Rick Wagner Column September 18, 2008

Despite his claims and 'prompting,’ Barack Obama has produced little change

National community organizer Barack H. Obama paid a visit to our community on Monday and I think he had an impact. Several pencils on my desk seemed to be arranged in a more orderly fashion that afternoon and I put this down to the aura of community organization that undoubtedly followed him into the area.

Little else of consequence seemed to happen. Most of us thought it was nice that he paid a visit, but it would’ve been better if he had some idea where he was.

Mr. Obama’s advisers apparently led him to believe that we were a quite bucolic community and the crowd would consist mainly of women standing in homespun dresses and men chewing on bits of hay, hands thrust into the bib overalls they wore by way of fancy dress.

It has become quite clear by listening to his positions, that outside of the four important places in America: Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, everywhere else runs the gamut from bourgeois to backwater.

The speech was remarkable in one respect, as I noted his use of teleprompters in giving a stump speech, the bulk of which he certainly has given many times.

I’ve had the opportunity to see a couple of presidents and candidates for that office speak in such venues, and that was the first time I remember the device used in such a setting.

On Tuesday, I noted that I was not the only observer of that particular oddity as CNN’s Political Ticker commented that Obama had used a teleprompter at both of his Colorado stops. This was discussed in a short piece appropriately entitled “Obama’s teleprompter hits the trail.”

CNN pointed out he often uses the device, but seldom at standard campaign rallies. The cable news outlet said it made for “...  a particularly peculiar scene in Pueblo, where the prompter was set up in the middle of what is normally a rodeo ring.”

Anyone who has followed Mr. Obama’s career off the teleprompter has little trouble understanding his need for it.

As an example, while the quizzing of Sarah Palin in her interview with Professor Henry Higgins impersonator, Charlie Gibson, at ABC has been analyzed to the point of distraction, Bill O’Reilly’s similar non-scripted interview with Sen. Obama and his weak performance did not catch the same zing with the mainstream media.

This holds no real surprise, since the vast majority of the media seem to be so far in the tank for Mr. Obama’s candidacy they are on the verge of sprouting gills. His sputtering and pedantic answers to O’Reilly, fleshed out with long verbal passages using the clever rhetorical devices of “No, no, no” and “But, but, but” left little room for praise.

In that vein, I must confess to the feeling that the unusual touting of Mr. Obama’s supposed rhetorical style seems to have an odd air of condensation. It seems his admirers are saying that while he does not have much to say, he sure likes to talk about it.

The concern in Democrat circles that his candidacy is running out of gas is probably well founded. He has lost the early momentum of the empty mantra of change as the electorate increasingly becomes aware that he’s never made any.

He has never changed the Chicago political machine or challenged the Democratic controlled Congress of Sen. Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (despite an approval rating that makes George Bush look like he’s Elvis). When presented with his most important opportunity to show a commitment to change — namely his selection of a vice presidential candidate — he failed.

He chose a running mate who has been in Congress substantially longer than his opponent, who has never made an executive decision and has no leadership experience other than chairing a meeting.

This is change we can believe in. We can believe it will never happen.

Rick Wagner offers more thoughts on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong, which can be reached through the blogs entry at GJSentinel.com.


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