I thought I would give it a little time for the aftermath to roll in before I express a view on President Bush’s State of the Union speech. See what the reaction was in various quarters. My patience in responding did not alter my initial impression. At this historic and crucial moment, Bush had an opportunity to stir the nation with one of those unforgettable speeches. Prior to his delivery, I heard that speech echoing in my mind. He was bold, reassuring, and confident. His words both informed and inspired.
As it turned out, my imaginary speech was far better than the one he delivered. He stood at-bat with bases loaded. Grand slam anticipation was in the air. Instead, he hit an infield single … man out at home plate … no score. It is not just a matter of his painfully obvious lack of orator skill. He apparently is incapable even delivering a well crafted-speech with some pizzazz – and he seems never to have even that well-crafted speech.
Where was the Kennedy quote regarding our determination as a nation? “… we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet and hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” Those are the words that can rally a nation, and impose fear in any enemy.
Unfortunately, delivery carries content. Bush informed, but he did not persuade. He said, but he did not sell.
What saddened me most about his speech is that for all his forensic failure and public relations incompetence, I think the man is right. Unfortunately, the flame of truth was extinguished for lack of oratorical oxygen.