On Tuesday Barack Obama will finally get the chance to say something memorable. This may seem like a curmudgeonly thing to say about a man who is widely hailed as one of the great orators of his age. But Mr Obama has perfected the art of sounding marvellous while saying very little.
I was in the stadium at the Democratic party convention when Mr Obama made his speech accepting the presidential nomination last August. It was spellbinding, moving, I shed a tear. But, strangely enough, I cannot remember a thing he said. It was the same when Mr Obama spoke in Berlin over the summer. Hundreds of thousands came and cheered. Few can recall a single phrase from the speech.
Obama amnesia is a fairly common condition. A quick poll of colleagues reveals that the only saying of the new president that has incontestably lodged in our collective brain is: “Yes we can.” A few others mentioned: “Change we can believe in.” There was broad agreement that Mr Obama had made an excellent and profound speech on race in America, although nobody could remember the precise details.
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