Christopher Hitchens once observed that while there is almost universal agreement that Barack Obama is a memorable public speaker, almost nobody can actually remember or quote any lines from an Obama speech. Indeed, Litt comes away from an Obama event and says “yet here’s the remarkable thing: I don’t remember a word.”
I would say that, we, as a human race, seem to be unwittingly hardwired to recall events that spark an emotion. Unfortunately, negative speech or speech that would be deemed controversial would stand out the most in ones mind because of an emotional reaction such as anger, disgust, or hatred. Our current president of the United States is a prime example.
I came to a similar conclusion about Obama as Nathan Robinson a few years ago in a film review.
I think Obama’s ideological emptiness is part of the attraction young people feel for Bernie. He takes a few simple, concrete stances, and sticks to them. There’s no bullshit about him. You know where he stands. You don’t have to parse his words and his words don’t lend themselves easily to parsing.
Trump is just following in the Bush/Cheney/Bush/Reagan/Nixon/Agnew tradition of throwing reactionary white America red meat. Bush II really brought it to a state of the art back in 2003 when he was ginning up support for the Iraq invasion. There was a seamless integration between Fox and the White House. Obama never confronted it. It’s why he got destroyed in the midterm election of 2010 and why he and Pelosi threw every minor official (Van Jones, Shirley Sherrod) to the wolves every time the cable news networks ginned up false outrage. Finally it seems with AOC, Ilhan Omar and Bernie. we have people willing to confront it head on (although not quite as much as I’d like).