by: Alana Goodman
Friday, July 20, 2012
The myth of Obama's rhetorical genius

President Obama delivers his “you didn’t build that” campaign speech on July 13 in Roanoke, Va. Photo Credit:AP/Don Peterson

Checking for context before slamming someone for a single line in a speech is always a noble endeavor. But there’s a point when the “benefit of the doubt” becomes ridiculous. A prime example is the liberal argument that President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” comment [in his recent Roanoke, Va., speech] wasn’t directed at businesses. …

To believe that Obama was talking about businesses, you only have to watch his speech in context and take it at its literal meaning. To believe Obama was talking about something else, you have to divine certain messages from his ambiguous body language, assume he mixed up his demonstrative pronouns, and concede that the context was structured oddly. Even then, it isn’t clear what exactly he’s referring to. How could this be, considering he’s supposed to be one of the world’s most celebrated orators? The answer is, no teleprompter.

For the past four years, liberals have tried to sell us on the idea that Obama is one of the greatest speakers of all time. Now they’re complaining that conservatives are taking his words literally and not cutting him enough slack.

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