Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Two Gentlemen on Obama

Shmalentine: I thought it boring but perhaps intentionally so conventional: Part of an effort to recast him as a boring centrist president rather than a commie Muslim.

Shmoteus: Recast being the operative word—the lines were there on the surface (American exceptionalism, etc.), but it’s impossible to believe anything he says about our place in the world when tomorrow we will still have no real agenda abroad beyond the piecemeal approval of predator drone strikes. It was odd—he managed to avoid talking about actual warfighting in his marquee Iraq speech. I’ve come away with a very blurry memory of what he actually said. Bush was good, our troops were good, our relationship with Iraq is good, everything will soon be better, and we mourn our many losses. It was as though he was forcing you to insert meaning into his words—a true cipher.

Not a wartime president, that one.

Shmalentine: Yes, it is amazing how antiseptic he is (clean, Joe Biden once said) when he has in fact droned out countless Afghan women, children, cousins, neighbors who were in the wrong place when an Obamadrone struck. All that done to avoid complex legal issues that arise from trying to hold them. Easier to drone them out. This from our professor of constitutional law. 

But!! You said “tomorrow we will still have no real agenda abroad beyond the piecemeal approval of predator drone strikes.” How unfair. Tomorrow, precisely, we will have the Peace Dinner. All is not lost: The world’s shortest king will be back in Washington. And Mubarak, Kiwi Black all over his dome. And after 18 months of being kept apart by Mitchell’s incompetence, Abbas and Bibi.

Anyway, tomorrow and the day after there is but one agenda: Winning in 2012. 

Shmoteus: And while we’re speaking of recasting, Obama's new oval office rug has five quotations inscribed in the wool:

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”—President Franklin D. Roosevelt

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice”—Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Government of the people, by the people, for the People”—President Abraham Lincoln
“No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings”—President John F. Kennedy
“The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us”—President Theodore Roosevelt
Each line is by itself quite lovely, but in sum they’re just . . . empty. I like the one in the Jefferson Memorial better: “I pledge upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” 

But then, he don’t.

Shmalentine: It is stupid to put that stuff in a rug so everyone walks all over it. Generally speaking I do not favor rug quotations.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, even "Welcome" on a mat does not guarantee hospitality.