I’m not going to do a long commentary on the President’s address last night; frankly, I found it a little too boring to pick apart. And if that’s what I thought about it, I suspect our readers feel similarly and aren’t itching to read commentary on a mostly unmemorable speech.
That said, there was one passage in last night’s blab-a-thon that I can’t let go:
And so at this moment, as we wind down the war in Iraq, we must tackle those challenges at home with as much energy, and grit, and sense of common purpose as our men and women in uniform who have served abroad. They have met every test that they faced. Now, it is our turn. Now, it is our responsibility to honor them by coming together, all of us, and working to secure the dream that so many generations have fought for –the dream that a better life awaits anyone who is willing to work for it and reach for it.
Our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work. To strengthen our middle class, we must give all our children the education they deserve, and all our workers the skills that they need to compete in a global economy. We must jumpstart industries that create jobs, and end our dependence on foreign oil. We must unleash the innovation that allows new products to roll off our assembly lines, and nurture the ideas that spring from our entrepreneurs. This will be difficult. But in the days to come, it must be our central mission as a people, and my central responsibility as President.
At National Review Online, Jonah Goldberg captured a large piece of my take on this ridiculous passage. He said the following:
This is what really disgusted me. If you read this closely, what Obama is saying is that not only do we owe it to the troops to rally around his discredited and partisan economic agenda (“It’s our turn”), not only is it a test of our patriotism to sign on with his environmental and industrial planning schemes, but that doing so “must be our central mission as a people.”
I find everything about that offensive.
True dat. I’d add that it’s more than a little ironic that the reason we’re in Iraq today is the attempt to leave a country where people have at least some freedom to live their lives the way they want without being killed or dungeoned for it. And more importantly, a country where the will of the people is reflected in the policies of their government.
We can argue about whether this was a wise decision to make; frankly, I think we might have been a bit better off installing a military dictator in Iraq who would have given us a good deal on their oil and agreed to build civil institutions leading to democracy over the long haul. Think South Korea. Nevertheless, regardless of the practicality of the Iraq mission it was still a rather high-minded endeavor.
And Obama opposed it. If he’d had his druthers back in 2002 as a lowly state senator in Illinois, he’d have left Saddam Hussein to tyrannize the people of Iraq some more and continue as an enemy of the United States.
Which is cool, I guess.
But it’s also pretty funny in light of last night’s speech, when Obama says we’ve got to honor our troops by embracing a host of crappy, statist policies which allow government to pick winners and losers in our economy, degrade the rule of law and increase the value of political patronage in comparison with private-sector merit. In other words, we’ve got to honor our troops by reordering our economy and society along the same Third World lines as Hussein’s Iraq. And we’ve got to do it in spite of the fact most Americans don’t want to – because our Dear Leader says so.
Like Goldberg says, it’s offensive. But it’s hilarious as well. Who writes this crap?