Slack Jawing

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The administration’s response to the current economic recession and the mainstream media’s coverage of the resulting statist schemes has degraded political rhetoric. During W. Bush’s two terms, vitriolic attacks on the president and lame defenses of him (often made through mouths stuffed with pork rinds) got really boring. The fiftieth or hundredth angry rant against the war in Iraq and W’s simian stupidity drew little interest; but at least the vitriol gave the boring subject an edge.

But now, mainstream political discussion involves a boring substance, combined with lazy rhetoric. The president, despite his reputation for eloquence, is part of this degradation. His world view seems confined by a hacky, local party pol’s descriptive powers. On his first trip to Europe, he posed for the cameras more often than he spoke. And maybe that was for the best.

Listen to him talk. Jobs are always for “teachers and cops.” Commerce always involves public works projects. The man has no sense of the private sector. Yet he presumes to repair the woes of capital markets.

How can this man have fallen, rhetorically, so fast? Maybe he never stood so tall in the first place. Or maybe sanctimonious statists are sharp in opposition, dull in power.

Think back to the popular 1970s sitcom “All in the Family” and Archie Bunker’s leftwing son-in-law, whom he called Meathead. The son-in-law was memorable when he was liv- ing in Archie’s basement and serving as his foil. As the show progressed and the son-in-law became the head of his own household, he lost his comedic edge. Maybe Barack Obama is the 21st-century’s Meathead.

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