American Elephants


A Historic Speech, Will It Change the World? by The Elephant's Child

NetCongSmilePodiumSideHseofReps3-3-15_600.jpg.cmsVictor Davis Hanson made the decisive comment on the Obama response to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech yesterday, back on February 10, almost a month before the speech was delivered.

Snark is a popular word used for a particular sort of off-putting sarcasm. Snarkiness can manifest itself as adolescent cheap shots, snide condescension, or simple ad hominem patronizing — a sort of “I know you are, but what am I?” schoolyard name-calling. Its incessant use is typically connected with a peevishness born out of juvenile insecurity, and sometimes fed by an embarrassing envy.

Israel’s Prime Minister was eloquent, moving, determined, and humble. He expressed his gratitude to America, and to President Obama for his aid to Israel. He delivered a detailed indictment of both Iran’s intentions and the sellout deal that the Obama administration is drafting in Geneva.

Obama had done everything in his power to cancel, delay and undermine the speech before it was delivered, including putting out the idea that the Netanyahu appearance was somehow “disrespectful” to the president, and had offended by ignoring the customary protocol between nations. The White House was carefully notified before the Prime Minister accepted the Congressional invitation, and there was nothing disrespectful about his appearance. He emphasized the close relations between the two nations and his gratitude for all that America has done for Israel.

After the speech President Obama, in an arranged photo-op, spent eleven minutes claiming that he didn’t even watch the address, though apparently Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei did, and then Obama snarkily added that “there was nothing new in it” anyway.

It’s too bad that Obama didn’t listen. This was the third time that Mr. Netanyahu had addressed Congress, a record shared only with Winston Churchill, whom Obama didn’t like either. The Prime Minister was interrupted with thunderous applause some 40 times. Extra folding chairs were set up in the chamber to accommodate the overflow crowd. Thanks to administration pettiness, the speech drew intense international interest, and was broadcast around the globe. It was an historic speech.

Our two nations, Netanyahu said, share” the destiny of promised lands that cherish freedom and offer hope.”He traced Iran’s history since the revolution in 1979:” America’s founding document promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Iran’s founding document pledges death, tyranny and the pursuit of jihad. And as states collapse across the Middle East, Iran is charging into the void to do just that.”

The Israeli Prime Minister’s speech may make the Iran deal a tougher sell for Obama. The President was hoping to slip it in under the claim that it was not “a treaty” but merely a minor deal that didn’t require Congressional approval, so wouldn’t be presented to Congress. He is really going way too far with this executive order stuff. It is not just about him — its about the safety of America and of Israel. Iran is not going to notify anyone that they have completed their search for a bomb. Israel and Washington D.C. will just be smoking holes in the ground. It’s not about Obama’s “legacy” — it’s about survival.

If you didn’t watch the speech, take the time to watch it now or again. Or read the transcript. It was a stirring, historic, and thought provoking address that will enter the catalog of the world’s great speeches.


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I was in DC at the time of the speech. I wasn’t able to get in to see it (sometimes I can, and I saw Netanyahu’s last speech there, but there was too much demand for this one), so and friend of mine and I watched from the lounge at the Willard. I was impressed with the speech, as I usually am but any public address given by Netanyahu.

After it was over, we left, and as I walked through Lafayette Park (I was meeting my sister for lunch) all of the networks were getting Obama’s “reaction” to the speech. And his reaction was as petty and snotty as I thought it would be.

Obama said he didn’t watch any of the speech (supposedly he had set up a conference call for then, which coincidentally ended at the same time Bibi’s speech ended), but I’m told Netanyahu didn’t follow his prepared speech exactly (no teleprompter!) and I find the idea that Obama was able to read the transcript of a 45 minute speech and give an extemporaneous response in less than 15 minutes a little less than believable. We’ve all seen Obama off the cuff before; stammering, searching for words. His response to this was obviously prepared. I’d believe Obama skipped the speech; he doesn’t think a speech given by anyone other than him is that important. I just think he had written his “response” before Netanyahu even arrived in DC.

Obama said Netanyahu “said nothing new”. True. Netanyahu has been sounding the alarm for quite some time, but it’s still important to hear it said. Obama said Netanyahu offered no “viable alternatives” to what was happening, but as the world already knows, no alternative that deviates one iota from what Obama wants is ever “viable”. His response was petty, childish, and predictable. And the rest of the Democrats were just as embarrassing. San Fran Nan said that we already knew that Iran was not trustworthy. Really? Then why is Obama proceeding as if they are?

Netanyahu reminded the world of the true threat that Israel faces. He showed the US what a leader looks like; sure of himself and the actions that he needs to take, and unafraid to give them voice.

Obama is angry, because Obama should be ashamed.

Comment by Lon Mead

Pelosi did not absent herself from the speech, but made herself a bit of a spectacle by pointedly turning her back. I hope at least the speech and the response to the speech will put an end to Obama’s idea that he can just do this on his own without a
congressional hearing or vote, claiming that it is not a “treaty.” His ambition to change the country with executive orders is frightening — at least until some judge makes it clear that he simply cannot do that. Troubling.

Comment by The Elephant's Child




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