Worse than empty

President abandons reality to shovel out political ambiguity

There are lots of political “fact checkers” out there.

Maybe we need a “substance checker” now.

President Obama’s acceptance speech Thursday night was long on soaring rhetoric and desperately short on leadership and ideas.

“One of the emptiest speeches I have ever heard on a national stage,” concluded conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer.

“It was stale and empty. He’s out of juice,” writes Peggy Noonan, respected speechwriter for President Reagan, whom Obama is often compared to.

“Let’s be blunt,” adds liberal commentator Michael Tomasky. “Barack Obama gave a dull and pedestrian speech tonight, with nary an interesting thematic device, policy detail, or even one turn of phrase.”

Certainly Mr. Obama had the sympathetic crowd at fever pitch with his oratory. And never before have you seen more heaping helpings of tasty socialism wrapped deliciously in strips of red, white and blue.

But, borrowing from a past presidential campaign, we’d ask: Where’s the beef?

“I didn’t like the lack of specifics at all,” Tomasky writes. “Nothing in this speech was developed, nothing given hard thought, nothing that built to a great moment.”

“There was nothing in it,” Krauthammer said. “This is a man who believes that government can and should do a lot. There is nothing in here that tells us how he’s going to go from today to tomorrow. For any of the so-called goals, and what government is going to do, what is he going to enact? ... I have a vision of an America where there is no disease and everybody has a private airplane, but unless I tell you how we get there, I’ve said nothing.”

Moreover, Mr. Obama’s platitudes were so general and unsupported by strategy or tactic that even his opponents might agree with him on many of them.

Nowhere was Mr. Obama’s vacuousness more in evidence than in this paragraph:

“If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape; that new energy can power our future; that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers; if you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules, then I need you to vote this November.”

The problem, besides the triteness, is the complete ambiguity. How will all this be done? Beware slogans and salesmen that promise their product will deliver “more” – but never quite say how, or even more of what. More than the competition? More than before? It’s empty selling. Television’s “ShamWow” guy gives you more substance.

Who, except for Mr. Obama’s own Democratic fringe, isn’t for energy, manufacturing, education, a fair shot, doing your fair share and playing by the rules? The question is, will his agenda – whatever it is – get us there?

What has he done, or will he do, to increase manufacturing? He bet billions of your money on solar panel maker Solyndra and other Democrat-connected startups that have since failed.

He’s blocked a new pipeline, and oil production is down on federal land. He won’t get involved in Syria, but he’s declared war on American coal.

Playing by the same rules? His administration has unilaterally granted waivers to at least 1,200 entities, many of them unions, releasing them from abiding by the hefty regulations of the Affordable Care Act – while the rest of us must follow the law.

Doing your fair share? This president attacks those paying 70 percent of federal taxes, while nearly 50 percent of Americans pay none at all. Meanwhile, virtually nothing is asked of public aid recipients, and few incentives exist to wean them off.

As for getting a fair shot, as one observer noted, this is an African-American with a Muslim-sounding name and early Muslim background who was elected to the nation’s highest office while we do battle with radical Muslims. We’d say that’s a pretty fair shot.

The president’s rhetoric was worse than empty. It was contrary to reality.

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