Monday, December 7, 2015

The Oval Office Speech

Stray observations from the President's Oval Office speech last night.

1. Standing at a podium was weird, but irrelevant.
2. For the first time in a very long time, I actually felt like the President of the United States was on our side for a change.
3. Took him a while but he finally conceded that the Fort Hood massacre was not workplace violence.
4. Why does he insist on using the term ISIL instead of ISIS? Does he not like admitting that they are in Syria?
5. I absolutely despise the way he always falls back on this "being on the right side of history" shtick. It's what he says when he wants to end all debate and it happens to be bulls**t. History didn't defeat Hitler. History didn't end slavery. The blood sweat and tears of bold and determined men and women laboring under impossible burdens did. When he glibly asserts that we are on the right side of history, he's essentially saying that eventually, in the distant future HE will be vindicated by historians for his brilliance, so anybody who criticizes him for his present incompetence is on the wrong side of history. It's very annoying and sounds weak. Does anybody think that Vladimir Putin cares one whit about what side of history he's on? Please.
6. Even though it was encouraging that the President does finally seem to understand what kind of battle we are engaged in, once again he spent roughly half of his speech lecturing us about the dangers of the often talked about but seldom actually seen, Anti-Muslim backlash. His attorney general said a couple of days ago that her number one fear was an outbreak of anti-Muslim violence by Americans. Seriously? That's her number one fear? Let me get this straight, radical Islamic jihadists take out 3000 Americans on 9/11, murder their fellow servicemen at Fort Hood, and now kill 14 of their co-workers in San Bernardino and the thing that keeps Loretta Lynch up at night is the fear of American anti-Muslim bigotry?? While any incidents of violence against any minority group is too many, the number of such incidents against Muslims in this country since 9/11 are less annually than the number of such attacks against Jews. And yet, there was my President last night lecturing me to guard against my naturally American predisposition towards hateful revenge. I grow weary of a President who holds such a low opinion of his own countrymen.
7. Never once in his address did he lay the blame for terrorism on global climate change...a VERY positive development.
8. The President looked very tired and oddly bored. It's as if he just can't get in to being a wartime President. He is clearly much more comfortable pursuing his social justice agenda, and up to a point, I understand that and sympathize. But, fate has dealt him this hand and he needs to drum up a bit more enthusiasm for the job, in my opinion. He is still our President for the next 13 months. He can't start writing his memoirs just yet. We need him to be fully engaged...NOW. Can you imagine FDR spending half of one of his fireside chats during the dark days of WWII lecturing us about succumbing to anti-German bigotry? Can Presidents come off as too gung-ho for war? Absolutely...see George W. Bush. But, when the President of the United States goes to the trouble of an Oval Office address in prime time and mails it in, then rushes off to the Kennedy Center afterwards, it doesn't actually communicate resolve.

Ok, there you have it, my take. Feel free to disagree. Feel free to fling overheated invective my way. Just don't include any overly anti-Muslim language that might be interpreted as "edging towards violence." Loretta Lynch might arrest you!