Thursday, December 10, 2009
Why Obama's Nobel speech was flat and uncompelling
By Byron York | 12/10/09 9:40 AM EST | Washington Examiner
. . . it was a speech Obama didn't want to make. It's odd when you start an address accepting a great honor by recognizing the painfully obvious fact that you don't deserve it. Many speeches begin with a note of false humility -- "I'd like to thank the Academy for this award, even though there were so many great performances this year" -- but rarely is the humility as appropriate as Obama's. In any event, the speech lacked a certain life because the president's heart did not seem in it.
But the bigger problem is that Obama doesn't actually know what he was talking about. At the highest levels of human achievement, we honor people who have done great things. When they speak, we know they have a deep knowledge of their subject. When Dwight Eisenhower talks about waging war, we listen. When Steve Jobs talks about the computer revolution, we listen. When Martin Luther King talks about civil rights, we listen. When Lech Walesa talks about standing up to communism, we listen. We listen to hear the deep knowledge that such experience gives a speaker.
Barack Obama hasn't done anything that would warrant our listening to his speech at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. It doesn't mean he doesn't know anything; if he gave a speech on, say, beating the Clintons at their own game, we would listen because he would have that kind of deep knowledge that brings real insight. But this? No.