What orators lack in depth, they make up to you in length
Here comes the orator, with his flood of words and his drop of reason.
Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1735
Now that Elon Musk has dared to say what everyone, including Dr. Jill (who really wanted to be First Lady and talks about when “we” won) already knows…and to suggest that the President is bereft of ideas or original thought…the “empty suit” accusation now has a much louder amplifier, and I thank Elon for having the courage to utter the unutterable. Read more at https://www.language-expert.net/now-president-zero-the-final-devolution-of-presidential-rhetoric/
[Full disclosure: for 25 years, I wrote speeches for corporate executives.]
Almost every day we are subjected to the pathetic spectacle of President Puppet, stumbling through a speech text that he couldn’t possibly have written because the ideas are too complicated, the sentences are too long — and besides, they couldn’t be his, because the man has plagiarized his way through life, accomplishing nothing and doing whatever he was paid to do and saying whatever his handlers (and whoever he’s beholden to, whether in Congress or in China) tell him to say.
Fortunately there are parts where his delivery, coherence, and diction are passable (all delivered, in whining, scolding cadences, from a squinting robot-face), and these are the clips that get quoted, unless the broadcast is ridiculing him, for there are also whole montages of his flubs and unforced errors.
It’s a great time for speechwriters. But speechwriters should articulate policy, not make it.
A President, like a CEO, may or may not contribute content. In this case, there’s complete abdication to the cadre of policymakers/speechwriters — all taking direction from the far left, which seems to be the only source of policy in the Puppet Administration and is surely responsible for the ruinous border and energy policies.
Biden has no ideas of his own, and he never had. Imagine plagiarizing another man’s autobiography!
The Mysterious Policymakers/Ghostwriters are now supplying the President’s latest flack with talking points, as one can tell from the way her eyes keep looking downward at press conferences. At least Psaki was able to speak ex tempore and fluently defend the indefensible.
But hey, this one’s another diversity hire, and that’s what counts. In the first words out of her mouth, she proudly announced her genders, as if these are actually job-related. It’s disgusting the way they rub our faces in their virtuousness.
As usual, diversity of race and gender does not improve the outcome. (There never was any proof of this.)
Quite the contrary: competence suffers (as with Kacklin’ Kamala).
Find the words
Lack of competence results in bad decision-making, and when it comes to decision making and accountability, I always say, “Find the words.”
Where’s the hard linguistic evidence — memos, texts, emails, sworn statements and reports or audio records of conversations – that documents the origin of such spectacularly bad decisions as, to pick just one example, fleeing in humiliation from Afghanistan and leaving tens of billions of dollars of war stuff which will be used on us?
Someone decided that the US would abandon Afghanistan in the worst way, with President Puppet, even warned of this outcome, believing to the end (or saying that he believed) that the mighty 300,000-strong Afghan army would hold off the Taliban.
Similarly, where are the words that set the following bad ideas in motion? Who first thought of…
– closing down domestic fossil fuel production to force people to buy electric cars (and wrecking the economy in the process);
– opening the border to people from 150 countries…and to disease, crime, and sex and drug trafficking; the cartels now effectively control our southern border;
– clandestinely flying illegal immigrants into the interior of the country and dropping them off (why not at the VP’s residence?);
– giving illegal immigrants $450,000;
– establishing an obscenely un-American Disinformation Board;
– targeting as “domestic terrorists” parents who object to their children being indoctrinated with race and gender propaganda?
Bad decisions: From Biden’s delusional mind? Or from those of the puppeteers?
I don’t recall Sleepy Joe running on these, and I can’t imagine who would vote for them.
Yet here they are.
Bad decisions start with words.
Somebody created the words that were the origins of these decisions. Was it the puppeteers? Or was it the cognitively challenged commander-in-chief, making foreign policy on the fly by talking about American military support for Taiwan?
The phrase “walk back,” as well as references to “cleanup on Aisle 7,” are becoming a daily occurrence. Lack of unity of message is a sign of an organization in disarray.
Biden rhetorical summary
There are a few rhetorical devices that Biden owns, and none of them are good:
– the creepy whispering;
– the ineffably clumsy efforts at sincerity (he can “taste” the citizens’ frustration);
– the rambling, senseless, fabricated reminiscences with which he eats up time and bores his audience; many have been repeatedly proved false, but Joe doesn’t care: truth is what his brain tells him it is (and that situation is not good for the country);
– his go-to “C’mon, man” response that’s supposed to show that he’s way ahead of you (whereas in fact he has nothing to say);
– the snarky “what a stupid question” grin that shows he has no answer;
– the irritating repetitiveness of “Here’s the deal” (right before he’s going to attempt to utter a coherent thought) and “That’s no joke” (as if this man’s outrageous pronouncements could be taken as attempts at humor).
His idea of impassioned oratory is to shout his banalities and platitudes. Even when he was supposedly “in his prime,” this was the case.
And as his dementia progresses, we increasingly see displays of anger, verbal tactlessness, and ineptitude.
Who can forget “If you can’t figure out whether to vote for me or Trump, you ain’t black”? Joe, you’re President, not King: don’t insult the people who pay your salary.
Or “We choose truth over facts”? What does that even mean? I am gravely concerned about a leader who doesn’t care what words mean.
Not a Borat movie
It would be laughable if this were another Borat movie about a feckless, clueless, brainless, easily-programmed President who does everything wrong, has to be guided by a flunky in an Easter Bunny costume (one of the film’s great moments), can’t remember where he is, and indignantly insists he’s done everything right, even as the country careens downhill.
If the reality of the situation weren’t so perilous, it would be funny.
Consider the dangers facing a nation adrift with no guidance except the random decisions of whoever is pulling the President’s strings.
WHO is running the country?
No one is specifically or identifiably responsible for the policies and acts of “the Biden Administration.” They just happen. No one will ever be fired or admit wrong. Note how impersonal language is used, as it so often is in politics, to cloak responsibility.
Enthusiasm and leadership
Even worse from a PR standpoint, it is a Presidency that generates no enthusiasm whatsoever. A recent town hall in New Hampshire, with two members of Congress also present, drew only 75 people.
Eisenhower managed to be inarticulate and popular (though he wasn’t as inarticulate as he let on).
Think about it: Have you ever seen a Biden (not to mention Biden-Harris) T-shirt or baseball cap?
And in a free country, there can be no leadership without enthusiasm.
Musk is right.
Biden is tethered to his TelePrompTer. Has he ever reviewed a script beforehand and said, “No, I disagree. I shouldn’t say that” or “I would rather say it like this” (as executive clients have said to me)? I would bet on “no.”
Real, unelected people (Obama staffers? Susan Rice? Ron Klain, whom a Harper’s article describes as “prime minister”?) are writing those scripts and making important policy decisions. We have a right to know who they are.
- …to the geniuses who coined “ultra-MAGA”: you’ve just given the opposition what sports teams call “bulletin board” material. Nobody’s insulted by it. In fact, it’s a label that’s borne proudly.
And it violates one of the fundamental principles of branding: DON’T use the competition’s brand in your brand name. In business, it’s a trademark violation…or, in the present case, an utter failure of originality.
Naturally, President Puppet didn’t have the wit to realize any of the above: he just says what they tell him to say.