August 31st, 2010

Tonight Obama gives a speech on Iraq…

…and I wonder whether many people will watch it.

I don’t know if I will. I’ve had a long and exhausting day already (over an hour of which I spent cooling my heels in the Motor Vehicle Bureau). Watching Obama orate is not my idea of relaxation.

I wonder why Obama is bothering to give this speech at all. I assume it’s a way to show support for the troops, and to underline the fact we’re on our way to getting out of Iraq more or less on schedule, a consummation devoutly to be wished for most Americans.

One thing we probably should not look for Obama to do: give credit to his predecessor, George Bush, whose support for the surge prevented the current president from having to oversee an ignominious helicopters-on-the-roof withdrawal a la Vietnam. Nor is Obama likely to acknowledge his own tenacious opposition to the surge policy from which he (and Iraq) now benefit.

Of course, what will happen over time to Iraq is anybody’s guess: functioning democracy, or the descent into chaos and tyranny?

But back to the speech. Much of the preview coverage tonight seems to feature the fact that the Oval Office has been redecorated (not at taxpayer expense, fortunately), and will have its television debut:


How stunningly drab and neutral. Ugh. His office is voting “present.”

64 Responses to “Tonight Obama gives a speech on Iraq…”

  1. Good Ole Charlie Says:

    Ah Symmetry…the sign of a weak interior decorator.

    The effect is an impression of sterility.

    How apropos for Our Beloved Leader’s Clubhouse and Den.

    Occam: C(2v) symmetry? Sorry about an inside joke…

  2. gs Says:

    Having tuned Obama out a lot faster than I tuned out Bush, I don’t plan to watch the speech and I wouldn’t urge anyone to do so. However, I’d be interested in your thoughts on the transcript.

  3. Mike Mc. Says:

    No way in heck I will watch it. Others with stronger stomachs than me can do that.

    Obama does not give speeches and I am now convinced he never did. He does propaganda. Problem is people are on to that now, and even his supporters probably can’t stand him. He’s dull, without passion, without ideas. He’ll take credit, subtly blame Bush and republicans, and tell the lie that he actually likes America and appreciates the Military.

    I think the only people who will watch are the ones who are hoping beyond hope that the “speech” will turn the election fortunes of Dems around. I think the magic is over and he can’t do it.

    He’ll be back to demonization by tomorrow at the latest.

    If there is a Republican response they should use it completely to laud the efforts of George Bush and the men and women in uniform who gave their all for freedom.

  4. expat Says:

    Who in the h**l hired these decorators? The Oval Office looks as sterile and cold as its occupant.

  5. SteveH Says:

    As a civic minded person i’m more than a little embarassed that i literally cannot watch the man. I’d rather watch two hours of swiffer jet or penis enlargement infomercials.

  6. Occam's Beard Says:

    LOL! Good Ole Charlie, C2v if you can turn it upside down, which Obama is bidding fair to do. Otherwise Cs symmetry – one mirror plane, no rotational axes.

    Ci would be a more appropriate choice for Obama, since he’s pretty good at converting positives into negatives.

  7. Occam's Beard Says:

    Who in the h**l hired these decorators?

    Is there a Mrs. Soros?

  8. Occam's Beard Says:

    I’m not going to watch, because I don’t want to have to buy a new TV if/when he takes credit for something that he would’ve screwed up spectacularly if wiser heads hadn’t prevailed.

  9. Occam's Beard Says:

    I can just picture his handlers painstakingly going over every word in the teleprompter with him to avoid another “corpse-man” fiasco.

    “Yes, Mr. President, I understand that it looks like it should be pronounced…, but actually it’s pronounced …”

    Either that, or they’ve given up and gone over to “fonetik” spelling.

    Oh, the stories I bet they could tell…

  10. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    Frankly, I’d rather watch the episode of True Blood I have in my queue.

  11. SteveH Says:

    That rug easily flips over for parties. Which has a velvet Obama with a milkyway galaxy halo on the backside.

  12. Occam's Beard Says:

    Speaking of the rug (how do I put this?), has anyone checked which direction it’s oriented?

  13. Mr. Frank Says:

    The various shades of brown are a subtle attempt to demonstrate solidarity with the brown peoples of the world.

  14. SteddieH Says:

    There is nothing the pretender has said or done in the past I have found credible and there is very little chance there is anything he can say tonight I could find credible were I to subject myself to his drivel.

    He is not a leader…he is a mouth, an opportunist, a divider, a consumate liar and obfuscator…a con artist. I can see no reason, for me personally, to spend one minute listening to his monologue. If I’m destined to deal with crap tonight I’d rather it be out in the back yard picking up after my daughter’s dogs or cleaning toilet bowls…at least there is some level of accomplishment I’d be able to feel.

  15. Mr. Frank Says:


    Your visit to the Motor Vehicle Bureau is a taste of what is to come with Obamacare.

  16. SteveH Says:

    Don’t tell me the rugs facing Mecca. 🙂

  17. Artfldgr Says:

    Wont watch and what happens in Iraq is a done deal now.

    its going to be way to easy for them to take power back… and things are going to converge on the other side who will be in power temporarily (is what it looks like).

    however it will seal the deal in any small country siding with the US again…. better the devil you know than the people who walk out on you after they pissed the hornets nest off

    war is coming folks, no way to avoid it as its the easy way to reset finances, remove the capable, gain control of people, control of economy, control of food, and would work within the lifetimes of those now in the place to enjoy it…

  18. Sgt. Mom Says:

    Won’t watch either – I can’t stand to watch him or listen to the sound of his voice, either.
    I did entertain a fantasy earlier today that he might do a speech in front of the troops, lined up on the tarmac (we used to call this the ‘rent-a-crowd’) in the heat of a Texas summer, and they would have formed up hours before, awaiting the appearance of the POTUS – and once he began reading from the teleprompter, troops would be fainting right and left.
    Eh, it was a fantasy. I wouldn’t wish being the ‘rent-a-crowd’ for this particular C-in-C upon any upon any military unit these days, but the mental picture thus provided was enormously amusing to me.

  19. PA Cat Says:

    Who in the h**l hired these decorators?

    Is there a Mrs. Soros?

    There is a FLOTUS and given her exquisite taste in clothing, it’s not unlikely that she had a hand in “redecorating” the Oval Office.

  20. Occam's Beard Says:

    There is a FLOTUS and given her exquisite taste in clothing, it’s not unlikely that she had a hand in “redecorating” the Oval Office.

    Then how come none of the fabrics look like a dropcloth?

  21. SteveH Says:

    Michelle probably wanted a giant belt buckle for the seal.

  22. soupcon Says:

    They’ve turned the Oval Office into a rec room.I’m suprised they didn’t add a pinball machine.

  23. Occam's Beard Says:

    Most brilliant speaker ever. Also, apropos my comment above re “fonetik” spelling, The Silver-Tongued One doesn’t know the difference between “wreak” and “wreck.” It should be easy for him: it’s not like he’s “wreaking” America.

  24. kaba Says:

    My wife doesn’t like it when I watch Obama. Seems there are several loud and profane outburst during those periods.

  25. gatorbait Says:

    zero is a swine.period

  26. rickl Says:

    Won’t watch. Can’t watch.

    That’s why I turned my TV off on Election Night 2008 and didn’t turn it on again for a full three weeks, by the way.

  27. rickl Says:

    On the other hand, I listen to Mark Levin, and when there’s an Obama speech he carries it live on his radio show, along with his running commentary. That’s worth listening to. It’s like Mystery Science Theater 3000.

  28. liz Says:

    I prefer to watch the tennis matches, though I turned off the opening day event when Christine A. started talking – another annoying voice, in my opinion.

  29. Tatyana Says:

    The only thing the article does NOT mention is who was the designer.

    I always laugh at the style of shelter magazine writers, carefully phrasing their description in a way to give an impression that it was the client that designed and choose everything, from cushion fringe to overall layout. And what’s even more hilarious is when the clients believe it themselves and describe their reno at the nearest dinner party as if they were actually working on that project.

    That’s besides the miserable color scheme and didactic quotation rug…

  30. Tatyana Says:

    *expat – Obama did (hired the interior designer). Although in this case it was, probably, a decorator, indeed. And we don’t know who that was – no name is given.

    Don’t blame the designer, though: can you imagine saying “no” to Obamas if they set their mind on those obligatory PC-quotations?

  31. mizpants Says:

    Ha ha, Steve H. The reversible rug!

  32. Occam's Beard Says:

    What, no paintings on velvet? Tijuana artists must be so disappointed.

  33. Good Ole Charlie Says:


    Right you are with the mirror plane…right down the center. I once answered my wife’s “A messy desk means a cluttered mind”.

    A) I showed her pictures of Einstein’s desk, Feynman’s desk, and Bohr’s office.

    B) By analogy, “an empty desk means an empty mind”…fits right in with the picture. (ever see FDR’s desk BTW?).

  34. rickl Says:

    Good Ole Charlie:
    Today I dropped my car off at a local mechanic for some body work. It flunked inspection due to excessive rust, although it runs great, and it’s the best car I’ve ever owned.

    His office was a little cubbyhole with paperwork piled everywhere. So I hope that’s a good sign.

    I guess this also relates to the “skilled worker” thread.

  35. gs Says:

    I’m still in no hurry to check out the teleprompter transcript, but I noticed that Lisa Murkowski has conceded the AK GOP primary. To repeat, my first impression is that Joe Miller, her successful opponent, is impressive in his own right. After the Bush years I am wary of the so-called religious right, but maybe Miller is the kind of conservative who could re-erect the Big Tent.

  36. Tom Says:

    You can drape him in ivy, call him intelligent, and blah blah blah. But he is still declasse’ A street thug made good. He does need a black velvet painting, maybe with a Mara Salvatrucha or some other symbol of a gang of color.

  37. Artfldgr Says:

    Street thug? No street thug would ride a girls bike

  38. Occam's Beard Says:

    I once answered my wife’s “A messy desk means a cluttered mind”.

    I hate to say it, but I’m with your wife. I don’t trust the messy desk set with responsibilities for which I ultimately am responsible. For every Bohr/ Einstein/ Feynmann there are 100,000 clowns who can’t find a thing on their desks, despite their protestations to the contrary, and who are endlessly wrong-footed by events. Moreover, these worthies did not win acclaim for their ability to run things, but rather for their contributions in other spheres. Did Eisenhower have a messy desk on June 5th? How about mission control at the launch of the Apollo missions? I doubt it. I doubt it very much. If you were going under the knife, how would you feel if the surgeon’s desk were a mess?

    I’ve known a thousand people with messy desks, but never known a Feynmann. Fundamentally, for my money, a messy desk reflects a certain level of intellectual immaturity, a reluctance (or an unwillingness) to categorize and deal with issues as they arise.

  39. Occam's Beard Says:

    In similar fashion, the politics of Bohr and Einstein (don’t know about Feynmann) reflect my comments. They were childish in the extreme; they were, in essence, idiot savants who needed to be protected from their own stupidity. Intelligence isn’t a scalar; it’s a tensor.

  40. jon baker Says:

    Rickl, I had no idea a car would not pass inspection due to rust- unless some part is about to fall off.

  41. Marine's Mom Says:

    Neo, you are a seer and a prophet.

  42. newton Says:

    “My wife doesn’t like it when I watch Obama. Seems there are several loud and profane outburst during those periods.”

    My husband is the same way, although he can justify it by reminding me of his years as a merchant marine…

    It goes to the point that I tell him not to say any of that in front of the kids. I’ve scolded him several times.

    I must admit, though, that when our daughter once shouted out “OBAMA!” in the middle of an IHOP one night, we made her shut up very quickly…

  43. rickl Says:

    jon baker Says:
    September 1st, 2010 at 1:33 am

    Rickl, I had no idea a car would not pass inspection due to rust- unless some part is about to fall off.

    They said that the rust on both sides of the body in front of the rear wheel wells was affecting the rear seat belt mounts, which is certainly a safety issue. (The fact that I can’t remember the last time I carried a passenger in the back seat doesn’t matter.)

    When I was a kid, my dad had a ’64 Chevy Impala. He bought it when it was a year old. Around 1972, he took it in for inspection. They put it up on the lift, and the rear chassis separated from the body and collapsed. Fail.

  44. Richard Aubrey Says:

    You connected the religious right and the Bush years.
    What is the connection? Bush himself is a middle-of-the-road Methodist, which is a middle-of-the-road Protestant denomination.
    Some years ago, a consultation firm looked at Methodism and concluded that there was no belief that could, in reality (doctrinal rules were not obeyed) get you thrown out of the UMC, nor any belief you had to show (doctrinal…etc.)to get in.
    IOW, there was no reason to be a Methodist, hence there was no reason to be a Methodist.
    Even the Methodists joke that, while a mezuzha is a Jewish symbol and a crucifix a RC symbol, the casserole is the Methodist religious symbol.

  45. Scottie Says:

    I could not watch the speech last night.

    I would have considered it an absolute waste of an hour or so of my life that I could never get back – so better to do spend that time doing things I would enjoy.

    Besides, I figured it’d be interesting to see how it was spun the next day.

    I can already hear the spin machines winding up on the left to boost this speech.

    On one hand, a Yahoo news headline was that the speech “stumbled”.

    On the other hand, George *you mean your Christian faith* Stephanopoulos is taking the approach that the reason Obongo hasn’t improved the economy in the almost 2 years he’s been in office is because – wait for it – he’s been focused on the war in Iraq!

    So, now that the grossly misguided war that his predecessor started (the EVIIIIIILLLLL Bush) has been ended, our dear leader can now begin to focus on the US economy…..

    God help us all.

  46. Tatyana Says:

    OB and GOCharlie:

    I see where you are, in these categories.

  47. SteveH Says:

    “”After the Bush years I am wary of the so-called religious right, but maybe Miller is the kind of conservative who could re-erect the Big Tent.””

    The big tent is a poor metaphor. Because it wrongly supposes a focus on pandering to a volume of citizens actually achieves such a thing. 2008 proved it doesn’t work with McCainites and Reaganites all under one encompassing tent that couldn’t be motivated to defeat a communist.

  48. Scottie Says:

    gs Says:
    August 31st, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    “After the Bush years I am wary of the so-called religious right, but maybe Miller is the kind of conservative who could re-erect the Big Tent.”

    You do realize, of course, that the so called “religious right” was a fundamental element of the Reagan coalition, and were extended a specific invitation by Reagan to be a part of his “Big Tent”.

    Something along the lines, paraphrasing, of he knew they couldn’t endorse him, but he would endorse them.

    He considered their support crucial.

    As for the Big Tent that Reagan erected, it was not chaotic. There were fundamental issues that Reagan identified that held that tent up.

    Everyone was invited into that tent, and 100% agreement from those entering that tent was not necessary so long as the basic support was there for Reagan and his vision of what the party should be doing and where the country should be going.

    In other words, if you wanted to be in Reagan’s Big Tent, you had to accept that you were joining him and not the other way around.

    80% agreement was fine, 100% agreement was not mandatory. The other 20% could be quibbled over, excepting certain fundamental issues Reagan would not compromise on.

    You were still free to disagree on different subjects, but the underlying support had to be there and you had to acknowledge that Reagan was in charge.

    There were a few who did disagree vehemently with Reagan, and some of them were discreetly escorted out of his Big Tent.

    Almost like, you know, a leader or something would do….

    I don’t consider 2008 to have been an example of Reagan’s Big Tent theory in action.

  49. strcpy Says:

    The other “Big Tent” days were the 1994 elections and the Contract With America. Define a core set of ideas that are your core beliefs, stick to them, and accept everything else into your ranks. As long as everyone agreed to accept others (and let our voting methods decide what to do) then we had a large burst of optimism and excitement about what we were doing.

    Then came the compromises on those core values, usually for media interests and noting that senators (largely led by McCain) were killing it – also usually for media attention. The next election cycle saw it destroyed and the only ones able to continue winning were back to the old ways.

    McCain was that way then and he was that way when he ran for president. Too many either were not paying attention then or have forgotten that. People got fooled by the idea because he is who the left holds up as a “Good Republican” that this would somehow bridge a gap – it didn’t and it *never* will. He wasn’t a “good republican” because he too principled stands yet still tried to bridge gaps – he was a good republican because he could be manipulated by the media, torpedoed conservative reforms, and was someone they could use as showing they are “bipartisan” without actually being that.

    The two times we have tried a big tend approach have been – by far – the most successful times in the conservative/republican party. The Tea Party right now is exemplifying that approach – define a core set of ideas, make sure you look at your neighbor as a person, and then welcome anyone who shares those core values. I’ve never understood why the Republicans rolled over, Reagan didn’t and despite being one of the most hated Presidents by the press won 49 states in his run for his second term. They rolled over after he left and rolled over the next time they tried it (and the second time McCain was one of the leaders of that surrender).

  50. Scottie Says:


    Well said.

  51. Good Ole Charlie Says:


    FYI…I agree with you about Bohr and Einstein…in fact Churchill was about to pack Bohr away for the duration on the ground of terminal naivete.

    I do recall Feynman refusing to sign a petition against US participation in Vietnam. He felt that “there’s guilt, stupidity, and incompetence on both sides.”

    IIRC, Murray Gell-mann signed. He also endorsed HBO in 2008.

  52. ghost707 Says:

    The reasons the Republicans rolled over is that they found out that they could fleece the public and get away with it. Democrats controlled most of the institutions in this country, so all they had to do was wave a little money in Republicans’ direction and say “you wanna’ get rich”?

    Become a Washington insider and make yourself rich, be above the law.
    Insider trading, zoning code manipulation, voter fraud – hell anything you want to fill your pockets with cash – never having to worry about consequences.

    Democrats will run the country into a brick wall at 200 mph.
    Republicans will run the country into a brick wall at 150 mph.

    Slight difference, same result.

  53. mike Mc. Says:


    I can’t stand that brand of phony in-the-know cynicism you display.

    The main problem with it is that it is wrong. It’s actually total bullshit.

    The difference between R and D is between 150 and 200mph collisions. Very clever. Not. That’s cute. Sophomoric truly.

    And wildly wrong.

    And fundamentally its own disaster from about 5 different directions.

    I have been saying for years: the numero uno problem with America is anyone who votes Dem. Numero 1.5 is people like you who want to make us believe there is no differnce. Really, what you are saying to everyone is that we are even less effectual than we know.

    You are looking down on all the good and great people of America.

    I say then, take a hike and wallow in your own misery and cynicism.

    leave us decent people out of it.

  54. Scottie Says:

    Hmm, no difference between the republicans and democrats?

    Somehow I don’t think Reagan would fit in very well with Pelosi & Co.

    Gee, I wonder what the difference could be?

    Still, I guess it should be considered progress when the best defense the democrats can come up with is to say the republicans are no different!

  55. Baklava Says:

    Might be small differences between the Arlen Specters, Olympia Snowe’s, Susan Collin’s, etc and Harry Reid.

    But no difference between Rick Perry, Mike Pence, etc???

    You smoking crack?

    We need a legislative MAJORITY. Otherwise we do have to compromise. I haven’t seen the Republicans have a 60 vote margin in my lifetime. Maybe when we do we can ram the downsizing of government through.

    We get the government we vote for.

  56. Amy Says:

    The new Oval Office look: metrosexual den.

    The occupant has surrounded himself (literally) with affirming quotes.

    I find this one most worrisome: “The Welfare of Each of Us is Dependent Fundamentally Upon the Welfare of All of Us,” President Theodore Roosevelt.

    I’ve always thought the “fear itself” quote was pretty ridiculous too.

  57. neo-neocon Says:

    Amy: I think FDR’s quote makes a lot more sense in context. I’ve written about it here.

  58. Amy Says:

    With context, it makes more sense… You wrote: “Then, as now, the danger of fear is not really fear itself. It is, as FDR stated [emphasis mine], ‘nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts.'”

    Of course that wouldn’t all fit on a rug.

    I wonder how the president interprets that FDR quote.

  59. neo-neocon Says:

    Amy: that’s easy. The current president interprets it as fear of anything he’s trying to do. What he’s trying to do are the “needed efforts,” and fear of him is, by definition, unreasoning and unjustified.

  60. Scottie Says:

    neo-neocon @ 4:37

    “…fear of him is, by definition, unreasoning and unjustified.”

    I’m not afraid of him, just terrified of what may happen under the current circumstances.

    Kind of like a 3 year old picking up a loaded Uzi.

    I’m certainly not afraid of either the weapon or the child, but I also don’t think it’s going to end well and am terrified of the situation that’s been created.

  61. gpc31 Says:

    OK, I have to say it. We are reliving a puked up ’70s era — the tacky beige redecorated oval office just proves it. At least there’s no shag carpet.

  62. gpc31 Says:

    And I say this as one who begged his mother for bell bottom jeans (well, Sears flared, if you must know the truth) during the wonder years. Also wore a rictus-inducing leisure suit for a yearbook photo (think I’ve bought up all remaining copies).

  63. Artfldgr Says:

    Poly Ester!!!

  64. Sam Says:

    The moment Obama opens his mouth I become shrouded in a vaporous fog of ambivalence. I glaze over with such a Malaise which soon turns into melancholy fallowed by suicidal thoughts then murderous rage.

    This all takes place in about 1.3 nano seconds. Then I change the channel and feel much better. I also feel better knowing I didn’t vote for this [ place own word here ]

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