Wind Beneath Our Wings

04Aug08

George Will’s latest column attempts to figure out why Barack is, thus far, failing to take hold as a candidate. Why is he running about even with McCain in the polls, even while McCain’s campaign isjust celebrating its first week of having controlled the conversation? Why did his overseas trip fail to satisfy voters here that he’s prepared to be President?

…polls taken since his trip abroad do not indicate that Obama succeeded in altering the oddest aspect of this presidential campaign: Measured against his party’s surging strength in every region and at every level, he is dramatically underperforming.

Will’s answer is one I find gratifying, as it’s one I first warned about many weeks ago – an overdose of eloquence. Here’s what I wrote about Barack’s Patriotism speech back in June:

This thing of Barack’s – this technique of wrapping himself in the flag of thoughtfulness – it’s starting to get tedious. Even liberals will, I think, start to see it for what it is – contrived thoughtfulness – a style that was at first appealing, but which now reads as formulaic.

George Will has come to a similar conclusion – that the thrill is gone from Barack’s fancy talk.

But the fact also might be related to fatigue from too much of Obama’s eloquence, which is beginning to sound formulaic and perfunctory. Even an eloquent politician can become, as Benjamin Disraeli described William Gladstone, “a sophistical rhetorician inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity.”

That explains it pretty well, doesn’t it? Barack’s eloquence is getting played out. He needs a new song to sing. Will’s advice?

…no more locutions such as “citizen of the world” and “global citizenship.” If they meant anything in Berlin, they meant that Obama wanted Berliners to know that he is proudly cosmopolitan. Cosmopolitanism is not, however, a political asset for American presidential candidates.

In other words, enough of the lofty talk, Obama. Your words aren’t the wind beneath our wings anymore.

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