Category Archives: 2016 presidential campaign

Trump’s Brief Inaugural Speech

inaugural speech

Two things I liked about Trump’s inaugural speech. He only used the word “I” three times. And it was short – 16 minutes.

John Kass in the Chicago Tribune wrote, “This wasn’t a smooth-talking politician inviting us to climb aboard his fancy word ship for a voyage beyond the stars. He did not call upon the angels. Instead, he spoke in dark tones to the forgotten man.”

It was that beginning that was astonishing, his declaration of war on the establishment, especially as they all sat there with him, with former Presidents Carter and Bush and Clinton and Obama looking on, outgoing first lady Michelle Obama frowning, Hillary Clinton icy and distant.

Bush bobbed his head and smiled as if in pain. Bill Clinton’s eyes were two frozen blue grapes, locked in a thousand-yard stare. But what he was looking at inside his own head, I wouldn’t ever want to know.

Inaugural Speech

Kass, among others, called the speech Jacksonian. But large parts of it could have been given by Bernie Sanders, “Why go to war when we can use that money building freeways at home?”

As they stood together on the capitol steps, I was struck by Barack Obama’s elegance. Maybe it was the crease in his pants, but it stood in contrast to Trump’s, um, Trumpian appearance.

BBC (click image for link)

But Obama was no match for Melania.

Should be an interesting four years.

Democrat Better Messaging

better messaging

The Democrats need more than better messaging. Politico sums up their predicament in a piece called “Democrats in the Wilderness“:

They were counting on a Clinton win to paper over a deeper rot they’ve been worrying about—and to buy them some time to start coming up with answers. In other words, it wasn’t just Donald Trump. Or the Russians. Or James Comey. Or all the problems with how Clinton and her aides ran the campaign. Win or lose, Democrats were facing an existential crisis in the years ahead—the result of years of complacency, ignoring the withering of the grass roots and the state parties, sitting by as Republicans racked up local win after local win.

Political Intelligence Dossier Dosey Doe

intelligence dossier

The CIA has a “high degree of confidence” that Putin hacked the election in favor of Trump. CNN reported that intelligence agencies had briefed Trump about an incriminating dossier. The document, compiled by a former British spy, implies Trump could be manipulated by Russia.  BuzzFeed published a whiz bang story revealing the dossier’s unverified contents.

Intelligence

Meanwhile FBI Director James Comey is being investigated by the inspector general.

Democrats are enraged about a letter, damaging to Hillary Clinton, that  Comey sent to Congress days before the election. It’s against FBI policy to comment on its investigations. But the same Democrats were thrilled by Comey’s earlier comment that Hillary shouldn’t be prosecuted.

There is no investigation of Comey’s boss AG Loretta Lynch concerning her secret meeting with Bill Clinton last summer on an airport tarmac.

And now civil rights legend John Lewis says Trump is an illegitimate president-elect. Naturally, the MSM narrative was about Trump’s tweeted response to Lewis’s attack on his legitimacy.

Bob Woodward thinks Trump has a right to be pissed.

 

 

White House Selfie Tweet Transition

white house selfie

George Bush I couldn’t use a bar code scanner at the grocery store, much less take a White House selfie or tweet about it. Of course, that story may have been fake news too.

No White House Selfie

Anyway, I thought 41 was a pretty classy president. Ever since then, not so much.

 

Yes We Can Farewell Address

farewell address

In Denver 2008 President Obama entered national life as a messiah. He eschewed the manger for a stage set with faux Greek columns in front of 84,000 believers. Tuesday he ascended into heaven from Chicago with a farewell speech before 25,000 disciples.

Here’s what some of the true believers had to say:

Charles M. Blow of the NYT found respite from “the dark clouds of the incoming administration” in a column titled Ode to Obama :

But there was a calm in the midst of the storm, a rock of familiarity and stability and strength: On Tuesday night, President Obama delivered his farewell address in his adopted hometown, Chicago, as a forlorn crowd looked on, realizing the magnitude of the moment, realizing the profundity of its loss.

As the old saying goes: You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

The Washington Post’s E. J. Dionne called it “a moving farewell compared to Trumps terrifying hello”:

So although it was not his intention, Trump brought home the importance of the central forward-looking theme of President Obama’s moving farewell address in Chicago on Tuesday night. At heart, Obama’s speech was a warning and a plea: an alert about the dangers our democracy confronts and a call for Americans to be active and vigilant in protecting our liberties.

“Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift,” Obama declared in what may prove to be its most important passage. “But it’s really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power. We, the people, give it meaning — with our participation, and with the choices that we make and the alliances that we forge.

“Whether or not we stand up for our freedoms, whether or not we respect and enforce the rule of law, that’s up to us,” he continued. “America is no fragile thing. But the gains of our long journey to freedom are not assured.”

And now for the apostates:

Jonah Goldberg:

The whole speech seemed written to be the final chapter of the “Collected Speeches of Barack Obama,” which is why he concluded by referencing his 2008 “Yes We Can” speech.

No wonder the substance of Obama’s farewell was a high-flown rehash of his greatest hits. He spoke again of Congress being “dysfunctional” in the abstract, but what he surely meant is that Congress isn’t working properly when it declines to do what he wants it to do. Hence the insinuation that disagreement with his views on climate change is contrary to the “spirit” of America and the Enlightenment. He called for a “new social compact” that was indistinguishable from his legislative agenda and insisted that the essence of democracy is the commitment “that we rise or fall as one.”

That is not the spirit of democracy at all; it’s the spirit of the “tribalism” and “nationalism” he’s come to disparage. But that has always been the spirit of Obamaism. When people agree with him, that’s democracy working. When democracy rejects his counsel, that’s the bitter Bible-clingers rejecting the better angel of his nature.

Charles Krauthammer:

And yet it turns out that such auspicious beginnings are not at all predictive. We could see it this same week. On Tuesday night, there stood Obama giving a farewell address that only underscored the failure of a presidency so bathed in optimism at its start. The final speech, amazingly, could have been given, nearly unedited, in 2008. Why it even ended with “yes we can.”

The WSJ just wonders how we can miss a president who won’t go away.

“My fellow Americans,” he said as he finally wrapped up his lengthy self-eulogy, “it has been the honor of my life to serve you. I won’t stop. In fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my remaining days.”