Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Reaganesque Obama's Address Was Not, But "It Was Worthy, Had Weight, And Was Adult"

Here is an excerpt of what Peggy Noonan -- the woman who knows how to write a speech -- had to say about President Obama's inaugural address:

It was a moderate speech both in tone and content, a serious and solid speech. The young Democrat often used language with which traditional Republicans would be thoroughly at home: The American story has never been one of "shortcuts or settling for less," the journey "has not been . . . for the fainthearted—for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasure of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things" who have created the best of our enduring history.

Obama named in stark terms America's essential foe: "For those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror . . . we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you." This had the authentic sound of a man who's been getting daily raw intelligence briefings and is not amused.

Noonan adds, however, that Obama's address "was not an especially moving or rousing speech." Nonetheless, "it was worthy, had weight, and was adult."

It just wasn't at the level of Reagan. Obama is simply not as good an orator (or speech writer for that matter), but perhaps he will be once he has attained the depth of life experience Reagan had when he assumed the presidency. Obama, though, certainly met or exceeded the standard set by those who have occupied the White House since the man who addressed the boys of Pointe du Hoc.

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