NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

July 27, 2013

Shribman: Politicians, heal thyselves

The other afternoon President Barack Obama gave what the White House described as a “major speech.” When political aides describe their boss’s forthcoming perorations as “major,” they almost always are speaking in hope rather than in reality. By employing the five-letter intensifier, they are saying to press and public: Please pay attention to this one.

This one, in truth, deserved some attention. The president is seeking to change the conversation, away from what he called “short-term thinking” and “the same old stale debates.” Six times he invoked the word “bargain,” suggesting that his new bargain was a riff off the New Deal.

White House aides did more than portray the president’s speech as major. They said it was the opening to a symphony in six movements -- my metaphor, not theirs, though they might have done well to describe it in that manner rather than the way they did, which was to say it was part of a campaign-style effort by the president.

That may have been a major (that word again) tactical mistake -- voters are turned off by a president on a campaign, particularly when he has just won re-election and especially when he’s in his second term and shouldn’t be running for anything.

But that wasn’t the only misstep. The White House also made it as clear as a July afternoon that there wouldn’t be much new in these speeches, no new political initiatives, no new economic proposals, which is not exactly the way to build anticipation, or an audience. The nation in its midsummer reverie was not shaken by its sunburned shoulders to come in from a softball game to listen to the president say not much new for the first of six occasions of not saying anything different.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans