I neither watched nor listened to Obama’s speech last night. Fortunately I was out with friends, so I didn’t even have to ponder whether or not to subject myself to it.
I did read about it (and the transcript) when I returned, and it was as expected: fragmented, sloppily conceptualized. My summary of Obama’s remarks would be, “I’m going to attack Syria, but I’m not. And I trust Putin, except I don’t. So maybe let’s have a diplomatic solution instead. And suddenly I believe in American exceptionalism—at least regarding military affairs limited to targeted strikes.”
The speech contained an interesting section with telling and contrasting appeals to left and right that Ace characterizes thusly:
…Obama chose to drop this little insult:
And so to my friends on the right, I ask you to reconcile your commitment to America’s military might with a failure to act when a cause is so plainly just.
To my friends on the left, I ask you to reconcile your belief in freedom and dignity for all people with those images of children writhing in pain and going still on a cold hospital floor, for sometimes resolutions and statements of condemnation are simply not enough.
Note that Obama’s “friends on the left” believe in freedom and dignity in all people. People on the right don’t, apparently…
Even when he’s supposedly “reaching out to us,” this Master Diplomat and Coolly Brilliant Poet-Warrior steadfastly refuses to pay the right the slightest degree of respect…
Hey wingers, get behind this war. It’s got the three things you Bitter Clingers can’t get enough of– Guns, Spooky Religious Nonsense, and Killing Foreign People.
Now, Friends on the Left, you can get behind it for the true moral purposes which flow from reason and higher functions of the brain.
But Friends on the Right, we’ll appeal to your Lizard Brains and Blow Up Some Shit because you folks seem to like that sort of thing.
Obama could hardly have been more clear about his concept of the interests of people on the right and left, and his political calculations on how to reach out to each side. I cannot recall a president in my lifetime, right or left, who was so gratuitously and continually insulting to the opposition. It is especially ironic that Obama is given credit by the MSM for reaching out to that same opposition as he simultaneously trashes them.
But come to think of it, although Obama’s contempt for the right is obvious, he also expresses a certain amount of contempt for the left. It’s just a somewhat more covertly-expressed contempt. Each are simplistic appeals: let’s have those big guns for the bitter clingers of the right, and the little suffering children for the bleeding hearts of the left; the cold warlike aggressors versus the warm touchy-feelers. Meanwhile the great thinker, Obama, plots his brilliant course in Syria, playing four-dimensional chess with Putin.