Skip to comments.The Myth of Obama’s Rhetorical Brilliance
Posted on 07/21/2012 3:29:12 PM PDT by Kaslin
Checking for context before slamming someone for a single line in a speech is always a noble endeavor. But theres a point when the benefit of the doubt becomes ridiculous. A prime example is the liberal argument that President Obamas you didnt build that comment wasnt directed at businesses:
When he made the comment in Roanoke, Va. Friday, Obama was arguing that businesses needed infrastructure investment to succeed.
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help,” Obama said. “There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If youve got a business, you didnt build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
The antecedent to “that” is not the business, but “roads and bridges,” as well as the “American system” as a whole.
To believe that Obama was talking about businesses, you only have to watch his speech in context and take it at its literal meaning. To believe Obama was talking about something else, you have to divine certain messages from his ambiguous body language, assume he mixed up his demonstrative pronouns, and concede that the context was structured oddly. Even then, it isnt clear what exactly hes referring to.
How could this be, considering he’s supposed to be one of the worlds most celebrated orators? The answer is, no teleprompter:
Judging from video and photos of the event, Obama wasnt using his teleprompter. According to the video footage posted below, Obama pulled a folded sheet of paper out of his front shirt pocket at the beginning of his speech, and slowly unfolded it. Throughout the speech, Obama glances down at his sheet of paper, rather than the usual mechanical side-to-side head turns from screen to screen.
Wide-angle photos of the event show no sign of the familiar twin-screens that typically follow Obama everywhere. Instead, a white sheet of paper is seen at the podium.
No wonder the speech was such a train wreck, and I’m not just talking about the most controversial line. Here’s a key excerpt:
If you were successful somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you own a business — that, you didnt build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Iternet didnt get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we dont do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
Stilted, flat, unimaginative and full of banal observations. Imagine if everybody had their own fire service, he said at one point. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires. Really? It actually sounds like firefighting would be pretty easy if America had 300 million fire services. Not that this is physically possible, or that anybody has ever proposed such a thing. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet, he added. The idea that the government created the Internet to help companies make money is so obviously inaccurate that its not even worth discussing. And what does any of this have to do with raising federal income taxes?
For the past four years, liberals have tried to sell us on the idea that Obama is one of the greatest speakers of all time. Now theyre complaining that conservatives are taking his words literally and not cutting him enough slack. Which one is it?
Fire service? Who uses that phrasing? A foreigner, that’s who. Fire department.
Now, ask a Conservative to recite some stupid things that they remember Obama saying, and you'd better pull up a chair -- there is a lot to talk about.
While I understand your point - it's wrong, lots of people use that term who are not foreigners. I live in an area that has only volunteer fire departments and we do make references to fire service.
With Obama, it's "blah blah blah BLAH, BLAH BLAH blah. blah blah BLAH, BLAH blah." His cadences make me cringe.
This is how he thinks. He believes in collective ownership. He believes that it PERMITS success, instead of aiding it.
Maybe it translates from Indonesian to fire service?
Can any man be rhetorically brilliant or eloquent if he makes you skin crawl when he talks?
Obama was arguing that businesses needed infrastructure investment to succeed.”
He was also clearly implying the The People collectively have a stake in all businesses that they “allowed” to thrive.
As to rescinding that allowance without committing suicide, I'm afraid we will have allowed them to try.
I wonder if BO knows any other terms for when the people (or the gov’t) own the means of production. Hmmm. I bet a smart guy like that could come up with a couple.
Liberals have often made speeches referring to wealthy people as "winners of life's lottery." The less credit given to individuals who succeed by dint of hard work, creativity, intelligence, and risk-taking, the easier it is to justify confiscating their wealth, since "they didn't really earn it."
Many of us have been around a friend who suddenly got a good deal of money that he actually didn't earn. Perhaps that 50-1 longshot came in, or maybe he had a long-lost relative who left him a bunch of dough. Often, the guy will say, "Hey--I caught a real break today--dinner's on me." If he doesn't offer, his friends might tease and cajole him into sharing a small portion of his serendipity.
That's a different story from a guy who breaks his butt doing heavy labor and gets his paycheck. His buddies are a lot less likely to expect him to share what he earned, as opposed to money he came by without the sweat of his brow.
Hence--the Obama speech. You didn't earn it, the government had a big part in your success--therefore, we can raise your taxes and take a lot of it away.
http://fireserviceinc.com/ ~ since 1991 there’s a company in St. John Indiana been using the name. In 2009 CNNMoney ranked it the 48th best place among the top 100 to live in America.
Its worse than that, Just seeing the Kenyon Punk and/or his sister Lousy and Bro Reid makes MY skin crawl.
How about "collective" or "commune?" Do you think he knows those words? We already know he knows "redistribution."
I always hated listening to George Bush speak. It was painful listening to him suffer through his speeches. With Obama, it’s painful listening to the pride and arrogance, not to mention his idiotic way of stressing the last of each sentence. It’s like the twinkie fag thinks inflection equals importance. Then again, he could be doing it to alert the teleprompter that it is time to move to the next sentence. Maybe he should do like Kerry, or maybe it was Gore, who had an earpiece telling him what to say.
There's no denying that, but why he would want to impose such a system on us is the question. It's like he picked up the wrong lessons from somebody.
I hope everybody nows that once this guy is booted out of government he's still going to be around for the far Leftwingtards to use.
President Bush’s address to the joint session of Congress on 9/20/01 is one of the best political speeches I have ever heard, by anyone.
Also, Obama has a talent for mimicking conservative phraseology when it serves his purpose. His shell game with words seems to lull voters to sleep. On occasion, however, his mask slips, and his revolutionary venom pours out.
This last week's provocations do seem to have evoked some real anger--hell, even Romney sounded pissed off! Let's hope the light is beginning to shine in the mushy moderates' heads.
Actually, Obama was referring to “bridges,” not “businesses.”
But he’s the one who garbled the sentence, and since when have the Marxists ever failed to seize on the worst possible interpretation of any conservative’s ambiguous statement?
To all those who are blasting Obama for saying “...if you have a business, you didn’t build that...”—Keep it up!
Why has no prominent GOP person highlighted the fact that all of Obama’s references in this screed, save the internet stupidity, involve the workings of state and local govt. Since the days of Barry Goldwater the conservative movement in America has stoutly advanced the cause of local govt and federalism. It would be simple to coopt Obama’s ideas that govt provides services essential for society.But that it’s local govt that creates the conditions for business success.The GOP can do this and still forcefully attack the Leviathan we call the federal govt. In fact it makes the attack more viable as it would remove the meme that the right is anti govt.
Obama speaks from personal experience. He, himself, has NEVER earned anything or achieved anything on his own. He spent his lifetime bleeding the “token” system. For that reason, alone, he has had no personal experience in actually earning something himself. He actually believes what he is saying because this is the world he lives in. This is also why he says foolish things about “special olympics” etc. While the rest of us have had political correctness ingrained in us, he - as a minority - has been exempt from having to use tact while speaking. While many minority men and women have earned what they have through hard work, Obama is simply not one of them.
President Bush’s voice was pleasant to listen too.
IMO, Obama was referring to the roads and bridges, à la Elizabeth Warren’s “You brought your goods to market on roads other people built and paid for”. He cribbed it from her. Both are guilty of silly reductionist thinking. As one commenter said, “Well, DUH! We all stand on the shoulders of preceding generations. That’s not news to anyone.”
Early on people were missing the cribbing from Lizzie Warren. Now I think people have got that point down.
The other point is listen to the crowd noise during the speech. The crowd is clearly egging him on with the usual “Uh-huhs” and “you tell its” and that sort of thing. I think he made the amateur mistake of getting caught up in the (negative) energy of the crowd. I don’t think this point has been made, maybe at all.
You can also hear him dropping his “g”s at the ends of words obviously playing to the crowd and trying to sound more authentic. What a putz.
He should speak offTELEPOTUS more often.