Obama’s speech (with my comments)

(The following is the full text of Obama’s speech.  I’ve interlineated a few comments at points I thought especially deserving of comment.  Stuff that was ordinary political blah-blah, whether gracious, smart or stupid, I left untouched.)

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.  [Is this the most depressing statement you've ever heard in an inaugural speech?  I don't think even Lincoln or Roosevelt ever gave such a grim summation.]

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.  [I thought this a nasty, back-handed slap at the Bush administration, as well as gratuitous promotion of self.]

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.  [Ditto.  Ungracious.]

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.  [Nice, but not the poetry I'd been given to expect from Obama.]

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.  [Ditto.]

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.  [How many in the audience know about Khe Sahn?  Could there be a more obscure reference?  And what about Fallujah?  We know about that one.]

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, [start all over again -- Irving Berlin] and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.  [In other words, "Everybody, put your hands in your pockets and give me all your money."  Although I do agree that infrastructure does need periodic refurbishment, rebuilding and upgrading.]

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.  [I said I wouldn't point out meaningless blah-blah, but this is meaningless blah-blah, since he's careful not to point out what we've done, probably because it would mean acknowleding the role of private enterprise, not government, in America's greatness.]

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. [That's a nasty political jab again, that shouldn't be in an inaugural speech.] The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.  [In other words, we'll do all the big government programs I want, because I assure you that they'll work.]

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.  [Again, this means nothing.  It's the vapid type of political blah-blah common to old Hollywood movies.]

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.  [Good luck to him fighting a war -- any war -- without dirt and bloodshed.]

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. [And with cruel tactics, such as carpet bombing, etc.  War is war.  Obama seems unclear on the concept.  It's also another slap at Bush who has formed pretty darn good alliances, even though no one will acknowledge them.] They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan.  [How to you "forge a hard-earned peace" except by finishing the fight?  This is double-talk, because the phrase is meaningless on its face.] With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.  [This is a good strong statement, although I find it buried in a rather wandering speech.]

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. [As someone else pointed out elsewhere, this is an unusual pairing.  Usually, we say "Christians and Jews," which appropriate acknowledges the Judeo-Christian tradition, and Hindus and Muslims, which touches upon the fact that they are practiced more heavily to the east of us geographically.] We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill [bitter swill?  Swill is for pigs.  Weird phrasing.] of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.  [And the waters will recede and God will reach his hand down to touch me.  A little too new age for my tastes, but I know two liberals who thought this was the most beautiful part of the speech.]

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.  [Good.  Needed to be said and he said it.  I thought this was the best part of the speech.  Interestingly, probably because it's a clear thought, it's also the most beautifully written, in that last sentence.]

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.  [As if we've never done this before.  It would have been more gracious to say "we pledge to continue to work alongside you," given the billions we've given already to poor nations.]

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.  [Is it just me, or his he uncomfortable with this whole concept?  It has all the warmth and feeling of a pre-printed greeting card.]

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.  [This sounded too much like a campaign speech to me, probably because every campaign speech lately has these generalized references to individual brave Americans.  I find them maudlin.]

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.  [Good.  These are the kind of classic values that deserve recognition in an inaugural speech.]

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].“

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

The last few paragraphs were pretty good, although by no means as thrilling as I would have expected given Obama’s reputation as a speaker.  Overall, as I said, I found the speech a bit disjointed and disorganized.  He would have done well to use an outlining program to organize his ideas better.  I also found it occasionally petty, inconsistent and vapid.  There were good moments, but not enough of them.

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Comments

  1. SADIE says

    Bookworm:

    The entire campaign was filled with ‘greeting card’ rhetoric.

    And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all. [Is it just me, or his he uncomfortable with this whole concept? It has all the warmth and feeling of a pre-printed greeting card.]

    We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers.

    To whom was Obama referring to as non-believers – atheists or republicans?

    You are spot on noting the parring of Christians and Muslims (self reflection?)

  2. suek says

    “To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.”

    Dennis Praeger pointed out that throughout history, this is false. People follow leaders who destroy all the time. Stalin, Hitler, Saddam…just some recent examples…

    “…our security emanates from the justness of our cause, ”

    Now…how stupid is _this_ one!! When has justness of cause _ever_ protected someone?

    “the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.”

    Ditto.

    Our security emanates from our military strength and our willingness to use it when necessary.

  3. Danny Lemieux says

    mmmm…in all fairness, Book. I didn’t think it was a great speech but I also didn’t read into it any gratuitous slaps against the Bush administration. The references to the “rancor” and “childishness” of the past years doesn’t point specific fingers and could apply to Democrats as well as Republicans. I think that he is sincerely asking for (hoping for?) a new tone and I am willing to give him a pass on those comments.

  4. Quisp says

    on gratuitous slaps, how about this from the new Obamarama – oh, sorry, I meant White House – website:

    President Obama will keep the broken promises made by President Bush to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. He and Vice President Biden will take steps to ensure that the federal government will never again allow such catastrophic failures in emergency planning and response to occur.

    President Obama swiftly responded to Hurricane Katrina. Citing the Bush Administration’s “unconscionable ineptitude” in responding to Hurricane Katrina, then-Senator Obama introduced legislation requiring disaster planners to take into account the specific needs of low-income hurricane victims. Obama visited thousands of Hurricane survivors in the Houston Convention Center and later took three more trips to the region. He worked with members of the Congressional Black Caucus to introduce legislation to address the immediate income, employment, business, and housing needs of Gulf Coast communities.

    I’m assuming it was understood that the official end of “petty grievances” wasn’t to come until after the 0bama supporters saw off President Bush’s helicopter?

  5. suek says

    “President Obama will keep the broken promises made by President Bush to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.”

    Ok…so are we believing in Global Warming this year or not? If we believe in GW, then are the seas going to rise or not? If the seas are going to rise, how much sense does it make to rebuild a city which is already below sea level?

  6. BobK says

    Danny,

    I recall 2001, when former President Bush declared he was bringing a ‘new tone’ to Washington politics. We’d had enough of partisan politics then, too…

    I have to give him credit: he did try. Unfortunately, the other party didn’t want to play along. President Obama’s comments in the inaugural address are simply more of the same. I don’t see how you can read the references to false promises and petty grievances any other way, as the congressional leadership is in lockstep with the basic premises of President Obama’s agenda.

    It’s going to be a loooooong four years.

  7. Oldflyer says

    Book, to my delight FNC Special Report suspended their ususal format to broadcast most of President Bush’s comments at his homecoming party in Midland, Tx.

    Much of the little speech was humorous stuff about his Texas roots and how good it was to be back, etc.

    But, there was also a tone that was more suitable for an Inauguaration Address than anything we heard today. He said. . .paraphrasing. . . that even in the toughest times he was confident because he had great faith in the American people. He elaborated on this theme periodically in his very upbeat talk.

    I realized as I watched him doing his duty today, and then again at his homecoming, that no matter what we never really saw him down. We never really heard anything negative from him on the worst days. The message was always that even if the current cirmcumstances were hard, we had the will and the wherewithal, and we WOULD prevail. That is called LEADERSHIP.

    I did not hear that tone in the Inaugural Address today.

  8. BobK says

    Oops! Forgot one glaring slap at the policies of the Bush administration…

    We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost.

    Note the word “restore” in it’s context of health care. What can that be other than a reference to the Bush administration’s principled refusal to fund embryonic stem cell research?

  9. pst314 says

    “Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus”

    That double-pairing reminded me of something I have encountered personally: Muslim attempts to form alliances with Christians for the purpose of squeezing out Jews, and the traditional and very open Muslim contempt for Jews and Hindus.

    I’m not saying this has anything to do with Obama, just that the phrasing brought it to mind. What Obama meant by it I don’t know.

  10. pst314 says

    “The references to the ‘rancor’ and ‘childishness’ of the past years doesn’t point specific fingers and could apply to Democrats as well as Republicans.”

    You’re being disingenuous. The Obama campaign has played this card many times, and has not taken any serious note of the poisonous levels of partisan hatred coming from the left, viciousness that began the moment Bush became a contender for the nomination.

  11. Deana says

    pst314 –

    Hmm. That is really interesting. I personally have never seen an attempt by Muslims to befriend Christians in an attempt to drive separation between Jews and Christians but it would be an interesting tactic.

    Personally, the older I get, the more admiration I have for Judaism and Israel so if Muslims are trying to do this, good luck.

    Deana

  12. Charles Martel says

    Given that most Christians are not anti-Semitic, I doubt that Muslims would be able to drive a wedge between them and the Jews.

    I know that if a Muslim were ever to approach me in such an attempt, my answer would be simple: “When you begin worshipping a god that is not a supreme, self-absorbed, capricious and wantonly cruel egoist, and that actually loves humankind, get back to me.”

    Notice I use the word “that” and not “who.” For Christans and Jews, God is a person, a who — not the Muslims’ loveless transcendent thing, a tyrant that is only and purely will.

  13. says

    Suek (6) is committing logic in public….and if you keep on in this vein, you will soon be arrested for at least a misdemeanor. No making “the One” and his minions look bad, don’t you know?

    No one has mentioned the part of the speech that really frosted me, except Book, who plainly didn’t hear it the same way I did.

    “…(soldiers) embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

    “For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.”

    He compares our soldiers to people who take in a stranger, who job-share, who parent their children! (And, yes, also to firefighters, which is closer to the mark – but that makes me angry for the firefighters, too). Because this hit me so hard — it is not HONORING our military (or fire) people, it’s denigrating them….to pretend that what they are doing is equivalent to “community service” of some kind…that it is no more to be extolled than a parent who takes care of their own kids. I HATED it, I tell you! And reading it again, it still grates…..

    I hope that this man will ACT in ways that make me ashamed of what I thought of him when I read this. For all our sakes, I PRAY that he will act in such ways, but I look in vain for evidence to support my hopes.

  14. says

    Given that most Christians are not anti-Semitic, I doubt that Muslims would be able to drive a wedge between them and the Jews.

    You can co-opt those like Helen, however. You know, the “turn the other cheek” Christians. The pacifist Quakers and the pacifist Christians.

    Get enough of those and you can get quite a protest group forming, eh.

  15. suek says

    “…(soldiers) embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. ”

    You’re right, Earl. He takes this statement – which is true, and which I think most military would accept as true – and then shifts the interpretation of the soldier from warrior to community servant. And while there is much our soldiers do to improve the lives of many throughout the world, to ignore their primary mission which is to crush, kill and destroy is demeaning. The fact that they can combine their primary mission with the secondary mission is a tribute to their humanity, not a change in their mission. And once again, the left changes the meaning of words in order to misdirect the mind to support their pie in the sky wish for peace. Might as well just dispense with all police because we don’t want to impose discipline on criminals…

  16. BobK says

    Excellent point in 15, Earl!

    This is, however, merely the logical extension of the worldview of our new President. His background is that of a “community organizer”. Is it a surprise that in his first moments as chief executive, he redefines that position as “Community-Organizer-in-Chief”?

    ACORN as the putative equivalent of Force Recon? A disgusting, denigrating viewpoint.

  17. acupuncter says

    It is interesting how one cranky pompous ass can gather around him numerous other cranky pompous asses. Of course, people know what and where Khe Sahn is. Had he quoted something about World War II would that have been completely beyond you and your readers as well?
    Frankly, I find many of your remarks bigoted and prejudicial. Thank god you fools are a dying breed.

  18. says

    acupuncter, acupuncture ? whatever…as you say “you fools are a a dying breed” ?

    What a strange thing to say.

    I am writing from New Zealand, and although I wouldn’t have voted for your President I wish him success and popularity.

    His election is an example to the world that the ideals of the USA are not just words…and that in the free, developed (truly liberal) world, anyone can aim high and succeed.

    Doesn’t mean that people who voted otherwise are a “dying breed” at all.

    To express that thought is quite peculiar.

    Enjoy the moment acupuncter, and hope for the best…

  19. suek says

    >>His election is an example to the world that the ideals of the USA are not just words…>>

    Sadly, many of us don’t agree with you. If our ideals were truly upheld, he would not have been elected because in truth, he has no credentials and no qualifications for the job. He may still be ineligible – and if so, he knows it – and he has yet to offer the proof that he _is_ eligible.

    In fact, he was elected simply and solely because of his skin color. Now that may be admirable in the sense that in the past, people have been deprived of many things due solely to the color of their skin, but to reverse the discrimination is not a claim to virtue – it’s simply a reversal of prejudice.

  20. says

    No, I can’t agree that Obama was elected solely because of his skin colour.
    It certainly helped, as did a compliant and sycophantic worldwide news media, who hated GWB with a pathological spite…but skin colour alone ? No I don’t think so.
    He has qualities that appeal, such as an ability to come across well on the TV news.
    He seems to be a good communicator, and he seems to understand the concerns of voters.
    None of these admittedly shallow qualities make him a good President, and on those parameters Adolf Hitler got elected. And on the basis of association with ratbags and villains he should have been dumped. However, it will take decades to judge Obama’s presidential abilities fairly.
    Some of your most inept Presidents, and excuse me as an outsider passing judgement, ie, Jimmy Carter, have not yet had a definitive verdict passed on their years at the helm. Obama will no doubt be the same.
    AGW is the issue that will make him disliked. It’s the classic lose/lose scenario for him I think.

  21. says

    The historic election of a black as President produced more support than it would have taken to elect PO. This is a product of affirmative action, otherwise known as the Soviet institutionalized policy of breaking America’s moral and ethical authority and legitimacy through slander and libel with the ultimate result that America’s foundations become replaced with quick sand and the poison of identity politics (protected classes).

    While it is true that only in America can people like Michelle and Barack Obama get rich and powerful, that will no longer be true once the same poison has broken the immune systems of the US and produced a lethal infection (as it has in Europe right now).

    This is not about what PO will do as President, although his actions will either speed things up or slow them down, but about the permanent cultural transformation of America. Presidents come and go, every 4 or 8 years. Culture, traditions, and moral/ethical standards last for many centuries, however. And that is something that no elected official can change, but it is something that identity politics can change. Just as it changed the British character for the worse and allowed them to be taken over by Sharia law proponents.

    Identity politics is like bureaucracy, it works without needing votes and exercises power without being held accountable for the consequences of their actions.

    Some of your most inept Presidents, and excuse me as an outsider passing judgement, ie, Jimmy Carter, have not yet had a definitive verdict passed on their years at the helm.

    Says whom? Carter has contributed mightily to the events of 9/11 and the help Iran gave Sunni Al Qaeda and Sadr Shia in Iraq. He also meddled with Afghanistan as well. It can be said the roots of America’s failure in intelligence and the Middle East started with him. And he has done nothing in the meantime to disprove such claims while doing everything he can to be the first traitor ex-President in America’s history.

  22. says

    Wow.
    Are things really that bad ?
    When we in the rest of the democratic world survey the USA, and look with envy on your Constitution, your access to Initiative law (aka propositions in many states) and your congress as a brake on executive power, then it seems you have significant democratic safeguards that we (ie, voters in NZ) don’t.
    Surely the pendulum of opinion/fashion swings, and surely the founders of your republic put in place enough safeguards to prevent tyranny taking root…
    …and surely you are seeing the state of the USA through very pessimistic lenses…

  23. says

    The safeguards the Founding Fathers put in were called an objective and mostly powerless Supreme Court (which no longer exists, except balanced on the knife’s edge). The fact that Ginsberg and the rest of her people are deciding US court cases based upon “international law” (meaning, non-American law) says that the SC ain’t “objective” any more. The fact that SC decisions are looked towards as a sort of end all be all arbitrator to American civic strife and argument also means the SC has taken on more and more powers of the Executive and Legislative. There is a reason for that, since many of the initiatives fought in court (abortion for example) would not have had legislative support.

    your access to Initiative law (aka propositions in many states)

    This is just state’s rights and is a product of the way they were admitted into the Union (as foreign nations almost). We, however, aren’t admitting any new states. There are no frontiers here in the USA, unless you count Alaska and some of the rural regions of the heartland. Propositions also depend upon the local state constitution, which does serve as a way to diffuse argument and “consensus” down to a lower level so people closer to the ground are actually in charge of trying to fix a problem that might incidentally impact them.

    However, Roe v Wade was a direct dismantling of state’s rights by placing the legitimacy to outlaw abortion or not in a federal decision, not a state one.

    Congress is not a break on the Executive. Congress is only one leg of a three legged stool holding self-interest, greed, and ambition at check. Congress is now controlled by the Democrats, both houses, with Obama at the helm. This is not so different from Congress as before, when it was controlled by certain Democrat committee chairmens who engineered the economic fallout from the bank mortgages and Fannie Mac.

    Much of the powers of the Presidency that were designed to off check Congress and the SC, such as the veto and the Executive Order, weren’t used by ex Prez Bush when he had a Democrat congress or an openly anti-American Supreme Court. The same cannot be said for Prez Obama (the PO), except that Po doesn’t need to check Congress’ power. The more money Pelosi gets to buy up votes, the better Obama does in the public image.

    Since the President nominates replacements for Supreme Court justices and since Congress confirms or denies such nominations, this means that should any Supreme Court judge retire or die and is replaced by a younger “international law” proponent, the best we could expect is another 50 years of deadlock. The worst we can expect is that the conservative judges are replaced by Sharia proponents, as is the case in British law. That is not a road that leads anywhere except to America’s self-destruction.

    …and surely you are seeing the state of the USA through very pessimistic lenses…

    That’s like saying Melanie Phillips was seeing British problems through a “very pessimistic lens” in 2005. You know, I was reading her blog at the time, even before Steyn came up with the demographics op eds concerning Europe.

    We don’t have a lack of nuclear power plants not because of “pessimism”. We have fewer nuclear generators than France, a nation we outnumber in both territory and population, because we have enemies, both external and internal, which aren’t often to the benefit of the international media to discuss with their local populations.

    We are at war, Ayr. Prez Bush specifically did not tell Congress to declare war after 9/11, when he had the political pressure to accomplish it, because he knew the war would be going on long after he left office and that once war was declared, the President’s power became enormous and unchecked, literally. And given this war is against terrorism and the nations that harbor them, it is essentially a war against Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Palestine. It would be an endless war unless nuclear weaponry were utilized.

    Still, Obama’s powers as a President of a nation in an undeclared state of war is still far beyond that which George Bush held at the start of 2001.

    Surely the pendulum of opinion/fashion swings

    These aren’t pendulum swings of public opinion or Hollywood fashion. This is the systemic de-legitimization and destruction of the authority of the Founding Fathers and supplanting it with multiculturalism and “Anything Other Than White Western Culture” replacements. This is not “temporary” except in so far as it will last until America falls.

    Crichton’s essay on the cause of Global Warming provides some of the hints. Link

    Gramscii

    Gramscii provides the rest.

    The part of America that didn’t vote for Obama is hoping to see a political backlash from his policies, but there will be no cultural backlash, no matter what Obama does or doesn’t do.

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