CNN released an article today regarding Obama’s address to the nation on Tuesday night stating that it was too professional, complicated, and went over the average American’s head.
I, unfortunately, did not watch the speech on Tuesday night, so I decided to watch it today and see for myself if the findings of Global Language Monitor was indeed accurate.
After watching and listening to it a few times, I have a few things to add:
1. To say that this oil spill is unlike that of an earthquake or hurricane merely because of the fact that it will take us months or years to recover is completely inaccurate. The Gulf states are still recovering from Katrina, and that happened in 2005 (p.s. he mentions that the region still hasn’t recovered from Rita & Katrina 6 mins 30 secs into the speech)!! The earthquake in Haiti happened 6 months ago! And who knows how long that will take to recover and rebuild – especially with the conditions and limitations of the country. Sure this may not be a natural disaster, but that doesn’t give him the excuse to dismiss them.
2. Providing us the background and accolades of the people who are leading the efforts doesn’t really make me feel better. I’m glad that we have a Nobel Prize winner on our team and the fact that the clean up effort is being led by an Admiral with 40 years of experience. I honestly haven’t seen the government anywhere near the cleanup – all I’ve seen and heard on the news is that BP themselves are doing the cleanup. And did I hear correctly that the National Guard is now being released to assist with the cleanup effort? Did that JUST happen? Almost 2 months into the disaster?? Someone correct me if I’m wrong here. And seeing as how Obama JUST met with the BP executives – that’s a whole another bone I’ve gotta pick.
3. I started losing him after about 9 minutes into the speech… so I had to rewind a few times. Not cool.
4. I started to follow him again when he started on the clean energy efforts. Ok I’m with you on this Obama – but you need to do something to pass stricter regulations, rather than rely on consumers and small businesses to do everything. That will take eons to make a difference in this country. Not that I don’t have faith in the consumers and small businesses, but the auto industry only started pushing out hybrids and low and zero emission vehicles due to new regulations and standards. I’m just sayin’.
5. I’m not impressed. He set the bar really high with his victory speech in Chicago (click here to see that video), and I’m just not buying what he’s preaching in this speech. I agree with the Global Language folks that he’s not emotionally connecting with the American viewers. To quote a paragraph from the languagemonitor.com site:
The President’s first Oval Office address came in at a surprising high tenth-grade reading level, with some 13% passive constructions, the highest level measured in any major presidential address in this century. In political speaking, the passive voice is generally used to either deflect responsibility, or to have no particular ‘doer’ of an action.
I’m not feeling the warm and fuzzies from this. Yeah that pretty much sums it up.