Aug 31 2010

A Bumbling, Babbling Band of Buffoons

Published by at 7:33 pm under All General Discussions

The post title is a completely unrelated quote from a Harry Potter movie (The Goblet of Fire) to lead into my take on the President’s address to the nation tonight. Its all I could think of to convey my mixed reaction to the President’s address. An address that started strong, and then droned on into oblivion.

For the first few minutes it seemed “President” Obama had finally arrived. As the nation’s leader he did an excellent job of reviewing the war on Iraq, the sacrifices and costs, the disagreements, but also the opportunity all that has brought us to the brink to realizing. He recognized the potential for Iraq and the world that our blood and treasure – and that of our allies – bought humanity. Even his slightly wooden delivery seemed to honor the importance of this historic turning point and moment. The combined hope for Iraq and the West was there for him to take hold of and expand upon.

Then ‘professor’ Obama decided to come out and the entire mood was lost. Obama began to get too lofty, too preachy, too filled with public relations speak. Not sure how he did it, but by the time he was moaning about the trillion dollars spent on bringing Iraq to this magical moment (without acknowledging his administration’s spending twice that much and failing to fix our own economy) the inspiration was gone. We reached for the cable remote as he babbled on about vague, Kumbahya-like visions of world harmony not achievable under past administrations, but here but for the luck of Obama. When he started to congratulate himself for meeting his campaign promises, he lost the nation. This was not about the future of Iraq, it was about candidate Obama’s promises. Ugh.

I have never seen a more tone deaf group than this crowd in DC right now. All he had to do was acknowledge that major sacrifices had brought the world to this pivotal moment when Iraq once again was a sovereign nation, now led by a democratic government. All he had to de was ‘move on’ to the future and bring us together in rallying behind our new ally, this time without guns or tanks or fighter jets.. But he doused that achievement with a review of the political score card.

A moment lost. An amateur arose from the fleeting glimpse of a potential leader. An opportunity squandered.

And a nation shrugged and turned away (or tuned away, in this modern age) as the man focused on himself and his views – not ours or the potential for the world.

Update: Fred Kaplan at Slate nails the problem with the address last night:

On the one hand: “There should be no doubt the Iraqi people will have a strong partner in the United States; our combat mission is ending, but our commitment to Iraq’s future is not.”

On the other hand: “Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibility. Now, it is time to turn the page.”

On the one hand: “Because of the drawdown in Iraq, we are now able to apply the resources necessary to go on offense [in Afghanistan].”

On the other hand: “As we wind down the war in Iraq, we must tackle those challenges at home [jobs, deficits, energy independence, and education] with as much energy and grit and sense of common purpose as our men and women in uniform who have served abroad.”

None of this is wrong. All the pieces of what he said are worth saying. But what was he saying overall? Which pieces did he mean to emphasize most? What made the message worth the high profile of a prime-time address to the nation?

Exactly. What was new here? What was the point?

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “A Bumbling, Babbling Band of Buffoons”

  1. dhunter says:

    It started decent but degenerated into:

    how great I am because the troops are great,
    and because they are great you people should get behind my economic (Failed) policies and show greatness.

    I will retreat from Afgahnistan, just like I did Iraq, a year from now so just hold on Taliban!

    The Greatest Liar of all time looked scared, and stoned. His eyes were wide and wild the whites wide and white (Clear eyes?) the pupils huge and dark….stoned!

    I don’t think he’ll run again, I’m not sure he’ll last his term.

    I don’t think he has the fight in him to soldier on or change. He may be getting dangerous and should be watched.
    I think he wants to play, party, and soak up the spoils NOT WORK.

    He has lost the trust of the American People and he and his Party are payin the price for their lies!

  2. archtop says:

    “What was new here? What was the point?”

    Glad I missed it…

  3. oneal lane says:

    This “turning point” in Iraq is just smoke and mirrors. Combat units remain and have been “renamed” but their tasks have not changed.

  4. owl says:

    Hey folks, that was his best BlameBushBash ever. He said that trillion dollars that Bush spent will now allow him to fight the real war and fix all the job problems.

    What a liar. Yes, he is getting dangerous. Look at that UN report (in our faces). What is so damn scary was the part about coming out of HIS war on date certain. Look at his body count. Or how about deliberately leaving Iraq without a gov. I think he is hoping it will revert into a lost war before he leaves office. Then he can say he tried but look at Bush’s war.

    He just looked so tiny sitting there. And what is with all the family photos?

  5. kathie says:

    The real point is that the President had to say something as the Status of Forces Agreement that Bush negotiated with the Iraqis required a “period” from a Commander in Chief. The problem, the sitting Commander in Chief didn’t want to say anything about the bad war, and the good war is a little troubling at the moment. The economy that has been the focus of attention between vacations and golf games is a bit troubling as well. So the President was forced to talk to the Nation because of a Bush arrangement and he really didn’t have much to say, so the kitchen sink was the topic, and done badly.

  6. oneal lane says:

    Now perhaps we can turn our attention to the combat mission in Arizona.

  7. kathie says:

    I found this at HOT AIR, a must read.

    Mark McKinnon
    “Second look at Bush”

    The best look back at President Bush that I have read.