This is what happens when Obama ventures outside his Potemkin bubble of sycophants:
President Barack Obama faced a tough crowd on Tuesday – American military veterans – and fell flat on his applause lines as he failed to win over the American Legion’s convention-goers.
His 35-minute speech seemed to have reminded the audience of the stark divide between the White House’s policy choices and the feelings of the men and women often called on to carry them out.
A Virginia legionnaire who served in the U.S. Marine Corps told MailOnline that ‘a small group of Obama’s admirers – and there are some here – sat near the front and tried to generate applause for him about 10 times.’
‘They didn’t get much pickup,’ the retired lieutenant colonel said of the ‘instigators’ gathered at the Charlotte, North Carolina event, but ‘they were persistent. You could tell when the applause was genuine and when it wasn’t. It was obvious to everyone here.’
Most of the veterans sat on their hands, leaving awkward silences where White House speechwriters expected ovations.
‘Some of these guys – well, most of them – remember that Obama sent Biden to speak to us last year in Houston, and blew us off entirely during his 2012 campaign.’
That year, the president sent a 3-minute video message instead of coming to Indianapolis. Mitt Romney, his Republican rival, flew 1,000 miles to speak in person.
The veteran asked MailOnline to conceal his identity. ‘I don’t need that kind of trouble,’ he said. ‘I work for a government contractor.’
After the customary introductions and thank-yous to dignitaries, Obama spoke for nearly eight full minutes on Tuesday without a single clap.
He touted his foreign policy bona fides, boasting that ‘even countries that criticize us – when the chips are down and they need help, they know who to call. They call us. That’s what American leadership looks like.’
‘Sustaining our leadership, keeping America strong and secure, means we have to use our power wisely,’ Obama cautioned, in keeping with his slow approach to battling ISIS and other terror groups overseas.
‘History teaches us of the dangers of overreaching and spreading ourselves too thin, and trying to go it alone without international support, or rushing into military adventures without thinking through the consequences.’
If I was one of the White House spin doctors I would probably point out that the American Legion is older, whiter and more conservative than average, and it is a male-dominated organization. I’m surprised that Obama didn’t just blow them off completely.
Poor Barry, he has never done well outside of his comfort zone. Without of crowd of people cheering and chanting his name he seems lost and confused.
Yesterday’s speech was a far cry from this:
Obama’s finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don’t even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. The other great leaders I’ve heard guide us towards a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves, to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal, and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence.
That was Ezra Klein back on January 4th, 2008. I never saw what Ezra saw.
Apparently, neither did the American Legion.