Condescender In Chief

Sunday, May 15, AD 2011

Charles Krauthammer has an excellent column about President Obama’s immigration speech in El Paso the other day.  Here’s a sample:

The El Paso speech is notable not for breaking any new ground on immigration but for perfectly illustrating Obama’s political style: the professorial, almost therapeutic, invitation to civil discourse, wrapped around the basest of rhetorical devices — charges of malice compounded with accusations of bad faith. “They’ll never be satisfied,” said Obama about border control. “And I understand that. That’s politics.”

How understanding. The other side plays “politics,” Obama acts in the public interest. Their eyes are on poll numbers, political power, the next election; Obama’s rest fixedly on the little children.

This impugning of motives is an Obama constant. “They” play politics with deficit reduction, with government shutdowns, with health care. And now immigration. It is ironic that such a charge should be made in a speech that is nothing but politics. There is zero chance of any immigration legislation passing Congress in the next two years. El Paso was simply an attempt to gin up the Hispanic vote as part of an openly political two-city, three-event campaign swing in preparation for 2012.

Accordingly, the El Paso speech featured two other staples: the breathtaking invention and the statistical sleight of hand.

Krauthammer continues, calling out the president for his abuse of statistics and his demagoguery.

For a man who has blown so much hot air about civility and changing the dialogue in Washington, President Obama has been in fact more overtly partisan than any president I can recall, and my political memory dates back to Reagan.  Most of the president’s major addresses contain the following elements:

1 Discussion of other side’s opposition to his plans in tone that suggests mild surprise and even outrage that other people have differing viewpoints.  President Obama often pays lip service to respecting other’s viewpoints, but when he actually gets around to discussing policy issues his tone becomes sarcastic and mocking, as though no sentient human being could possibly think other than he does.

2Erecting strawman arguments and mischaracterizing opponents’ positions. An absolute staple of any Obama speech, as highlighted by Krauthammer above.

3 – Testily dismissing opponents.  Having characterized his opponents as people who want to starve the elderly, children, women, Asians, Eskimos, and puppies, President Obama then concludes this portion of his speech with a metaphorical wave of his hand.  On several occasions he has quite literally said that Republican input was not welcome.

What a uniter, that guy.

And here’s the thing.  In a certain sense I don’t really care.  There were times during George Bush’s presidency that I wanted him to be a bit feistier and take on his opponents more fiercely.  Presidents are supposed to be above the fray, but that’s a bit of hogwash.  Presidents can be partisan crusaders as long as they keep it within respectful limits.  In other words, they should be above the level of your typical comment box antagonist.

Besides, when President Obama gets into sarcastic mode it’s one of the few times he almost seems human and non-boring.  Most of the time Obama displays two rhetorical styles: faux Martin Luther King Jr, and robot teleprompter reader.  Either he’s doing his worst impression of a dynamic speaker or else he sounds like someone who has just woken from a deep nap.  I don’t know who these people are that think he’s a great speaker, but frankly he rarely speaks like a normal man except when he’s cranky and sarcastic.  In fact, if he were more regularly sarcastic and petty then I might be able to sit through more of his talks.  At least then they would be entertaining.

No, what grates about his divisive rhetoric is that it contradicts all his campaign blabber from 2008.  Oh, sure, it’s the same nonsense we hear from all camps every election season, and I’m sure several GOP candidates this Fall and Winter will go out of their way to make some appeal to “curing our partisan discord.”  Hopefully I will have my bucket at the ready for such moments.  But not only has Obama not kept this unkeepable promise, he actually has gone above and beyond to completely obliterate any sense of being some kind of uniter.

Unfortunately we will never learn, and again we’ll fall for this cheap rhetoric in the future.  As I said, we’ll get more of the same in 2o12.  Like the rising of the sun and its setting, empty campaign promises of entering into some non partisan fairy land are sure bets.  Such meaningless dribble overlooks two facts of life:  there have been very few times in American history when we have not been subject to deep partisan divides, and there will never be a time in America where people do not have passionate beliefs that are irreconcilable with other beliefs.  That’s not to say we have to be jerks about it, but it should make us wake up to the reality that differences of opinion will always exist in a free country, and glossing over those differences by vacuous campaign rhetoric won’t bring us any closer to bridging those gaps.

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11 Responses to Condescender In Chief

  • “President Obama often pays lip service to respecting other’s viewpoints, but when he actually gets around to discussing policy issues his tone becomes sarcastic and mocking, as though no sentient human being could possibly think other than he does.”

    Prior to becoming President, Obama had lived his life in an ideological bubble where Republicans could be safely disregarded. He lucked into running in 2008 when any Democrat after the economic meltdown in September was going to win, especially when the Republican standard bearer was John McCain who seemed to be running for the award of “Good Loser-2008” rather than President. Next year the GOP, if it can pick a candidate who wants to win rather than to fill in a blank space on a resume as “Defeated Republican candidate for President-2012”, might be able to breach the Obama bubble.

  • Recently, President Obama and his enablers in the libidinous, left-wing media responded to Congressman Ryan’s serious fiscal proposals with harsh, partisan demagoguery (similar to leftist cathi-clueless intellectualls’ calumnies and detractions against John Boehner).

    There is no reasonable Dem fiscal policy proposal or even an iota of a willingness to negotiate or compromise.

    Today’s CPI, if ’twere calculated the way it was calculated prior to 1990, is above 10%, and the unemployment rate would be 15%. The MISERY INDEX is the sum of the current inflation rate and the unemployment rate. The MISERY INDEX would be 25, a record, horrid high. That eclipses the Carter record rotten MISERY INDEX of 22 in June 1980.

    A repeat of Carter calamity is looking more and more like a best case scenario.

  • By now everyone should know that Obama lies. Almost every time he opens his mouth a lie drips out. He lies without embarrassment. He lies easily and repeatedly. He lies, he lies, he lies. And he gets away with it because of the suck-up lamestream media.

  • SaguaroJack, all, you’re right on.

    It’s going to be tough for the GOP in ’12, they have to run against Obama and the MSM. The MSM will do everthing in it’s power to make the GOP candidate look bad.

  • Today’s CPI, if ’twere calculated the way it was calculated prior to 1990, is above 10%, and the unemployment rate would be 15%.

    It is an error to take Mr. ShadowStats seriously.

  • President Ronald Reagan was attacked daily – but he never did back down and won big and Whoever runs against Obama need only to state the facts as President Reagan did – he called Jimmy Carter out every chance he got – remember – “there he goes again” and President Reagan would ripe him a new one – that is all it will take to win – the TRUTH.

  • “I don’t know who these people are that think he’s a great speaker, but frankly he rarely speaks like a normal man except when he’s cranky and sarcastic.” I agree. I have always found the claims that he is a fantastic speaker to be mystifying. Fantastic how??? I think it must just be a charisma thing. He has none, as far as I am concerned, but to the people who love him he doesn’t have to say or do anything, he just has to BE.

  • I don’t know where Stacy McCain ‘stands’ on Obama. Here is a quote.

    “Frankly, I think our current president still has a good way to go before he can merit the claim of being worse than Jimmy Carter, and too many Americans have forgotten exactly how wretched Jimmy was.”

    I think we are getting ‘there.’

  • This love of Obama is nothing other than idolatry. Being involved in nuclear energy, I know several very intelligent and competent nuclear engineers who are bloggers and yet are so in love with the “first black president” that nothing he says could be anything other than words from the mouth of Polymnia, muse of song and oratory. These bloggers know science and engineering to a depth that is astounding. But their minds are deceived and their hearts are hardened. It is almost as if a satanic spell is cast over their eyes and ears.

    The same is sadly true of liberal Demokrat “Catholics.”

  • Even when Obama is mocking good people, he has to use a teleprompter. When he speaks to grade school children, he needs a teleprompter. When expressing sadness about the injury of his friend Gaby Giffords, he needs a teleprompter. There are those who believe that Obama is charismatic and inspirational – he seems to deflate when his teleprompter misfunctions – he is only as intelligent as his teleprompter allows him to be. He has become more and more condescending and deceitful since being elected president. He seems to believe that he is irreplaceable – he will find out how wrong he is in 2012.

  • By the way, Obama is not the first ‘black’ president – he is bi-racial, raised by his white family.

Lying to Join The Band of Brothers

Wednesday, May 19, AD 2010

I have never served in combat or been in a warzone for which I thank God.  However, many of my friends are veterans of combat in conflicts stretching from World War II to Iraq.  Such an experience marks them.  They tell me that they have some of their best memories from their time in service, along with some of their worst.  It is a crucible that they have passed through which is hard to completely convey to someone like me who has never gone through it.  Usually they do not speak much of it, although often I have seen a quiet pride when they do speak about it:  a knowledge that they were given a test on their passage through life and made it through, mingled with sadness for their friends who were lost.  They belong to the exclusive club of those called upon to put their lives on the line for the rest of us.  They are entitled to respect for their service, whether they are given that respect by the rest of us or not.

Therefore I take a very dim view of anyone who seeks entry into their ranks under false pretences.  The New York Times has revealed that Richard Blumenthal, Democrat Attorney General of Connecticut and candidate for the Democrat nomination for the US Senate is one such person:

At a ceremony honoring veterans and senior citizens who sent presents to soldiers overseas, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut rose and spoke of an earlier time in his life.

We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” Mr. Blumenthal said to the group gathered in Norwalk in March 2008. “And you exemplify it. Whatever we think about the war, whatever we call it — Afghanistan or Iraq — we owe our military men and women unconditional support.”

There was one problem: Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for the United States Senate, never served in Vietnam. He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records.

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22 Responses to Lying to Join The Band of Brothers

  • What’s the difference between a couple of attention-seeking hard lefties like Richard Blumenthal and Jane Fonda?

    Jane Fonda actually went to Vietnam.

  • Lying is dishonorable. As is adultery. Over and over we have evidence that there is one aspect of human frailty both the Left and the Right share in equal measure. Sin.

    I would have more respect for a person who opposed the war on moral or ethical principles and accepted the consequences of that. But American politics is certainly not poverty-stricken for examples of individuals who dodged overseas military service, either legally, financially, or otherwise. The previous two presidents, and three of the last four, certainly.

    I will note that the first President Bush served with honor. The man didn’t need to make a big thing of it in his political life.

  • What? Isn’t Blumenthal sufficiently liberal for the NYT?

    Mr. Blumenstein misspoke. He meant to say, he did not spit on any Vietnam veteran as did Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jimmeh Carter (pardoned draft dodgers), and every VC sympathizer-Obama appointee of that age.

  • The previous two presidents, and three of the last four, certainly.

    About 1.9 million men were posted to Indo-China during the period running from 1965 to 1973. There were some 18 million men born during the years running from 1943 through 1952. Roughly 30% of the military of that era were vocational soldiers (e.g. John McCain). The probability of a randomly selected individual from those age cohorts serving in VietNam as a consequence of conscription or an enlistment for a discrete term was about one-tenth.

    As we speak, about 70% of the Armed Forces are stationed in the United States. That proportion has varied over the years, but at no time since 1945 have the majority of American servicemen been stationed ‘overseas’.

    There is no documentary evidence and there are no disinterested witnesses who can cast apersions on the military service of George W. Bush, which is why Mary Mapes was scamming around with forgeries.

  • I have not a clue why you are casting aspersions on Ronald Reagan’s service either. Except that that’s what you do.

  • Well … Ronald Reagan served stateside. So did my dad. He admitted he was fortunate not to draw overseas duty as his younger brother did. Mr Reagan was not beyond padding his military record in casual conversation. But I have no problem with an actor making military films stateside. He was about my dad’s age, and my father (as he reports it) was considered too old to be a first choice for overseas duty.

    But I see: you objected to my used of the verb, to dodge, because it is used in connection with those who illegally avoided military service.

    Mr Shaw, aside from your need to learn to spell, do you have proof of spitting, or are you just engaging in a blumenthalism here?

  • Ronald Reagan had an older brother; no younger brother. I object to the use of the term ‘dodge’ because you were insinuating a scheme on the part of the two men in question, and there was no scheme. George W. Bush, Patrick J. Buchanan, Hubert Humphrey, Dan Quayle, and Richard Cheney all had the disagreeable experience of being smeared over their service record. Their service records were perfectly in order (if unimpressive) and they availed themselves of no privileges that were not available to tens-of-millions of other similarly situated.

    I do not think you would have to look very far in the press corps to find folk employed therein who were happy to overlook genuinely hinky service records (e.g. B. Clinton’s) or impugn the motives of Mekong Delta veterans fed up with John Kerry. The whole discourse is disgusting.

  • I spent my “combat time” fighting the report shuffle wars and the battle of PowerPoint, or in pulling long watches “just in case” the order was given and the birds of death were to fly.

    I use terms like “served during” not “served in” although technically I “could” say “in” I was never during “active combat operations” in harms’ way. The standing guard on the Southern Watch, a little different. But that, like being in Korea, was a “cease fire” not combat actions.

    Had Mr. Blumenthal been “honest” he too would have used “served during” not “served in.”

    I had a supervisor that was stationed in the Philippines that was not “credited” for serving in Viet Nam, although she spent 3 days out of every 10 there (medical tech on Air Evacuation missions) and was under fire many times.

    She had EVERY RIGHT to say “served in Viet Nam” but didn’t because her base of assignment was NOT in Viet Nam.

    A couple points that the author got correct. We that served, DO CONSIDER IT AN HONOR. As well as many of the real heroes, did not make it home intact, and that is a burden that we carry. What we do, like Pvt. Ryan in the movie “Band of Brothers,” hope we live our remaining lives to bring honor and respect to those we served with.

  • Art, you’re not reading accurately, and I didn’t express myself accurately. My father indeed had a younger brother. Two, in fact; the other served with him stateside during WWII.

    Your point seems biased in your last post. Politicians of both left and right have served with honor, both as combat veterans and otherwise. Some of them, as I said, “dodged” dangerous service either by dodgy means or, as my older brother did, by serving before the Vietnam years.

    It is also true that politicians of both the right and left have attacked the service records of their opponents. Please don’t try to excuse Karl Rove and others of his ilk in the GOP. Republicans have not hesitated to malign the service records of Dems when it suited their purpose.

    I may be a pacifist, but I can respect the prudential judgments made by those who believe military service is honorable. What is less than honorable is to sin against truth by telling as it is not: and I would place my condemnation equally against a person who shares my ideology and those who do not.

    Mr Blumenthal is wrong for giving a false impression. Mr Reagan’s sin struck me as more of a kindly guy making embellishment for the sake of telling a story. His record wasn’t a key point in his political campaigning.

  • Todd,
    I acknowledge that your assertion that Reagan padded his military record may not constitute the sin of detraction since it does seem germane to the discussion. Whether it constitutes the sin of defamation cannot be so easily dismissed. It seems only appropriate that you provide some evidence to back up such an assertion. If you claim that you cannot because such instances occured only in casual conversations, please do explain how you know so much about such casual conversations. Thanks.

  • Let go of my leg. You made use of the term ‘dodge’ to impugn the character of two politicians who did not merit it.

    I made no partisan points, Todd. I remembered the names of several public figures who have been sliced up by their opponents (Humphrey) or by the press (Quayle) or by the combox chatterati (Cheney). If you can think of three additional Democrats who have received this treatment to balance the roster to your satisfaction, that is fine with me.

    Bill Clinton welshed on his ROTC service obligations. If acknowledgement of that bothers you, tough.

    You have repeatedly made a point of chuffering about the military service of Ronald Reagan, who hardly spoke of it.

    Mr. Rove is not responsible for John Kerry’s troubles. Kerry’s detractors are other Navy veterans who served in the Mekong Delta ca. 1970, one of whom has been a public nemesis of Kerry since Karl Rove was an undergraduate. Assessing Kerry’s service record is a more complex task because it involves granular knowledge of naval operations; memories decades after the fact; the degree to which a facially fine service record is blemished by the disdain of one’s peers, manifest tall tales, gamesmanship, and one’s troublesome public career after discharge. It really does not belong in a discussion of these other cases.

  • Here is a good overview of Reagan’s military service.

    I find it significant that Reagan held a reserve commission in the Army well before World War II, and apparently obtained it purely on his own initiative after he graduated from college. His eyesight prevented him from serving overseas, and he made films for the Army which was his assigned duty. As far as I know, he never claimed otherwise. Reagan of course clearly understood who the real heroes of the War were:

  • The spitting (and bags of crap) happened all the time.

    And, the anti-war demonstrations were not about pacifism. They were about the communists winning the war in which my buddies were fighting and dying; and about weed and sex.

    I was in the USAF from 1972 to 1976. I served with SAC (B-52’s/nukes) in California and with USAFE in West Germany.

    Re: Kerry. If the USMC (part of the Navy) in Vietnam applied the same three purple heart that Kerry used, no marine would have been in country more than three weeks. In the Army, you never got a purple heart unless you were med-evacked/hospitalized.

  • My apologies. The story that came to mind was that Mr Reagan recounted a movie plot as an actual story of heroism at some veterans’ event in 1983. I do recollect the famous account he gave of losing a football feed as a radio announcer and having to “invent” a game for the audience.

    The point is that fibbing like this is more akin to telling tall tales. Some of us wouldn’t do it. A few of us would. Personally, I don’t think Mr Reagan’s exaggerations are terribly harmful. And it was because of his nearsightedness that he was declined for overseas duty. He worked as an active duty officer making films in Hollywood for much of the period 1942-45.

    I think we’re all in agreement that Mr Blumenthal’s exaggerations are dishonorable. I think we can also agree that a person’s military service or lack of it is often a target, and often unfair. Former Georgia Senator Max Cleland strikes me as a guy who got a raw deal from the GOP. Senator McCain (among other Republicans) thought the dirty politics of Senator Chambliss “worse than disgraceful, it’s reprehensible.”

    As for Mr Kerry, my recollection is that he told his own campaign that Bush’s service record was not going to be part of his political strategy. Officers who did attack the senator during the campaign, if indeed one, as you report, Art, did have more of a personal vendetta against the man, seems to line up as well in the category of dishonor.

    These men were serving in their twenties, for the most part. Young men. Placed in extremely difficult circumstances. With their own flaws and immaturity.

    In judging a person of 40, 50, or older, I’m disinclined to criticize the events of young adulthood. Mature citizens, even the Kerry slowboaters, should be also. Even so, the president should have clamped down on that from the start. Letting out-of-control guys with personal issues get off leash is an indicator of his own lack of leadership. Or his approval.

    The fact is that the Right has no moral high road on this. Today Mr Blumenthal. Tomorrow somebody else.

  • Thanks for the clarification, Todd, but I’m not satisfied. I’ll let others decide whether the episode described below is comparable to “padding his military record” or even “inventing a game”, let alone whether the mysteriously plural “exaggerations” that are “not very harmful” isn’t just rich.

    “One of Reagan’s responsibilities was to give accounts of Chicago Cubs baseball games via telegraph. During one game between the Cubs and their arch rivals the St. Louis Cardinals that was tied 0-0 in the 9th inning, the telegraph went dead: An often repeated tale of Reagan’s radio days recounts how he delivered “play-by-play broadcasts” of Chicago Cubs baseball games he had never seen. His flawless recitations were based solely on telegraph accounts of games in progress.

    “Once in 1934, during the ninth inning of a Cubs – St. Louis Cardinals game, the wire went dead. Reagan smoothly improvised a fictional play-by-play (in which hitters on both teams gained a superhuman ability to foul off pitches) until the wire was restored.

    “Reagan says: “There were several other stations broadcasting that game and I knew I’d lose my audience if I told them we’d lost our telegraph connections so I took a chance. I had (Billy) Jurges hit another foul. Then I had him foul one that only missed being a homerun by a foot. I had him foul one back in the stands and took up some time describing the two lads that got in a fight over the ball. I kept on having him foul balls until I was setting a record for a ballplayer hitting successive foul balls and I was getting more than a little scared. Just then my operator started typing. When he passed me the paper I started to giggle – it said: ‘Jurges popped out on the first ball pitched.’”

  • “My apologies.”

    Of course you’re not satisfied, Mike. Enjoy the day.

  • Polls showing Dodd’s seat just went from a safe Democratic seat to a tossup. And the story is only two days old. Gotta love the NY Times.

  • Former Georgia Senator Max Cleland strikes me as a guy who got a raw deal from the GOP.

    The political mythology machine just runs on and on. Here’s the bloody ad attacking Max Cleland’s Senate votes.

    As for Mr Kerry, my recollection is that he told his own campaign that Bush’s service record was not going to be part of his political strategy.

    1. There was nothing to attack;

    2. His political strategy was expressed in using his boat mates as campaign props.

    Officers who did attack the senator during the campaign, if indeed one, as you report, Art, did have more of a personal vendetta against the man, seems to line up as well in the category of dishonor.

    No, it does not. It is only dishonorable if they self-consciously manufactured a false narrative. It is a matter of record that Kerry had been dining off his military service for more than 30 years; that he was awarded a Purple Heart for an injury to his rear end that left him in the hospital for thirty six hours, a Purple Heart for a superficial injury that required no inpatient care, and a Maj. Frank Burns style Purple Heart for a trivial injury that may have been inadvertantly self-inflicted; that he had made repeated incredible claims to having been sent on intelligence missions to Cambodia; that he also claimed to have been an ear-witness to military operations involving the Khmer Rouges at a time what the Khmer Rouges were a trivial force operating hundreds of miles away from the Mekong Delta; that he claimed to have listened to a mendacious speech by his commander-in-chief concerning American incursions into Cambodia when no such incursion were undertaken until a year after he had been shipped home….

  • Some really good points and words by Art Deco, DRM and T. Shaw.
    For my part, I served twenty years between two services (Navy and Army). While I have ventured into harm’s way no less than four times, to include deployment to Operation Desert Shield/Storm, I cannot say with a straight face that I am a combat veteran. For most of my career in the Army, I was authorized to wear a “combat patch” (wearing on your right shoulder the shoulder insignia of the unit with which you deployed to a combat zone for 30+ days). But even the patch that I wore gave evidence that I was a card-carrying rear-echelon puke.
    I am trying to paint the picture that I had long service and some (very little) fairly risky service. That said, I would never intimate that I am a veteran of close-quarters combat. When anyone asks if I have ever killed an enemy, I say “Praise God, I have never had the opportunity!”

    Mr. Blumenthal sought and received five deferrments, then managed to wrangle an assignment to the USMCR to avoid any remaining risk of deployment to Vietnam. It was his right to do all of these things. Unless further examination of the facts were to indicate that he behaved in similar fashion to Slick Willie Clinton, you can call him a coward if you want to, but cowardice is not illegal.

    But he seems to present a pattern of attempting to associate himself with those who served on active duty during, or even fought, that war. This is not accidental. A lawyer who has risen to the position of a State AG (necessitating proficiency in both the written and spoken word) cannot then claim to be unaware of the effects of his carefully chosen words upon his listeners.

    So let me state, with absolute disgust toward the Con (yes, I think that’s the best way to spell it in this case) AG, that his conduct here and now, not forty years ago, demeans any military service he might have rendered.

    Given then opportunity, I would spit in his face in any airport, anytime.

  • “In judging a person of 40, 50, or older, I’m disinclined to criticize the events of young adulthood.”

    Todd, really? So explain your back-stab at GWB again…

    “Even so, the president should have clamped down on that from the start.”

    Sorry, but McCain-Feingold created the runaway special purpose group phenomenon. So the mechanism of direct control was simply not there. Bush distanced himself from the swift-boaters, who were not saying their piece on his behalf.
    Oh, and then there’s this almost extinct, clearly arcane Constitutional notion of freedom of political speech.

    “Letting out-of-control guys with personal issues get off leash is an indicator of his own lack of leadership. Or his approval.”

    Personal issues? Try Winter Soldier on for size- that was your boy Kerry’s baby. He testified to it before Congress by way of launching his political career. It was all lies.
    As for approval, do you believe that some level of veracity is to be expected of elected officials? If so, you should approve of flashlights focused on their paths. Shine the light on everything. Let the voters decide what is damning and what is not.

  • AD,
    Thanks for reminding everyone what a masterful job the Dems did at manipulating the public’s memory of that ad. By repeatedly accusing the rather unremarkable ad as questioning Cleland’s patriotism, they managed to manufacture a myth. Truly masterful.

  • Todd,
    Your apology was diminished by your subsequent dissembling. What exactly were the “exaggerations” that you were referring to? Of the two examples you seem to rely on the first seems more a case of harmless confusion and the second was at most a harmless fib; neither was an exaggeration.

The Flames of Dissent and Discord

Saturday, October 24, AD 2009

Patrick Kennedy

Politicians make asinine statements all the time, but sometimes there is one that stands out from the crowd for its sheer cluelessness, duplicity and perversity.  Patrick Kennedy, yep, one of Teddy Kennedy’s sons, a Democrat member of Congress from Rhode Island, lambasted the Church for not falling into line behind ObamaCare. Here is a statement that he made  to CNSNews.

“I can’t understand for the life of me how the Catholic Church could be against the biggest social justice issue of our time, where the very dignity of the human person is being respected by the fact that we’re caring and giving health care to the human person–that right now we have 50 million people who are uninsured,” Kennedy told when asked about a letter the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) had sent to members of Congress stating the bishops’ position on abortion funding in the health-care bill.

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9 Responses to The Flames of Dissent and Discord

The Obligatory Obama Speech Post

Sunday, May 17, AD 2009

After months of discussion, Obama finally gave his commencement address at Notre Dame University today.  Due to a near fascistic exercise on the part of the ND administration, the event was virtually free of any signs of protest, and Obama made full use of the event to do his “don’t you wish you could be as moderate and measured as I am” shtick which we know so well from the campaign.  The text is as follows:

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15 Responses to The Obligatory Obama Speech Post

  • Let me add to that faith part and also what troubled me. Right after that he said:

    “And within our vast democracy, this doubt should remind us to persuade through reason, through an appeal whenever we can to universal rather than parochial principles, and most of all through an abiding example of good works, charity, kindness, and service that moves hearts and minds.”

    Now Obama has touched on this theme before

    Now what is troubling as you tell Catholics to be sure to base things on reason (I think we have a good hisotry of that) he fails to mention the important side of the coin that Secular folks have as a part of this bargain

    As he stated last year

    “But what I am suggesting is this – secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King – indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history – were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their “personal morality” into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

    Moreover, if we progressives shed some of these biases, we might recognize some overlapping values that both religious and secular people share when it comes to the moral and material direction of our country.”

    That was missing and in a Speech that was watched by millions perhaps a tad unfortunate. Especially as we have seen recently even by using Reason on issues of abortion and gay marriage any hint of our religious viewpoint gets us dismissed. As we in a striking section of the Iowa Supreme Court Opinion on gay marriage

    I do wish Obama had not omitted that

  • Obama did what Obama always does: he gave a glib speech that does not stand up under more than a few minutes cursory analysis. Much more disturbing to me was the reaction of most of the Notre Dame students who acted as if they were at an Obama rally, including ritualistic chants of “Yes We Can” to drown out protestors speaking up for the unborn. Whatever knowledge most of the students received during their college days at Notre Dame, the key Catholic teaching of the duty to defend innocent human life seems to have been carefully omitted.

  • “What troubled me….” How laudible and sensitive, jh. So the ceremony site was devoid of outside pro-lifers. Then again some of those pesky dinosaurs
    were present among the graduates. That is, those on other parts of the campus praying for Dear Leader’s immortal soul. And that of Father Jenkins. Who can brag tut tut pulled off that one. But not so fast. Note that in the past five days,both Presidents have hotwired the pro-life movement. Based on the hundreds of noble souls who spent quality time in some of South Bend’s finest holding tanks. Including my new hero, Father Westin- what was it, arrest 22, 23, anyone counting? Frankly, the conditions were never better for a movement that had been gulping wind of late. An extraordinarily pro-abort POTUS combined with the ND President whose idea of dialogue is the equivalent of the grumpy old man shouting You Kids Stay Off My Property was superb in bringing the issue of the babies front and center. I even saw brave souls hauled off on my local 6 a.m. teevee newscast so even the MSM had to cover their arrests. So everybody claims victory and goes home. Perhaps as much ‘dialogue’ as Father Jenkins will allow. Along with the increasing financial hole caused by decreased contributions becaused of the invitation. That won’t be filled while he has the job.

  • Darwin you might be interested to know that even the Progressive Mr Winters has thoughts similar to you over at America’s blog

    Obama Gets a C minus at Notre Dame

  • Take no comfort from the sop Winters is throwing to pro-lifers. His buddies at Commonweal were orgasmic over the Obama spiel. But what can we expect? For forty years, our catechesis has insisted that “Be nice” is not just the cardinal moral virtue but the only moral virtue. Obama has spent enough time around Catholics (and hired enough of them to run “Common Good” websites) that he had no problem standing up in front of a bunch of expensively but poorly educated kids and giving them back exactly what their Catholic school teachers have shoveled at them from first grade up to their Notre Dame graduation. Naturally, they ate it up.

  • JH,

    I would imagine that for someone like Winters, who actually imagines that Obama might make a good faith attempt to do something positive in the pro-life realm (on the “reducing need for abortion” side of things, of course) and meet Catholic Democrats half way, it would be even more disappointing. Obviously, if Obama had in fact made some statement that seemed like a positive move towards the Church’s position in this speech (even if it was something as basic as saying he’d gone too far by promising to sign the Freedom of Choice act — which is unlikely to be passed in its original form in the first place — and instead promising to veto it if it reaches his desk as being “too extreme” — a promise that would itself be as empty as his original one to sign it) Obama would have totally cut the legs out from under his conservative Catholic critics and handed those like inters a major victory.

    Of course, unlike Winters, I would never have imagined that happening in the first place. But if it had, it would have been a signal defeat.

  • Gerard, I think you’re right. While the idea of the one of the nation’s most prestigious Catholic institution giving an honorary law degree to a politician who professes a view of the law that is so contradictory to Catholic values cannot be considered a good. The effects may well be as you say. And what’s more, I bet we will see stronger, greater and more unified actions from the bishops in the future.

    I think the text of the degree is enough to make any thoughtful Catholic vomit, but even if that’s just my bias, any bishop who thought it prudent to give Fr Jenkins the benefit of the doubt and keep quiet through this is probably feeling rather disappointed and probably resolved to head this sort of thing off in the future.

  • I ma actually optimistic in some ways. I don’t think many of these Bishops and Cardinals have taken kindly to this. I also think they perhaps have been taken about with the name calling toward them.

    Again though what can they do. I think we all realize that United States Bishops Conference actual Jurisidcational authority has often been a question. See debates on the Citizenship document. Now we see it as to a 2004 explict directive

    However what is shocking is this provides that even the Bishop of the Dicoese where these Catholic Universities reside are pretty much powerless. Having the local Bishop have such a disconnect from a University is troublesome.

    So I am not sure what the Bishops can do or how they are going about doing it

  • Good speech, Barack.


    So do you actually think that, or is this just the obligatory “one in the eye for the conservatives” reaction?

  • Someone on Bill Bennett just pointed out that “open hearts and open minds” is part of the United Methodist creed… it is most certainly NOT part of the Catholic creed.

  • So do you actually think that, or is this just the obligatory “one in the eye for the conservatives” reaction?

    As if it had to be asked . . . . But hey, at least michael came up with something above school-yard taunts and obscenities here.

  • What strikes me as particularly dunderheaded about the speech is his repeated and detailed invocation of the Civil Rights movement to prove his points. Does he honestly not know that most pro-lifers see themselves as the abolitionists/civil rights movement part two, or does he actually want to douse himself in unintentional irony?

  • “Good speech, Barack.”

    His teleprompter must have been working.

  • I walk into church and there is a sign on the window that says “Contact your congressman to vote against the abortion bill.” This sign went up sometime after the first of this year. My immediate question was, “Hey, where were you during the election? “ I must digress here to tell a short story. During last week’s mass (yes, I am Catholic) a sudden political discussion arose regarding the invitation by Notre Dame University to Mr. Obama to speak at the graduation. Obama is outspoken in his support of abortion rights. He asks us to be tolerant of differing view points. I guess he means we should tolerate the killing of unborn humans. Now we can get into an abortion discussion but that is for another time. Anyway, during the impromptu discussion (right in the middle of a prayer, no less,) Mr. Obama’s position on abortion was condemed, but his positions on the economy, forgien policy, and health care and the death penalty were applauded by several members of the congregation. One would assume that those people voted for Mr. Obama and by extension, the policies of the Democratic party. Now we all know what happens when we “assume.” But it would be safe to say that these people voted for Obama because they wanted money to be appropriated for universal health care, for welfare payment to the poor, welfare payment to the banks, welvare payments to the car companies (and by extension the unions, thereby giving the unions control of the car companies, thereby giving contol to the government, thereby giving control of a large part of the economy to the Democrats) and money to many other “worthy” causes. So in the end it is really about money…government money. (Just an aside…it’s not government money, it’s money extracted from taxpayers, eventually at the point of a gun if it if someone wanted to take it that far. Oh yeah, and money borrowed from the Chinese, who I’m sure have nothing but the best interests of the United States at heart. But I digress again.)

    “Uhh…you digress alot…what’s your point?” you ask.

    My point is, that if someone is against abortion, why would they ever vote for a Democrat in the first place? Every Democratic office holder is always and everywhere going to support abortion. Well maybe not some local office holders but they belong to the political party that will always and everywhere support abortion. Voting for a Democrat is like giving the ax to the executioner. Do you think he’s going to put it down and lay down with the lambs when it comes time to support abortion? The chance to strike a blow against abortion was at election time! Why was it not taken then? Oh yeah, I forgot. It’s so we can get government money to support “human dignity.”

    God says he knew us BEFORE we were in the womb. So as the liberals are so fond of saying, “the research is in, there is no longer any question.” Human life began BEFORE conception. Are we going to cut that life short for our thirty pieces of government silver? Where is the human dignity in that?

The Giggle Test

Monday, April 13, AD 2009


In my “real life”, for my sins no doubt, I am an attorney.  Before I raise an argument in court before a judge or a jury, I always make sure it can pass the giggle test.  It has two components:  1.  Can I make the argument with a straight face;  and 2.  do I think a judge or a jury can hear the argument without giggling.  The giggle test has saved me a lot of embarrassment over the years in court.

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7 Responses to The Giggle Test

  • Pingback: “diminishes the reputation of Notre Dame and makes one wonder what its mission truly is.” « The American Catholic
  • The good Father is feeling the heat.

  • Notre Dame gets an “F,” on the Giggle Test, an “F” for Catechism and an “F,” for not defending the free speech of the unborn. We who calls ourselves Christians/Cath. have been depicted as provincial backward folks with little comprehension, for progress and the sciences. Our faith is ridiculed by the media/academia quoting that 54% of the Cath. voted for President Obama. How many Cath. voted not to be sacrificed to the lions, when Emperor Nero was in charged? Our faith has not changed in the elapsed time especially, when the “life” of the innocent is the question. Jesus loves us today just as he did then, but more important; we must remember that Jesus always had a special love/consideration, for the weak, innocent, and the most vulnerable. November 17, will soon be water under the bridge. However, dishearten Christians/Cath. can reaffirm their commitments to faith and life through prayers. John Cardinal O’Connor reminded us in his book “Moment of Grace” of the following: “If prayer is resolutely united with that of Jesus in trust and boldness as children, we obtain all that we ask in his name, even more than any particular thing: The Holy Spirit himself, who contains all gifts.” On commencement day, I will pray/dedicate the rosary, for the protection of the innocent. I will also ask our Lord Jesus Christ to give our Cath. leaders the strength of character and wisdom to stand in disagreement when disagreement is required by principle. God Bless J. Cardinal O’Connor.

  • Pingback: Bishop D’Arcy Responds « The American Catholic
  • “Chancellor Hitler” professed himself to be a Catholic. He was raised Catholic and remained a formal member of the CC until his death. And for the record, this entry goes straight to the top of the list of online rants that most quickly go out of their way to lend support to Godwin’s Law due to the oblique and nonsensical relationship attributed to Hitler and whoever it is you’re disagreeing with.

    If you aren’t familiar with Godwin’s Law, please do look it up.

  • Mike, Hitler despised the Catholic Church and only waited until the end of the war to settle accounts with it. Perhaps you are not aware of Hitler’s Table Talk? Here are some selections:

    ‘The war will be over one day. I shall then consider that my life’s final task will be to solve the religious problem. Only then Will the life of the German native be guaranteed once and for all.”

    “The evil that’s gnawing our vitals is our priests, of both creeds. I can’t at present give them the answer they’ve been asking for, but it will cost them nothing to wait. It’s all written down in my big book. The time will come when I’ll settle my account with them, and I’ll go straight to the point.”

    “I don’t know which should be considered the more dangerous: the minister of religion who play-acts at patriotism, or the man who openly opposes the State. The fact remains that it’s their maneuvers that have led me to my decision. They’ve only got to keep at it, they’ll hear from me, all right. I shan’t let myself be hampered by juridical scruples. Only necessity has legal force. In less than ten years from now, things will have quite another look, I can promise them.”

    “We shan’t be able to go on evading the religious problem much longer. If anyone thinks it’s really essential to build the life of human society on a foundation of lies, well, in my estimation, such a society is not worth preserving. If’ on the other hand, one believes that truth is the indispensable foundation, then conscience bids one intervene in the name of truth, and exterminate the lie.”

    “Once the war is over we will put a swift end to the Concordat. It will give me the greatest personal pleasure to point out to the Church all those occasions on which it has broken the terms of it. One need only recall the close cooperation between the Church and the murderers of Heydrich. Catholic priests not only allowed them to hide in a church on the outskirts of Prague, but even allowed them to entrench themselves in the sanctuary of the altar.”

    “The fact that I remain silent in public over Church affairs is not in the least misunderstood by the sly foxes of the Catholic Church, and I am quite sure that a man like the Bishop von Galen knows full well that after the war I shall extract retribution to the last farthing. And, if he does not succeed in getting himself transferred in the meanwhile to the Collegium Germanium in Rome, he may rest assured that in the balancing of our accounts, no “T” will remain uncrossed, no “I” undotted!”

    Hitler remained Catholic in the same sense that Benedict Arnold remained an American. As to Godwin’s Law, the point I was making obviously eluded you, or, more likely, you are unable or unwilling to debate the substance of it.

  • Mike,

    Perhaps you’ve never heard of excommunication latae sententiae.