The Tiger Woods recent televised confessional contained a revelation for me. There was nothing intriguing about the props, aside from the fact that his wife wasn't there. The content wasn't especially novel. The method of delivery wasn't anything new either. Mere days later, President Obama used the same format in his weekly internet address to flog his increasingly stale health care revamp. Now Obama didn't have an audience of potted plants like Woods, but perhaps he could have used Michelle to give him a big smoochie teary kiss, like Woods got from Mom. One might think, gosh, somebody loves this guy, so his health care plan can't be so bad. That, at least, would have spiced up yet another plodding dull Marxist/Leninist Health Care 101 lecture.
The thing that struck me is how the set piece speech is now almost worthless as a communication device on great issues. The heavy scripting has so reduced the information value, that it's no wonder most Americans have little interest or time to waste on these artifacts of the past. In a world on twitter, we only want the most important fact and it must be conveyed in the shortest possible form. Lies, dodges and evasions seem ever more blatant. Even a day later Obama could put no price tag on his increasingly costly boondoggle. A trillion? two trillion? The CBO cannot even venture a guess at the final cost of Obamacare.
With these speeches, airy generalities and verbose phrases begin to seem not dull, but offensive, as if someone is committing a crime. Interruption becomes a necessity. Joe Wilson may be pioneer in this sense. Some would say this exposes an obvious loss of civility and this probably is true, but should one be willing to be silent for such drivel? I guess the tactful path would be not even to bother showing up. If someone is going to, at best use you as a prop or at worst lie with your seeming approval, then absence is probably warranted.
The Republicans now face such a choice with the Obama Tax Increase Commission and the Health care negotiations. If they want to join Obama in the land of vague babble and lies, they can and may gain something from it, though what I cannot fathom. Whatever they decide, the obvious manipulated nature of these events means that like the set piece speech, the script has already been written. A beginning, middle and end has been drafted and the Republicans simply have to show up. Does anyone think the Republicans get the role of the good guys in this production?