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Today’s opinion pick: A Contrarian Musing on Obama’s State of the Union, 2010

Posted on the January 28th, 2010

In my  mailbox this morning from A Contrarian Musing:

Whatever one liked or disliked about President Obama at the end of his campaign for election to the Presidency, you will like or dislike about his State of the Union speech last night.  The message was, for the most part, just onward we go.

As to whether or not he won any wobblers back, any new support, or shoved others away, well, I doubt it.  All he did was just re-affirm, just reaffirmed his determination to move on down the road he advocated in his election campaign, for those who listened carefully back then.

The President made it clear that he is pressing on with his agenda, that he is sticking to his guns, so to speak, that he is not changing directions from what he campaigned on for election in the first place, within the boundaries of “politics as the art of the possible.”  He is not deterred, just all the more focused.

It is important, in all of this, to take note that Obama is not a lefty — but not quite the standard moderate either — and neither of these things can be said across-the-board of his staff and closest political confidants. What Obama is, to put it in common terms, is a do-gooder who is willing to use whatever tools, right or left, within the confines of Constitutional principles and American middle class humanitarian values, that will get the job done of doing good.  I would call this a levelheaded, good-hearted man of historical insight, humanitarian energy, and moral and practical determination to make the world a better place, in a workmanship-like way.

The interesting thing — aside from the specific policies he spoke in support of — is the tonality and staging of the speech. In the beginning, Obama assumed a regular guy manner, purposefully speaking in the vernacular, just a good guy from the neighborhood, putting on no superior airs, who has come to give a little, plain enough talk.

Then, here and there, he entered the professorial mode, the intellectual mode, the CEO mode — something the middle class and the SES elites think of as their true, lifestyle demeanor (the “in charge” class). Then he moved on toward the conventional, political speech style.

But it was in the end that he came to himself, to his true self, I believe.  The tonality in the last segment of Obama’s State of the Union speech is singularly fascinating, for it had none of the performance intent in it.  It was somberly intense. It was quiet, and it was from the heart of hearts of the man, so to speak. It was almost a private conversation moment. One could have heard a pin drop in the House chamber as he did this part of his speech, this was a ministerial moment of the true believer.

It was Obama at his most passionate, for (and this is so ironic), his most genuine passion is a deep and quiet passion. This was his personal passion, and it is so much different than his performance passion. If you want to better understand the passionate Obama, listen to the tonality of this part of his speech.  Here is a man being true to himself.

Watch State of the Union 2010 speech here.

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