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Burt Prelutsky / Jan. 30, 2010

The Sorry State of the Union

I watched the State of the Union address and all I could think of was how lucky I was that I had never been elected to Congress. I lost count of how many times during the interminable hour and a half, I would have been shouting out, “You lie,” “Go back where you came from” and the rhetorical “Just how stupid do you think we are?”

I couldn’t even stomach that little staged routine where Michelle Obama stood up in the balcony after Barack credited her with something or other – perhaps causing the sun to rise in the east – and after standing up for the obligatory ovation, she did a little finger wave, suggesting that she really didn’t deserve such total adoration, and Barack, as if he were ad-libbing, said, “She’s so shy.” Just for the record, Michelle Obama is about as shy as a herd of rampaging elephants.

It occurred to me as I watched the various political oafs rising and sitting, rising and sitting, like members of a really boring aerobics class, that these annual events are the only time during the entire year when some of these nattering nabobs exercise anything but their jaws.

I fully realize that even some of my fellow conservatives keep insisting that Barack Obama is a great orator. It strikes me that, along with Hillary Clinton’s alleged brilliance, this is a case of something being repeated so often that large numbers of people finally come to believe it.

I suspect that some people will assume that I refuse to acknowledge Obama’s oratorical skills simply because I hate his radical agenda. That doesn’t happen to be the case. I know this because I am able to acknowledge that George Clooney, Ed Harris and Alec Baldwin, are good actors even though I am convinced they’ve got nothing between their ears but hot air and cotton candy.

I will acknowledge that Obama has an excellent speaking voice – mellow and with good timbre – but if that’s all it takes to be a great orator, he could be replaced by any number of radio announcers. And, for my part, it can’t happen soon enough.

There is, for me, an emotional disconnect between Obama and his words, and perhaps that’s because there is an emotional disconnect between the man and our nation. To me, he comes across with all the conviction of a disembodied voice, sort of like Disneyland’s Abe Lincoln. I mean, we all know that the president isn’t merely the head of the executive branch of our government, but is also a living symbol of the country. Many of us still recall with a certain amount of revulsion that even during the primary campaign, while sharing a stage with Sen. Clinton and others, he was the only person standing with his hands clasped in front of him during the playing of the National Anthem.

Over the past year, things haven’t improved. First there was his world tour, during which he gave speeches trashing America to the great delight of Arabs and Muslims. Then there was that series of bows, which were probably as embarrassing to those he bowed to as they were to the rest of us. Finally, as if his left-wing agenda and his vow to radically transform America weren’t bad enough, he was the first president in over a century not to attend the annual Army-Navy Football Game. He was the only president in memory not to attend a religious observance at Christmas, although to be fair, the Obamas did have a Christmas tree in the White House, complete with the traditional Mao Tse-Tung tree ornament. Finally, he was the first president to remain on vacation after a terrorist attack. In fact, he didn’t think that the attempt to blow up an airliner over Detroit was even worth commenting on for three entire days. Then, for good measure, he told Attorney General Eric Holder to treat the Islamic terrorist as a common criminal with every right to lawyer up, as if it had been his intention to knock over a 7/11.

While fighting to stay awake during his State of the Union speech, it occurred to me that for over a year now, Obama has been speaking and behaving like the leader of an occupying force. Which, the more I thought about it, is exactly who I think he is.

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