At Monday\’s news conference the President painted a dire picture of the country\’s situation. While he did so, however, I kept thinking, wow, isn\’t it wonderful to hear such well-constructed, complete sentences, flowing one into the other, powered by the strength of a rational mind? And the voice, smooth and snicker-free—what a delight! And finally, at last, after eight long years, the word “nuclear” properly pronounced! (Why didn\’t Bush\’s advisers advise him that “nucular” is wrong and sounds awful? Were they afraid of him? Or did Bush think that he was The Decider in matters of language as well as policy?)
Finally, a President we don\’t have to be ashamed of when he steps to the podium and opens his mouth!
That said, I have a tiny grammatical bone to pick with Obama. Well, maybe not so tiny, because it bothers me a lot. He often uses “that” redundantly, as in (not an exact quote), “I am afraid that, if we don\’t intervene in the economy, that we will have a catastrophe on our hands.” See what I mean? That second “that” sounds like a hiccup. It implies that the speaker, or the listener, has gotten lost in the subordinate clause, and can\’t click back to the main clause.
And one other little thing, but one that might get bigger if, as I hope, we are going to be listening to Obama for the next eight years. It\’s his habit of dragging out “and” with his voice, as in “…unemployment aaaaaand lack of consumer confidence…” He does it a lot.
I\’m not being petty here. I\’m just invested. I want him to be 150% perfect, so that everyone—Republicans, the Taliban, the entire Middle East—will love him and will make it possible for him to save the world.