Obama’s inaugural speech

This morning, I got a phone message from an acquaintance who thought my column today was great, which struck me as a little surprising since I know the caller to be of libertarian persuasion. Especially since it was about Obama's inauguration, and the WSJ reported this morning that — as I read it — his speech today will be of a communitarian bent (yes! thought I). Yes, I know libertarians claim "responsibility" as a theme as well, but they mean something very different from communitarians when they use the word. With Obama, it's more like:

"Given the crisis that we're in and the hardships that so many people
are going through, we can't allow any idle hands," Mr. Obama said,
taking a break from painting a dormitory at Sasha Bruce House, a
shelter for homeless teens. "Everybody's got to be involved.
Everybody's going to have to pitch in, and I think the American people
are ready for that."

As I said, the communitarian sense of responsibility. And to that I say, amen.

Anyway, the speech itself is beginning now, and I thought y'all might want a place to comment on it. So here you go.

111 thoughts on “Obama’s inaugural speech

  1. Herb Brasher

    Obama is not yet finished, but his speech so far is magnificent. I found Rick Warren’s prayer, though unconventional, excellent. it has been a joy to take part in this.

  2. Brad Warthen

    My first thought: I hope he doesn’t catch pneumonia. It’s 28 degrees there. Look at the folks in the crowd — I just saw Colin Powell, duly wrapped in muffler — and they’re all more appropriately dressed.

    Yeah, I know he wants to look cool, but one can stretch the no-hat JFK thing a little too far. (And Powell should have on a hat, too.)

    One thing consoles me — he’s probably wearing longjohns. When he was here at our office almost exactly a year ago, early on the morning of
    MLK day, when he was going to go speak at King Day at the Dome after
    meeting with us, he had an aide go buy him some long underwear, which
    he changed into in one of our first-floor bathrooms, while the Secret Service patrolled the hallway outside in force. If you’ll recall, it was VERY cold on the State House grounds that day.

  3. Herb Brasher

    I don’t see how he could have given a better speech, succinctly stating the challenges and inspiring at the same time. And he kept it short at the same time! Well done, Mr. President.

  4. Herb Brasher

    Funny, but my wife said the same thing, Brad. But I figure he is a fairly young man–I used to run around like that in cold weather–until my middle 40s. No more.

  5. p.m.

    I listened to the speech. I didn’t hear anything I thought anybody could hang a hat on, just another step down on the transition ladder from the fantasy of campaign speeches to the reality of government.
    But I did like Aretha Franklin’s hat.
    I’m also falling in love with Joe Biden’s wife. It’s good to have at least one person around who doesn’t speak with forked tongue.

  6. Rich

    My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. . .
    Today these words ring truer than ever. I voted for Obama. The departure of Bush and his Republican confederates could not come a moment too soon.
    When I see the new president speak and hear his healing words, I see in my mind’s eye all of my students and I feel good about their future!!
    Viva el nuevo presidente de Estados Unidos de América!!

  7. Brad Warthen

    Definitely not a libertarian speech. He proposes to set aside libertarian things:

        We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

    He takes on the Mark Sanfords of the world a little more directly here:

        What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
        Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

    He completes the communitarian thought here:

        For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.
        Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

        This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

    And again I say, amen.

  8. Brad Warthen

    Bless your wife, Herb! She thinks like a mom…
    These kids; you just can’t get them to bundle up.
    And yes, that was a blessedly short speech, given that all those people are standing out in the cold… Very apropos…

  9. Doug Ross

    Talk is cheap. Bailouts are expensive.
    I reserve the right to see how “all of us” work together. “All of us” usually translates into “some of you”.

  10. Doug Ross

    Earnest and meaningful Brad can’t ever let a day pass without taking a shot at Mark Sanford and libertarians (i.e. the people who bare zero responsibility for the current state of the world).
    Let’s see which government programs get cut. How will you measure Obama’s commitment to this new attitude toward cutting wasteful government spending? Will he address the billions of dollars in fraud in Medicare?
    Communitarianism? Enforced by the government? Hmmm… sounds familiar, comrade.

  11. bud

    Your column today was one of your best. My only bit of nitpicking was that your article and the State’s main editorial (which you said you wrote) repeated many of the same thoughts. Seemed a bit redundant. Still, the thoughts and writing were both very good.

  12. Herb Brasher

    “Who bare zero responsibility for the current state of the world. . . .”
    I assume that was a misspelling, but maybe it accurately describes many libertarians? They will admit no responsibility–it must be the liberals who are to blame.

  13. Phillip

    As you probably did too, I liked the line about the nation being “greater than the sum of our individual ambitions.”
    But I also bring your attention to what was my truly favorite passage:
    “As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals…Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.”

  14. Doug Ross

    Yes, it was a typo. And yes, I do assume responsibility for myself.
    Too bad others blame the everyone else and do not expect to work for what they get.
    Let the Obama love flow. Then when we see the same old government a year from now, you can blame liberatarians.

  15. Karen McLeod

    President Obama’s speech calls us all to return to a participatory government: participatory not just in the sense of choosing our leaders, but in actually following them to get the work of the nation done; participatory not just in the sense of applauding of our historic principles; but in daring to live into those principles; participatory not just in the sense of self congratulatory belief in our nation’s pre-eminence in the world, but in bending our collective will to exhibit the positive power of our economic, ethical, and political spirit. As a Christian I hear in this speech the very root of Christ’s message–to love each other as he loved us. I hope we can all rise to be the Americans he calls us to be.

  16. Lee Muller

    It was a campaign speech, still attacking nameless bad guys.
    White liberals have been wanting to elect a black man, any black man, so they could prove to themselves how noble they were. Blacks also would vote for any black. Now they have the Affirmative Action President, completely unqualified.
    Let’s see how long it takes for him to start paying off the Marxist radicals and Muslims overseas who financed him.
    Remember his campaign promises:
    * Disarm white Americans.
    * Confiscate their 401-k plans
    * Increase the inheritance taxes
    * Increase taxes on small business
    * Free medical care to deadbeats
    * Open the military to homosexuals
    * Remove all limits on abortion
    * Create an armed Obama Youth Corps, larger than our military

  17. Doug Ross

    Anyone who would like to join me in feeding the homeless on Saturday morning at First Baptist Church, please contact me via email. Plenty of opportunities out there for “all of us” to join in.

  18. p.m.

    “This is the price and the promise of citizenship.”
    Does being an illegal alien have a price in Obama’s world, or merely a reward?
    When he uttered those words, that was all I could think of.
    If citizenship has a price, then shouldn’t it actually have a price?

  19. Herb Brasher

    See Doug, that’s what bugs me. “Too bad others blame everyone else and do not expect to work for what they get.” I’ve worked hard all my life, and still do. And working for a non-profit that can’t pay much, but I do it gladly. And yet all those who disagree with you libertarians are liberals who don’t expect to work for what they get. You leave all compassion up to the individual. You might as well leave it up to Mr. Potter. Well, I can’t adopt that view, because I am an evangelical Christian that believes in the downward bent of human nature–not because I am a “liberal” who wants to give everyone else’s resources away.
    I’m glad I don’t share your cynicism. I hope that a lot of people don’t share your cynicism, even if they disagree in philosophy with the directions the new president takes. Cynicism is not what we need now.

  20. Herb Brasher

    Great Doug. But I hope you are not writing in a self-righteous attitude that you are the only person involved with the homeless. Some of us are involved in other ways, including not only providing something to eat, but giving many a chance to get their lives turned around. I applaud your involvement, but not your cynicism implied that the rest of us are all talk and no action.
    I take your offer to take donations as cynicism, apologies if it is not meant that way.

  21. Brad Warthen

    As I said earlier, this is not a good day for “baring” anything. Too chilly.
    Moving on…
    Phillip’s not going to like what I thought when I heard Obama speak his favorite line: I thought, “he just told his first lie in office.” Out loud, I said to Cindi, “He knows better than that. It’s a Democratic crowd-pleaser, but he’s smart enough to understand that there will ALWAYS be tension between our highest ideals and national security.”
    Lincoln certainly knew that. FDR certainly knew that. (Do I have to go into details?) Obama will have to face that, too. He already has, as he encounters the practical difficulties in closing Gitmo. He’ll close it, and right away. But he’ll also have to deal with the prisoners in ways that are not the stuff of lofty speeches — either that, or let them go to resume trying to kill us, which he’s said he’s not going to do.
    At the sticking point, the commander in chief will always have to deal with this tension. I think Obama will deal well with it, and I wasn’t being critical when I said he just told a lie. What he did was express an ideal. And in a job as big and hairy as president, there will always be tension between ideals and practice, especially for someone as sensible and pragmatic as Barack Obama.

  22. p.m.

    Actually, Herb, cynicism is exactly what we need right now. This is the most America has ever been blue-skyed about anything, and the blue sky is coming from just about everywhere, including Brad and Fox News.
    I’m looking for the aliens to land soon, probably Feb. 17, just as soon as all those bothersome analog TV signals have stopped making the air poisonous to them.

  23. Doug Ross

    I’ll stop being cynical when there is evidence to the contrary.
    When people stop relying on the government for handouts and turn to churches.
    When people stop relying on the government for retirement income and start saving their money.
    When people start paying for their own healthcare and not get it subsidized by those who do.
    When people stop trying to create laws to enforce their version of morality and instead live by example.
    That’s my version of cynicism.

  24. Doug Ross

    Why do you translate “some” as “all”? I never said I was the only person doing charity work. But I do notice when some people in my church get uncomfortable when I ask them if they have a spare coat to donate. The 80/20 rule seems to apply to reaching out to the less fortunate as well. 20% of the people do 80% of the work.
    I was dead serious about the donations and about encouraging people to come down and feed the homeless. It is hard not to be a cynic when you listen to a guy tell you he’s too thin to sell his plasma this week while our legislature spends $5000 on the Okra Strut or $500,000 on a hunk of Civil War memorabilia.
    It’s not cynicism when it’s real.

  25. Herb Brasher

    Well p.m., you remind me of a cynic at a wedding. “This ain’t gonna last two weeks.” Well, a wedding doth not a marriage make–but does one have to ruin the celebration?

  26. Herb Brasher

    We’re on the same page, but our emphases are totally different. I learned a long time ago that most people, to paraphrase Mark Twain’s thought, don’t learn anything from somebody else’s good example. You can drive the speed limit all you want–just stay over in the right lane, because nobody is going to learn from your good example. Some things do have to be legislated.
    Did you notice Obama’s statement–it isn’t important if government is big or small, but whether or not it works? He must be reading Brad Warthen’s columns.

  27. XXX

    I agree with Brad that Sanfordism was targeted in the new president’s speech. Sanfordism is a failed and incoherent philosophy by which we help the rich so that they might eventually deign to help the rest of us.
    Then there’s Mullerism–another basket of nonsense. His libertarianism states that the people have no right to help themselves through government. And if you’re poor, too bad, sucker!
    Then there’s Rossism–faith-based bullsh*t. I don’t give to religious institutions because I am a non-believer and do not trust those institutions to deliver a decent meal without preaching a little mystery and mumbo-jumbo about an afterlife for which we have absolutely no empirical evidence.
    Our new president clearly has some sort of faith, and that must come at least as some consolation to all the faith-heads out there. But you may recall from the speech–and I think this is extremely important–that he did not call this a Christian nation. Rather, we are a nation of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and non-believers, among others. And our government remains secular nonetheless.
    You all can contribute to Doug via paypal if you want. I prefer to make my contributions to United Way of the Midlands. Now there’s a cause worthy of our support in tough times!!

  28. Herb Brasher

    Is it my imagination, or did the Typepad thing just get fixed? I haven’t seen the link to “Next” and “Previous” before, but maybe I’m just being my usual unobservant self. People give my wife flowers all the time, and I don’t see them until they’re almost wilted.
    Anyway, I finally was able to read the thread way back that stopped with Dec. 29th. Too late to comment. Anyway, it’s time for me to quit–anyway.

  29. bud

    Brad, you are waaaay out of line with that “lie” comment. (After I commended you for your editorial, you let me down with this crap). Obama was expressing his passion that we cannot sacrifice our national principals in the name of “security”. Bush showed us how that can only bring us a false sense of security. Fact is lying in the name of security, as Bush did often, is disgusting. The American people can never be safe as long as they cannot trust their president. Unlike his predessesor Obama is a man we can trust.

  30. Phillip

    Tension between maintaining our highest ideals and national security? But it’s the “national security” side of the equation that is always potentially subject to slippery interpretation and re-interpretation. But if you truly speak of the nation’s core national security (and not the quest for 100% immunity from any terrorist attack ever, only possible in a police state) than Obama’s statement was neither “lie” nor “Democratic crowd-pleaser.”
    It was simply the truth.

  31. Doug Ross

    Giving a homeless guy a hamburger and a warm coat transcends religion.
    There’s no preaching, no judging. It’s about helping people out in a location that is central to the downtown area. Feel free to join me if you’d like to see for yourself. Yeah, someone will say grace before the meal is served. You can stick your fingers in your ears during that part.
    But it’s funny. So many of these people who are in line have a far better appreciation for Jesus than I would if I were in their shoes. Grace, humility, kindness, faith… you oughta try seeing it up close instead of just writing a check.

  32. Lee Muller

    Herb, it is a fact that social conservatives contribute far more time and money to real charity work than do socialists and their fellow-travelers. Advocates of big government welfare don’t believe in private charity – they want to force others to “contribute”, but not themselves. No, they want to be the ones with the vision, the directors, the middlemen in cushy admin jobs.
    Just look at how Clinton and the Democrats have reduced the amount you can deduct from your taxes for donations to charity, if you are a middle-income person. Of course, if you are super rich, you can lend $280,000,000 to a charity for 5 years, then have it all pass to your heirs tax free, like Jackie Onassis did.

  33. Jason F. McBrayer

    And now for something completely different: a man with a tape recorder up his nose! (Hail to the Chief plays)
    But seriously, I thought the meat of Obama’s speech was a primer on non-threatening, mainstream liberalism, for an audience that has never thought deeply about politics. You could do worse in an inaugural address, though it’s less “change we can believe in” and more “back to business as usual after a detour into kakistocracy”.
    Brad’s brain will explode when he learns that some libertarians are also communists.

  34. Herb Brasher

    At least I should quit, and then comes XXX. Sorry, but there is a difference between the claims of the resurrection from the dead of Jesus of Nazareth, an the resurrection from the dead of a fried egg. Those who have examined the resurrection of Jesus and tried to explain it away, run into great difficulties. You can try to explain it away as a creation of the early church, but the evidence is the opposite. As far as empirical evidence for an historical event, there is none better. That someone has come back from the grave with a transformed body is quite a claim, but it turned around a group of dispirited and resigned scoffers. There is no reasonable explanation for the birth of the church other than that. It is also very strong evidence for the supernatural and life after death. You are greatly mistaken, XXX, greatly mistaken. That is your privilege, but it is not reasonable–it flies in the face of reason.
    That is not the same as the experience of that event in the faith of individual Christians. That is the subjective experience of the empirical evidence.

  35. Lee Muller

    Brad Warthen is completely unfamiliar with libertarian thought, from the Enlightenment, through our Founding Fathers, to the present. All he knows is that libertarians oppose big government welfare programs, like the healthcare he wants.
    John Adams, his TV hero of the month, would be appalled at the socialism of today’s cancerous government.
    Brad prefers to think of himself as a pragmatic moderate, rather than a socialist, because he is not ideological – he just wants all the socialist goodies as a practical matter…. for himself.

  36. Birch Barlow

    Definitely not a libertarian speech. He proposes to set aside libertarian things:
    We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

    Setting aside libertarian ideals and replacing them with the promise that
    “all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness?”
    Please, please, PLEASE tell me how equality and freedom are in conflict with ANY libertarian ideal.
    It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.
    This represents the PERSONAL CHOICES of INDIVIDUALS. It has nothing to do with policy or government. That is unless Obama is going to push laws enforcing these actions at which point kindness and selflessness are totally out of the picture.
    So again, please, please PLEASE tell me how this (personal choices of individuals) is in conflict with libertarianism.
    It’s not. It has absolutely nothing to do with libertarianism. Depending on your view of Obama its either empty rhetoric or words of inspiration. Either way, its speaks nothing to any of his policies.

  37. Birch Barlow

    From the address:
    As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.
    Bud, those words may not be a lie, and I hope they are not, but they certainly conflict with his votes FOR the USA PATRIOT Act and the recent FISA legislation.

  38. Karen McLeod

    “As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals…Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.”
    That’s not a lie Brad, although cynics’ would have you think so, neither is it an ‘ideal’. It’s a simple truth. It may be expedient to give up those ideals, but the minute you do so you guarantee failure in the long term, whatever short term success may be. You see, the minute you willfully abandon those ideals, you lose the worth of what you’re trying to achieve. Of course theres tension between freedom and security. The founding fathers willingly gave up security in order to achieve freedom. Our constitution if it does anything, tries to thread that needle. It gives us the basis for the rule of just law, and a means of changing unjust laws. If we choose to step outside the law for purposes of security, we risk of becoming victims of the rule of unjust law. Our problems with Gitmo would be much less troublesome if we had sought to deal with these persons in a lawful, ethical manner. Now it is not expedient to deal with the mess, but we’ve got to if we want any other nation to believe we’re telling the truth about how good our form of government is.

  39. Lee Muller

    Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was not a libertarian, but an anarchist of the socialist kind. He did not identify himself with the libertarians of his day, who were free-market capitalists. The “libertarian socialist” label was pinned on him later, to distinguish him from mainstream socialism, which places the State as the owner of property and is dictatorial, whether it is democratic socialism (mob rule), international socialism, national socialism or fascism (like Hitler, Mussolini, and FDR).
    The libertarian opposite of Proudhon would be the anarcho-capitalists. Proudhon’s concepts, like Marx, were unsophisticated and contradictory. It is a shame that so many people latch on to their silly ideas, without studying the rigorous thinking which followed that dismal era of reactionary politics which gave us civil wars all over Europe, America and South America.
    Barack Obama is one such example of a person having a shallow acquaintance with a hodge-podge of dated, wrong notions about society.
    [ News flash! Bill Ayers was arrested at the Canadian border and sent back to the USA by Canada. ]

  40. Jason F. McBrayer

    Actually, Lee, in Proudhon’s day, free-market capitalists were called “liberals.” At that time, “libertarian” was used as a euphemism for “anarchist” — and almost interchangeably with socialist. The term libertarian is still used primarily for (left) anarchists everywhere but the US. It was only when the term “liberal” began to be strongly associated with statism in the early 20th that free marketeers began to use the term “libertarian.”
    Anarcho-capitalism is widely seen as being self-contradictory, because capitalism (as such) depends on the state to privilege the capitalist class over the working class. Free market libertarians who are aware of this contradiction have begun calling themselves agorists.
    Hopefully, Brad is finding this conversation informative and productive as well.

  41. Brad Warthen

    See what happens when you express yourself? Next thing you know, the only person agreeing with you is the guy attacking religion (XXX). That’s a weird place for a Catholic to be.
    Sort of reminds me of the way I feel when Christopher Hitchens agrees with me, as he often does… I mean, it’s great that he and I were on the same page on Iraq and all, but I’m always aware that one reason he is so willing to confront radical Islamism is that it is, plain and simple, based in religion.
    Unless I’m misunderstanding him… But I digress…

  42. Brad Warthen

    Herb, MAYBE the TypePad problem is “fixed,” although in an odd way. Don’t know about you, but I find the “previous” and “next” thing on comments a little confusing.
    We’re almost up to 50 comments on this post now (and sorry for hogging the last 3). If we don’t hit a wall at that point, but keep on going, then I guess it’s “fixed,” after a fashion.
    And bud, I’m glad you liked my column, and I’m sorry to upset you with the “lie” thing. I didn’t mean any harm by it. I actually mean it as a compliment to Obama that I truly believes he understands that it’s not all black and white in the real world where the commander-in-chief operates. Obama WILL have to compromise on EITHER ideals OR security, early and often — starting with Gitmo. I expect him to come up with a smart solution, and one that is neither wholly satisfying to the “throw them in a deep, dark hole” crowd, or those of “read the terrorist his rights” sensibilities. He will end up in a smart place, but that space will be a compromise dictated by the tension I speak of.

  43. Herb Brasher

    Well, I didn’t say that I like the new format, but at least I can find the rest of the comments.
    What was wrong with the old style?

  44. Will

    I am so over DC. They are all money sucking glory hounds. McCain, Obama…you name em…they all could care less about us.

  45. York "Budd" Durden

    Herb wrote (much earlier):
    >you can try to explain it away as a creation of the early church, but the evidence is the opposite. As far as empirical evidence for an historical event, there is none better.
    Uh, no.

  46. Karen McLeod

    You expect Pres. Obama to compromise either security or ideals. I expect him to “uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States,” which I take to include rule of law, and separation of powers. This would be a major positive step forward from the previous incumbent.

  47. WorkingTommyC

    I haven’t been excited about a President since Reagan and that was only because I was a starry-eyed youth at the time.
    I’ll be d—-d if I get excited over the likes of Clinton, Bushes, or the Obama.
    We haven’t had a President who respected the US Constitution since, oh, James Buchanan.

  48. Birch Barlow

    You expect Pres. Obama to compromise either security or ideals. I expect him to “uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States,” which I take to include rule of law, and separation of powers. This would be a major positive step forward from the previous incumbent.
    Hear, hear!

  49. Lee Muller

    Obama did not recite the Oath of Office as it is written in the Constitution. He stumbled and mumbled and omitted the part about upholding and defending the Constitution.
    That’s Freudian, and consistent with Obama’s lifelong contempt for the Constitution. As he said in an interview, his litmus test for judges is their not being bound by the words of the Constitution.

  50. bud

    Yesterday was a fantastic time to celebrate the dawning of a new era. Now that our long national nightmare of the last 8 years is finally over we can look forward to solving the many problems left behind by the failures of conservative rule.
    We can start by ensuring that working people are given a fair break instead of the tyranny of corporate rule as foisted onto the public by the neocons in the form of a huge wealth transfer to the richest of Americans. The consequences of their policies are now manifesting themselves in the form of a deep and dismal recession that has so far been addressed by giving yet more money to of all people the bankers who created this mess in the first place. In the meantime credit card rates and fees continue to go up for the middle and working classes.
    With 1 in 54 houses currrently or in the recent past in foreclosure it’s time to act, not talk. Indeed this is class warfare. But we’ve had class warfare for 8 long years but the only class that has been waging battle is the rich class. The poor and middle class have simply served as cannon fodder for the crazy economic policies of Bush.
    Obama can and must address this intolerable imbalance of wealth caused by corporate welfare schemes that serve no one but the top 1/10 of 1 percent of all Americans. With “General” Obama leading the charge we can take our country back from the greed and evil of the rich.

  51. Lee Muller

    The American free market system serves everyone who works hard. The poorest working person in America ranks in the top 5% wealthiest people in the world.
    People who have given up, who have no ambition, and have resigned themselves to a dead end government job or handout, will be bitter and blame more industrious people for their own failures.
    But wealthy people become wealthy by creating wealth, adding value to every piece of property, every assembly in the factory, every row on the farm. Their wealth doesn’t come at the expense of the lazy and unskilled. Those at the bottom are actually better off, just to receive the wealth trickling down, that they couldn’t produce on their own.

  52. Herb Brasher

    Brad, as long as you let Lee continue to post garbage on this blog, a blatant example being the reference above to Obama not taking the oath of office, you are contributing to the blog not being what you aim it to be. As Paul DeMarco wrote, comments like this destroy any legitimate discussion.
    There is an interesting video over here on the abortion issue: http://www.youtube.com/user/catholicvote23 Would spawn some legitimate discussion, I would hope.

  53. Birch Barlow

    bud, bud, bud, sweet bud
    Class warfare is a horrible, horrible thing. But, Bush is gone. The “neocons” are once again out of power (hopefully for good this time).
    Obama has promised change. Hopefully he rises above class warfare. Hopefully he leaves divisive language behind. He needs to focus on what unites us. That is freedom for all of us to live our lives in our chosen way and equality under the law. He has a real chance at doing this by supporting gay rights, ending foolish drug laws, reforming immigration, and unfettering future generations from a burdensome debt.
    Calling one group of Americans greedy and evil will only set us back another four years. Is not ALL of mankind inherently greedy and evil? Hopefully the divisive ones calling for class warfare are left behind.

  54. Brad Warthen

    Yeah, it’s time to move on, folks. I always thought that group had a really ironic name — MoveOn.org. Weird, for a group that embodies the opposite of moving on, a group that is one of the very worst examples of grinding and regrinding the same ideological hash, 24/7. Presumably the irony is lost on its adherents.
    FYI, I just went in and unpublished one or two of Lee’s more paranoid rants, along with an obscene comment by some guy named Joe.

  55. p.m.

    Hey, Herb, you’re right. I hate weddings. Seems like they always lead to class warfare.
    But, seriously, when both you and I know that Obama, ironically, the orator to end all orators, did genuinely butcher the oath of office, what’s the harm of Lee pointing it out? Is it that freedom of speech is only OK as long as we show reverence to Obama? Why is it that a verbal faux pas is fair game if it’s Bush but grounds to be banned from a blog if it’s Obama?

  56. bud

    I really enjoyed the part of Obama’s speech where he dissed his predessesor. Couldn’t you just see Bush squirming while Obama called for an end to the destructive politics he practiced. Then again, I’m not sure that Bush was smart enough to grasp the rather indirect nature of the comments.
    Indeed it is time to move on. I’m not for any prosecutions unless there is hardcore evidence that would support it. But we can’t get all caught up in some kind of feel-good bi-partisanship if reaching out to the GOP dilutes the effectiveness of Obama’s policies. If they become obstructionists then the Democrats need to adhere to the will of the people and govern accordingly. That’s why we have elections. Frankly, bi-partisanship is over-rated. What’s important is good policy.

  57. karen mcleod

    Yep. He stumbled. Might it have been because Justice Stevens garbled the oath to start with, and Pres. Obama got confused trying to straighten it out, or maybe just tried to get through that moment quietly, without pointing out the judge’s error? Or should we have him retake the Oath on the 6:00 PM news. Maybe Lee could administer it, and Mr. Obama could show him a legal copy of his (Obama’s) birth certificate at the same time.

  58. Doug Ross

    Just read that 2008 marked the year when there were more people working for the government in the U.S. than in construction and manufacturing.
    Manufacturing jobs have remained in a range of 20-24 million since 1969. Government jobs have grown steadily from 12 million in 1969 to 22 million in 2008.
    And look at how much more productive government has become by doubling the workforce!

  59. bud

    Doug is absolutely correct. We need to reduce the size of government. I’d start by eliminating all jobs that have anything to do with enforcing the drug laws. We’d eliminate cops, court administrators, much of the DEA and thousands of corrections officers. In a related move I’d get rid of all folks enforcing blue laws, the video poker ban, prostitution and pornography.
    Next, I’d eliminate most of the Department of Defense. That would include about 90% of the Pentagon staff about half the navy and most of the airforce.
    The Department of Education can go. They really don’t accomplish much of anything at the national level, maybe not the state level either.
    There are certainly millions of workers that are redundent or just plain not necessary even in agencies that serve a purpose. Specifically I’d clean house at the executive level in both the federal and state governments. We need more troopers, maintenance workers and DMV counter workers, not paper pushers.
    These measures will free up government money for productive endevours that could actually put people to work. Of course we need to be careful during this recession but over the long run big cuts in government would help the economy.

  60. Brad Warthen

    bud reminds me that last week, inspired by some of the ridiculously venomous op-ed pieces I was reading, I started to put up a post with the headline, “Only Five Bush-hating days left until the inaugural!” To give you an example of what I’m talking about, check this by Leonard Pitts, which for all the world reminded me of Elvis Costello’s “Tramp the Dirt Down” (a case of Thatcher Derangement Syndrome if ever I saw it, but I still love Elvis):

    Dear President Bush:
    I am glad you are, at 62, still a relatively young man. I am glad you are in robust health. This means there is a good likelihood of your being with us for decades yet to come, and I dearly want that. You see, history’s verdict is on the way, and I want you to see it for yourself….

    It still amazes me that people can have that much hatred in them, based on mere political disagreement. Folks, this guy’s not Robert Mugabe, or Stalin, or Pol Pot. He’s just this guy you disagree with. Get a freakin’ grip. Especially now that he’s finally gone.

    But wanting to Move On myself, I didn’t post it. I figured just ignore them, and eventually the worst clinical presentations of Bush Derangement will fade away. It will mean that an awful lot of people will lose something that has been their main emotional driver in politics — they may suffer some withdrawal from whatever chemicals are released in their brains when they chant their hate-Bush mantras. But hey, they’re just going to have to suffer a little for the good of the country. On the whole, moving on will be wonderfully beneficial to our nation. I’m enjoying it already.

  61. bud

    It still amazes me that people can have that much hatred in them, based on mere political disagreement.
    AHHHHHHHHH. Brad doesn’t get. He and Keven Cohen spout the same nonsense. Let’s be crystal clear on this, most folks don’t hate George W. Bush because we have a political disagreement. We hate Bush because of his destructive lies, arrogance and indifference to the people of this country. He was not just a bad president because of his bad policies, though there was plenty of that, he was a bad president because he genuinely did not care about the welfare of non-wealthy Americans. On at least 2 occasions he actually flipped the bird at the press when he thought the cameras were not on.
    Just check out his behavior both before and in the immediate aftermath of Katrina. He was more interested in blaming the Democrats for the poor response than he was in helping the people even though he was in Arizona celebrating McCain’s birthday when the thing hit.
    Sorry Brad, the guy was an arrogant heal. At least one guy understood that and presented him with the rest of the shoe.
    Besides Brad, you pretty much “hate” Mark Sanford because of his policies. Aren’t you being hypocritical?

  62. p.m.

    Right, Karen. It couldn’t have been Obama. Messiahs don’t make mistakes, even if their disciples can’t spell “predecessor”. The screw-up was all the fault of the Supreme Court justice that Obama voted not to confirm.
    In fact, George W. Bush deserves some blame for it, too. Just ask bud. He’ll tell you.

  63. Herb Brasher

    Come on, you guys! Go back and look at the oath. It was Roberts’ misreading that messed up Obama. You can tell he’s thinking that the sentence doesn’t sound right, but in the end follows Roberts.
    Sheesh. This just goes to show that if you want to find a mistake, you’ll find it, any way you can get it. If anybody messed this up, it was Roberts. Karen, don’t give them an inch on this, because they’ll always take a mile if they can get it.

  64. Karen McLeod

    “It still amazes me that people can have that much hatred in them based on mere political disagreement.”
    Brad, when I express my distrust in the Bush administration, it’s not based on mere dislike or ‘hatred’ for the man. Its based on following:
    1. This administration either knowingly lied to the people of the US, or else were unable to discern hard evidence from iffy intelligence, and were unable to wait on the UN inspectors to find those WDM’s.
    2. Once at war, this administration, rather than follow the Powell doctrine chose its own and tried to conquor a large country cheaply rather than send in overwhelming force. And it completely forgot the “if you broke it, it’s yours” part.
    3. This administration sought to circumvent a) the Geneva convention in that it authorized torture, b)our own laws in that it sought the ability to listen in on private conversations without getting a court order first, and c) our constitution by seeking to politicize our courts. These laws protect us, not “those terrorists.”
    I don’t hate George Bush; I prayed for him and those in his administration regularly during his time in office (resisting the temptation to pray for the SPEEDY repose of his soul), but I despised his administration for trampling on our rights, and for making us (the US) act the same way as the thugs we’ve been battling. And I will continue to resist any administration that seeks to so demean the country I love.

  65. Herb Brasher

    Brad, you cannot let Lee get by with stuff like this. He tries to deliberately distort his sources and mislead people, and there is not a shred of reason for doing so except his own meanness:

    Obama did not recite the Oath of Office as it is written in the Constitution. He stumbled and mumbled and omitted the part about upholding and defending the Constitution.

    Here is the presidential oath of office

    I do solemnly swear (or affirm) 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.

    Obama said every one of those words, the word order only messed up by Justic Roberts. Go back and look at the video file.
    And the harm P.M., of Lee posting such stuff is that some people actually read it and think it’s true. It’s their own fault, but somebody ought to protest such Goebbels’ tactics that Lee likes to use.

  66. bud

    Herb, just ignore Lee. You’re just wasting your time trying to correct everything he gets wrong. He’s a sad, delusional individual who deserves our pity, not our scorn.

  67. Brad Warthen

    Actually, I DIDN’T let him get away with it; I unpublished the remark. Or maybe that was on another post; Lee’s comments sort of run together in my mind…

    Karen, no one accused you of hating anybody.

    And not only do I not hate Mark Sanford, I’ve never written anything that indicates that I do.

    Do you really not see the difference between something that reeks with personal bile and rational disagreement? Maybe I do need to do that separate post, because I have a positive example that I could hold up for folks who don’t get the difference.

    David Broder had a wonderful column Sunday, which I ran on our pages, in which he VERY effectively stated exactly what was wrong with the presidency of George W. Bush. And he did it without hyperbole — no “horror” excess — and without in any way communicating hatred of the guy.

    Look at Leonard Pitts — who sincerely, openly avows that he hopes Bush lives long enough to suffer thorough humiliation (echoing Costello’s “Well I hope you live long now, I pray the Lord
    your soul to keep…”) — and Broder’s carefully reasoned, highly effective criticism.

    What Broder wrote is what I try to encourage on this blog — rational, unemotional, civil disagreement that is not based in ad hominem meanness. We should all emulate that.

  68. Herb Brasher

    Bud, have I been trying to correct everything he gets wrong? This is the first time I’ve corrected anything of his in ages. What’s more concerning is that other folks here halfway subscribed to this idea.

  69. bud

    Brad conveniently forgets that George W. Bush once had an approval rating of 90%. That hardly supports a claim that people just decided to “hate” him for his policies. The disallusionment and anger towards the man was well earned for the reasons Karen mentioned along with many more. Bush was a man of privelage who looked down on those less fortunate. His arrogance was the product of a privelaged life whereby he never had to earn anything. His service in the national guard illustrates the charmed life he led. He was granted a slot in the guard ahead of more qualified men because his father had the right connections. He then failed to get his “required” physical, possibly because he was afraid his cocaine addiction would be detected. He did not show up for service in Alabama and he left early. That’s the kind of story line that folks find so infuriating.
    As president he was unable to act desisively when his country needed a leader the most, choosing instead to continue reading to a classroom full of second graders. How can anyone respect a man with such a history of privelage and incompetence? No Brad, this is not about policy. By bringing this up you demonstrate yet again how fundamentally flawed your thinking is when it comes to George W. Bush. That flawed thinking was evident in the atrocious 2004 endorsement for president. We need to make sure the sorry character and record of our 43rd president is accurately recorded for the sake of our posterity. We don’t need editorial page editors inventing motivations to those who judged this man for the failure that he was.
    Let the record show that George W. Bush was a disaster as president and completely unworthy of our respect or affection. America has paid the price for his arrogance, lies and indifference. The least we can do is make sure the history books get this right.

  70. Dan

    Communitarianism: A using B to coerce L to do something which A deems “responsible,” regardless of what L believes. Communitarians are big fans of everyone “pitching in,” so long as one is pitching in in accord with the desires of said communitarians.

  71. Lee Muller

    —– Just the facts, no opinion ———
    Obama did not recite the Oath of Office properly, and until he does, he is not legally Presdident. Several attorneys have commented on it, and there have already been legal opinions issued to that effect. It was the Chief Justice’s fault, and Obama tried to say it properly, but he failed to get it right..
    Two other presidents, Calvin Coolidge and Chester Arthur, also muffed the Oath of Office, and had to cure it with a second swearing in ceremony in private.
    Obama’s lack of a proof of citizenship is still a legal problem for him. Lawsuits proceed to open Obama’s sealed records at Occidental College, Harvard Law and everywhere else he claims to have attended or taught.
    — Those are the facts. —————-

  72. Brad Warthen

    Yesterday, as I sorta kinda watched Obama’s speech — stepping into the adjoining room with the tiny TV, then back to my laptop (where I could still hear it), back and forth — I turned to Cindi at the moment of the glitch and said, “Hey, does this mean it isn’t legal?”
    I was JOKING. Lee is NOT. Herein lies the difference. And here endeth the lesson…
    And Dan doesn’t understand what communitarianism is. I suppose (and forgive me if I’m wrong) Dan is a libertarian. They always think SOMEBODY’S trying to coerce them into doing something.
    You know how they say that the “terrible twos” is sort of a child’s first adolescence — the first stretch in which they are adamantly all about ME! ME! ME!?
    Well, libertarianism is like a third adolescence, and if you don’t outgrow it, the condition lasts your whole life. You spend the rest of your years moaning about how mean Mom and Dad are for not letting you do exactly what YOU want…

  73. Karen McLeod

    While I agree with Mr. Broder to the extent that he notes that Mr. Bush failed to ask the American people for sacrifice, I must reiterate that the Bush administration made repeated efforts to circumvent the rule of law and even the constitution itself. By the actions of his administration he has brought shame on all of us (We can’t even keep our word about abiding by the Geneva convention). I see his actions as a clear breaking of his sacred oath of office. I agree with you that sometimes people go a bit far with gratuitous insults and unproved suppositions, but I think that for many of us it goes beyond partisan disagreement. I think he clearly engaged in treasonous behavior. While I don’t care if he’s tried or not (We have so much to do; lets move on), I’ll not sit by while those who disagreed with him so much (for so many good reasons)are dismissed as merely having a “political” disagreement. I consider that an ad hominem attack on us.

  74. bud

    Dan is a libertarian. They always think SOMEBODY’S trying to coerce them into doing something.
    No, no, no, no, no. That is just plain wrong. I disagree with much of libertarian thinking but this much is crystal clear: Liberals are oppossed to the government interfering in their constitutional rights to make their own decisions about their money, bodies, sex lives, what they read and anything else that is legitimately in the perview of individual choice and responsibility. Why is this so hard to understand?
    Brad, here’s a test. If the city of West Columbia wants to build a homeless shelter in Quayle Valley a block from where you live would you oppose it? If you say yes then by your own definition you are a just acting as a selfish 2 year old that has not yet become an adult. If you don’t answer the question I will assume you are just being contrary.

  75. Lee Muller

    Brad, your dismissing libertarians as immature is a just your way of avoiding discussion of a topic you cannot discuss.
    You should read some libertarian thought, starting with Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Patrick Henry, and Alexander Hamilton. Even the Federalists believed in a very limited government, which you and many others find “oppressive”, because it demands personal responsibility.
    Socialized medicine is socialist.
    Public housing is socialist.
    Social Security and other welfare programs are socialist.
    Governments taking over our banks is socialist.
    If you like those things, you like socialism.
    Socialism is unAmerican, and unConstitutional, and illegal.

  76. Birch Barlow

    And Dan doesn’t understand what communitarianism is.
    What is communitarianism? You made that statement above but then you never explained it.

  77. Doug Ross

    Keep on that earnest and meaningful path, Brad.
    Libertarians are selfish babies.
    Obama is a liar.
    Bush is an idiot (reference your approval of Araial’s recent cartoon).
    If you are consistent in one thing, it is your inconsistency. That’s why the Unparty can hold its convention in a phone booth.

  78. Doug Ross

    As for your “Mom and Dad” analogy, a Libertarian expects the government to be like a stable Mom and Dad who are dependable and who encourage personal growth and responsibility.
    A liberal socialist conservative such as yourself wants the government to be the combination of a drunken stepmother who buys booze for the kids, a father who beats the neighbors kids for stepping on the lawn, and a mother who bakes fat-free oat bran cookies for all the children in the neighborhood and tells their parents when she sees them smoking.
    I guess it’s all in how you are raised.

  79. Bart

    Lee, the oath was not messed up by Obama but by the judge. It was a mistake but when in hell did a mistake become a national disaster like it is being made out to be by everyone? So what? Obama could have continued but he didn’t and suddenly it has become the topic of the day. Get over it folks. If this is the most serious issue we have to discuss, then our country is in great shape.
    But, from what I have been reading on this and other blogs along with what is being reported on all media outlets, we have more serious problems to address.
    Personally, I am glad Bush is back in Texas but not because I hold such unbridled hatred, yes hatred in my heart for him or anyone else. Politics has been something of interest to me for a long time and I have witnessed a lot of acrimony and anger but nothing like the blind hatred people like bud have for another person, i.e. George W. Bush. At one time I thought maybe we could actually have a dialogue and exercise some common sense but there are some who won’t release their death grip on the cancer of hatred eating them up inside.
    Right now, I don’t especially care about reading anything bud has to say just like he and others don’t want to read anymore of Lee’s comments. bud once accused me of not being credible because I referenced witches when discussing Sarah Palin. I should have known at that time this person will never listen to reason or entertain anything he doesn’t agree with. His blindness to reason is a major contributor to the widening chasm between us and will continue to do so. He once claimed he was not a leftist – what a lie.
    Hatred is a powerful emotion and easily recognized. When it is the driving force, everything else takes a backseat. Every accusation he has made or parrotted against Bush can be disputed but neither he or those who believe the man to be the evil entity they portray him to be will ever entertain anything but their own venomous beliefs.
    If this is the picture of Obama’s supporters, I pity the man and fear for this country. Without their anger and hatred to drive the buds of this world, life will soon loose its purpose and they will die on the vine of futility. Obama will learn, maybe, that governing and running a country is slightly different than being a community organizer.

  80. Brad Warthen

    First, I’d be interested to see the reference on that 90 percent figure. He had high approval ratings once, but not that high.
    But even if he did, it wouldn’t change the fact that about 10 percent of the electorate really, really HATED this guy from the get-go.
    This is something that preceded Iraq or the Patriot Act or any of the other policy-based excuses offered by the haters. bud sort of acknowledges that with the stuff about his bio. It’s truly a matter of hating him for who he is, not any particular thing he’s done. It’s very, very, intensely personal.
    I clearly remember having a conversation with Mike Fitts about this a few days before 9/11. There had been plenty of time to MOVE ON from some of the sillier reactions to the election outcome after the long count — which was the only thing I could point to as to why a certain segment of the left hated him so much. Mike knew what I meant, and tried to explain it, but I don’t remember the explanation as satisfactory; I went away still mystified.
    And then we went through that period after 9/11 when he had high ratings just because the country so badly WANTED to believe in its president, whoever he might be (a reservoir of good feeling that Bush totally wasted, as Broder pointed out, and as Friedman and others have effectively explained). Then that ended, and the previous malice suddenly came back like a tidal wave, completely destroying our ability to have rational conversations about the guy and his policies.
    I mention Friedman parenthetically above. I’ve always liked his observation that sort of drew a sharp line between people like him who were severely, but constructively, critical of Bush and the haters, for whom it was personal. As he said, “Some things are true even if George Bush believes them.” He was talking about Iraq, but the same could be applied to any number of issues. For the haters, if Bush believed it, it was BY DEFINITION not true. Why? Because for them it’s less about the policy, and more about how they feel about the guy.

  81. Lee Muller

    Communitarinism is stealth collectivism.
    Its adherents dislike liberalism, especially classical liberalism, with its individualism and law based on univerals natural rights. Instead of the community being formed by individuals, the community is supposed to conform the individuality out of its members.
    It is not a coherent philosophy, or ideology, but is a mix of democratic socialism and a positivist view of rights to things. They reject the rights to individual freedom of action, but want a powerful state to deliver their rights to goods and services like medical care, housing, education, food, music, theatre, sports…whatever the majority of the community wants the minority of individuals to buy for them.
    They are moralists, who want the State to control behavior like smoking, wearing selt belts, eating “unhealthy” foods, driving “irresponsible” cars, owning “unnecessary” firearms, etc.

  82. Lee Muller

    It’s just a little mistake. So what if…
    * Obama failed to properly take the Oath of Office.
    * So what if Obama is not really a US citizen.
    * So what if his Treasury Secretary concealed six years of income.
    * So what if his Attorney General negotiated a bribe for the pardon of swindler Marc Rich, and the pardon of several terrorist friends of Hillary.
    * So what if Obama and Rahm Emanuel ran Gov. Blagojevich’s crooked campaign for governor?
    * So what if Barney Frank and Chris Dodd took payoffs from FNMA and FMAC?
    * So what if Obama has no work experience and no qualifications to hold any office?
    * So what if Obama still refuses to identify the donors of $250,000,000 of campaign money?

  83. Brad Warthen

    We’ve got comments passing each other in the night here…
    bud poses the question of whether I would support a local gummint putting a homeless shelter in my neighborhood. That’s a “have you stopped beating your wife” question, for this reason — if you remove me and my self-interest from the equation, you’re faced with the fact that my neighborhood would make an idiotic place to put such a center. I live in a dead-end neighborhood that is a full mile off the nearest thoroughfare, and even after you get to that thoroughfare, you’ve got another six or seven miles to go before you get ANYWHERE where homeless people congregate. The problem’s downtown. So if I lived in, say, Shandon, and someone proposed to put the center out in Quail Hollow (the actual name of my neighborhood), I’d say they were crazy.
    So since I live in Quail Hollow, I’m supposed to give a different answer, just to show you how public-spirited I am? That’s even crazier. No one who wants to serve the homeless and understands the situation would want that. What the people who DO want to deal with our homeless problem and DO understand it want to put it near the Elmwood neighborhood, NOT because they want to be mean to the people in Elmwood, but because that’s a place that works, and no one has proposed a place that works better (or that doesn’t prompt the same sort of NIMBY response).
    The closest I can come to satisfying bud’s test is to point out that when a group wanted to put the center out here on Shop Road near the paper, we supported it. It wasn’t the best place for it — this is also a little out of the way — but it made a lot more sense than, say, Quail Hollow or the Village at Sandhill or Irmo would make. It’s at least within sight of downtown.

  84. bud

    Here’s a nice chart from the Washington Post charting Bush’s approval rating. Right after 9-11 it did indeed surpass 90%. And I was among the 90%. No irrational “hatred” here. I simply loathe the man for his arrogance and incompetence. And, as indicated by the chart, apparently many Americans came to the same opinion.
    Broder, as usual, does not go far enough. The Bush presidency was for worse than a failure to call for sacrifice. It was a moral failure as much as a political one. It’s time to move on for sure, but let’s get this right. Otherwise we will end up with another extremely flawed leader.

  85. Lee Muller

    If you want to “sacrifice” something, go ahead. Nobody is stopping David Broder from reliving his FDR fantasy by rounding up scrap aluminum, or ‘bud’ and Brad donating time at the VA Hospital.
    Usually the call to sacrifice means a cry for someone ELSE to sacrifice their freedom and wealth, or be sacrificed as an example.
    Since fewer than 1/6 of Americans pay any income tax, they are already sacrificing for the other 5/6.

  86. bud

    One last word about W. We’ve probably spent too much time on this but it is important. I did agree with Bush on several issues. These included affirmative action, immigration, his initial foray into Afghanistan and to some extent his initial handling of the financial crisis (that one is complicated and he got off track but in the beginning I thought he had it mostly right). So in spite of my total disrespect for the man as a human being I could set that aside and support him when he was right on policy. Brad, Broder and Cohen are completely off base on this topic.

  87. Brad Warthen

    Thanks for the link, bud — for the rest of you, it leads to a WashPost fever chart showing Bush’s approval ratings over the years.

    And thanks for sharing some of the things you agree with W. on. Looks like you might agree with him on more things than I do. If I were to mention anything you didn’t mention, it would be his having increased aid to Africa for AIDS — something Nicholas Kristof has rightly given him credit for — and his last-minute ocean conservation deal.

    And of course, there’s Iraq — where I first agreed with him (on going in), then disagreed with him (on letting things get totally fouled up under Rumsfeld), then agreed with him again (on the Surge).

    The problem for people such as myself — and even more so for someone like Tom Friedman — who don’t like much else about the guy, is that we’ve had to take so much grief from the haters because we happened to agree with him (in general, at least) about Iraq. We get labeled as Bush-lovers by the Bush haters, and that gets REALLY tiresome, because those folks don’t make life pleasant for folks thus labeled. It’s particularly bad when you believe in our mission in Iraq and think Bush is the guy screwing it up, which was the case for so long.

    The good news of course is that things are going well enough in Iraq that there’s no longer any need for strong disagreement on the subject, particularly now that the emotional center for so many — Bush — is out of office. Everyone agrees that we should start drawing down forces — and beefing up our presence in Iraq. We have formal agreements in place. The Green Zone was turned over to Iraqis recently, to little fanfare.

    So maybe, with that out of the way, and Bush gone, we can all start having rational discussions about foreign affairs. Who knows? We might even be able to achieve national consensus on a few things, which would be very helpful in terms of making our policies successful.

  88. Bart

    When it comes to character and morality, bud is treading on thin ice when he accuses Bush of not having any morals. Hypocrisy seems to be the benchmark for liberals or extreme leftists like bud.
    When the crowd booed Bush when he came on stage was a representation of the mindset of the Obama crowd. If this is the civility they are trying to pass off as the real thing to us, we are in deep you-know-what if we expect this country to ever come togethere in any meaningful manner at all.
    When Reagan took the oath of office, he was generous in his praise of Carter, perhaps the perfect example of a fool in over his head. Reagan never embarrassed the man nor did he try to. The crowd at the inauguration was gracious and hospitable to Carter, no boos or catcalls. No juvenile behavior from the attendees. The same when Clinton appeared on stage when Bush was inaugurated. The crowd was civil even though the Clinton years had been as contentious as the Bush years.
    Some example of manners and good behavior eh? Don’t expect much for the next four years except more of the same from this “Hope and Change” crowd. To think these are the same people who throw crap at Limbaugh, Hannity, and Coulter for their “uncivil” comments and behavior.

  89. Lee Muller

    Obama takes oath again after inauguration mistake
    By Jeff Mason
    WASHINGTON, Jan 21 (Reuters)
    WASHINGTON, Jan 21 (Reuters) – Out of “an abundance of caution,” U.S. President Barack Obama took the oath of office a second time on Wednesday at the White House because a word was out of sequence when he was sworn in on Tuesday.
    Chief Justice John Roberts, who first administered the oath to Obama on Tuesday on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, administered it again to the president on Wednesday in front of reporters and a few members of the president’s staff.
    —- Told you so, Brad.
    PS: That phony approval rating stuff in the Wa Post has already been debunked by responsible journalists. Truman was much more unpopular. So was JFK.

  90. Lee Muller

    Obama plagarized Bush’s speech
    The Biased Media, which gave 35 times as much coverage to the Obama inauguration as they did to the Bush inauguration, gushed over Obama’s speech. McClatchy News called it the 5th best in history, after Washington, Lincoln, FDR, JFK.
    The problem is, some of it was lifted straight out of President Bush’s speeches. And Bush delivered the lines just as well, or even better than Obama did.
    Obama’s Inaugural Address Sounded Just Like Bush – video

  91. bud

    Come on Bart. Republicans at McCain rallies were calling Hillary Clinton a bitch and Obama a terrorist sympathizer. I would suggest the GOP get it’s own house in order before they start accusing the Democrats of being disrespectful.

  92. Lee Muller

    One or two hecklers at McCain rallys were called down by McCain.
    They don’t compare to the hundreds of thousands of vicious goons at the Obama rallys, because Obama and his gang encouraged them with a campaign based on race and class envy.
    Many of the stories about McCain and Palin rallies were just lies, put out by Obama campaigners, and later debunked by the media and Secret Service, but never retracted by the Obamanites.

  93. Bart

    No bud, you come on. While the behavior at rallies from all camps, your side included, had some less than memorable moments because of jerks, this was not a campaign rally but the swearing in of President Obama. We thought we could expect some civility for one moment but no, you and yours took the opportunity to reveal your true colors. For that, thanks for letting us know just how immature and classless you really are. And, keep on defending the actions of jackasses. The more you bray, the less relevant you become.

  94. Rich

    God bless our new president!! The world is enthralled by him as are so many of our own fellow citizens.
    May he succeed in bringing us together in a time of deep national crisis!

  95. Lee Muller

    Muslims, communists, terrorists, black racists, and self-loating white socialists are entralled with Obama.
    Some examples:
    * Fidel Castro
    * Hugo Chavez
    * Mommar Khadafi
    * Hamas
    * The PLO
    * European communists
    * The Democratic Socialist Caucus
    Did you see Jeremiah Wright with Obama at the Jan 21 morning prayer?

  96. bud

    Bart, there were 2 million people at the inaguration and not a single arrest. A tiny handful of people booed the ex-president. They were disrespecful but irrelevant. I’ve heard that many in the crowd non-verbally indicated their disapproval of the boos but remained silent so as not to disrupt the proceedings. It was a great event and something all Americans should be proud of.

  97. Lee Muller

    Did you see the photos of the garbage and other pollution left by the 1,800,000 Obamanites at the inauguration?
    Just as nasty as their neighborhoods.
    More garbage in one day than a week of Woodstock.
    Incidentally, LBJ had 1,250,000 at his inauguration, when the population of the US was only 130,000,000 people. So Obama comes in second.
    Obama did outspend all the previous inaugurations combined, with $30,000,000 of it coming from bailed out banks.

  98. Bart

    bud, I don’t give a damn if there were 3 million people there. If the situation had been reversed, you and yours would have been so damn outraged, the internet would be shut down with traffic, accusing the “tiny handful” of racism, hatred, and disrespect. Well, we know now how to handle unruly people don’t we. Non-verbal communication I guess would be a stern look of disapproval. Right.
    Out of 2 million, what constitutes a “tiny handful”?

  99. Lee Muller

    There were at least 100,000 Obama Goons booing President Bush.
    The mob sure left more than a “tiny handful” of garbage.

  100. Rich

    Obama to Lee Muller and every other ultramontane Republican:
    “J’ai gagné.” I.e., I won.
    Draw the appropriate conclusion.

  101. Karen McLeod

    I agree that I was very disappointed to hear the crowd booing former President Bush. That was just plain rude. But I did not consider it nearly that partisan considering what I’ve heard from both sides during the election. We all need to be strong enough to make clear that there are times for exprssing disapproval and resistance, and a time when silence can speak volumes.

  102. Lee Muller

    In a meeting with GOP leaders on Friday, Jan 23, Obama refused to consider any alternatives or compromises in his push for $850 BILLION in deficit spending.
    He shouted at one Congressman, “I won!”
    So much for “bi-partisanship” and “reaching across the isle”.
    It is becoming apparent that Obama is an arrogant, insecure person, who makes quick decisions because he lacks the temperment and intellect to consider all the alternatives and consequences.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *