Uhhh… “Demosthenes”!

A sent me the following, with email subject line: “Demosthenes”.

[wp_youtube]ue_WQcFJd8U[/wp_youtube]

Look.  Any public speakers can have off moments are resort to vocal pauses and fillers.  But I am weary of hearing people talk about what a great orator he is.

He is NOT a great orator.

Without a teleprompter, he is one of the worst speakers I have ever heard.  His odd speech quirks, once you identify them (e.g., final unvoiced consonants) will make you run from the room.

His reputation as an orator is undeserved.  It always was.  It is now.  It will in the future be wholly undeserved.

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73 Responses to Uhhh… “Demosthenes”!

  1. Sissy says:

    It’s interesting to contrast his off-teleprompter forays during his presidency with examples from the past, like the speech at Hampton University in 2006, for instance. In the latter speech, he departed from his prepared remarks in a lengthy, divisive, class-warfare rant, and yet there were no disfluencies at all. I conclude that when he is speaking from the heart, saying what he really believes, he is able to speak without the disfluencies we see here. When he is prevaricating and trying to cover up his real agenda, this is the result. As Mark Twain said “If you don’t lie, you don’t have to remember anything.”

  2. Angie Mcs says:

    I have heard many things about our President but being a great orator is not one of them. In fact, it’s become an accepted fact ( among his supporters) and a joke ( among his nonsupporters) that he is a lost without his TelePrompTer. In the early days during the first campaign, he used to alternate between looking left, then right, then left, then right etc., as if he were watching a tennis or ping pong game. He did correct that, which was relatively easy, but never grew any further as a speaker after that. He also has a habit of dropping thenlast word of his sentences down a tone and clipping them ( which I believe you mentioned) . Another lack is that he cannot adjust his tone to fit the subject: whether he is talking about something very serious or something more routine, it’s always the same. He is very monotone, unless he is in front of an audience like Rev. Wright’s, where Obama knows how to manipulate people quite well. It’s all another indication of his arrogance and lack of interest in connecting with most of the American people. Have you seen the video where he introduces every leader of a smaller nation as a ” close ally” who ” uh…punch above their weight”? He’s not interested in them either. Harvard? It boggles the mind.

  3. chcrix says:

    Most people are not great (or even mediocre) orators. The easiest way to leave an impression is to have some really solid ideas. Consider Eisenhower’s farewell address. Eisenhower was never much of a speaker. But his address was notable and cogent in 1961, and even more today. Content rules.

  4. FloridaJoan says:

    Since he was elected President I’ve considered him ” The Emperor has no clothes ” ! My opinion has not changed.

  5. Matt R says:

    I saw ‘Demosthenes’ and thought you posted about ‘Ender’s Game’ for a minute. Sigh.
    Obama’s tone also makes it easier for him to get around the questions and babble-with few people pointing it out-about pretty much anything.
    I don’t even think Democrats can argue that Reagan was the most effective speaker we’ve had in the White House during the last 50 years. Also, his more famous speeches are fantastic from a rhetorical point of view. I wish more speechwriters would study the techniques used by Reagan and Ike, and those are just the two American presidents that come to mind…

  6. The younger George Bush was a horrible speaker. When my clock radio came on with the news and a clip of him was on, I turned clicked the radio off because I was so mortified by his miserable delivery and incompetent statements of his postion. And, of course, the Democrats used this to humiliate him and us.

    What matters is the content. Please, let’s argue Mr. Obama into the ground, but the “needs teleprompter” and “count the uhms and ahs” etc. is simply imitating the stupid, off-point, ridicule of the opposition.

    Why have we been reduced to the false, shameful, off-point, cheap shorts of the Democrats?

  7. JKnott says:

    I agree Father “He is NOT a great orator.”
    All the adulation is mystifying.
    The GOP did a comparison of his 2008 speeches to 2012. Identical. Word for word. Was this man, who came out of nowhere, programed?

  8. robtbrown says:

    Fr. Augustine Thompson O.P. says:

    Why have we been reduced to the false, shameful, off-point, cheap shorts of the Democrats?

    It seems to be inevitable in Presidential politics. IMHO, it’s mostly because the Dems always have to marbelize their candidates (He’s soooooo intelligent) and portray the opponent as either stupid or evil.

  9. robtbrown says:

    chcrix says:

    Most people are not great (or even mediocre) orators. The easiest way to leave an impression is to have some really solid ideas. Consider Eisenhower’s farewell address. Eisenhower was never much of a speaker. But his address was notable and cogent in 1961, and even more today. Content rules.

    A few months ago C-SPAN showed a speech by Ike. I was surprised how informative and conversational it was, unlike the manipulative scattering of sound bites that seem to define almost every contemporary political speech.

  10. Bea says:

    Too..uhhhh….funny…..for…..uhhhhh. words..

    Now people are complaining that the debate wasn’t fair because he wasn’t allowed a teleprompter.

    Who volunteers to make a a bumper sticker that reads

    VOTE FOR THE TELEPROMPTER

  11. amfortas says:

    So you’ll be voting Democrat this year Father?

  12. Mark Nel says:

    There is only one person worse than Obama in the area of public speaking. Its Hilary Clinton. The first thing one learns about public speaking is not to say um. She couldn’t string two words together without um!

  13. PA mom says:

    I think the trouble is with reprocessing his message for a main stream audience. Because his campaign involves delivering specialized messages, often including “I will give you X…”, and many of those messages are competing giveaways, it must be difficult to find what still works cross spectrum.
    Example, the war on women stuff does not play on most women sensible enough to know that it’s made up. The same sex marriage stuff works for his contributors, but not the black pastors. The class envy stuff hasn’t been playing well here in the suburbs, but probably goes well in the city. The “black rage” stuff might work with some African Americans, but won’t work on white Independant voters.
    Summary, since most of his ideas involve TAKING stuff from someone to give to SOMEONE ELSE, the person who realizes they are targeted for the taking will be less inclined to support him. The key is to keep that part very quiet, which renders him nearly pointless. Not that he didn’t manage to keep talking anyway.

  14. Scott W. says:

    While the content of the speeches are important, that doesn’t make criticizing the content a cheap shot because A). People in the tank for Obama opened this door with fawning and empty inflation of his oratory skill, so it’s fair game to challenge these assertions and B). A leader’s natural bearing is an important consideration, so it is acceptable to discern what a man is like when he separated from the official scripted belchings of the Cathedral (see: http://www.corrupt.org/columns/martin_regnen/condensed_moldbuggery).

  15. Ed the Roman says:

    When an opponent’s allies continually talk up his oration as a strong point, it is not petty to refute them.

  16. Random Friar says:

    I wonder how much of this relates to the news, and how the “sound bite” is king. It’s harder to have a long, flowing discourse, when you need a lot of “zingers,” etc.

  17. Kathleen10 says:

    What makes someone a “great orator” is both form and function. Content should always be the most critical aspect of oration, but now that our world is dumbed down to a sufficiently low point, form has taken it’s place. No president will ever be elected that isn’t “easy on the eyes”. I predict it will never happen again, because image is all. Mitt Romney’s good looks don’t hurt him. Abe would never had had a chance in today’s culture. It would take an extreme situation to balance this out.
    I can’t hold Obama’s tendency to drop the final consonant from words. That is a dialect of the black community, and speaking personally, if I am with my family and close friends, we use it ourselves. If it’s just part of your origins, it’s how you articulate when you are having fun or very relaxed. You wouldn’t use it in an interview, it’s not Standard American English. But it has it’s place in culture. It’s called “Code Switching” and many use it quite often. I know we do, but we are a family of mostly white folks who grew up exposed to black folks.
    In my opinion Obama was considered a great orator in a racist kind of way, most often by white folks. I prickle when I hear white people say of black people they are “articulate” the same way I feel when black women are called “sassy”, which is all the time! (watch how many times you see that in print) I mean, what does that mean?? Sassy is what we call little kids.
    What they meant by calling Obama a great speaker is, he talked like a white man. He’s half white, and he can adopt the manner of white men when he speaks, which, anyone can do if they want to. It is the language of formal society, the business language.
    One may love the content, every word that comes out of the man’s mouth too, but that’s different.

    I have not been able to listen to Obama speak for more than three minutes on any topic. For me, he delivers neither form, nor function. I have a visceral reaction to him, and have from minute one. It feels spiritual. It comes from deep within. I won’t say the man is evil, but his actions and words are at times evil. I believe he represents something very dark. I don’t care for him, his wife, and their behavior, not for anything they represent, their practices, their “faith”, their votes, their causes, and their responses to American needs. I believe he is frankly, a personal hand puppet to some entity or group of, behind the scenes, very powerful people, who handle him and basically tell him what to say. No senator of four months time is qualified to be leader of the free world. How on God’s green earth did this poser ever get in?? Good question, but the better one is, will the American people see through him, finally, and make sure he is properly voted out? I believe our entire country and future hinges on that question. I believe he is no friend to the United States.
    May God help us in our dire times.

  18. frjim4321 says:

    The younger George Bush was a horrible speaker . . . what matters is the content. Please, let’s argue Mr. Obama into the ground, but the “needs teleprompter” and “count the uhms and ahs” etc. is simply imitating the stupid, off-point, ridicule of the opposition.

    Indeed! Junior was perhaps the worst presidential speaker of one hundred years or more. Quite an embarrassment. It is hypocritical for a repubican to criticize the uhms and ahs of a former U of C professor when their last offering had entire books written on his verbal clumsiness.

    I think an irrational hatred of Obama has cause some here to lose their objectivity.

    Robert Brown – you are right. Ike’s speech one of the most important in 100 years!

    “… we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex…”

    Yet the “pro-life” challenger wants to add $2 trillion to the defense budget. Sounds like +Propocki has no problem voting for bombs.

  19. Clinton says:

    Frjim4321, I believe you miss the point– the younger President Bush never had pretensions
    of being a great orator, and he certainly was not handed a reputation as one by an unthinking
    and sycophantic press. Unlike this president.

  20. Angie Mcs says:

    Kathleen 10: I feel as you do, and have the same visceral reaction, although mine developed over time. The thoughts you continue to describe in your post have also often entered my mind. This is not something I am comfortable about, considering he is my president.( I have said in an earlier post that I always respected the decision of the American people after an election, even if I had not voted for the person who won.) Perhaps others here feel this means we are unable to see clearly or that we are being irrational or disrespectful. But these are not cheap shots- They are expressions of extreme discomfort and fear. In the long run, his speaking abilities are not as vital as the man he is, and like you, I also believe he is no friend of the the United States. Will people see this, or will our “dumbed down” world continue to be comfortable with what this man has to offer them?

    Lastly, I join you in asking for God’s help.

  21. Gregg the Obscure says:

    BHO’s oratorical skills are greater than his respect of human dignity, his tolerance for those who differ from his political views, his critical thinking, his diplomatic ability, his leadership of his own party’s congressional delegation, his judgment in picking senior advisers and his commitment to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. That being said, he likely would not have passed the speech class I took as a college freshman.

  22. mibethda says:

    Yes, a Demosthenes – but a Demosthenes standing on the seashore with his mouth full of pebbles as he tried to learn to orate.

  23. Southern Catholic says:

    Indeed! Junior was perhaps the worst presidential speaker of one hundred years or more. Quite an embarrassment.

    Obama has proved that he is just as bad, especially with his body language and his use of his hands during the the debate.

    Yet the “pro-life” challenger wants to add $2 trillion to the defense budget. Sounds like +Propocki has no problem voting for bombs.

    Increasing the defense spending actually decreases the “actual” civilian death rates. Defense spending decreases terrorism and thus the actual death rate of Americans and civilians abroad.

  24. wmeyer says:

    It is hypocritical for a repubican to criticize the uhms and ahs of a former U of C professor when their last offering had entire books written on his verbal clumsiness.

    frjim4321, you rarely disappoint. It would be hypocritical for a Republican to criticize O’s speaking if, and only if he had lauded that of W. And the mention of his role as a professor (the term seems to be very loosely used at UofC) has no apparent value in this connection, unless you are suggesting that professors at UofC are usually at a loss for words?

  25. wmeyer says:

    Kathleen10, perhaps your reaction comes from his smug and condescending demeanor? He so very clearly feels that no one is quite up to his level that he exudes a very off-putting image.

  26. SKAY says:

    ” I think an irrational hatred of Obama has cause some here to lose their objectivity”
    It’s his IDIOLOGY frjim.

    “He so very clearly feels that no one is quite up to his level that he exudes a very off-putting image.”
    Exactly wmeyer. Considering his record, his attitude is obnoxious.

    Kathleen10 -the last paragraph of your comment also describes my feelings. Obama and the Democrats are big fans of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals and it is obvious in the tactics that they use. It is not about the truth.

    Socialist/atheist Soros must have begun to worry that his guy might not win. Of course he has his money involved with many other leftist groups in order to support and move forward his agenda.

    “10:28 p.m. | Updated The billionaire George Soros is committing $1 million to Priorities USA Action, the “super PAC” supporting President Obama, two people with knowledge of the matter said Thursday, a significant donation that could help spur more contributions in the closing weeks of the election campaign.

    A longtime political adviser to Mr. Soros, Michael Vachon, announced the donation at a luncheon Thursday hosted by the Democracy Alliance, said the two people, who were present. The alliance is a group of liberal donors who have already invested heavily in building grass-roots organizations and research institutes.”

  27. frjim4321 says:

    George Soros is committing $1 million to Priorities USA Action, the “super PAC” supporting President Obama, two people with knowledge of the matter said Thursday, a significant donation that could help spur more contributions in the closing weeks of the election campaign.

    There are wealthy donor on both sides. Look at all the out-of-state money pouring into republican senate campaigns 10-to-1.

    He so very clearly feels that no one is quite up to his level that he exudes a very off-putting image.

    Entirely subjective and note supported by any evidence.

  28. frjim4321 says:

    note = not

  29. AnAmericanMother says:

    frjim,
    indeed, you never disappoint.
    I’m going to take you to task on just one point, because it is a matter of which I have personal knowledge.
    Obama was never a “U of C professor”. He was an “adjunct instructor”, which is quite another thing.
    Basically, these are (usually young) law school graduates who (for resume enhancement or just to help out the alma mater) teach a section of a one- or two- hour elective course. Usually, it’s something basic like research and writing for 1Ls, although I once had a Trusts and Estates class that was taught by an adjunct who was an older law firm partner. I served as an adjunct for 6 years for my law school, for a small honorarium and a line or two in the old resume, also because I admired the director of the adjunct program, who was a scholar and a gentleman.
    But an adjunct position is not a professorship, it is not tenured, and it does not suggest that the adjunct is a great (or even lesser) legal light or has any particular qualifications. What’s worse, Obama wasn’t even a graduate of the school, and he got the position through political pressure from an alumnus donor (thus taking the slot away from some poor but honest actual UofC graduate who needed the work).
    The fact that Obama or his cheerleaders tout this as a professorship is just embarrassing, but people like you believe it so I guess it’s having the desired effect.

  30. frjim4321 says:

    I will take your word for it for the time being since my info came from an as-yet unconfirmed source.

    Personally I agree that if he was not a professor that title should not be applied to him. Just as I feel that people with honorary doctorates should not flaunt the title “doctor,” as does one of the afternoon talking heads on EWTN.

    It often works out poorly for people who embellish their resumes.

  31. Clinton says:

    “Senator Obama has often referred to himself as a ‘constitutional law professor’ out on the
    campaign trail. He never held any such title. And I think anyone, if you ask anyone in academia
    the distinction between a professor who has tenure and an instructor that (sic) does not, you’ll
    find that there is… you’ll get quite an emotional response.” — Phil Singer of the Hillary
    Clinton presidential campaign, 27 March 2008.

  32. wmeyer says:

    U of C issued a formal statement about Obama’s service there. They did not specifically declare either way on the title “professor”, but used weasel words which would allow the reader to infer that O was functionally a prof. Disingenuous, at best.

  33. Traductora says:

    Sissy comments in the first post that there were no disfluencies in his Hampton College speech, and this is true. On the other hand, he was speaking with an accent and rhythm that are not his and which he has obviously learned and internalized. So this indicates that it was really a role more than anything else, but it’s obviously a role that he wishes he actually occupied.

    Obama is a failure with no personality, but he’s also a sociopath who has always wanted to be a really cool black nationalist with a vaguely Third World tinge – or even a member of the Third World with a vaguely black American tinge – just like the figures adored by his mentor Bill Ayers. Those people would be Franz Fanon, Jean Genet, an assortment of Black Panthers, and probably the Mau Mau, the African equivalent of Charles Manson’s tribe.

    Obama’s entire life is a fantasy. The question is what he will do when it collapses, as is happening right now before our very eyes.

  34. JKnott says:

    I have been pondering the validity of Obama’s Oath of Office if he wins re-election. He has not been shy about, “making it very clear” in words and actions that he doesn’t agree with and actually opposes what the Constitution and Bill of Rights stands for. Everyone knows it. Reducing our Navy to it’s 1916 level and Army to its 1940s level does not exactly fit in with the oath either.
    The thought of him placing his hand on a bible and taking an oath to uphold our Constitutional Republic is horrifying. Almost like a kid crossing his fingers behind his back only with far greater consequences.
    I wish someone would have the courage to directly ask him, “Mr. President, given the facts that you have ………….. since you have been in office, can you affirm with all honesty that you will uphold your oath if re-elected?”

  35. robtbrown says:

    FrJim4321 says,

    Robert Brown – you are right. Ike’s speech one of the most important in 100 years!

    “… we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex…”

    The farewell address that contained the anti M-I complex warning was important, but why would you think I was referring to it, esp. since someone had already mentioned it?

    Yet the “pro-life” challenger wants to add $2 trillion to the defense budget. Sounds like +Propocki has no problem voting for bombs.

    I’m not familiar with the specifics of his proposal, but I do know there are several components of military spending, among which are:

    Research for weapons systems exploiting the latest technology (nb: Military research produced the Internet)
    Troop levels
    Geo political strategy (cheaper to emphasize the Pacific than Europe and the ME)
    Replacement of obsolete hardware and that used in the ME.

  36. New Sister says:

    It’s so irritating to hear him speak I only listen when necessary. e.g., why can’t he pronounce “to” properly? He instead says “tuh” or draws it out “tuhhh” — drives me nuts.

  37. Sissy says:

    “Junior was perhaps the worst presidential speaker of one hundred years or more. ”

    I was not aware that we had recordings of presidential speeches going back “one hundred years or more”. ; ) At any rate, George W. Bush suffered from consistent difficulties in speech on all occasions. For years, I’ve been of the opinion that he suffered from a form of learning disability (similar to dyslexia) that made public speech unusually difficult for him. I think if he had admitted to this disability early one, he would have spared himself a lot of ridicule. It’s not very nice to make fun of people who suffer from defects over which they have no control, is it?

    Obama, on the other hand, does not exhibit consistent speech defects. He is quite capable of fluent speech when the topic and audience are suited to his purpose. When he is talking about his true beliefs and philosophy, he speaks without the annoying disfluencies that have been noted in this post. My conclusion is that he only exhibits this type of halting, stuttering, belabored speech pattern when he is trying to obfuscate and deceive. You can see him self-censoring, as he works to express bland platitudes that hide his true positions. In other words, when he lies, he sounds like an idiot.

  38. Kathleen10 says:

    Fr. Jim, you used one of the canards of the Left when responding to the observations of the Right. It’s “an irrational hatred” of President Obama that makes people feel the way they do about him. It’s funny because I felt the same way about the treatment President Bush always received from the media and liberals. Talk about hate! The man couldn’t say good morning without somebody mocking him terribly. It was painful to watch. I remember one day, the president was on the White House Lawn, waving to some media people nearby. They ignored him, refused to just wave back. It was cruel, and needlessly so. Bullies. Bullies on talk shows, late night shows, news programs, everywhere, just mocking, mocking. No president was treated so hatefully as George Bush.
    Yet, as much of a negative response as Obama gives me, George W. gave me the polar opposite reaction. He was, is, my favorite president, ever. He saw us through 9/11, and I’ll always be grateful. In fact, about three months before 9/11, I wrote an email to George W., and said that I had a sincere feeling he would play a very unique role as president, his presidency was going to be something very different. It was, but not the way I would have preferred.
    There is some spiritual aspect at work in regards to presidents these days. I have happily voted in every presidential election since I was 18. I never felt the way I have since the last two. This upcoming one feels most urgent and critical. Good historians can inform us if there ever really was a more obvious difference between two presidents, with so many important issues of the day ready for the next president to take on. I can’t imagine two more polar opposite candidates. I can’t understand, not a bit, how any Catholic, any Christian, can imagine voting for President Obama to serve another term. But to Obama supporters, I guess they feel the same way about Romney. We seem on different planets.

  39. robtbrown says:

    Thomas Jefferson is said to have been a terrible public speaker. And he could send the state of the union address to Congress to be read by someone else.

  40. SKAY says:

    “There are wealthy donor on both sides. Look at all the out-of-state money pouring into republican senate campaigns 10-to-1″

    It is not the money frjim–George Soros is not a friend of this country or it’s Constitution. It’s about who he thinks will push his agenda. He is also not a friend of the Catholic Church.

  41. SKAY says:

    http://www.catholiccitizens.org/news/contentview.asp?c=54275
    Pro Abortion Catholics misleading others for votes. I would love to know where these groups get their funding.

  42. AnAmericanMother says:

    Kathleen,
    I agree.
    The flip side of the media adulation and worship of Obama was the absolutely hateful way they treated G.W. Bush.
    It went beyond just bullying — remember the movie about his assassination? remember the CNN graphic that superimposed a scope reticle and the legend “SNIPERS WANTED” over Bush’s picture in a news story? Remember the calls by Code Pink and others for him to be killed, which the media reported without negative comment?
    Way too many people in the media actually wanted the man dead.
    Irrational hatred, indeed.
    I don’t hate Obama — in a way I feel sorry for him — but the danger he poses to our Church, to the country, and to the Constitution is too great to be ignored.

  43. wmeyer says:

    AAM, the dual standard in the media is beyond irrational. That these people refer to themselves as journalists is a travesty.

    I do not hate Obama, nor do I feel particularly sorry for him. But I do hate what he has done, and even more, what he hopes to do to our country.

  44. AnAmericanMother says:

    frjim,
    Amy Vanderbilt, Emily Post and Miss Manners agree that the only people who should be using the title “doctor” in a general social sense are M.D.s. Period. In your academic area it’s certainly acceptable (i.e. our Music Director has a D.M.A. and when he’s doing musical stuff he’s “Dr.” – but never socially.)
    I don’t hold an honorary doctorate, I hold an actual, earned J.D. But I would never even think of calling myself or insisting that others call me “doctor” – and never, ever a professor just because I taught a few courses for six years.
    Incidentally, the initial law degree used to be an LL.B., they changed it some time in the late 60s or early 70s. I believe the Commonwealth countries still grant the LL.B. Our law school offered to exchange my dad’s LL.B. degree (class of ’49) for a J.D. diploma, but dad said no thanks, he’d hang on to the one he had. He doesn’t have any other degree — he fast-talked the law school into accepting him without an undergraduate degree after WWII . (Uncle Sam drafted him out of The Citadel’s sophomore class). But then, dad could sell walk-in freezers to Eskimos.

  45. AnAmericanMother says:

    wmeyer,
    My boss makes fun of me for feeling sorry for convicted felons.
    But I do. That doesn’t mean that they were wrongfully convicted, or that they don’t have to serve their time. But I still feel sorry for them because they have made such a mess of their lives and hurt so many people along the way. And it’s all so unnecessary.
    That’s the way I feel about Obama. He was dealt a bad hand in life, but there were numerous points along the way where he could have chosen to do the right thing. But he seems to have always chosen not so much to do the wrong thing, as to do the easy thing. And that’s a shame.

  46. wmeyer says:

    AAM, Obama’s determination to make the choices he has, whatever his motivation, is indeed a shame. And he may have been dealt a bad hand, but if we are to believe his press, the man is highly intelligent, and I can find little excuse for his failure to correct his world view. God gives us free will, and nudges us with grace, in the direction we should go, but it is up to us whether we respond in the correct way.

  47. Giuseppe says:

    Wmeyer mentioned the word ‘smug’, which does seem to fit many of President Obama’s comments. For those with a taste for the ribald, there is an epidsode of South Park which mocks smugness, in which Prius owners, San Francisco liberals, and George Clooney are the main butts of the joke. It’s called ‘Smug Alert!’ (Season 10) and it is a superb takedown of narcissism, veiled in cruel language, but far less offensive than most episodes. FYI, episodes are freely available on the Comedy Central website.

  48. Sissy says:

    AAM, I know how you feel. While I detest what Obama is doing to our country and our Constitution, I did feel sorry for him during the debate. He stood there, hanging his head, scuffing the toe of his shoe over and over, like a naughty boy being disciplined by his father. I wondered, what does this man, abandoned twice by father figures, feel standing in the presence of a man who has raised five sons with such loving care and attention? It must have been painful for him, and I did feel pity for the wounded soul inside that man-child.

  49. Sissy says:

    “Amy Vanderbilt, Emily Post and Miss Manners agree that the only people who should be using the title “doctor” in a general social sense are M.D.s. ”

    wmeyer, may I offer a slight clarification on your comment. The title “doctor” before the name is properly used socially only for medical doctors. However, that included dentists, veterinarians, and osteopaths, who are also “medical doctors”. The term “M.D.” typically refers to physicians, another variety of medical doctor. You and AAM are quite right that PhDs , DDs, JDs, and other academics with a doctoral degree are not addressed as “Doctor” unless in the classroom Even then, it’s a little precious. All the decent academics I knew when I was teaching thought that their colleagues who used Dr. outside the classroom were narcissistic social climbers. Which describes Obama pretty well.

  50. wmeyer says:

    Sissy, while I welcome your replies, the quoted text is from AAM. That said, I would add that in my years spent in Canada, I found that many schools generally reserved “professor” to those with more than one doctorate. The public statement form UC was clearly intended to allow for Obama to claim the title, though he was not given it, and was not offered tenure.

  51. Banjo pickin girl says:

    AAM, in the US you would put “Esquire” after your name! Or is that “Esquiress?” I get confused, ha ha. I often get an accidental honorary doctorate and remind people, no, this is just a banjo, and I am just a banjo pickin girl.

  52. The Masked Chicken says:

    Amy Vanderbilt, Emily Post and Miss Manners agree that the only people who should be using the title “doctor” in a general social sense are M.D.s. Period. In your academic area it’s certainly acceptable (i.e. our Music Director has a D.M.A. and when he’s doing musical stuff he’s “Dr.” – but never socially.)

    That seems to be the common wisdom if one looks at the degrees, historically. The word, “Doctor,” is associated with the idea of a docent or “knowledgeable one,” and it was common for medical doctors in the Medieval period to earn the tile by teaching in medical schools. It was a term of honor used, similarly, in theological and jurisprudential studies, where the masters degree student (a Master) could obtain the doctorate by teaching. The original idea for the MD, by the way, comes from the Moslem schools (about 820 A. D.) and was imported to the West in the early Medieval period. Originally, only medicine, theology, and law (including Canon Law) admitted the distinction of the doctorate. All other disciplines admitted the title of, “Master,” as the terminal degree. The Ph.D was first used in the early 1800’s in German and referred to those who had completed not only the prescribed course work to become a Master, but, in addition, contributed original research to man’s store of knowledge. It did not depend on teaching.

    That being said, I think that the Etiquette Trio, above, have not thought deeply on the issue. I submit that a Ph.D physicist has to not only be knowledgeable, but also capable of doing original research, something an MD in the United States (it varies from country to country) does not have to do (if they want to do research, they can, but it is not, strictly speaking, required, or they can get a joint MD/Ph.D). Most MDs do not teach in a medical school, so, in a sense, they have, strictly speaking, not earned the right to be called Doctors of Medicine under the original rules, only Masters of Medicine, which was a valid title in Medieval Europe. So, if the Etiquette Trio want to be exact, only some medical people should be called MDs or doctors under the old rules. Modern rules admit a broader interpretation of what it means to be knowledgeable and certainly the ability to do genuine original research is at least as much a contribution to the Academy as teaching in a medical school, although teaching in a medical school benefits society as a whole, more, and, as such might admit of more recognition by the general society, since as the book of Sirach puts it (Chapter 38):

    38 Give doctors the honor they deserve, for the Lord gave them their work to do.[a] 2 Their skill came from the Most High, and kings reward them for it. 3 Their knowledge gives them a position of importance, and powerful people hold them in high regard.
    4 The Lord created medicines from the earth, and a sensible person will not hesitate to use them. 5 Didn’t a tree once make bitter water fit to drink, so that the Lord’s power[b] might be known? 6 He gave medical knowledge to human beings, so that we would praise him for the miracles he performs. 7-8 The druggist mixes these medicines, and the doctor will use them to cure diseases and ease pain. There is no end to the activities of the Lord, who gives health to the people of the world.
    9 My child, when you get sick, don’t ignore it. Pray to the Lord, and he will make you well. 10 Confess all your sins and determine that in the future you will live a righteous life. 11 Offer incense and a grain offering, as fine as you can afford.[c] 12 Then call the doctor—for the Lord created him—and keep him at your side; you need him. 13 There are times when you have to depend on his skill. 14 The doctor’s prayer is that the Lord will make him able to ease his patients’ pain and make them well again. 15 As for the person who sins against his Creator, he deserves to be sick.

    Still, the “D” in MD or Ph.D, while both referring to the idea of the docent, one originally did it via teaching, the other via scholarship. These are related, but not overlapping ideas. In the modern use (and who said the ancient use is any better?) of the word docent, the title, “Doctor,” should be equivalent to someone who is especially knowledgeable in some area of learning. I see nothing wrong, in that regard, to awarding a doctorate in carpentry, for instance and, certainly, some honorary doctorates are earned – who would refuse Beverly Sills an honorary doctorate in music?. Simply put, there were few teachers in the Medieval period, so the use of the word, “Doctor,” as a qualifier meant something special. For it to mean something special, today, one must look at a different qualification, since, in principle, at least until a few years ago, one could pass the Bar exam without setting foot in a classroom. We will soon have AI (artificial intelligence) systems capable of substituting for some of the simpler aspects of medical pedagogy and even diagnosis. It would be absurd to call these machines, “Doctor.”

    That being said, some adjunct instructors deserve to be called professors and some do not. The current academic employment landscape in the U.S. is terrible – most colleges are shifting to adjunct faculty so they don’t have to pay benefits. Tenure track positions will probably be gone in 50 years. Some people are gifted teachers but poor researchers; some are the reverse. They are, however, both making significant contributions to the Academy. I submit, however, that a professor (someone who professes knowledge to another) of law or any other subject who mocks the very thing he is teaching (did not Obama have serious problems with the Constitution and he is a Constitutionsl lawyer?) has no right to be called, “Professor,” or “Doctor,” because their teaching is not sincere.

    Whether or not Obama is a good orator is besides the point. Good oratory does not mean true oratory. Satan is a good orator. The question is whether or not what Obama professes is reasonable, true, and moral, no matter how muddled the presentation. I submit that if he were to speak clearly, simply, and truthfully on the issues, he would lose the presidency, since the moral deficits of his opinions would become clear, but he might find his true calling, whatever that might be. That might be a blessing for all.

    The Chicken

  53. Sissy says:

    The Masked Chicken said: “Whether or not Obama is a good orator is besides the point. Good oratory does not mean true oratory. Satan is a good orator. The question is whether or not what Obama professes is reasonable, true, and moral, no matter how muddled the presentation. I submit that if he were to speak clearly, simply, and truthfully on the issues, he would lose the presidency.”

    Bingo. That’s why he stumbles, umms and eerrrs, and tortures every sentence….he isn’t expressing what he truly believes. He is miraculously able to speak without these flaws when he is spouting off to an exclusively leftist audience. It’s only when he is trying to hide his real agenda that he comes across so poorly.

  54. Sissy says:

    wmeyer: Sorry! So many great comments, I got mixed-up. We’re all in agreement: Obama never was a professor, and he has no business passing himself off as one. It’s just one more fraud he has perpetrated on a gullible and adoring press.

  55. wmeyer says:

    Sissy, no worries. But I disagree in one particular: I don’t think O perpetrated a fraud on the press–he merely tossed them a candy they were all to eager to share.

  56. Sissy says:

    “I don’t think O perpetrated a fraud on the press–he merely tossed them a candy they were all to eager to share.”
    wmeyer, I wonder about that. I thought they knew it was all a big show but they were promoting him because they are all on the same team. But the complete breakdown of the tv personalities after the debate made me wonder if they had really believed that he was something special. They genuinely seemed shocked and upset to realize their little god has feet of clay.

  57. wmeyer says:

    Sissy, I think that is a much delayed case of buyer’s remorse. All this time, they have been utterly convinced that attacks on O were groundless. Faced with his complete failure in the debate was, I think, an emperor found naked moment. At long last, some of the delusions have perhaps been shattered.

  58. Sissy says:

    wmeyer, I think you are right about the buyer’s remorse. If the light has finally penetrated even the leftist-media minds, maybe the long-hoped-for preference cascade is about to roll across the country. I pray continually that the Lord will removed this evil king and save us from his tyranny.

  59. wmeyer says:

    I pray continually that the Lord will removed this evil king and save us from his tyranny.

    Not quite the phrase I use. ;) A king at least comes by his position through heredity. This guy is a tyrant, and not all that skilled, either.

  60. Sissy says:

    wmeyer, I was using “evil king” ironically, in the sense that the Bible says the Lord sometimes uses an evil king to chasten His people. I don’t regard him as a genuine monarch; usurper, maybe! Although he certain “rules” as though he thinks he is a king. I suspect he would not refuse a crown, if offered.

  61. wmeyer says:

    Sissy, I got it, but hate to in any way obscure the reality of our current plight. I do think that if he were to get a 2nd term, he would then go after the 22nd amendment. And if he could not get it repealed, I really fear there would be no election in 2016.

  62. Sissy says:

    wmeyer, I quite agree. If he’s re-elected, it will be the last election for a while. I’m fearful of what would happen. But, things are looking up for the cause of freedom. I see that the polling companies are beginning to bring their polls into alignment with reality so as not to be exposed as frauds.And encouraging new updated analysis out of the University of Colorado – Boulder that confidently predicts a Romney win by a significant margin.
    http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2012/10/04/updated-election-forecasting-model-still-points-romney-win-university

  63. Giuseppe says:

    Sissy and Wmeyer,

    You both always make good points, but when you proceed with Obama as king and dictator and going after the 22nd Amendment, you sound like you are off your meds. Hillary Clinton will happily succed him when he leaves in 2016. He’s tired. He’s not staying around forever.

    Really, you sound as conspiratorial as the NY Democrats did when they said after 9/11 that Guiliani would try to cancel the mayoral elections and seize control as mayor. He didn’t. We had an election, Bloomberg was elected, and the crazies sounded crazy.

    Obama will have a Supreme Court with Deval Patrick and Jennifer Granholm taking the place of Scalia and Kennedy. There is no need to seize power. Hillary Clinton will be wildly popular and win in a landslide in 2016 against Christ Christie, who suffers a massive heart attack during his first debate (proving to doubters that he actually has a heart). His VP nominee, Marco Rubio, tries to assume leadership, but Christie berates him from his hospital bed and suffers a minor stroke. Rubio moves to have Christie removed, but several cast members of Jersey Shore make Rubio an offer he cannot refuse (a reality TV show). The Republican ticket is replaced by Huckabee/Palin, neither of whom refuse to give up their TV shows. Clinton/Tester win in a landslide.

    You know how crazy that sounds? That’s how Obama seizing a 3rd term sounds to rational minds.

  64. Sissy says:

    Giuseppe said: “You sound like you are off your meds…… You know how crazy that sounds?”

    Tell that to the Venezuelans. You don’t read history, I take it? Or any of Obama’s own statements about his plans for the future? Wmeyer and I weren’t speculating. We are both simply better informed than you about Obama’s own claims regarding his intentions for this country. You might want to heed Elie Wiesel’s advice: “When a man tells you he plans to kill you, you should believe him”. I’m not suggesting Obama has threatened to kill anyone (although his close friend Bill Ayers has), but he has threatened to transform this country into a socialist state complete with a civilian “army” to enforce his edicts. I suggest you should believe him, just to be on the safe side. You are clearly not well-read, but you do have a interesting flair with compliments. So there’s that.

  65. AnAmericanMother says:

    Giuseppe,
    A good friend of my parents was living in Austria right before the Anschluss.
    He said that at the time the “sophisticated people” didn’t believe that the Nazis were dangerous. They found out otherwise – the friend and one brother were the only members of their extended family to survive the camps.
    And it was all right there in Mein Kampf for anybody to read if they wanted to.

  66. LisaP. says:

    I’m always amazed at how very intelligent people of many backgrounds and viewpoints can be stuck in thinking that their lifetime and their place is “normal” and it would take an upheaval to make things go any differently than how they have always seen things.

    It’s not just that the 1940s were not very long ago — the 1860s were not very long ago. The 1770s were not very long ago. The 500s were not very long ago. And it’s not that Cuba is not very far away, China is not very far away. I have run into so many, many pshaw’s and “it can’t happen here”s and “it can’t happen now, now that we are so modern”s.

    Maybe reason will stand on its head and, for example, the drop of time and square inch of space where individual free expression of religion has been respected (because in no other time or place in a globe and in 4000+ years of human history has it been just so) will extend out perpetually and automatically. As they say, good luck with that.

  67. AnAmericanMother says:

    Or, to avoid the reductio ad hitlerum:

    “Most times a man’ll tell you his bad intentions, if you listen and let yourself hear.”—Open Range

  68. wmeyer says:

    “Most times a man’ll tell you his bad intentions, if you listen and let yourself hear.”—Open Range

    And in 2008, I heard very clearly what O hoped to do. I still do not comprehend how so very many did not.

  69. The Masked Chicken says:

    When someone asks you for your view of the upcoming election, I can name that response in three letters, Tom…

    O, No!

    The Chicken

  70. Sissy says:

    ““Most times a man’ll tell you his bad intentions, if you listen and let yourself hear.”—Open Range

    “And in 2008, I heard very clearly what O hoped to do. I still do not comprehend how so very many did not.”

    With apologies to Giuseppe, I think most people who didn’t see it were willfully blind. They don’t see because they don’t want to see. It’s so much more comfortable to ignore reality and pretend that things will always be peaceful and safe and nice. They are whistling past the graveyard. Besides, HOPE! and Change!! YES WE CAN! What I really find hard to understand is how many STILL don’t see it.

  71. wmeyer says:

    I think most people who didn’t see it were willfully blind.

    Agreed.

    What I really find hard to understand is how many STILL don’t see it.

    Since the debate, there seem to be many more who see something is off, at least. There are many making excuses for O’s poor performance, but at least they acknowledge the reality that he lost. I pray that in the remaining debates, Romney (and Ryan) will be well prepared, and that Obama (and Biden) will not be up to the challenge. In the case of Biden, of course, history is on our side.

    However, so long as no one corrects the ignorance of the electorate with regard to economics, and the widespread belief in deficit spending is allowed to go unchallenged, then those ignorant voters are and will be easily swayed.

  72. Sissy says:

    “However, so long as no one corrects the ignorance of the electorate with regard to economics, and the widespread belief in deficit spending is allowed to go unchallenged, then those ignorant voters are and will be easily swayed.”

    You’re right, of course. The fault lies with our public educational system; it has been laboratory in socialist propaganda for decades. An ignorant, complacent populace is precisely what gave us Obama in the first place. But, I am hopeful. I think the 1st debate produced the first big wave in the preference cascade. Suddenly, many who were blind sat up and took notice that O is not what the media claims.

  73. LisaP. says:

    I have come to believe that folks who still back Obama do so for one of two reasons:

    1. They don’t understand or care about politics, economics, defense, etc. at all — they are unwilling or unable to see the gravity of the situation or that this election has anything at all to do with real life. They live in a virtual world, and they like Obama the way they pick an American Idol winner.

    2. They either consciously or subconsciously realize they are reliant upon Obama and his club for their place in the economy and in the social structure. This applies directly to those in high positions that depend on federal cronyism — e.g. cabinet posts or GE executive positions. But it also applies to the guy who makes his living as a lawyer specializing in pharmaceutical regulation, or the guy who is close to retirement from his job at the DMV or as a high school principal or in the social services office. It’s not the poor that rely on Obama staying in office to maintain their lifestyle on food stamps, it’s the extensive public sector that knows that if the nation shifts and starts wanting every government level leaner they may lose a raise, lose a job, and lose some of the respect they now enjoy. I know that the person who says, “I’ve got my MA in social work” right now has a lot of social clout in some high circles. If the high circles shift, that will not get him invited to parties.