EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


October 7, 2012

Column: Obama misses his teleprompter, clings to Orwell-speak


For the president, virtually every time he has spoken in public (with the exception of his rare press conferences), the teleprompter has been there.

So I didn’t see him as disengaged, bored or passive Wednesday night. I could practically see him mentally scrambling, trying to organize his thoughts – something he hasn’t had to do for too long a time because it’s all been there for him to read.

Obama is a pro at using the teleprompter, but its absence is a curse. It won’t solve his problem to be more aggressive or more engaged. He has to be able to think on his feet. He is plenty smart enough to do it, but he is way out of practice. And it may take more than three weeks for him to get back into practice.

Political language: “Whoever controls the language, the images, controls the race.” That observation has been attributed to Beat poet and political activist Allen Ginsberg.

I doubt that Ginsberg and Jeane Kirkpatrick, the Democrat-turned-Republican who served as ambassador to the United Nations under President Ronald Reagan, were all that close. But they shared a common philosophy about language.

In response to a question about why socialist politicians were so successful against those who advocated the free market, even though free economies were demonstrably more successful than socialist ones, she reportedly said, “Their rhetoric is better than ours.”

It shouldn’t be. After several decades of covering big-government liberals, I know that words like “fairness” or “fair share,” “social justice,” “equality,” “community,” “economic patriotism,” “we’re all in this together” and “balanced” are almost all euphemisms for raising taxes on those who have been wicked enough to become successful.

Another favorite of Obama’s is his call for “everybody to play by the same rules.”

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