Nothing will come of nothing; speak again. — William Shakespeare, King Lear, Act I, Scene I.

Daniel Henninger writes in The Wall Street Journal that the president has talked and talked and talked his way into poor approval ratings:

After what Mr. Obama himself might call a whole lot of listening, the American people are pulling back from a president they don’t fully understand. They’ve learned they can’t ever be sure of what exactly he’s asking them to sign on to. And so they are signing off from the Obama presidency.

In a speech last year, Mr. Obama announced the war on terror is over, and that he would adjust our antiterror policies to reflect that reality. Then he said in the same speech that the U.S. “is at war with al Qaeda” and the Taliban. Press reports on the speech said even the president’s own people weren’t sure what the new policy was.

ObamaCare, whatever it is now, isn’t what Mr. Obama’s public comments said it would be.

He says what the U.S. did to its captured 9/11 terrorists was “torture,” but our torturers are basically good guys.

Barack Obama has been talking like this for a lifetime. …

But the way Mr. Obama talks, and talks, has diminished his authority and credibility. The U.S. has a president who is capable of moving factions with words, but not a people. This is a president without a presidential vocabulary.

As a student of rhetoric, I warned of Obama’s lack of substantial meaning back when he was first campaigning. I wrote in February 2008 that

When Obama speaks, he tells of an elevated nothing. The Democrat frontrunner lifts his eyes, raises his voice, and describes a visionary nothing. At the peak of his oration, Obama resounds a thunderous nothing. When the senator from Illinois is on the stump, the crowd gasps, the women swoon, and even the stoic catch their breaths and exclaim, “Now that is nothing!”

It is a nothing rarefied in the elixir of our hopes and distilled with our zest for change. It is as intoxicating a nothing as ever there was. Obama pours out potent nothing, and each listener gives it his own special something.