American Elephants

A Partisan Speech About What to Expect From Term 2. by The Elephant's Child

On these pages, I usually am disagreeing with President Obama’s policies. I recognize the importance, especially to Black Americans, of having a Black president. I never saw someone’s race as a barrier to elective office, but those who have suffered from discrimination see it as enabling full participation in a society they are not yet ready to accept as non-discriminatory, and I recognize that emotion.

On the other hand, I care deeply about policy, and reject the policies of the Progressive Party particularly because their ideas just don’t work.

I don’t watch TV, so did not see the inauguration, but I printed out the inaugural speech, because this is the first time that the president has made a statement of what we can expect from his second term, something he assiduously avoided throughout the campaign. As Mona Charen remarked today—”we recall that his campaign huddled early in 2012 and reflected that they could not run on his first-term record. Accordingly, the strategy was “Kill Romney.” Congratulations. That’s what we’re celebrating today.”

Mr. Obama clearly wanted to make an important, memorable speech. In a successful speech the memorable soaring phrases build up  from the body of the speech naturally as the full idea comes to fruition. Didn’t happen. They were just stuck in there.

Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.

That was meant to be in the quotation books, but the soaring part doesn’t fit the rest. Nit-picking, of course, but I found that a real stopper.

After his first inauguration, Obama said in February 2009: “The federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back into life. It is only government that can break the vicious cycle where lost jobs lead to people spending less money which leads to even more layoffs.” That is what he pursued for four years, but it didn’t work out so well.  This time it was: “Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone.”Except that he didn’t mean that either, what he meant was:

We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.

Our wise government will come up with new business and new technology, and train people to do the new jobs, because we cannot leave such things to the so-called free market. Collectivism. Climate Change, the leftover roads and bridges, make friends with our enemies, economics grows out from the middle class, we believe in the rule of law, “we believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war,” “we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war.” — “who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends.”

And this gem: “We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling a reasoned debate.” Mr. Absolute, who does not change his mind,  who goes for spectacle instead of substance every time, and who can’t resist name-calling of those who disagree with him. If you don’t agree with Barack Obama you are with the forces of darkness, you are evil and despicable. This was a partisan, divisive speech. He will be using his community organizing skills to form a permanent campaign to get his supporters to force Congress to pass the laws he wants.

And the mention of the debt, the deficit, the budget, spending? Sixteen trillion and heading up — and it’s not worth even mentioning.

Obama To Have a ‘Private’ Oath of Office, Closed to the Press? by The Elephant's Child

How long can President Obama continue to slight the press before the media has, um, an awakening? The latest fuss is about the inaugural committee’s indication to reporters that the president’s official swearing-in ceremony on January 20, could potentially be closed to the press. Well, few things get the press aroused more than being shut out.

Since January 20 falls on a Sunday in 2013, Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the official oath of office in a private ceremony that day. The public inauguration on the Capitol Building’s West Front — at which Roberts will administer a second, symbolic oath of office — will take place the next day. White House photographer Pete Souza would supply “official” photographs to the press. Past Sunday inaugurations have been open to the press.

Both the White House and the inaugural committee note that “private” simply means the event is not open to the public and that press arrangements have not been formalized.

The president will accept unlimited corporate donations for his inauguration in January. There are no legal limits for inauguration donations, but four years ago, the president capped all contributions at $50,000 and barred companies from contributing any money. But the president and his team just wrapped up the most expensive campaign in history—with costs topping $1 billion —and their donors are simply tapped out.

Once again, Obama has not exactly followed through on his vow to run a more transparent administration. It is far past the time when the press should start to call him out on it. There is little indication that the media will finally start to do its job and report critically on his presidency.

The inaugural ceremony is not a private thing for the president and his friends. It is a public affirmation for the American people, evidencing the oath the president takes: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”



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