After last night’s SOTU, Americans instantly proved their innovation, creativity, intelligence, and can-do spirit by putting out great memes. USA! USA!
I didn’t care that the State of the Union speech went long. It was great: patriotic, optimistic, and filled with classic American values and common sense.
My response? I loved it. It went on too long and I didn’t agree with all of Trump’s promises, primarily because I think some of the things he promised aren’t the federal government’s job, but I loved it.
“Americans are Dreamers too.” The relentless celebrating of a unified American people of all races, colors, creeds, etc., and of the American spirit. Sour-faced black caucus members when Trump boasted about historically low black unemployment. Nancy Pelosi sucking her tongue as if it were a sour lemon lozenge. Democrats desperately trying to decide whether their base would like or more or less if they applauded when Trump praised the American people, America itself, freedom, and government’s role as the people’s servant, not its master.
Judging by the responses from Progressives on my Facebook page, those Democrats fared best who applauded least.
Unfortunately, I’m working on deadline and can’t write more. But I hope some of you can. What did you think?
This post is mostly about Jordan Peterson, explaining his popularity and the great mass of memes in his name. I’ve added some funny posters, too.
I’d been aware of Jordan Peterson for some time because the University of Toronto psychology professor took a stand against Canadian law forcing people to put language to the service of transgender identities. As is true for me, Peterson is willing as a courtesy to use someone’s preferred pronouns, but government coercion is another thing entirely. So yay, Prof. Peterson!
Jordan Peterson is also the author of a non-fiction book that’s been parked at the top of Amazon’s bestseller list for a while: 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. I like the principles he espouses, which he sums up in a Prager U video that very coincidentally just came out this morning:
I agree completely with Peterson’s principles. While it’s true that I enjoy whining (I enjoy it the way some people enjoy jogging or gardening), I know that, ultimately, I am responsible for myself and my happiness. If I were in a North Korean concentration camp or, indeed, anywhere in North Korea, things would be different. But I live in the greatest nation on earth and am truly blessed to have material comfort, physical health, and great children.
As the above suggests, Jordan Peterson is the real deal: an incredibly smart, principled man who has serious, solid ideas about how people can improve themselves and, just by being useful and happy, make the world better.
None of the above, though, was enough to elevate Peterson beyond fame into viral fame. What did that was an interview the BBC’s Cathy Newman did with him. Initially, the video went viral because Peterson defended our right as citizens of a free world to say offensive things — and he did it so cleverly and with such good will that he silenced Newman completely.
The video went even more viral, though, for a secondary reason: Newman’s relentlessly misstated everything Peterson said and, to his credit, Peterson showed relentless equanimity and good will, even as he schooled Newman for her myriad errors. If you haven’t already watched the 30 minute video, you must:
The video generated lots of posts, but my two favorite come from Neo-Neocon and (of all people) the Atlantic’s Connor Friedersdorf. In the former, Neo-Neocon carefully examines the intelligent psychological techniques Peterson uses to disrupt Newman’s attempt to impose her agenda on him. In the latter, despite a purely gratuitous swipe at Fox News, Friedersdorf gives a detailed look at the way Newman consistently mangled and misinterpreted Peterson’s every word.
It’s this last — Newman’s mangling — that has yielded a bonanza of memes. I’ve assembled some of the funniest here. After you’ve scrolled through them, you find a few more funny posters, including a brilliant State of the Union cartoon: [Read more…]
I’m sitting here in a glorious post-SOTU haze, thinking about the crazy world in which we live and hoping that Trump can find the path to fix it.
I’m working on a project that will, I hope, come as a pleasant surprise to many of you. In the meantime, here’s a quick round-up of cool links with facts that are useful in our bright new world, just one day after President Trump gave that stellar, even Reagan-esque State of the Union address.
A few last words about that wonderful SOTU. I was going to quote my favorite lines — and then I realized that I liked so many, there would be no room left for anything else in this post. I’ll just say again that it was a really wonderful speech — and the Progressives on my real-me Facebook feed have been left gratifyingly speechless. Since I cannot reduce my admiration to a manageable size, I simply recommend that you read Daniel Greenfield’s admiration.
As for me, rather than comment on a specific line or policy, I’d like to piggy-back on Greenfield’s point about hope’s return. Obama ran on “hope,” but all he offered was divisiveness and disdain. Trump truly loves this country and loves Americans — and people are picking up on that.
Trump is not only a patriot and an optimist, he’s also a futurist, in the old-fashioned Disney mold. Walt Disney, despite the Cold War, was incredibly optimistic about America’s boundless future, something I wrote about here. Trump reminded me of that. Here are a couple of videos for those of you who aren’t familiar with Disney’s Carousel of Progress animatronic show which is, to my mind, the most tangible representation of Disney’s awe about America’s past and faith in her future.
Creating a Chelsea Clinton. I’ve sort of been boycotting Commentary Magazine since John Podhoretz, the editor in chief, shot far beyond condescending #NeverTrump and landed squarely in nasty, vicious #NeverTrump. The other Commentary writers followed his #NeverTrump lead, although they never got aggressive about it.
Still, now that the dust is settling, there are still good things to be found at this venerable, thoughtful conservative magazine. For example, Noah Rothman has written a simply splendid take-down of the vapid, spoiled, meaninglessly ambitious Chelsea Clinton. If you want a good laugh, even if you worry that the Clinton tentacles might still have some life left in them, do read it.
What’s the sign that President Trump’s great speech trolled the Progressives? The Left fell headlong into vulgarity and rudeness to show their disdain. (That vulgarity earns this post a NSFW warning.)
First of all, it was a GREAT speech. Don’t believe me? This is from Trump-Haters CNN:
- 78% of those polled saw last night’s speech as somewhat or very positive.
- 7 in 10 Speech-Watchers Say Trump Boosted Optimism.
- CNN commentator Van Jones (who was forced to resign from The Obama Administration for calling Republicans “assholes”) tweeted about the speech: “He became President of the United States in that moment, period.“
Guess he won Hollywood back, huh? Not really…
- The credible and measured Charlie Sheen tweeted: “suck a bag of soiled dicks, you FASCIST, legally retarded, DESPOTIC IMBECILE!”
- The habitually unfunny comedian, Sarah Silverman was at least more succinct. She merely tweeted her classy “go-to” word: cunt.
- Rosie O’Donnell, who was protesting out front, turns out to be way better at linguistics than legality. She told a reporter: “Te amo immigrants mucho. Yo estudia espanol en escuela. La personas esta aqui viva en la ustados unitos todas personas es Americanos.” The English translation is, “I love you very much, immigrants. I studied Spanish in school. The people living here in the United States are all Americans.” (No, Rosie. Only the ones who came here LEGALLY and were willing to abide by our laws to become citizens are AMERICANS).
So, what do you think? I’m liking it so far. He’s still Donald, but he’s showing focus and gravitas. I love the point about “Rule of Law” at the borders. The Rule of Law is what separates us from Russia and all those banana republics from which the illegal immigrants are escaping. We need to re-enshrine the rule of law in America and demand it of other countries.
I’ve been tweaking a Leftie on Facebook by answering everyone of his emotional immigration pleas by asking “What’s your position on the Rule of Law?” — a question he refuses to answer.
Everything he says about the problem with un-vetted refugees from terrorist sponsoring nations is right on the money.
Great to make the point that ISIS is everyone’s enemy. Naming Islam; not pretending there’s not an Islamic component; but recognizing that Islam is a predator against its own people.
Attacks Iran; supports Israel. I like.
Has a list of 20 judges, Gorsuch included, “who will defend our Constitution.” That, of course, is what a judge is supposed to do. Nice homage to Scalia. Well-put request that the same Senate that unanimous confirmed Gorsuch to the Court of Appeal do the same for the Supreme Court.
By the way, the delivery is good: conversational. Doesn’t hector as Obama did. Smooth, composed, in command. Dare I say it that he is truly presidential?
During his final (thank you God) State of the Union address, during his discussion about Islam, Obama had something to say about those who dare insult Islam:
In a swipe at some Republican presidential candidates, he warned against “voices urging us to fall back into tribes, to scapegoat fellow citizens who don’t look like us or pray like us or vote like we do or share the same background.”
Hinting at recent divisive comments by Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, who called to block Muslims from entering the US, Obama said Americans must “reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion.
“This isn’t a matter of political correctness. It’s a matter of understanding what makes us strong. The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith…When politicians insult Muslims, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid bullied, that doesn’t make us safer. That’s not telling it like it is. It’s just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals. And it betrays who we are as a country,” he said.
If I were cross-examining him, I’d ask something along these lines (and yes, I’ve been reading way too many transcripts lately):
I didn’t watch the SOTU. Aside from finding Obama a boring, inelegant speaker, I was helping a client with trial prep. Today, the trial got continued for a few months so, before settling in for a nice 12 hour sleep (I wish!), I can blog — and share with you, among other things, a couple of my favorite SOTU analyses. I’ve got a lot to say, so I’ll just start saying….
My two favorite SOTU wrap-ups
As I admitted above, I did not watch the SOTU, so I can’t actually say if these wrap-ups are accurate. I can just say that I liked them.
But Obama long ago concluded that the best defense is a good offense. He has never had to face the consequences of his failures. He has been able to fool most of the people most of the time, at least when it counted. He has skated past disaster after disaster, and gotten away with lie after lie. The biggest repercussion he’s been met with—the 2014 Democratic defeat in Congress—may not stop him. Republicans are somewhat toothless, in part because they are divided among themselves but also because Obama has veto power that will be difficult to override. He’s also got that phone and that pen, and the will to use them. He has successfully transformed the US into a second-rate power and allies into enemies (or at least, into abandoned and confused ex-allies). And he has turned enemies into, if not allies, then gloating and stronger forces in the world for whatever evil they’ve got in mind.
It’s actually worked out very well for Obama. So why not brag?
I didn’t watch Obama’s SOTU. Between cooking and carpooling, I had neither the time nor the inclination. I’ve never been impressed by “Obama the Orator,” and his speech’s details had already been leaked, so the whole thing fell into the “Why Bother?” category. I did hear one interesting thing about it, though, while I was walking the dog and listening to Rush.
A caller named Jesse found Obama’s homage to Cory Remsburg off-putting. I too found it off-putting, but Jesse put his finger on the problem: Obama’s focus was about Remsburg the warrior but was, instead, about Remsburg the victim. Obama made no real mention of Remsburg’s actual service. Instead, Obama spoke about Remsburg’s injuries and his recovery (which is laudable, of course).
Obama could have given precisely the same speech been given about someone in a bad car accident. Jesse and Rush both noted that, in previous administrations, when the president celebrated this or that veteran, at least some of the praise focused on the veteran’s bringing war to the enemy. Now, though, the Left finds noteworthy only the injury part of “injured vets.”
Jesse felt, and I agree, that Obama’s purpose in talking about Remsburg was to highlight his opposition to the military, to America’s wars, and to the notion of manliness itself.
For those of you interested in a conservative take on Obama’s SOTU, Bryan Preston offers one.
Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post’s resident “fact checker” seems to have soured on Obama. Rather than doing the old “false but accurate shtick” that characterized Obama’s first term, Kessler simply points out that Obama is making up things as he goes along.
I don’t believe Kessler has actually seen the light. As was true for all of the MSM, he knew what was going on the first time around, but wasn’t going to do anything that might derail a second term. Members of the Left might have gotten over its love affair with Obama, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t still wholeheartedly approve of his agenda.
A new book calling for a socialist revolution features contributions by Obama’s buddy Bill Ayers, among others. As you chew over that, think about this too: Back in the 1930s and onward through the end of the Soviet Union, the vast majority of Americans were staunchly opposed to Communism despite the fact that they really hadn’t seen it in action. Countries such as the Soviet Union or China were closed to them (or run through the Duranty-filter), so those Americans who hated Communism did so because they knew — without data — that Communism stifled freedom and created a tyrannical state.
The fall of the Soviet Union and the opening of China revealed that Communism was worse even than anyone had guessed. If you don’t believe me, just ask the kulaks that Stalin “re-educated” in the Ukraine or the Chinese who were around when Mao started his Great Leap Forward. Oh, wait! You can’t ask them because they’re dead. Depending on estimates, Stalin killed roughly 7,000,000 kulaks through execution or starvation. He was a piker compared to Mao, though, who killed 50,000,000 or more during his Great Leap forward, again through execution or starvation. Despite knowing these facts with certainty nowadays (rather than merely guessing them, as we once did), communism and socialism are no longer considered dirty words. This is what 40 years of Progressive education has wrought.
Ted Cruz has written a really good Wall Street Journal opinion piece about Obama’s imperial presidency:
Of all the troubling aspects of the Obama presidency, none is more dangerous than the president’s persistent pattern of lawlessness, his willingness to disregard the written law and instead enforce his own policies via executive fiat. On Monday, Mr. Obama acted unilaterally to raise the minimum wage paid by federal contracts, the first of many executive actions the White House promised would be a theme of his State of the Union address Tuesday night.
The president’s taste for unilateral action to circumvent Congress should concern every citizen, regardless of party or ideology. The great 18th-century political philosopher Montesquieu observed: “There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or body of magistrates.” America’s Founding Fathers took this warning to heart, and we should too.
And speaking of Obama’s imperial presidency, Victor Davis Hanson has written one of his best works about Obama’s lawlessness. I highly recommend it:
We are reentering Nixonian times, or perhaps worse, given that a free press at least went after Nixon’s misdeeds and misadventures. Now it has silenced itself for fear of harming a once-in-century chance for a fellow progressive’s makeover of America. We live in an age when a CNN moderator interrupts a presidential debate to help her sputtering candidate, and when a writer for the often ironic and sarcastic New Yorker sees no irony in doing a fawning interview with the president, tagging along on a shakedown jet tour from one mansion of crony capitalists to the next — as Obama preaches to the head-nodders about inequality and fairness in order to ensure that the bundled checks pour in.
Without the media acting as a watchdog, the administration has with impunity found the IRS useful in going after political opponents. When Obama’s IRS appointees were exposed, he for the moment called their deeds outrageous; when the media did not pursue the outrage, he wrote it off as a nothing story.
And finally, Megan McArdle points out that even Democrats are beginning to realize that there’s truth to the saying “be careful what you ask for; you might get it.” It turns out that when they have a president desirous of fulfilling their wish list, some of the more intelligent among them are realizing that this way lies economic madness. (Of course, that hasn’t stopped Al Franken from trying to push a constitutional amendment to forbid corporate speech, while keeping alive and well union, especially government union, speech. Apparently it’s not enough for him that almost all of the largest donors in politics are Leftist unions. He wants all of the largest donors to be Leftist unions.)
On the day before Obama gives his annual State of the Union address, this may well be the meanest commercial I’ve ever seen about him (not that I’m complaining):
Hat tip: PowerLine
I can’t make myself listen to Obama. He hectors and I don’t need that in my life. I’ll read the speech, and the multiple analyses of the speech, tomorrow. Until then, I’d love to hear what you have to say about it — or what you have to say about anything else that’s interesting.
Speaking of interesting, it seems that Dorner is dead and I say good riddance to bad rubbish. My sincerest condolences go to the families and friends of those he so cruelly murdered. My thoughts are also with those who were unlucky enough to find themselves in the LAPD’s panicky line of fire.
Oh, one other thing — you knew this was going to happen. The powers that be want to get women into the SEALS. They’re assuring us that they won’t lower the standards except that, in the next breath, they say they’re going to review the standards to lower them. Attention, SEALS: Run while you can. Speaking as a woman, and a pretty strong, aggressive one at that, I can still tell you that, if the standards are lowered to accommodate even the toughest women, you guys are going to start having to watch your back because, with the best will in the world, these women won’t have your six.
It’s a crazy world, isn’t it? Was it always this crazy, but we just didn’t know because there was no 24 hour media and no internet? Or are the wheels really coming off the bus?
We tend to find what we’re looking for. Since conservatives know that Obama comes from a socialist background, has advanced policies that are antithetical to capitalism, and has defeated opportunities and initiatives that are supportive of capitalism, we’re going to assume that, in any speech he gives, ordinary statements are actually code for a socialist agenda. Having this predisposition (“to a hammer, everything is a nail”) can damage ones credibility. Monomania is not normally associated with reliable analysis.
Except that, with regard to Obama’s recent State of the Union speech, I can tell you with a certain amount of assurance that all those conservatives who saw in it a strident call to class warfare, the end of an American system based upon equality of opportunity, and the destruction of the free market were probably right. Or, if they weren’t right, they’ve met an equal, although completely opposite, monomania that manages to read the same message into Obama’s speech.
(Come on, Bookworm, spit it out! What are you saying?)
What I’m saying is that the Occupy crowd is thrilled with Obama’s speech, which they see as a high level articulation of their beliefs and agenda:
Linking the dominant themes in Obama’s nationally televised address Tuesday to the mantras of the Occupy Wall Street movement would have been unthinkable five months ago. But in having its message echoed in the State of the Union address, the Occupy movement reached a milestone in changing the national conversation.
“Once you say the definition of my campaign is fairness, you don’t have to say anything else,” said Lawrence Rosenthal, an expert on social movements who directs UC Berkeley’s Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements. “It is the central tenet” of the Occupy movement, he added.
Obama never specifically mentioned Occupy – and probably won’t, analysts said, because the term remains politically divisive. For some, the dominant images of Occupy are of street activists confronting police and committing vandalism, as has occurred several times after Occupy demonstrations in Oakland.
“He won’t, because given half a chance, the Republicans would try to link him to everything that’s gone on with the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations,” said James Miller, a professor of politics at the New School for Social Research in New York.
Still, analysts found Obama’s speech full of several Occupy-related themes: The president said he would not reward multinational corporations who “remove jobs from this country” and demanded “no bailouts, no handouts, no copouts.” Obama even outed himself as a member of the monied class when he said that “we need to change our tax code so that people like me, and an awful lot of members of Congress, pay our fair share of taxes.”
“Tax reform should follow the ‘Buffett rule,’ ” Obama said, referring to billionaire Warren Buffett, who has volunteered to pay more taxes. “If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes.”
When Obama said Tuesday that “if you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn’t go up,” Rosenthal said, “it’d be hard not to say that he was alluding to the Occupy movement.”
(Read the rest here.)
Apparently while Occupy the White House was a bust from the sidewalk point of view, it worked perfectly when it came to occupying the Oval Office.
Clark S. Judge sent to Hugh Hewitt a great note analyzing what Obama really said during the SOTU. I’m going to do something here that I almost never do, which is to reprint the note in its entirety at my own blog, albeit reformatted from the original. Why? Because the paragraph breaks vanished at Hugh Hewitt’s site, making it very difficult for those of us who are struggling with glasses versus computer glasses versus bifocals to read the darn thing:
SOTU: Did I hear that right?
By Clark S. Judge: managing director, White House Writers Group, Inc.; chairman, Pacific Research Institute.
It sounded like such a soft, even conservative speech.
But let me get this straight:
1) banks will be punished (do I understand this right, by a committee headed by Eric Holder?) if their lending is too risky,
2) and they will be required (by the same committee) to give more home loans (meaning, it must be, to people who would otherwise not qualify for the loans, or else the government would not have to be involved) at lower rates (which means rates that do not compensate them as much as the market says they need to be compensated for the risks they are taking, all of which sounds like a new edition of the policies that brought on the financial collapse),
3) which must mean that they will have to pull back on risky lending someplace other than homes,
4) the only place that most banks would be able to pull back on riskier customers would be loans to small and new businesses,
5) but these are the businesses that have created just about all the jobs over the last 20 years and he said early in the speech he wants to encourage them,
6) so maybe their growth capital will come from selling stock to the kinds of people who invest in new and small businesses,
7) but through the Buffet Rule he’s going to double the tax rate on investment income for those people, meaning that, like the banks, they can’t be fully compensated for the risk of backing small and new businesses,
8) so they will not invest more in small and new companies but in big established firms,
9) so more of those small and new firms will have to turn to the government for capital,
10) which luckily he said would up its investing in early stage businesses with “the best” ideas,
11) “the best” ideas meaning, I guess, as with Solyndra, ideas that advance his agenda through companies whose owners support his candidacy),
11.2) or maybe it would be companies that agree to invite unionization (since the unions have failed to organize the new and dynamic sectors of the economy, which is why they have been shrinking),
12) but then with the big businesses, he wants to punish American companies if they invest overseas,
13) and he wants to increase exports,
14) but being competitive in the global markets often means having part of your production near your markets, which is why many companies have opened production facilities abroad and many foreign companies (BMW and Honda, for example) have opened their facilities here,
15) so he’ll make these companies less competitive, meaning less able to export anything that might be paired with some other product the company makes abroad in order to attract buyers,
16) and it also means he’ll have the U.S. ignoring many of the international trading rules of which we have been the principal sponsor since the end of WWII, rules that have led to an incredible growth in widely shared wealth all over the planet,
17) which means that, if he follows through, he’ll blow up the post-WWII global economic system,
18) which in the very short run may help the uncompetitive American labor unions but in the not-so-long run would devastate every economy on earth,
19) but it would also mean he would be in a position to decide where big companies could invest, and when, just as he’ll be in control of all new and small businesses, too,
20) meanwhile he is going to tell states and localities what their budget priorities should be,
21) and make them adopt his policies for running their schools, leaving me to wonder, when he’s through, what won’t he control?
I believe that’s what I heard the president advocate last night. But one term I didn’t hear, maybe I missed it: “The Constitution.” Then again, wasn’t he suggesting that, in brave times like these, we need to put aside those old rules. Do I have this straight?
One of my father’s favorite stories concerned his niece, who lived on a farm in Israel. Daddy was visiting there one day when he saw his niece, who was then about 5, playing with a wee little baby goat. At this point in his narrative, Daddy would always stop and explain to the city-bred people around him that there are few things cuter than a frolicking kid. Here, see for yourself:
What Daddy found so amusing was what his niece was saying to the cute as they played: “Oh, little goat, little goat! I love you so much. [Pause for kissing the goat.] We’re going to have you for dinner tonight!”
Our president might have been listening in on that story.
In his State of the Union address, Obama began and ended by billing and cooing about the wonders of a military that perfectly carried out his order to kill Osama bin Laden. His very first words were an encomium to the troops:
Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq. Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought — and several thousand gave their lives.
We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world. (Applause.) For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. (Applause.) For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country. (Applause.) Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home.
These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces. At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together.
Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example. (Applause.) Think about the America within our reach: A country that leads the world in educating its people. An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs. A future where we’re in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world. An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded.
By the way, am I the only one who finds that last paragraph a bizarre non-sequitur? How does praise for the troops carrying out their mission transform into our following their example by having lots of (government-funded) education, (presumably green) energy independence, and a big high-tech sector? Mr. President, need I remind you that Rule Number One of timeless oratory is that it should make sense.
Eventually, after almost an hour of standard campaign bloviation, all of which involved the government spending more and more and more taxpayer money on green energy, on Leftist education, on tried-and-failed social welfare initiatives, and on other Big Government boondoggles, Obama got himself back to his beloved troops (emphasis mine):
Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn’t know what they’re talking about. (Applause.)
That’s not the message we get from leaders around the world who are eager to work with us. That’s not how people feel from Tokyo to Berlin, from Cape Town to Rio, where opinions of America are higher than they’ve been in years. Yes, the world is changing. No, we can’t control every event. But America remains the one indispensable nation in world affairs –- and as long as I’m President, I intend to keep it that way. (Applause.)
That’s why, working with our military leaders, I’ve proposed a new defense strategy that ensures we maintain the finest military in the world, while saving nearly half a trillion dollars in our budget. To stay one step ahead of our adversaries, I’ve already sent this Congress legislation that will secure our country from the growing dangers of cyber-threats. (Applause.)
Above all, our freedom endures because of the men and women in uniform who defend it. (Applause.) As they come home, we must serve them as well as they’ve served us. That includes giving them the care and the benefits they have earned –- which is why we’ve increased annual VA spending every year I’ve been President. (Applause.) And it means enlisting our veterans in the work of rebuilding our nation.
Which brings me back to where I began. Those of us who’ve been sent here to serve can learn a thing or two from the service of our troops. When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian, Latino, Native American; conservative, liberal; rich, poor; gay, straight. When you’re marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails. When you’re in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one nation, leaving no one behind.
One of my proudest possessions is the flag that the SEAL Team took with them on the mission to get bin Laden. On it are each of their names. Some may be Democrats. Some may be Republicans. But that doesn’t matter. Just like it didn’t matter that day in the Situation Room, when I sat next to Bob Gates — a man who was George Bush’s defense secretary — and Hillary Clinton — a woman who ran against me for president.
All that mattered that day was the mission. No one thought about politics. No one thought about themselves. One of the young men involved in the raid later told me that he didn’t deserve credit for the mission. It only succeeded, he said, because every single member of that unit did their job — the pilot who landed the helicopter that spun out of control; the translator who kept others from entering the compound; the troops who separated the women and children from the fight; the SEALs who charged up the stairs. More than that, the mission only succeeded because every member of that unit trusted each other — because you can’t charge up those stairs, into darkness and danger, unless you know that there’s somebody behind you, watching your back.
“Little troops, Little troops, I love you so much. [Pause for kissing up to the troops.]” “I’ve proposed a new defense strategy that ensures we maintain the finest military in the world, while saving nearly half a trillion dollars in our budget.” “I’m going to have you for dinner tonight.”
Making our troops pay for the Democrats’ frenzied spending binge is a disaster in the making, for them and for us. The troops are the canary in the coal mine. If Obama uses his budgetary powers to eat them all up, they are sitting ducks on the battle field and we, suddenly, are sitting ducks at home. Obama’s great love for his troops is meaningless if he fails to provide them with the financial support they need to have the best weapons and the best training in the world. I’m all for trimming fat, reducing redundancies, killing bureaucracy, and generally increasing efficiency. Bankrupting the military, however, will not achieve those goals.
I started this post with a true story, and I’ll end it with an old, rather bad joke:
A famously miserly farmer informed his neighbors that his donkey was costing him too much, and that he was going to train the animal to do without food. His neighbors were skeptical. When they next saw him, they asked how the experiment went.
“It went very well,” he said. “The first week, I cut the oats out of his diet. That donkey kept going just fine and I saved me a bunch of money. The second week, I cut the grain out of his diet, and he was still doing his job, and I was saving even more money. It was only in the third week that I had some problems, but I think I can fix them. I cut the last thing — the straw — out of his diet, and the damn thing up and died.”
Obama has consistently handed out cash to the unions and his cronies, but he’s planning on stripping the military to its bare bones. This is not the same as trimming the fat and increasing efficiency. Instead, he envisions the American military in say, circa 1917 or 1941. Yes, we won both those wars, but at a terrible cost. Had we been stronger and more pro-active, each might have ended more quickly and with less bloodshed.
Because my brain works in mysterious ways, I have visions of Obama saying that all the kids playing Call of Duty are pretty much pre-trained, making much of boot camp unnecessary. That’s so not true.
Doesn’t Obama’s oration remind you of that old commercial “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.” This SOTU has a soundtrack: “I’m not an executive, but I play one on TV. I’m not a statesman, but I play one on TV. I’m not a Commander in Chief, but I play one on TV.”