Politics

Stirred, But Not Shaken

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You know all that stuff I believe? Yup: I still believe it!

Well, well, well. Obama gave a speech! With many words! Words which were stirring! There were stirring words about spending, stirring words about the war, stirring words about equality for gays, and even stirring words about health care. Thank goodness for insta-transcripts, though, because stirringly stirring as it all was, very little of it was actually memorable. What Obama delivered wasn't so much a speech as a platitude dump: He supports the things he supports, believes the things he believes, feels the things he feels—and yes, that includes your pain. As Obama psuedo-epics go, it was thoroughly underwhelming—Troy rather than Braveheart.

Aside from promises to get out of Iraq and let gays serve openly in the military, he staked out very little new, interesting, or provacative ground. Even his section on health care, which drew one of the night's most sustained periods of applause, was hardly revolutionary: He reiterated his support for the same policies he's supported all along, but declined to demand that Congress follow through on them. That's probably reasonable, considering the chances, but it's unlikely to have much of an effect on the final outcome. Obama filled 75 minutes with inspiringly delivered but thoroughly unremarkable speechifying—fluffy but substanceless rhetorical cotton candy. It was as if he was trying to get people to like him, rather than convince legislators to vote with him. What does he think this is—the campaign trail?