Monday, August 15, 2011

Why President Obama Is Painful to Watch

If someone looked at your face while watching President Obama make a speech or hold a press conference, I’ll bet it would reflect pain and discomfort. Your facial expression might be described as a grimace. There are a number of reasons for that kind of reaction. It might not even matter whether you are liberal or conservative. There is much about Mr. Obama’s style and content that repels rather than attracts.

For example, the man is tiresomely repetitive. How many times has he used the terms “millionaires and billionaires,” “shared sacrifice,” and “corporate jet owners”? He gives new meaning to the term ad nauseam. Most of what he repeats wasn’t worth saying the first time. You’re left wondering, “Is that all you’ve got?”

Saying the same thing over and over makes you totally predictable and uninteresting. Mr. Obama has become tedious and boring.

How many times has he told us that creating jobs is going to be his number one priority? Has it ever happened? His “credibility gap” is growing wider than LBJ’s.

A particularly annoying aspect of Mr. Obama’s personality is that he has virtually no sense of humor. There are very good reasons why humor is categorized as a “sense.” Humor is akin to a sense of taste or sense of balance. Individuals vary widely in regard to these characteristics. Successful comedians have inherent and highly developed senses of what’s funny and what’s not. They are “naturals.” Of course, there are people on the other end of the spectrum, such as Mr. Obama.

It’s painful when people with no sense of humor attempt to be funny. Mr. Obama frequently makes lame attempts at being funny, and people in the room usually laugh, particularly members of the press. If you listen, however, what you hear is an uncomfortable, polite, and brief kind of laugh.

Mr. Obama makes use of awkward and unusual figures of speech. One glaring example that I’ve never figured out is the title of his second book, The Audacity of Hope. I realize it is a phrase he took from his mentor and long-time pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Wherever it came from, what in the world does it mean? It is typical of most of what Mr. Obama says. I suppose that it was meant to sound profound, but if you think about it, it’s anything but.

In the midst of the health care debate Mr. Obama said, “There’s something about August going into September where everybody in Washington get’s all wee-weed up. I don’t know what it is, but that’s what happens.” So far as anyone could determine, no one had ever used the term “all wee-weed up” previously. Later the White House explained that it meant wetting the bed. That still doesn’t make any sense. Let’s just say, the man is not a great communicator. Articulate he is not.

Recently in the debt limit negotiations Mr. Obama warned the Republicans, “don’t call my bluff.” That’s just weird. Anyone with half a brain knows that a basic requirement of a bluff is that you don’t let it be known that you’re bluffing. Admitting that you’re bluffing cancels its effect. If you admit that you’re bluffing, you are sure to be called on it.

Mr. Obama is often cloyingly folksy. One obvious example is his insincere and frequent use of the word “folks.” A similar lame attempt at sounding like a down-home good-old-boy is the dropping of the g in words like going, doing, etc. It just makes him sound phony. Mr. Obama is attempting to act a part, but he’s not a very good actor. Watching bad acting is no fun.

The odds are looking better all the time that Mr. Obama will be a one-term president. There’s a good chance we will only be burdened with his tiresome style for another eighteen months.

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Why President Obama Is Painful to Watch August 12, 2011

Ron Ross Ph.D. is a former economics professor and author of The Unbeatable Market. Ron resides in Arcata, California and is a founder of Premier Financial Group, a wealth management firm located in Eureka, California. He is a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma and can be reached at rossecon@gmail.com.

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