For my sins, I have written 86 articles on the foreign policy of US President Barack Obama. Over time – much as a batter in baseball figures out an opposing pitcher by their last time up – I have divined the president’s rhetorical playbook. And trust me, it never changes.
This is an orator who is very good in a set piece environment that he controls – his regard for teleprompters is legendary – but he is far less good at speaking off the cuff. The president’s rhetorical pattern is truly set in stone.
As an admirer of Orwell, I have always been distrustful of the president’s approach, well aware that a multitude of sins can be hidden by such a rhetorical sleight of hand. In the longer run, confusing people merely angers them, and hard-won credibility is squandered…