by William Teach | May 27, 2011 12:12 pm
No, really! So says The LA Times’ Meghan Daum
Apparently, a lot of people consider President Obama to be bumblingly inarticulate. “The guy can’t talk his way out of a paper bag!” a reader wrote to me recently. “Sarah Palin is a brilliant speaker. It’s the president whose sentences are undiagrammable,” said another in response to a column I wrote about Palin. It’s not just my readers, nor is it exclusively conservatives, who hold this view. A Google search of “does Obama have a speech impediment” turns up several pages of discussion among the president’s supporters and critics alike.Admittedly, the president is given to a lot of pauses, “uhs” and sputtering starts to his sentences. As polished as he often is before large crowds (where the adjective “soaring” is often applied to his speeches), his impromptu speaking frequently calls to mind a doctoral candidate delivering a wobbly dissertation defense.
But consider this: It’s not that Obama can’t speak clearly. It’s that he employs the intellectual stammer. Not to be confused with a stutter, which the president decidedly does not have, the intellectual stammer signals a brain that is moving so fast that the mouth can’t keep up. The stammer is commonly found among university professors, characters in Woody Allen movies and public thinkers of the sort that might appear on C-SPAN but not CNN. If you’re a member or a fan of that subset, chances are the president’s stammer doesn’t bother you; in fact, you might even love him for it (he sounds just like your grad school roommate, especially when he drank too much Scotch and attempted to expound on the Hegelian dialectic!).
See! It’s so easy. He’s so super-duper awesomely mega-brilliant that he can’t actualize an coherent sentence. Yeah, that’s it. That’s the ticket.
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