June 17, 2010

"Language Expert" Tries to Excuse Obama's Sub-Par Address

Paul J.J. Payack, president of Global Language Monitor, says that Barack Obama's Oval office speech that was panned by virtually everyone didn't fail because it lacked substance, direction, or leadership, but because it sounded too "professorial" for us uneducated hicks:

President Obama's speech on the gulf oil disaster may have gone over the heads of many in his audience, according to an analysis of the 18-minute talk released Wednesday.

Tuesday night's speech from the Oval Office of the White House was written to a 9.8 grade level, said Paul J.J. Payack, president of Global Language Monitor. The Austin, Texas-based company analyzes and catalogues trends in word usage and word choice and their impact on culture.

Though the president used slightly less than four sentences per paragraph, his 19.8 words per sentence "added some difficulty for his target audience," Payack said.

He singled out this sentence from Obama as unfortunate: "That is why just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation's best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge -- a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation's secretary of energy."

I would have pointed out that the real problem in that sentence was that President Obama appointed a physicist to handle a problem best addressed by geologists, but then, I'm not looking to excuse the President's abysmal performance in this disaster.

[Of course, you dimwits won't understand that sentence, either. It has a grade level of 11 on Flesch-Kincaid and uses 41 words, which is far more complex than the President's speech that us public folks just can't understand.]

Posted by Confederate Yankee at June 17, 2010 10:17 AM

We need to get politicians out of government. They are the same as actors and news anchors. Worse, they mostly come from the attorney pool. Attorneys don't know nearly everything, but think they can. In geology or physics or any real science this is not the case. That also includes climate. (Gore had ONE science course. There is no justice in the world.) Having majored in both engineering and physics, I can say engineering is more difficult. He should have used a petroleum engineer in the case of the oil spill. Oh well. Our politicians, like our citizens, are largely ignorant. I guess the USA got what it deserved.

Posted by: Odins Acolyte at June 17, 2010 10:53 AM

I don't think Payack is trying to excuse Obama's speech. He's panning it, just like everyone else. Communicating clearly with the American people is a necessary skill for any president, and Payack is saying that Obama failed to do that.

Posted by: Sundog at June 17, 2010 10:55 AM


Except for the reason that Payack was attempting to pan the speech on the basis of its presentation, not its content, you might be right. But the nation understood the speech with little problem, they just didn't like it. In other words, content was the issue not presentation.

Very typical of the academic left when faced with their obvious shortcomings: call the citizens ignorant rubes unable to understand the content when what is really being said is that the content is wrong/offensive/counter-productive.

Posted by: iconoclast at June 17, 2010 11:03 AM

Obama needed to (and needs to) assemble a team of cross disciplines: drilling experts, geologists, hydrologists, structural engineers, metallurgists, machinists, demolition experts, etc.

Put them together and figure out how to "plug the damn hole."

Posted by: mockmook at June 17, 2010 11:37 AM

I guess having an MD prevented me from appreciating the crap his was dishing out.

Posted by: David at June 17, 2010 12:21 PM

The TOTUS is in morning ...

Among the seven countries surveyed with substantial Muslim populations, the U.S. was seen favorably by just 17 percent in Egypt, Turkey and Pakistan and 21 percent in Jordan. The U.S.'s positive rating was 52 percent in Lebanon, 59 percent in Indonesia and 81 percent in Nigeria, where Muslims comprise about half the population.

None of those figures was an improvement from last year. There were slight dips in Jordan and in Indonesia, where Obama spent several years growing up. Egypt saw a 10-point drop, even though Obama gave a widely promoted June 2009 speech in Cairo aimed at reaching out to the Muslim world.Et tu, AP

Posted by: Neo at June 17, 2010 12:59 PM

Every day I wake up and hope that today is the day that our president presents his thoughts is a way that can be understood by all the people. Then after citizens sees the light, he can get to healing this nation from the horrible damage done by the Constitution, capitalism, people making their own decisions, and of course that horrible horrible George W. Bush.

Why doesn't he??? Does he need better writers? Does he need more practice making speeches? It is a mystery.

Posted by: John at June 17, 2010 12:59 PM

I didn't even hear his speech but I understood it really well.

Posted by: mytralman at June 17, 2010 02:11 PM

This is always - always! - presented as the reason whenever Democrats' speeches and programs and policies fall flat. It is invariably because they overestimated the intelligence of the electorate and failed to dumb down the message enough to be grasped in flyover country.

Well, that and Republican fear mongering.

It never occurs to them that people reject them because they understand them.

Posted by: Steve Skubinna at June 17, 2010 02:23 PM

Steve Skubinna ... What's destroying the Democratic brand right now is the grown-ups out here understand them too dam well. They wear their "I'm smarter and more special than you are" glasses every time they look at the rest of us, and it fatally hinders their understanding of us, and of the problems they've made for us. I swear if I see one more photo of Obama squatting on the sand in Louisiana picking up tarballs I shall indeed barf. Even Hugo Chavez, who is hardly the brightest dictator out there, is too smart to appear in public squatting anywhere. Doing anything. It's just not Presidential.

Stand up, for God's sakes, Barry. And leave the solution of this crisis to the Petroleum engineers, not to theoretical physicists like Mr. Chu. He's no help at all.

Marianne Matthews

Posted by: Marianne Matthews at June 17, 2010 05:05 PM

That pissed me off. Written to a 9.8 level !! And they're still worried that it was too stratospheric for most viewer/listeners (rats, I used a 13 letter word; sorry morons). I was enjoying my evening. Now I'm not. It must be Bush's fault.

Posted by: Robert17 at June 17, 2010 08:38 PM

I wonder if Red Adair had a PhD or a Nobel prize? Whatever he had he sure as hell could tame the wildest oil well. We need some hairy balled oil men to turn this thing around. I heard today from the ex-president of Shell oil and he said that explosives would be the last option.

Posted by: inspectorudy at June 21, 2010 10:55 PM