Words can be manipulated, especially by skilled politicians. Delivering a message that promotes a goal — even if it means stretching the truth — is something every career politician can do on cue, and there’s nobody more skilled at this than Barack Obama.
Nobody disputes that the former president is a good speaker. Indeed, it was has speech during the 2004 Democrat National Convention that catapulted him onto the national stage.
But even the best speech-makers cannot totally hide their body language. Like a professional poker player with a “tell” that reveals his bluffs, even master manipulators like Obama communicate a lot by how they act … and one self-described body language expert has noticed something very interesting about the 44th president.
The former president has been stumping for Democrats over the last week, campaigning for liberal candidates in places like Miami to drag his party’s candidates over the finish line in the midterm election.
His words were familiar, with plenty of fear-mongering and scolding to go around. But the nonverbal communication analyst behind the popular “Bombard’s Body Language” video series noticed that there is a stark contrast between the Obama who won two White House bids, and the one trying to rescue Democrats now.
“This is not the same Barack Obama that we have seen,” the expert began in a detailed analysis of the former president’s recent rally appearance. “His head goes down a lot more, in that downward position … it’s like a defeatist position,” she said.
“He’s no longer that confident, head-held-high arrogant type mentality,” the analyst behind the widely-viewed channel pointed out.
She then played a clip from a previous Obama speech, and sure enough, there is a noticeable difference in the demeanor.
“And the shoulders come up, mouth goes tight, arm comes down in front of himself,” she continued. “Protective barrier.”
So what does it mean? Well, if the expert is correct, it doesn’t bode well for Democrats.
“This is desperation. And it’s all in his body language … that confidence is no longer there,” she stated. “We’re in hiding mode. We’re stressed.”
It’s well-known that the stress of being president vastly ages a person. Both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, for example, lost their youthful appearance rapidly during their terms. When they left office, however, a lot of that stress was lifted.
That’s particularly true for Bush, who seemed to regain a lot of his relaxed zest for life after leaving the Oval Office. His post-retirement interviews and appearances showed a man who, despite past criticisms, was at peace with his decisions, and seemed to accept his place in history.
Obama should be enjoying his retirement. He should be less stressed, not more; less bitter, not extra shrill. Somehow, leaving the White House has not been good to him.
So why is this alarming? After all, isn’t a defeated Obama a sign that conservatives are winning?
The problem is that nobody has really seen this side of the former president before.
“Desperate men to desperate things,” the commentator pointed out. “And really desperate men say really desperate things.”
If the former president’s demeanor over the last week is any sign, politicians on his side of the aisle are bracing themselves for a far less victorious midterm election than other pundits predict.
We’ll know for sure on Tuesday, but if conservatives do prevail, or the Democrats don’t do as well as they think they should, don’t be surprised if liberal rhetoric and behavior — like Obama’s tone — becomes even more abrasive.
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