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The President’s Afghanistan speech

Posted by Richard on June 23, 2011

Vodkapundit is drunkblogging it. Much more entertaining than watching it on TV.

UPDATE: 13 minutes. Wow. I've heard Obama take longer to answer a single question.

But he still managed to work in his favorite rhetorical device, the straw-man argument. Vodkapundit's version is more entertaining than Obama's, but essentially the same thing: 

Here it comes! “Some would retreat from Nevada… ” Others would nuke the crap out of Holland…” “But I am the sane centrist!”

Well, it was only 13 minutes. But it's 13 minutes I wish I could get back. 

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2 Responses to “The President’s Afghanistan speech”

  1. David Bryant said

    Since I missed the broadcast of Obama’s speech, I visited the White House web site to read the whole thing. Twice. Here’s what I found.

    — There is little figurative language in the speech. The only extended metaphor I found (the “ship of state”) is so old and hackneyed that it retains little emotional impact. Obama speaks of “our responsibility as an anchor of global security”; he says “we must chart a more centered course”, and that “we are a nation whose strength abroad has been anchored in opportunity for our citizens here at home”. The only other metaphorical references I noticed are isolated, and just as weak. Nation building? Is that as memorable as “birth of a nation”?

    — When it comes to rhetorical devices, this speech fairly bristles with them. Alliteration abounds. We find “mass murder”, “difficult decisions”, “targeting terrorists”, “press Pakistan to expand its participation”, “difficult decade”, “as pragmatic as we are passionate”, and, in the grand but not quite Churchillian finale, “with confidence in our cause, with faith in our fellow citizens, and with hope in our hearts, …”

    — Where Obama does speak of American idealism, he does so unconvincingly. For example, “America will join initiatives that reconcile the Afghan people … {and} we have reason to believe that progress can be made.” Again, “…we must embrace America’s singular role in the course of human events … {and} rally international action, which we’re doing in Libya, where we do not have a single soldier on the ground …”

    If you think Obama is a great public speaker, I have news for you: This speech is pabulum for people with short attention spans and limited imaginations. It has a nice rhythm here and there, but that’s about it. It’s more like hip hop, and less like Handel or Haydn.

  2. rgcombs said

    ”This speech is pabulum for people with short attention spans and limited imaginations.”

    He was shoring up his base. 🙂

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