great public speaker does not make one a great communicator or even necessarily a communicator at all.
For the word freaks out there, let’s take a look at the etymology of “communicate.” “Communicate” derives from Old French, which in turn descends from Latin. Shocking. Latin words in a Romance language. Who’d’ve thunk it? The Latin root is “communicationem,” which is the noun derived from “communicare,” meaning “to share, divide out; communicate, impart, inform; join, unite, participate in,” literally, “to make common.”
Why the etymology? Humor ‘Puter for a moment; he’s circling back to his point. Obamaphiles confuse speaking with communicating. ‘Puter can rattle on endlessly about meaningless topics, never coming to the point, never noticing others have long ceased to listen. That’s speaking. However, to communicate, one has to convey a message. Speakers prattle. Communicators convey concepts and information in such a manner as to make their ideas commonly understood, and eventually, commonly accepted, regardless of whether you like their ideas or not.
How many times have you listened to what President Obama is saying — not how he says it, but what he’s actually saying — and said, “Holy cow, there’s a president who really knows how to share an idea he clearly holds dear, imparting it to the nation in a clearly understood manner!”? If you’re being honest with yourself, the answer is probably not even a single time. President Obama is not a good communicator despite his anointing as The Greatest Public Speaker Ever by his sycophantic press.
Quick, name one major idea or concept that is (a) President Obama has (arguably) championed and (b) that he has effectively communicated. Time’s up. None of President Obama’s “historic legislative achievements” (quoth Ms. Dowd, via Mr. Romney) were President Obama’s, and President Obama has never, ever effectively communicated any of them.
Leaving aside for the moment that it is extraoridinarily difficult for a president to have any legislative achievements at all since he’s the executive (enforces the laws, U.S. Const. Art. II), not the legislature (makes the laws, U.S. Const. Art. I) branch, name one achievement that you believe President Obama has effectively communicated. ObamaCare? Heck no. He’s run for the hills on that one. Extending the “Bush Tax Cuts?” Nope. His base hates that one, so we don’t hear a word about why it was important to do so. Dodd-Frank? Nuh uh. Jebus, ‘Puter’s in the finance industry and has no earthly idea what’s in this bill, much less what it’s supposed to accomplish other than speeding the demise of non-state-owned banks.
President Obama is a master at delivery, ‘Puter’ll grant him his due. But without content, words are meaningless. President Obama speaks words as a means to an end. President Obama is the seducer of voters, telling them what they want to hear in order to get them to give him what he wants, what he feels he deserves. It’s a game to President Obama, one in which he’ll tell you anything — anything — to get you to pull his lever. But like any seducer, come the morning after, President Obama won’t acknowledge you, leaving you feeling used, humiliated and desperate for trusting his empty promises.
‘Puter’s certain that the round-heeled Ms. Dowd certainly understands ‘Puter’s point. A couple of frilly words from President Obama, and she was counting ceiling tiles.
Now that we know the difference between a speaker and a communicator, what does that mean to Ms. Dowd and to us regular folks?
Point 2: President Obama, Despite His Public Speaking Brilliance, Is Unable To Lead
Ms. Dowd is flummoxed that a brilliant public speaker such as her god President Obama is unable to lead. ‘Puter’s not flummoxed a bit. It is exceptionally difficult to lead in even the most modest of endeavors if one is a poor communicator. It is even more difficult to lead where one has no core idea(l)s to communicate.
Since President Obama and his re-election team are fond of comparing President Obama to America’s greatest presidents in hopes that some of their earned acclaim will rub off on President Obama by association, let’s pick one at random. Hey, how about we use Ronald W. Reagan, nicknamed “The Great Communicator,” as a point of comparison.
President Reagan earned his nickname through years of wrestling with difficult intellectual concepts and difficult political and management adversaries. Reagan was a small town boy from the Midwest, who never lost his Midwestern unquestioning faith in the fundamental goodness of the American nation. Reagan never needed to speak of his belief in American exceptionalism, his belief that America was truly blessed by God.
Anyone who saw or heard Reagan speak intuitively understood Reagan truly believed it was “morning in America,” and would be ever so if Americans only believed as fervently as he. Even Reagan’s opponents, who viscerally loathed Reagan and his conservative beliefs, knew exactly where Reagan stood before he even opened his mouth to utter a syllable. Reagan was a man with beliefs. Beliefs he arrived at after years of work and study. Beliefs which he could just as easily explain tin a five minute conversation with the construction workers in coffee shop as in a 90 minute policy speech before the G-7. Reagan was a great communicator because he had core beliefs and burned to convince others his beliefs were correct.
President Reagan earned an undergraduate degree in economics and sociology before heading off to the glamorous world of radio, movies and (later) television. President Reagan was the head of the Screen Actors Guild, which during the Gipper’s years in charge was a tough union dealing with tougher studio bosses. These years taught Reagan the bare-knuckled brawling techniques common in the private sector. Heck, these years taught Reagan about the private sector.
Reagan’s government experience was all executive, first as a two-term governor of California, then as a two-term president of the United States.
And Reagan failed. He failed to oust incumbent President Gerald R. Ford from the nomination in the 1976 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. We’ve all certainly read ‘Puter’s wonderful piece on the Importance of Failure by now, right? If not, go read that and come back.
Reagan had years of private sector experience, including as head of a major labor union. He managed one of the largest states in the union during the turbulent 1960s. Reagan had 35 years (1932 through 1975) of private sector and government experience, including significant executive experience, before he ran for office. Reagan refined his political ideas in the crucible of his work life, determining what and why he believed as he did. Reagan tested his beliefs against his broad experience, amending or discarding beliefs as necessary, finally arriving at his core conservatism.
President Obama’s beliefs are, well, President Obama’s beliefs. ‘Puter’s not quite sure what President Obama believes, if anything at all. And before you Lefty would-be Torquemadas start ‘Puter’s personal Inquisition, just shut, up, sit down and admit to yourselves that you’re not quite certain what President Obama believes either.
Liberals were convinced when they elected Obama that he’d usher in the the New New Deal. No dice. What great new social programs has President Obama championed? None. What tax increases has he championed? Well, repeal the so-called Bush Tax Cuts until caving and cravenly hiding in the White House. Closing Guantanamo and ending the Wars? Nope and not really. The usual response is that the mean old Republicans just wouldn’t let President Obama implement his will. Plese note that from President Obama’s inauguration through 2010 — nearly two full years — President Obama’s party (the Democrats, for those of you keeping score at home) owned the White House, the House of Representatives and the Senate (in filibuster-proof numbers). And what did President Obama insist happen during this time? A fat lot of nothing.
And why should President Obama have any real core beliefs? He’s never been tested at any level, much less in the blast furnace that is Washington, D.C. President Obama graduated college and law school a hopeless naif just like ‘Puter and every other moron who’s never worked a day in his life. After law school, President Obama became a community organizer and watched people ghost write two books for him containing what he’s certain would be his beliefs, as told by others. President Obama also taught law school part time. From there, President Obama was elected to the Illinois State, where he dutifully voted present, avoiding any and all contentious issues, for seven years, when he then squeaked into a United States Senate seat in one of the dirtiest elections of all time. President Obama then seasoned himself for a whole four years in the Senate, where he clearly availed himself of learning the ins and outs of Washington, while contemporaneously running for the presidency. Worse, Obama’s never failed politically. At least until his presidency.
Reagan spent 35 years after his graduation learning the private sector, the union sector and the public sector managing larger and larger organizations. Obama spent 17 years after graduation in one arena, politics, where he never gained a minute of managerial experience in any capacity. Reagan refined his beliefs, shifting from FDR Democrat to Reagan Republican based on his diverse experience. Obama never had his beliefs (if any) questioned, spending 17 years in liberal Chicago politics and liberal academia, never once encountering that most fabled of creatures: a conservative.
Reagan was an excellent public speaker, but he was also an excellent communicator because he had ideas. Ideas he had tested repeatedly, and ideas he truly believed. You knew where Reagan stood, and you knew he wasn’t going to compromise his core beliefs.
Obama is an excellent public speaker, but a lousy communicator because his speeches are little more than tales told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Obama is devoid of ideas, little more than a blank slate onto which liberals project their own beliefs, which Obama does not contradict. Obama gives rousing speeches in which you hear nice rhetoric, but little fire. There’s no fire, no buy-in from the public, because it’s apparent Obama has no core beliefs. There’s no “there” there. Obama’s speeches are devoid of meaning. They’re noisy gongs, clanging cymbals.
And Ms. Dowd, the roundest of the round-heeled, realizes she’s been taken. Obama let Ms. Dowd believe hat she wanted to believe about him so she would give him what he wanted: another unquestioning, true-believing, Kool-Aid drinking media attack dog.
Ms. Dowd’s undergoing the political equivalent of waking up with a wicked hangover, her anonymous encounter of the evening already gone to class, finding her underwear and making the walk of shame across campus, smudged mascara, broken heel and all. And it ain’t pretty.
In closing, President Obama would do well to remember that Ms. Dowd ain’t the only American voter out there who’s beginning to wake up the morning after.
Hell hath no fury like a woman (or electorate) scorned, Mr. President.
*It’s a little known fact, but Ms. Dowd never leaves home without a Ticonderoga No. 2 pencil complete with troll doll pencil topper and a notepad cleverly headed “Thoughts From Mo Do’s Melon” on which she jots her scintillating insights, lest she forget a treasured nugget and be unable to share them with us.
**’Puter’s always wanted to redo Florence Henderson’s immortal 1970s “Wessonality” ad, morphing it into a new “Cult of Wessonality” featuring “funk metal band Living Colour’s“awesome tune “Cult of Personality.”
Always right, unless he isn’t, the infallible Ghettoputer F. X. Gormogons claims to be an in-law of the Volgi, although no one really believes this.
’Puter carefully follows economic and financial trends, legal affairs, and serves as the Gormogons’ financial and legal advisor. He successfully defended us against a lawsuit from a liquor distributor worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid deliveries of bootleg shandies.
The Geep has an IQ so high it is untestable and attempts to measure it have resulted in dangerously unstable results as well as injuries to researchers. Coincidentally, he publishes intelligence tests as a side gig.
His sarcasm is so highly developed it borders on the psychic, and he is often able to insult a person even before meeting them. ’Puter enjoys hunting small game with 000 slugs and punt guns, correcting homilies in real time at Mass, and undermining unions. ’Puter likes to wear a hockey mask and carry an axe into public campgrounds, where he bursts into people’s tents and screams. As you might expect, he has been shot several times but remains completely undeterred.
He assures us that his obsessive fawning over news stories involving women teachers sleeping with young students is not Freudian in any way, although he admits something similar once happened to him. Uniquely, ’Puter is unable to speak, read, or write Russian, but he is able to sing it fluently.
Geep joined the order in the mid-1980s. He arrived at the Castle door with dozens of steamer trunks and an inarticulate hissing creature of astonishingly low intelligence he calls “Sleestak.” Ghettoputer appears to make his wishes known to Sleestak, although no one is sure whether this is the result of complex sign language, expert body posture reading, or simply beating Sleestak with a rubber mallet.
‘Puter suggests the Czar suck it.