December 29, 2009

The Emperor's New Speech Impediment

Disfluency: Noun 1. disfluency - lack of skillfulness in speaking or writing

Something's gone wrong. Something's gone off. Something's just not right with this most "not American" of all American presidents. You can sense it and now, if you pay attention, you can see it and hear it.

The always astute and detailed analyst of all the president's foibles neo-neocon has noticed "Suddenly, Obama's not so fluent any more."

Obama now seems to go off-teleprompter more often—perhaps because he’s been critiqued so much for its use—and when reading from notes on a lectern he stops and starts, as well as using a tennis-match-like repetitive back and forth movement of his head.

What’s more, Obama’s disfluencies have an odd cadence, coming at times that seem unnatural, as though he’s distracted and not even thinking about what he’s saying but rather merely reading it from a text he’s never seen before. Is he nervous? Lying? Nervous about lying? Nervous about being caught in lying? Aware that the gift he’s relied on his entire life is going or perhaps even gone, now that he needs it most?
"Disfluencies" is the perfect term for this current state in which the silver-plate seems to be peeling off this silver-tongued devil.

Blessed with success that stems from a rep for speaking he never deserved (a rep of oration that swept up the nation when he was scripted and never once swerved), he's now in that mess where he's no longer blessed; where his actions speak louder than words.

In this clip, it is both his actions (Try watching it for a bit with the sound off and see the almost robotic metronomic beat of the head moving to engage the left, the podium, the right), and his odd pauses on the off-beat when he breaks his sentences. It is, once you see it and hear it, very off and very odd indeed. In fact, the effect is "off-putting" when watching someone who more and more seems to be, in terms of other Americans of all races, creeds, colors, and national origins, an "odd man out."

Obama has always, of course, been an "odd man out." In a way his oddness is what got him in. And now that he's in the only way to get this odd-man out out is to wait three more long years in hope of a change.

Alas it is truly said, "Live in hope. Die in despair."

My bet is that as Obama's fortunes, personal and political, continue to deteriorate (and they will) his behavior will become even more odd. This is a hidden man of obscure origins and events are outing him more and more with every passing crisis. Given the accelerating onset of events I doubt that anyone other than the most committed legacy media members can continue whitewashing Barry Sawyer's fence for 3 more years. Exhaustion with the lies and dissembling simply has to set in for no other reasons than the fact that the audience is getting bored with their "O-Wonderful" narrative. Sooner or later the Obami will not so much "lose" the media as the solid wall of positive media will begin to fracture and fall in longer and longer stretches.

In response I look for the inner circle of Obami to rely more and more on the "Who are you going to believe, Obama or your lying eyes and ears?" offense. I look for that inner circle of Obami to shrink more and more until we start to sense it's time for them to repair to the bunker and start gesturing with nostalgia at maps of the 2008 political landscape.

That's when they really start to get dangerous.

In the meantime, people will be watching more and more what he does and what he says as well as how he does it and how he says it. All America's enemies will. You can bet all the boots in Boot Hill on it.

Posted by Vanderleun at December 29, 2009 11:51 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

I wish I could believe that he'd really give a damn - other than for the political fallout - if that plane had gone down.

I worry that my detestation for him and his goals has obliterated my ability to accurately judge what he says.

OK. Not too worried.

Posted by: Cathy at December 29, 2009 1:27 PM

Narcissism, thin skin and scorn (internal and external) are a toxic mix.
Now add power.

We are so screwed.

Posted by: David McKinnis at December 29, 2009 1:51 PM

It's beginning to dawn on people that the emperor's new suit is empty.

Posted by: Gagdad Bob at December 29, 2009 2:34 PM

He has within him one of the most dangerous combinations of traits in a man with power......arrogance and ignorance.

Posted by: Blastineau at December 29, 2009 2:36 PM

Narcissism and ignorance, but arrogance and ignorance works for me, too. I've given it a year to try and respect the office of the presidency, but I just can't. I don't feel safe, I certainly don't feel financially safe anymore, and it seems that everything this man stands for is so much upside down from reality, I'm in a constant state of panic. Is this how the Jews of pre-WWII Germany felt? And to make matters worse, I'm soon to be a bona fide senior citizen and I find out that I'm worthless, unproductive and a drain on society, at least according to those now in power. I wish they'd tell the IRS how unproductive I am, maybe I wouldn't have to pay my taxes. And it would help if they told my kids and grandkids how worthless I am, so they'd stop expecting me to pick up the slack for them on things like rent, food, gas, and gifts. For a worthless, unproductive individual I sure seem to incur a lot of expenses and put a lot of hard earned money back into the economy.

Posted by: Sara (Pal2Pal) at December 29, 2009 2:57 PM

He showed a similar look in his Copenhagen speech. As neo-neocon said, it's like he's never seen the text before.

Posted by: Cris at December 29, 2009 3:02 PM

You're a man of the mountains, you can walk on the clouds,
Manipulator of crowds, you're a dream twister.
You're going to Sodom and Gomorrah
But what do you care? Ain't nobody there would want to marry your sister.
Friend to the martyr, a friend to the woman of shame,
You look into the fiery furnace, see the rich man without any name.

Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune,
Bird fly high by the light of the moon,
Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman.


Posted by: Denny at December 29, 2009 3:18 PM

Gad, how low will you people stoop in your self-pity and paranoia?

Comparing yourself to pre-WWII Jews because your side lost the election???

LISTEN to yourselves. We're talking "way beyond"

Posted by: Dan Wilson at December 29, 2009 3:27 PM

Dan, when we are marshalled into the re-education camps by the Civilian Security Force for the crime of not buying health insurance can we complain then?

Meanwhile, I wonder if we can gauge the erratic nuance by dint of his neck ware or lack thereof?

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at December 29, 2009 3:52 PM

"Hey, little girl, don't you know he's the devil.
"He's everything that I ain't.
"Hiding intentions of evil,
"Under the smile of a saint.
"All he's good for is getting in trouble,
"And shiftin' his share of the blame.
"And some people swear he's my double:
"And some even say we're the same.
"But the silver-tongued devil's got nothing to lose,
"I'll only live 'til I die.
"We take our own chances and pay our own dues,
"The silver tongued devil and I."

Posted by: vanderleun at December 29, 2009 3:59 PM

Dan: No, it's not because "our side lost the election". Elections come and go. We know we can't win 'em all.

It's because the guy who did win the election is an America-hating Communist and a Muslim sympathizer, and perhaps an ignorant narcissist to boot. There's a difference. Surely you can see that?

FWIW, I haven't compared myself to Jews, but I did make a comment elsewhere the night after the election saying, "Now I know what an average (non-Nazi) German felt like in 1932."

Posted by: rickl at December 29, 2009 5:18 PM

Loved the second paragraph after the quote. Please give us a few more stanzas of those Robert W. Service cadences.

Posted by: sog at December 29, 2009 5:36 PM

I am SO pleased someone caught that. We work, work, work and yet some of the effects just sail on by.

Posted by: vanderleun at December 29, 2009 5:39 PM

Can't this moron have a thought of his own? He has to read EVERYTHING? WTF?

Brain-less idiot.

Posted by: markh at December 29, 2009 6:02 PM

Para 4 is AWESOME! More of that!

And while I do appreciate the hopeful words, we must not assume he'll destroy himself... we must oppose that hideous agenda.

Posted by: Peter Buxton at December 29, 2009 6:03 PM

Adolf and Barry have some important points in common other than hating the division of power. Karl Krause's contemporary description of The Leader's style may as well have been of The One--A demagogue tries to sound as stupid as his audience so that they will think they are as clever as he is.
But whatever people will think of Adolf, he was a great deal more prepared than Barry. There was no affirmative action in the trenches of the First World War, no thought of ghost-writen autobiographies. Never read a speech, or had one written for him. Community organizing in that time meant bashing heads and getting bashed, doing time and not university. The German economy roared under him, the only Western state not in depression. Leaders of nations respected and feared him. No one ever stood him up for a meeting.
Oh, and he was very persuasive to his enemies.
But there is much to be said for Barry taking us straight down without diversion. How soon we can find a bottom will determine when we can begin seeing things clearly.

Posted by: james wilson at December 29, 2009 6:06 PM

My gosh, he didn't even wear a necktie. He's the president, speaking about national security threats after an attempted and potentially devastating attack against our home soil - and he steps to the presidential podium looking like he just rolled out of bed.

Why, oh why didn't he at least don a clip-on tie? You know the answer - because he's on vacation, dang it.

In words, delivery and appearance, this is a man who did not want to be bothered with national-security matters instead of hitting the beach.

He might heed the old preacher's proverb: "They don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

And right now I say the same thing for this speech that I said about his speech at West Point: "There is no fire, no passion in this. The sentences are wooden and dry, devoid of evidence of personal commitment to any of the ideals he is uttering. I don’t think he believes a single word he’s saying."

We are not being made safer by this man and his minions. How is it possible that J. Napolitano was able to say within hours of the attempted bombing of Flt 253 that there was no wider threat associated with the attempt?

Posted by: Donald Sensing at December 29, 2009 6:18 PM

He never once (okay, I didn't watch every last second) looks straight ahead. He never looks at the camera. Not once in all the parts I watched. He never spoke to us out here in this audience. I thought he was an accomplished speaker so doesn't he know eye contact, even through a television screen, is important? Instead, all we get is the teleprompter bounce - look left, look right, look left, look right, ad infinitum. I think he was reading from notes but still, apparently, his teleprompter addiction is so pronounced he can't look anywhere else. He's got "muscle memory" only for those two spots.

Posted by: kcom at December 29, 2009 7:06 PM

From early on, my nephew and I have also predicted that Obama will become more dangerous as his incompetence is exposed. He is a monstrous man-child produced by the self-esteem/unconditional love/affirmative action movement. No need for actual accomplishment as he is, in his own estimation, already the great "i am." His tantrum when he stops feeling the love is not going to be pretty.

OT, my daughter and I were near the British Home Shoppe today and laughed at the irony of the store flying the "Don't Tread on Me" flag next to the Union Jack. Nice to know we have a local "shoppe" where we can pick one up though.

Posted by: Western Chauvinist at December 29, 2009 7:07 PM

He's tired, he's irritated, possibly even bored, and he doesn't care about national security because he doesn't care about the United States of America as an idea or a real place.

His eyes are tired, and shifty because he's lying. He is not using his hands to emphasize words or points, only to turn pages. There is the barest hint of an irritable smirk around his mouth because he does not believe a single word he is reading/ speaking.

Somebody persuaded him he had to make this speech, it looks like, and he's showing that person, and all of the American people, and circumstances that force him to react to the real world rather than create his own idea of what the world should be, what he really thinks by just reading the empty words... and by not wearing a tie. Like an adolescent.

Posted by: Amy at December 29, 2009 7:24 PM

Obama said "homeland"--isn't that supposed to be fascist? ;-)

Gerard, do you remember when, after 9/11, President Bush spoke of defending the homeland that liberals and leftists jumped on him for using a word which, if not actually fascist, was evocative of Nazism and fascism?

Obama spoke twice in this speech of defending the "homeland" and nobody batted an eye.

As a historical note, remember that the left's friends on the other side of the Iron Curtain routinely spoke of "homeland", such as on all those East German postage stamps emblazoned "Neue Heimat".

Posted by: pst314 at December 29, 2009 8:06 PM

Correction: "a word which, if not actually fascist" to "a word which they claimed was, if not actually fascist".


Posted by: pst314 at December 29, 2009 8:08 PM

And if we replaced him, Joe Bidden would be the President.
Oy Gevalt.
Oy Gevalt, Vay ist mir.
Oy, yo, yo, yo, yo.
We are so boned.

Posted by: Fat Man at December 29, 2009 8:14 PM

Well... not forever.

Posted by: vanderleun at December 29, 2009 8:49 PM

Sounds like a press secretary/flack catcher rather than commander in chief.

Many of the same mannerisms as Martin Short's Nathan Thurm...

He almost always ends sentences with a lilt on the last and most important word---suggesting, "Yes, I am saying this but it's perfunctory."

"The investgation's onGOING (???)" (as if to say, "ongoing blah blah blah...")

"I asked them uh uh to keep monitoring the situATION... "("Yes, it's a situation. I have to say situation here.")

And he degrades terms like "attempted act of terrorism" by saying them softly.

He's going to "keep up the pressure..."

Pressure, that's the ticket!

"...isolated extremist..." Oh, yeah, just a lone nut.

No hand gestures indicating strength.

Looks and sounds like a performer on the verge of a panic attack.

Posted by: Lance de Boyle at December 29, 2009 9:58 PM

I agree with the guy above, who compared this thread to and used words like "self-pity" and "paranoia".

Take a frickin' step back and listen to yourselves.

Posted by: Bill Nelson at December 29, 2009 11:19 PM

I am convinced that nothing really seeps through to his conscience, at least that is the impression he gives in his unnatural, detached manner. Whether it is addressing a terrorist attack on the U.S. or telling his kids to stand up straight, the only difference is the subject matter. The Sears repair guy takes his job more seriously than him.

Oh, and the "Islamic Republic of Iran" was a deft touch. Obama would be an ideal candidate to lead the UN.

Posted by: Hannon at December 29, 2009 11:34 PM

For anyone with a low-threshhold gag response, the disfluency of the Bloviator-in-Chief's torrid exudations are nothing new:

The purple prose that is Obama's presidency

Posted by: Sissy Willis at December 30, 2009 4:50 AM

See, that was the danger of Bush Derangement Syndrome-- a particular disorder based on unreasonable attributions to the man-- that it was based on nothing reasonable and had its tentacles deep into the psyche and emotions without any respect to plainly knowable facts. In fact, BDS was particularly resistant, once acquired, to any inoculation of facts.

The danger now, of course, is that we are presented with a man whose very actions speak to the volume of facts we were not allowed to know or ask for prior to his election. To point them out now makes us sound like we have ODS, but it is a false positive.

But dammit Jim, we are not doctors!

No. We aren't doctors and we don't have a cure. We are merely astronomers observing the alignment of our stars and calculating the forces involved in the heavenly play of the titans.


Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at December 30, 2009 5:05 AM

Permit me to add my compliments reagarding Paragraph Four. Well done, sir.

Posted by: Ken at December 30, 2009 6:29 AM

"He's got a voice like a tuxedo and pink champagne
When he speaks his heart it sounds so lonely like a leavin train
He sounds so lonely
You're one silver tongued devil."

Another Silver-Tongued Devil song.

Posted by: B. Durbin at December 30, 2009 8:38 AM

I can't trust any man who tells me to stop being paranoid when it comes to the government. This country was founded on paranoia of government power; blind trust of elected officials and the bureaucracies they nourish is unpatriotic.

But in the meantime, I must ask our critics: go ahead and take away the more paranoid conclusions. Aren't the direct observations of the administration's performance over the past year (and especially the past week) evidence enough of Obama's unfitness for the office he currently holds?

Posted by: Squid at December 30, 2009 9:14 AM

I’m a teacher who’s assessed many underachieving students: learning disabled, culturally disabled, ESL (English as a Second language), developmentally challenged (Autistic, Fragile X, Asbergers), etc.

From the get-go, I’ve been altogether UNDERwhelmed by Obama’s language skills, which are sub-standard, even for an adult of average intelligence, let alone for a graduate of Law at Harvard. (I believe he’s an affirmative action lawyer, professor, and president. WHAT a phony!)

Obama makes multiple grammatical errors, both when speaking—he’s an absolute . . . uh, uh, uh . . . disaster off teleprompter—and as evidenced in his written speeches. His delivery is wooden and artificial: as noted here, he pauses at the wrong times, he seems distracted, and, I’ve noticed: many of his sentences are delivered One/Word/At/A/Time (very odd chunking of ideas), he makes regular singular/plural-noun, pronoun, and verb mismatches, and he also sloppily pronounces such words as “to”—“TUH”—and “our”—“ARE [a common primary grade error] international partners”. (I wonder if he says “axe” for “ask”!)

This man is an impostor, and I believe his multiple dysfluencies in English usage and delivery are an outward and visible sign of a lack of both intellectual rigour and moral soundness. (When checking the spelling of “dysfluency”, the first entry was this description of children’s dysfluent language behaviours: “Common examples of developmental dysfluency include repetitions, interjections, pauses, revisions and mistiming.” Now, who seems to fill that bill?)

This dangerous, empty suit is a disaster waiting to happen. Kyrie eleison.

Posted by: lookout at December 30, 2009 10:59 AM

Did I miss it, or has he dropped his key phrase "let me be clear"?

A terror attack on the US didn't deserve a necktie?

Posted by: Debbie at December 30, 2009 1:04 PM

I think he sounds wooden and stilted because he knows American presidents are SUPPOSED to give a shit about their fellow Americans---and he doesn't.

And he doesn't know how to act as if he does.

Posted by: Kathy from Kansas at December 30, 2009 3:07 PM

On March 9 of 1945 there was another silver-tongued revolutionary devil hunkered down and brooding amongst a shrunken circle of sycophants...Another historic [transformational] giant who had at last realized that there would be no rallying of an exhausted will, no saving miracle, not even the merest of lucky reprieves from the inevitable.

His response to the unraveling of every bit of his audacious dream?

In his disgust with the "cowardly failure" of the German people who had abandoned him, he ordered the complete destruction of his nation's industries, communication systems, and transportation infrastructure. After all the cowards didn't deserve what he had struggled to achieve, and in their failure they would be left with nothing - for he was determined that there would be nothing left to recover from. He didn't even gain that satisfaction.

Eleven days later he shot himself through his mouth.

Posted by: monkeyfan at December 30, 2009 3:23 PM

Durrr...Then I consulted a calendar. Obamath.

Posted by: monkeyfan at December 30, 2009 3:39 PM

Actually, I do have a problem with the word "homeland".

It was utterly unknown in the American lexicon before 9/11.

I thought it was jarring and disturbing at the time, and still think so.

Posted by: rickl at December 30, 2009 8:04 PM

The lack of a necktie was jarring. Leaders do not appear in public without their uniform, and a necktie is part of the uniform. He was angry that somebody was making him give that speech, and let that person know it. He also gave a lousy speech.

Does that mean there is one person who is close enough to the president to make him get out there, so perhaps might make him do the right thing if an attack succeeds? Or is that person merely Axelrod, who looks at life through the prism of "how does this play in the press?"

Unfortunately I think it's Axelrod, which means our safety & security depends upon his reading of any given situation.

Posted by: Boots at December 30, 2009 8:43 PM

Obama sounds superficially bold, confident and manly, but then he keeps glancing and blinking as if he fears that someone will yell "imposter" and suddenly he will not be president any more.

He says "I have ordered ..." then he checks the teleprompter to see what he has ordered, causing an instant suspicion that some underling made the decision while Obama fluttered.

"The world has watched with deep admiration for ..." (checks teleprompter) "the courage and determination .." Clearly, Obama was not feeling any deep admiration for courage and determination.

Posted by: James A. Donald at December 31, 2009 12:10 AM

One perfectly normal midwestern American way to pronounce "our" is "ar". Nobody ever says "owr" in most parts of America, except as an anachronistic formality in poetry or in choral songs. (Have you really been harassing children for pronouncing American English correctly? Do you also whack them for pronouncing 'orange' to rhyme with "door hinge"? The mind boggles.)

So that's not a mistake; it's the most normal pronunciation pattern Obama's speech has. A rare touch of authenticity.

Posted by: Maureen at January 6, 2010 4:23 PM

"...And if we replaced him, Joe Bidden would be the President...." ******** Not for long. For about 15 minutes, until we elected a new president. In any case, anything is worth getting rid of Obama.

Posted by: KBB at February 4, 2010 1:06 AM