EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

April 15, 2012

Column: Obama can't be bothered to defend his positions

In his classic work "Rhetoric", Aristotle wrote "Persuasion is achieved by the speaker's personal character when the speech is so spoken as to make us think him credible. We believe good men more firmly and more readily than others; this is true generally whatever the question is, and absolutely true where exact certainty is impossible and opinions divided."

And then there is Barack Obama.

Judging by his ubiquity, it is safe to assert that no president in U.S. history has had more opportunities to persuade the American people that his program of fundamental societal transformation is the correct course. He pops up on our televisions during halftime of Super Bowls, Final Fours, and, as befits his self-image as first citizen of the world, will no doubt arrange to carry the Olympic torch into London this summer. He has been beamed into classrooms, inveighed against bullying on children's networks, and last weekend introduced the film version of "To Kill a Mockingbird" on the USA cable network. God forbid the Haverhill Police make an insensitive arrest because we'll hear from him on that, too.

Most significantly, Obama has had access to a largely compliant media who have pathetically devolved to such a degree as to be indistinguishable from stenographers. Wholly invested in his success in 2008, few in the traditional media are willing to call Obama or his flacks on the lies, dissembling, and misinformation that regularly spout from the White House. Jake Tapper of ABC News is the most notable exception to the insane clown posse known as the White House Press Corps (which Obama would pronounce "corpse" for those of you keeping score on the smartest-president-in-history).

Despite these built-in advantages — not to mention the weight of his office — Obama has only offered the rhetoric and tactics of the demagogue. He has made absolutely zero effort to draw skeptics or undecided citizens to his way of thinking.

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