The president’s address to Congress was frank and to the point
President Obama delivered a fine, workmanlike, address to the joint session of Congress last night. Watching him speak is to see a craftsman in command of the tools of his trade. These are, as Ted Sorensen remarked at the recent Ragan Speechwriters Conference, “just words”—the stock in trade of a president, as they are of any speaker.
His words covered a lot of ground.
He unveiled details of his economic agenda; his plans for energy, health care, education; and defense, Medicare and Social Security. It was, beginning to end, a necessary inventory of his administration’s ambitious agenda.
While not technically a State of the Union address, it suffers the same risk of sounding like a shopping list. Obama’s speech was rescued from this fate more by the structure of his argument than by his rhetorical technique.
Obama’s professorial background was apparent.
Since he started governing and stopped campaigning, Obama has kept much of his rhetorical powder dry. You sense there’s a lot in reserve. But instead of appealing to our emotions, he builds a bond with the audience and presents a logical argument.
And what’s wrong with that?