View Full Version : The Audience Is Listening

04-16-2011, 03:04 PM
There is always great intrigue in Barack Obama’s speeches. Not much heft, mind you, but substance is not the point. In this Chicago-style presidency, what is said is often less telling than who is invited to hear what is said. That’s where you find out who is in and who is out.

Count Rep. Paul Ryan among the outs. The GOP budget guru got a coveted invitation to hear the president outline his new vision for escaping the economic catastrophe wrought by his current vision. The speech was much anticipated, because it was Ryan’s own ambitious plan to slash trillions in spending that roused Obama from his customary crouch in the tall grass.

Ryan was reeled in by the suggestion that the invitation was an olive branch, a White House concession that he had grappled responsibly with a monstrous problem and that a gracious, cooperative presidential response was in order. But it was a setup. The Chicago mob strategically seated Ryan a few paces from the lectern, whence the don went Al Capone on him. The congressman was made into a prop, Exhibit A in a presidential tirade that mocked his plan and his party as scourges of the elderly, the destitute, and the chronically ill.

It wasn’t that way in Cairo in June 2009. That was when al-Azhar University — the font of Sunni theology and training ground for the virulently anti-American clerics who green-light jihadist terror — sponsored his eagerly awaited oration on U.S. relations with the Muslim world. As usual, the speech was specious: a whitewash of the legacy of Islamic savagery, the expurgation of violent injunctions from Islamic scripture, historical ignorance of the Jewish claim to Israel, and even the adoption of “resistance” as the euphemism for Palestinian terrorism — a touch that must have brought a smile to the faces of Hamas and the president’s pal Rashid Khalidi, the former PLO mouthpiece turned Columbia professor.