BARACK OBAMA: Undoubtedly, one of the best public speakers ever (especially from a prepared script).
Last night our president delivered his first official state of the union address: he was brilliant. Years from now speech instructors will be playing tapes of his speeches for their students; in fact; it’s probably happening already on many college campuses. Years from now books will be written compiling many of his speeches; some given even before he became one of the most historic of all our presidents. From here on in Barack Obama will be the standard by which great speakers are measured. He is undoubtedly one of the best public speakers ever (especially from a prepared script).
A funny thing happened on the way to the presidency though that bears noting. It was when he appeared before the congressional black caucus (at his request) to inform them that he was contemplating a run for the presidency. A significant number of black electeds thought the idea laughable. This is a fact. More than a few of them actually laughed at him and his idea. I mean that literally. Many others scoffed and others still were quite dismissive. They all know who they are.
It wasn’t a good meeting for Barack at all. And in case you are wondering about my sources, let me put it this way: they were in the room when it all took place. That was the extent to which Bill and Hilary Clinton had locked up the support of most of the members of that caucus. Barack Obama had to overcome this to achieve his victory in the presidential primaries. How quickly do we forget!
And you often wonder why I think too many of our black electeds aren’t crap: they couldn’t recognize history coming down the turnpike at 200 miles an hour. They couldn’t recognize class and quality wrapped in a slim seventy-four-inch frame.
Barack Obama is the total package: tall, slim, handsome and pleasing to the eye of near every woman on this planet. Educated, poised, thoughtful and charismatic, he brings to every major speaking event a presence unmatched in contemporary American politics. He has rock star qualities. He is akin to a Hollywood megastar. And remember, we live in a period when most ordinary folk despise politicians. He is more popular than his poll numbers folks; especially among all minorities. In time I will prove this AGAIN.
Look; whenever he delivers his prepared public speeches, his inflections, pacing, mannerisms, incantations, style and substance are all elements at his command. He is impeccable in the way he is always attentive to his audience. His ability to be tuned-in and sensitive to said group is something desirable of any good speaker. He has pitch control, and skillfully plays with voice-range. He reflects a person who is serious about his speechmaking. He is as polished a public speaker as any out there. He is a very classy speechmaker. No doubt.
When you discuss his speechmaking with learned people, you come away with differing offerings as to his strengths. Words like elocution, enunciation, diction, articulation and such, all creep into the conversation. Some people simply like his word choices. They claim that he isn’t one who uses “big” words to impress intellectual snobs (shucks/lol). And that his speeches can be understood by the common man/woman, as easily as by those highly intellectual, and others who are pretentious. This is some feat: being able to reach all types people with your speeches -over and again- is quite remarkable in fact.
Many who voted for him last year, point to the speeches he made against the Iraq War as what influenced their choice. Others talk about the brilliant keynote speech he gave at the 2004 Dems convention. Others still, point to the speech on race that he gave in Philadelphia, in response to the Rev. Wright brouhaha. Many who attended the 2008 Dem convention were blown away by his acceptance speech. When you combine them all, you can surely catch my drift.
Upon all this Barack Obama also possesses a sharp wit -albeit wry sometimes- which he employs with impeccable timing. His speech-making repertoire is lengthy and wide. He is obviously a very talented mulatto. He has a pleasant demeanor and a calm disposition that is quite reassuring during tense and troubling times. He has a soothing influence on contentious situations. He has the potential to be a great president: if only he can be more persuasive with the electeds in Congress, and with an impatient public at large.
Back in the day I used to think that Mario Cuomo was one of the greatest political public speakers I ever heard. I also like Ted Kennedy’s speech-making abilities a lot; likewise Alan Keyes. And who could forget Malcolm X, Frederick Douglas, Abe Lincoln and Martin Luther King. Look, there are many names I could put on this list. I think Michael Eric Dyson is one of the quickest thinkers in contemporary politics. I like Cornel West’s style. I like Chuck Hagel’s substance. I could go on. I just think that Barack has such a classy way of handling his presentations that you have to admire him. I also know that he isn’t half as good when speaking extemporaneously as he is when using he teleprompter, but even so he is still a pretty good a debater as well. And his off the cuff presentations are of high quality when compared to what poses as public speaking lately.
While, watching him last night, race never came to mind; and that was good. He transcended race somewhat. And I know black people like to take him as their own, but in reality his education wasn’t from a black background/perspective/source(s). His overall development was more within the white culture than the black one, and this goes to show that education -if unadulterated- can also transcend race and all the pitfalls attached.
Some of Obama’s detractors suggest that he is a conceited pol who believes that he is the best thing since slice bread; well, time will tell. Others hate his “too cool” demeanor; they deem him to be arrogant. Again, time will tell; but, if you are one of the best public speakers to arrive on the political scene in ages, I think you could be allowed a modicum of ego gratification as he displays sometimes (often privately, and infrequently in public -on the sly).
Whenever an audience leaves a public-speaking event satisfied that it has been edified on the issues at hand, then the speechmaker should be commended. When an audience is satisfied that it was an educative event, then they walk away feeling better informed. This can only help elevate the level of political discourse in the polity. Partisanship aside, Barack Obama has done just that. He needs to be commended.
Stay tuned-in folks. Hopefully, republicans would stop being obstructionists (while democrats all over the country would eventually grow some balls).
Post new comment