Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Inauguration: So Much Material

The Inauguration of Barack Obama yesterday as our 44th President provided so much material for comment. Where to begin?

Today, let’s stick to the speech itself. Here are some key phrases from the rambling speech that caught my attention, along with my coherent commentary:

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath.

Actually, since Grover Cleveland had non-consecutive terms, he was both the 22nd and the 24th presidents. So there have only been 43 men who have taken the oath. And you barely stumbled through yours. Yeah, I know, on further review, the replay shows the fault for the flub goes to the Republican, Chief Justice John Roberts. I'll cut you both some slack, but it’s a shaky start.

At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

That’s a direct contradiction of your speech a couple of weeks ago where you proclaimed that our problems are so big that “only government” could fix them. Which is it, Mr. President? Are we successful because of “We the People”? Or are we successful because the government is always here to bail us out? I would like to believe the former. I think — regardless of what you say in your inaugural address — that you believe the latter.

Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.

What hard choices have we failed to make? How have we failed to prepare the nation for a new age? It seems that’s a direct attack on the former president sitting just a few feet behind you. But I believe that the economy has been weakened mostly by the intervention of government in the free market, not by its failure to intervene.

Homes have been lost.

No, sir. Homes have not “been lost”. Some people who could not afford to buy a home — but who had been told by the government that they could buy a home anyway — now realize that the government has failed them and has duped them. President Obama believes that people who can afford homes are supposed to buy homes for those who cannot afford them, because the government has already lied to them and told them that they could afford them.

Jobs [have been] shed. Businesses [have been] shuttered.

Employees are assets. Employers are not charities. When the cost of an asset exceeds its value, it must be shed. Interference by Big Government and Big Labor has resulted in the cost of an employee to be two or three times his salary. If the government were suddenly miraculously found to be irrelevant, most of those people would be back at work.

Our health care is too costly.

Our health care is costly, but saying it’s “too” costly is a value judgment that you are not qualified to make. If it’s the best health care in the world — which it is — then it’s not “too” costly. If you think health care is expensive now, just wait to see how much it will cost when it’s “free”.

Our schools fail too many.

The success of our school is a local concern, not a federal one. The failure of our schools is a federal concern, not a local one.

Each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

The solution is to invest in nuclear energy (a proven technology with virtually no environmental impact) and clean coal energy (we have more coal reserves than the Arabs have in oil reserves). We have already built all the hydroelectric dams that are economically feasible. Good luck if you think you can power your Presidential Limousine with solar cells and a windmill.

We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.

My safety comes first. Your “ideals” — which will only bankrupt me — are of no concern of mine.

Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine...

Not to take anything away from the perils that the Continental Army encountered, the worse peril they faced was a bullet between their eyes. King George’s army was not capable of flying a plane into the tallest building in Philadelphia.

... drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man...

They drafted a charter to limit size and scope of the federal government. The rule of law and the rights of man are directly correlated to the behavior of the population and the extent to which the government stays away from governing that behavior.

...a charter expanded by the blood of generations.

It wasn’t “expanded” by the blood of generations. It was “defended” by them. Was this a Freudian slip, caused by his belief that it needs even more “expanding”?

Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake.

According to the ideals of President Obama, extracting information from captured terrorists is currently being done because it’s “expedient”, not because it’s actually saving lives.

Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

Begin again? Remaking America? I don’t think we ever stopped making America great in the first place. What happened? Did we “forget” how to make America and now we need you to remind us how to do it? America was made great because the government allowed its citizens to be great, not because the Commander-in-Chief told us that we’re supposed to.

America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity and ... we are ready to lead once more.

Actually, we never stopped leading. The failure of other countries to follow is not a result of our failure to lead. If we hadn’t led in the war against terror, who would have? The French? The Spaniards?

There you have it. A blow-by-blow, paragraph-by-paragraph rebuttal of virtually every salient point of the President’s inaugural address. I’m tired. It’s going to be a long four years. But I’m up to the task.

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