Watching Obama’s press conference last night I was struck not only by his eloquence and ability to offer detailed, rational and sensible explanations to questions, but also by his aversion to succinctness and tendency to over-answer, his inability to stop himself after answering the question and continue to restate and build on and explain again his answer.
Although I think he could be a more effective communicator by curtailing his long, professorial lecture-like answers, it’s not difficult to appreciate his eloquence over what we were subjected to during the past eight years. While listening to Obama, I kept envisioning what it would sound like if Obama channeled Bush and gave Bush-like press conference replies. To most of the questions, Obama would hunch his shoulders, lean forward, squint his eyes together and say things like:
“Yeah, well, that’s not what we’re doin’. My budget means freedom, you know, for all the peoples.”
“Yeah, well, so what? next question.
“Tim Geithner…he’s a good man. That means he’s not bad. I stand on him 100 percent.” next question.”
“Yeah, this economy’s a war. I’m a war President. Look, picture me like Mel Gibson in Braveheart. Y’all with me?”
You gotta hand it to old George the Past Prez, he knew what succinctness was all about. Those awful instances when he did try to explain something in-depth he would get himself tangled hopelessly in his own words and end up gesticulating vehemently to draw attention from his inarticulateness, like a dog whupped for peeing on the floor who turns around a starts licking himself.
Mr. Obama’s professorial lectures may sound like relief from years of tortured Bush utterances, but the American people are notoriously fickle and easily bored. In four years, we hope eight, Americans will again be hankering fur a real plain-speakin’ dude or dudess who’ll give us simple one-line answers to in-depth complex questions. Take it to the bank… I mean Treasury, pardner.