Jewish World Review April 19, 2011 / 15 Nissan, 5771

Feisty v. fouled up

By Jack Kelly




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The contrast between the speeches they gave last week suggests that when the 2012 presidential campaign begins in earnest, the news media will have difficulty maintaining the story lines they've been pushing about President Barack Obama and Sarah Palin.

Mr. Obama is a great leader in the mold of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt, we were told during the last presidential campaign.

The journalists who assured us of this based their assessment on Mr. Obama's oratorical skills rather than upon his actual accomplishments, which were meager.

His opponents agree Mr. Obama is a better speaker than he is a president. But the speech he made at George Washington University last Wednesday (4/13) -- during which Vice President Joe Biden nodded off -- indicates he's not that terrific an orator, either.

The speech "was not just weak, but pitiful,' a "waste of breath," said Clive Crook, editor of the Atlantic magazine.

Comedian Stephen Colbert thought the speech was "boring." Comedian Jon Stewart mocked the tortured manner in which Mr. Obama tried to avoid describing the tax increases he was proposing as tax increases.

And these are supporters of the president.

Mr. Obama went to GWU to make up for an earlier failure of leadership. In February, he submitted a proposed budget so frivolous no one paid attention to it. This permitted House Republicans to capture the initiative in the debate with the very substantial budget plan authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

The president invited Rep. Ryan to attend the speech, which he did, expecting to hear a serious counterproposal. What he heard instead was "the sort of harangue one would expect from a rabidly devoted partisan hack, with no relation whatever to the thoughtful appeals to reason and common values that historically have characterized presidential leadership," said the Washington Examiner.

Mr. Obama grossly misrepresented Mr. Ryan's plan and called him names, but offered no plan of his own to reduce our $14 trillion national debt.

The president's speech was "dishonest even by modern political standards," said the Wall Street Journal.

It was churlish of the president to invite Rep. Ryan to the speech, and then to attack him from the podium. It was also cowardly to attack a political opponent in a forum in which he could not respond.

Barack Obama these days speaks only before friendly audiences. On Saturday (4/16), Sarah Palin journeyed to Madison, Wisconsin where she braved snow, cold, and union protesters who tried to disrupt her speech by beating drums and blowing whistles.

"Sarah Palin rides to the sound of the guns," noted Reuters columnist James Pethokoukis.

After her surprise selection as John McCain's running mate and subsequently, many in the news media have described the former Alaska governor as an ignorant bumpkin with extreme views.

Ms. Palin sure didn't sound that way in Madison. In a 15-minute speech Mr. Pethokoukis described as "powerful, pugnacious and presidential," Ms. Palin vigorously defended Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in his battle with public employee unions; slammed President Obama for his attack on Paul Ryan, and criticized Congressional Republicans for being too timid in opposing Mr. Obama's spending.

"She was feisty. She was bold. She was gutsy," said Jedediah Bila in the Daily Caller.

Ms. Palin was also concise and funny. Of President Obama's budget, she said: "We're flat broke and he thinks these solar shingles and really fast trains will save us. So now he's shouting 'all aboard' his bullet train to bankruptcy. Win the Future? WTF is about right."

"If Sarah Palin's not running for president, what a terrible waste that would be of the best stump speech I've heard since, well, Palin's 08 convention speech," said John Nolte of Big Government.

Ms. Palin scores low in polls today, chiefly because of how thoroughly the news media have maligned her. But the Sarah Palin on display in Madison was nothing like the media caricature. As more Americans see that Sarah, her numbers will change.

Barack Obama also is nothing like the news media's description of him. As Americans see more of the detached, petulant, clueless and spiteful little man on display at George Washington University, his numbers will change, too.