Assigned Reading: Searching in Vain for the Obama Magic
(FROM: Der Spiegel)
I’ve been poking around a bit (as much as time permits) trying to get some reactions to the Obama speech on Afghanistan from non-conservative voices. And from my limiting reading so far the response is lukewarm at best. Consider Der Spiegel’s opinion: “Never before has a speech by President Barack Obama felt as false.” Think that’s rough? It goes downhill from there:
One didn’t have to be a cadet on Tuesday to feel a bit of nausea upon hearing Obama’s speech. It was the least truthful address that he has ever held. He spoke of responsibility, but almost every sentence smelled of party tactics. He demanded sacrifice, but he was unable to say what it was for exactly.
An additional 30,000 US soldiers are to march into Afghanistan — and then they will march right back out again. America is going to war — and from there it will continue ahead to peace. It was the speech of a Nobel War Prize laureate.
Der Spiegel didn’t miss a beat, noticing that the drawdown of American forces is scheduled to begin – you guessed it – just in time for the 2012 re-election campaign. What kind of an ego does it take to plan a war around your career? The kind Obama wields, apparently.
But the fundamental problem with the speech is the one constant that has run through Obama’s political career since before the start of the primary season: duplicity. He’s trying to be everything to everyone. For reasons that are partially understandable (racial relations) and partially unforgivable (media bias) this worked during the campaign. It’s not working now.
It was as though Obama had taken one of his old campaign speeches and merged it with a text from the library of ex-President George W. Bush. Extremists kill in the name of Islam, he said, before adding that it is one of the “world’s great religions.” He promised that responsibility for the country’s security would soon be transferred to the government of President Hamid Karzai — a government which he said was “corrupt.” The Taliban is dangerous and growing stronger. But “America will have to show our strength in the way that we end wars,” he added.
Oh, and did you catch the Bush reference? Over here in the US we’ve gone from comparing him to Carter to wondering if there are shades of Johnson or even Nixon. But in Europe they’re going straight for the ultimate insult: comparing him to a water-down version of George W. Bush. Guess the wheels have really come off the Apology Express now, haven’t they?
Last of all came the most insightful observation yet:
The American president doesn’t need any opponents at the moment. He’s already got himself.
They’re right. We’ve all been anxious to find the next GOP leader. Frankly, I’m pretty pleased with the GOP essentially being put in timeout for now. They haven’t learned their lesson. They don’t get a leader until we see someone we like, because we’re through going with the dreck they try to foist off on us. But more importantly, if the GOP actually did have a leader at this point to challenge Obama I don’t think it would help.
He’s doing all the work for us right now. He’s got no credible rival. No opponent. No one to demonize or use an excuse. It’s just him, up there on his own, screwing up. Now isn’t the time where we need to find a new leader. It’s time to find another shovel, just in case Obama decides he needs a bigger one to keep working on that hole he’s digging for himself.