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Happy Cuatro de Cinco

I heard the President misspeak again this morning and noted to myself that the CNN talking head laughed it off, so I looked up from Catherine Zuckert's fat book on Plato and found myself slightly irritated that CNN was not irritated the way they were when Bush screwed up. So I agree with Mary Katherine Ham: "I like to note these little incidents when they happen, not because I think it makes Obama an idiot because he occasionally stumbles over his words, but because his somewhat overblown reputation as the most cerebral, eloquent, utterly erudite president of all time could really use a pricking every now and then. Also, because if Bush had made such a blunder, it would have been the basis of a four-part MSNBC investigative series on the malapropism's deleterious effects on the Republican Party's attempts to woo Hispanic voters, Mexican-American relations, and our 'place in the world.'"
Categories > Presidency

Discussions - 11 Comments

his somewhat overblown reputation as the most cerebral, eloquent, utterly erudite president of all time

Just out of curiosity - who deserves this reputation? I mean, I'm sure a lot of people here would say Lincoln, but how about the twentieth century? I'm tempted to say Wilson - not because I agree with what he had to say so much as his clarity of thought. But maybe, arguably, Reagan? FDR?

Any takers on this one? I really am just curious to hear what people think on this one . . .

Matt: I talked with a 19 year-old student from Europe yesterday about Obama and this woman loves him and when I asked why, she said almost exactly this: He is the smartest president ever, speaks better than other politician she ever heard, and seems the most learned. Now, this student is smart enough, but no scholar of American presidents. She is merely repeating his reputation, and she admits this. Also, this is most certainly his reputation in Europe, according to her.

I would say that the only American president thought "erudite" (and maybe cerebral) in the 20th century was Wilson and this seems sensible given that he wrote a dozen books, was a PhD, a professor, etc.

Wilson probably was the most erudite in the last century. I also think Clinton was/is smarter (personal choices excepted, I guess) and more eloquent than Obama.

Joe Bidden is more popular than most anchors that could break a story on you know gaffes are in a downturn. Like a good machiavellian you are buying on the dip?

But I told you the damn Obama bubble hadn't burst. You guys are like Hedge Fund managers...but the american people are like Mutual Funds. I did alright timming the thing, but when I figured it would go down from 8k level I was looking at what I figured were facts, but the true fact was that the Mutual Funds were still buying and they had more money.

That is the problem that hit George Bush, once his popularity dropped under the popularity of the anchors every single gaffe was amplified because it enjoyed positive returns. Like shorting a stock that is going down in takes courage to step under the dagger and buy the position, the momentum is still driving it down.

Right now there is an upward spiral on Obama that is quite a strong force, and this larger unidentifiable force that could be called "hegelian history" or aggregate sentiment(artistic truth ballanced against positive truth) is like a wave to the fish who are "anchors"(ironic in this context) or would be pundits.

From time to time charges of media bias are made, and if enough truth has accumulated a short squeeze occurs, as media outlets go on a rush to buy to cover towards parity. These various movements are themselves what cause outrageous collumns about "Obama's Katrina Moment" when in fact nothing has happened.

Of course part of the impossibility is to beat Random Walk, when in fact we are each somewhat like fish in the wave, and like fish we probably like to swim in schools(political parties) unless we sense that the sharks are too large to spend time chasing a single fish when an entire school exists...but there are a lot of problems with being an independent fish, unless you are a turtle.

Turtle power!

Should we call this Obama's 4/5s clause?

Not a Bushism at all. Meant to be funny since it was not the 5th but the 4th. He could have said quatro de Mayo but it would not have been immediately known as word play. It was telling that the audience understood the concept, but more telling that Cons think he had a Bushism. Didn't sound drunk to me.

Ham: "...reputation as the most cerebral, eloquent, utterly erudite president of all time could really use a pricking..."

Do I detect a straw man? I think the dominant description among those I've talked to (including my hopelessly centrist parents) is more along the lines of "a major improvement" in the intellect department, and that doesn't necessarily imply such superlatives as those Ham employs.

Mr. Schramm, you and Ham should compile all of Obama's various blunders (and be sure to adopt any new words that he invents - think "strategery" or "misunderestimate", which I've seen conservatives practically embrace - as semi-standard English), and when you have a list half as long as this one, I'm sure Regnery, TownHall, NewsMax, etc. will publish it.

The delusions go deeper than I had thought. A mere two clicks from the Ham article I found this: "Obama Should Talk Like Bush"

In which one of NLT's "favorite bloggers" at PowerLine, John Hinderaker had this to say:

"Obama thinks he is a good talker, but he is often undisciplined when he speaks. He needs to understand that as President, his words will be scrutinized and will have impact whether he intends it or not. In this regard, President Bush is an excellent model; Obama should take a lesson from his example. Bush never gets sloppy when he is speaking publicly. He chooses his words with care and precision, which is why his style sometimes seems halting. In the eight years he has been President, it is remarkable how few gaffes or verbal blunders he has committed. If Obama doesn’t raise his standards, he will exceed Bush’s total before he is inaugurated."

Oh yes, indeed.

might actually mean something if even half of them were real. A large number of the quotes attributed to Bush were also attributed to Dan Quayle, and many of those were not said by him, either. This is just the tired, old, often-used Dem mantra. If McCain had won, the same website Scanlon links to would claim all those quotes were Sarah Palin's.

Peter's overall point is well taken. Biden is a practical gaffe machine, and the press certainly does not treat him the way they treated Bush, Quayle, or Ford (it seems the left has not changed its attack tactics in quite some time). As for Obama, well, I cannot remember any time that Bush ever said he had campaigned in "57 states," or forgot the name of the town he was in, or claimed that kids with asthma need a breathalyzer.

The point, of course, is not that Obama is not smart. He clearly is. Nonetheless, there is a time-honored (and childish) tactic by the media (and many liberals in general) to parse hundreds of public statements to find the two or three that "prove" the Republican de jure is an illiterate simpleton. Yet neither the press nor the rest of the liberals who still get their jollies making fun of Bush (a Harvard MBA, by the way) have anything to say about the leaders of their own party. Why not talk about Al Gore's college GPA? I heard plenty about Bush's during the 2000 campaign, but nearly no mentions of the fact that Gore's was even lower. Why not talk about Joe Biden's law school class rank? I heard several times about John McCain's rank from military training. Unfortunately, the fact remains that the media only likes to cover these things when it serves their broader political agenda.

Why beat a dead horse here. The horse being the mainstream media. CNN gets what, a quarter of Limbaugh's radio audience. Newspapers are going under and their solution is to charge for web based content...good luck with that. Baring massive statist intervention via a new and less free internet (internet 2, its for the children, no more predators and cyber bullies) the media is talking but no one will be listening in a few years.

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