Category Archives: Obama
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.
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.
But Obama was no match for Melania.
Should be an interesting four years.
No White House Selfie
Anyway, I thought 41 was a pretty classy president. Ever since then, not so much.
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:
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.
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.”
When President Obama met with party leaders in 2009 Eric Cantor pitched some ideas for the stimulus bill. The president responded, “Elections have consequences and, at the end of the day, I won.” The 800 billion dollar stimulus went on to pass with three Republican votes. And ObamaCare rammed its way through Congress without any Republican support. At the time Democrats controlled the White House, Senate, and House.
The program has never been popular with voters. A new Rasmussen survey finds that only 12% of voters want to keep it as it is. However 56% want the law improved piece by piece. Only 30% want to see the program immediately brought to room temperature.
The transition hasn’t been all that peaceful according to Piers Morgan. Instead Obama pitched a presidential “temper tantrum”. Morgan says, Barack “hates Donald and everything he stands for.”:
Since the election, as the New York Times reported, he’s banned oil drilling off the Atlantic coast, named over 100 people to a range of senior government jobs, created new environmental monuments, commuted the sentences of 232 inmates and pardoned 78 others, protected funding for Planned Parenthood clinics, ordered the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay and blocked new Israeli settlements.