President Obama stumbled through a “patriotic” speech on the Fourth of July, reading verbatim a text on America’s improbable experiment in “democracy” in a staccato and droll tone.

Surrounding him was a dour cast of stoic figures — save for First Lady Michelle Obama, who broke into “slow applause” mode when her husband called America “the greatest nation on earth” while a smattering of hand-clapping accompanied her.

The president should be given credit for going through the motions and for shoring up his patriotic bonafides. If only he believed those words about our destinies not being determined for us and that people should live as they please.

As with all things, the president’s actions speak louder than his scripted words.