Posted by: nhfalcon | January 23, 2009

The Speech

I was working on January 20th, 2009, so I did not get to see history made live as it happened. I did not get to see our new president’s inauguration speech until about 6:30PM that evening via the internet.

I made no secret that I was voting Republican this past election. I made no secret that I preferred McCain over President Obama. However, I also made no secret that I did not blindly follow one man or blindly hate the other. So I watched and listened to this speech with a fairly (I think, anyway) open mind.

I came away impressed.

Give credit where credit is due. Whether you voted for the man or not, whether you love him or hate him, he can speak. He is handsome, charismatic, articulate, and intelligent. His voice is resonating, and between it, the words it spoke (either he’s hired a hell of a speech writer or is one himself), his posture, and his mannerisms, his speech gave you the impression that, while he was under no illusions about the state of the nation (“What do you mean, $4/gallon gasoline?“), he was calmly confident that he, along with our help, could lead us back to better times.

It was a rather nice change of pace from a man who, even when reading from a script, butchered the English language like Emeril on crack wielding William Wallace’s claymore at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

If I were to have one complaint about the speech, it would be that there was no iconic quote from it for me. No “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” or “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” For whatever reason, I was really expecting something like that. An unfair expectation, I suppose, but it was there nonetheless.

On the other hand, CNN analyst Leslie Sanchez, a Republican strategist (who did give the speech a “B”), criticized the speech for not delivering a “point to a defining global strategy or domestic plan.” That just sounds like sour grapes to me. I can’t honestly think of an inaugural speech from a president that did deliver specifics, can you?

Now that he’s in, what do I expect from Obama? Well, at the moment, he reminds me a hell of a lot of JFK: young, inexperienced, handsome, charismatic, and optimistic. In retrospect, if you take off the rose-colored glasses, however, JFK didn’t turn out to well. If he hadn’t been assassinated, I honestly wonder if we’d hold him in such reverence. I fervently hope, first and foremost, that Obama does NOT get assassinated! I hope he lives a long, happy life and passes from this world naturally. I also hope that Obama doesn’t run into what Kennedy ran into a lot of.

JFK had a lot of grand plans for this country domestically that never got to see the light of day. Why? Because he was the person who proposed those plans. There were a lot of congressmen who resented Kennedy’s ascension to the presidency, and simply shot anything he proposed down just because he was the one doing the proposing. Now, the Democrats not only won the White House, but they also control the House and the Senate, if I’m not mistaken, so our new President shouldn’t have as much of an issue as Kennedy did. Nevertheless, what I’m hoping for isn’t blind allegiance to Obama, but rather that plans from him are evaluated on their own merit and voted for accordingly. I don’t want every Democrat to vote “yes” on everything just because he proposed it, and I don’t want every Republican to vote “no” on everything for the same reason.

A pipe dream, I know. Party politics are too firmly entrenched in this nation.

I guess what I’m trying to say is I’d like to see President Barack Hussein Obama succeed or fail on his own merits, not because he was propped up or thwarted at every turn just because of who he is.

We shall see…



  1. I agree with everything you’ve said here, though I WASN’T expecting a catch phrase from the speech – I figured he’d already hit one out of the park with “yes we can,” and it would have been greedy to expect more.

    Here’s the thing; I think that Obama is smart in ways that JFK maybe wasn’t. Look at his cabinet choices as an example; he pissed a LOT of the far lefties off with some of his appointments – and had a lot of people who are incredulous about him chanting the “same old, same old” song – but my point is that he’s stacking his deck with people who understand the problems we face in ways that may be very different from how HE understands them. He’s not looking to surround himself with a bunch of “yes men,” he’s after an enthusiastic, well-informed discourse. He made a point in his acceptance speech of saying that he’ll listen, ESPECIALLY when we disagree (my emphasis).

  2. It won’t surprise you that Mr. Contrarian, a/k/a Twoblueday, has a different view.

    I make nothing at all of speeches. Part of it is the old “actions speak louder than words,” but it runs a bit deeper.

    A speech is not news, but the “press” has now elevated such things to such a height that they devote much time to talking about a speech (they haven’t heard) for days, even weeks, before it happens. Talking heads are hired, and talk.

    As for pithy, repeatable quips, I guess they have some entertainment value . . .

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