Twinspeak: Fresh commentary on Oh-Mama’s speech — I mean, Obama’s speech

What did you think of the president’s speech tonight? I thought he did really well. For one thing, it’s always great to hear a president go into detail with an issue of critical strategic importance. I hate those speeches in which serious world affairs are jammed in in bits and pieces among vote-winning domestic promises and heart-warming anecdotes about people strategically placed in the audience.

This was all bidness, and all very serious business. And the president rose to the occasion well. He spoke in complete sentences, complete thoughts, and he clearly showed how those thoughts were related. He built his argument as a thing of geometric beauty.

You know who he reminded me of? Tony Blair. You know that, coming from me, that is high praise indeed. But it’s been awhile since we’ve had a president who could explain so clearly and thoroughly the need for a national commitment as well as Tony Blair did, and President Obama’s speech was Blairesque.

Speaking of Tony, you know what really frosts me about the British people? Large swathes of them still believe that their man was a sort of lapdog bullied into supporting the Iraq endeavor by that crazy cowboy in Washington. That is deeply insulting — to Blair, to Britain and to the English language (and to the crazy cowboy, too). Not since Churchill had they heard a man explain so clearly and eloquently why the nation needed to be doing something. I used to wish often and loudly that Tony could have done all the talking for the Western alliance about Iraq, because he understood why we were there so much more clearly that W. did. Or at least, he could explain it so much better.

I say that with all due respect to those who disagree. The president respectfully presented his disagreement tonight. I’m just saying that Tony explained MY point of view better than anyone, and many times over the past few years I have wished he could be my president. The European Union demonstrates just how dysfunctional it is by not overwhelmingly choosing him to be their president.

But I digress. Back to my point: President Obama did a good job tonight.

For my part, I spent the latter part of the speech consulting with my crack panel of experts, who spent most of the time trying to learn to say “Obama.” I tried to get them to say “President,” but that was a bit tricky for them, so we stuck to Obama. By the end, the older twin seized a pen and seemed prepared to write her commentary, so we had to wrap up the video.

And if you don’t like video of super-cute little girls, just don’t watch.

16 thoughts on “Twinspeak: Fresh commentary on Oh-Mama’s speech — I mean, Obama’s speech

  1. Burl Burlingame

    Blair always looked like he was trapped on an stalled elevator with Bush.

    Let’s see:

    Tony Blair: “This is not a battle between the United States of America and terrorism but between the free and democratic world and terrorism. We therefore here in Britain stand shoulder to shoulder with our American friends in this hour of tragedy.”

    George Bush: “Brang it on!”

  2. bud

    Good speech, atrocious policy. It’s way past time to pull ALL our troops out of the area. At least he set a timetable.

  3. Kiki

    I like Anne’s idea Dad. You write pithy commentary then make them say it. They’re little parrots, so you could get them to say a few words at a time then just edit it all together into paragraphs. You could call it “Out of the mouths of babes”

  4. KP

    I probably won’t ever call the man anything except Omama now. Just like I always spell it “tchurtch,” which is what my six-year-old took away from phonics instruction.

  5. Phillip

    Eloquence is one thing, being right about an issue is another thing entirely. If Obama truly believes that “the security of the United States and the safety of the American people are at stake in Afghanistan,” then how can he commit to beginning a withdrawal in July 2011? I guess the “rate” of withdrawal is his wiggle room, but if things don’t work out the way he hopes and McChrystal says he needs another 30,000, then what? The withdrawal pledge in this case seems to me to be a purely political move, which won’t mollify progressives, nor does it make sense if you accept Obama’s basic premise about the “stakes” involved. And if it is political and insincere (that is to say, if Obama is leaving himself a big “out” on the withdrawal pledge), then we would be better off, as Bud says, to disengage now and pursue a more limited policy of picking off Al-Qaeda pockets and ensuring the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

  6. Kathryn Fenner

    Hey, on Kiki’s idea–didn’t some very successful Super Bowl ads use this very gimmick? Maybe they’d advertise on your blog!

    Me, I’m partial to talking puppies…

    and where’ve you been, bud? I’ve missed you!

  7. Brad Warthen

    Phillip, you’re right. Eloquence is indeed one thing, and this timetable is another. You know, I was so busy with the twins that I missed that part of the speech last night, and didn’t realize he was setting timetables until I read the WSJ this morning.

    That won’t do. It won’t do at all. My only hope here is to trust in Obama’s pragmatism, and believe that he’ll find a way out of that promise.

    But the trouble is, the damage is already done by MAKING the promise. The Taliban can do 18 months standing on its head; he’s now told them exactly how long they have to hang back and way for us to start backing down. He’s given them a blueprint for victory.

    I found myself wondering whether Obama ever had a schoolyard fight. I don’t think he fully understands the logic of people who believe in force, and who don’t care how many people die in the course of getting their way.

    Even if you DO plan to start pulling back in 18 months, you don’t TELL anybody.

    It’s particularly disturbing to me that he spoke so eloquently about why we can’t afford to lose this fight — and then made a promise that makes losing more likely…

  8. Kathryn Fenner

    So you want him to make a speech about a blank check to fix a country that, unlike Vietnam, which was a pretty civilized place before the war, has never been “fixed.” From what I read, it has been a lawless “schoolyard” since the dawn of time.

  9. bud

    I’ve never understood this right-wing obsession with “winning”. War is not like a football game. What’s important is a good outcome. At the end of the day we lost Vietnam and things turned out ok. The Japanese lost WW II but in the end their lot in life improved greatly. The Russians won WW II but look at the mess that ended up with. I say let’s get rid of this footballesc “winning” philosophy and focus instead on what is right. And what is right is to pull all our troops out of the region and work toward a general reconciliation of all people. Once we achieve that the handful of radicals remaining will be marginalized.

  10. Pat

    Cute Kids!
    About OhMama’s speech, I thought it was very good, going back to history of the problem and laying the ground work.
    About the 18 months, I didn’t take that too seriously. The President has already been known to regroup when necessary and I think he’s left a loophole which is already showing up in the dissection of the speech. I “feel” better knowing that our troops, whereever they are, seem to be getting better support (real, physical support)than before. The President seems sensitive to the risk taken on by the troops and their families as well as the overall cost to the country. Bottom line: We’ll see.

  11. Bart Rogers

    bud, I don’t think winning is an exclusive domain with right-wingers. I have met just as many left-wingers who were obsessed with winning. How else do you explain Harvard, UC Berkely, and other liberal institutions fielding football, basketball, and other sports teams? Just to lose to prove a point?

    Ever think what would have happened if Germany and Japan had been victorious in WWII? What would have happened if Idi Amin had prevailed in Uganda? Would the extermination of his enemies still be an ongoing effort?

    Losing in Vietnam was one thing, losing in WWII would have been a completely different scenario. The reprecussions would have had an historical impact still felt today. As a matter of fact, Hitler’s affect on history is still with us. Swastikas still invoke memories of the Holocaust to the survivors. So, if we had not won in WWII, this would have somehow worked itself out for the good of all?

    Your comment does not make sense.


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