September 9, 2011

Will good words lead to good action?

The gaping three hour time difference got the best of me yesterday and as I rushed home to try stream the President's speech, I managed to catch the very last of the applause when the speech was over. Too early to catch a full video recap, but to late to watch the speech, I resorted to reading it via transcript. 

Reading it rather than listening to Obama speak gave me an unusual perspective. Most times when I listen to the President, I'm caught up in the grandeur of the chamber and the weight of the tradition Presidential speeches from there hold. Not to mention, we have the most fantastically talented orator in the Oval Office since Kennedy. Regardless of whether you agree with his policies, it's hard to deny that our President is downright poetic when he speaks. 

The poetry and pomp and circumstance was missing from the transcript. Rather, I was reading only words while trying to imagine just how the President sounded. By reading the speech, I caught onto patterns and word usage. I keyed into cliches and could sense the parts of the speech that moved along quickly and the parts that demanded to be read slowly and deliberately.

The Politico transcript even had one of those speech graphs so I could see which words the president used most. The phrase that I kept noticing was "you need to pass this immediately." 

For the most part, I thought the speech lacked solid information about what exactly the President planned doing. Yes, he explained tax breaks and revamping the tax code so Mr. Buffet can finally pay in more than his cleaning lady. He promised the bill was paid for, but it's hard to imagine that a $450 billion package comes pre-paid. Then again, I'm no expert on the issue.

This morning, I sought out reaction from the speech and found this great little piece from The Christian Science Monitor. The article reviews news from Britain, France, and China, each of which had dramatically different interpretations of what the President's speech meant. Leave it to China to   extrapolate from an editorial, written by our VP Joe Biden,  that China will be the sole solution to make the US more prosperous. 

At any rate, I'd like to hope that the President's delivery was good enough to inspire a few companies to have faith that Congress can get this act passed, but I have my doubts. 

I must say though that I would give his speech writers a high-five if I saw them today, they can string words together that anyone can relate to, from long-term unemployed manufacturing workers to CEOs of midsize companies. That takes skill. Especially when the words still stand strong even when they're read by someone like me rather than our President.

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