Thursday, June 5, 2008

Acknowledging His Many Accomplishments

I was going to post on Obama's rather incredible victory speech last night, but just did not have the time. No matter. Powerline has done a good job of critiquing Obama's clarion call to cradle to grave socialism and international retreat. There was one part of Obama's speech, though, that was tantilizing. Obama said at one point that he acknowledged McCain's "many accomplishments," but then added that McCain "denies mine." I must admit, my kneejerk reaction was "what accomplishments?" But Powerline took the ball and ran with it, composing what such an acknowledgement might look like. A wonderful idea that I think could actually be developed into a much longer speech.

This from Powerline:

Barack Obama's skillful speech in St. Paul last night . . . recalled JFK's inaugural address, invoking generational change and offering up Obama as its bearer. Whereas JFK's speech framed generational change defending and advancing liberty around the world, Obama's holds out generational change to support the causes of retreat abroad and unlimited government at home. The challenges outlined by Obama are to be addressed by government programs in which citizens become clients of the welfare state, as early in life as possible.

The speech had both offensive and defensive components. Going on offense, Obama tied McCain to Bush. Going on defense, Obama set the ground rules of the campaign. He sought to proscribe from discussion the issues raised by Obama's radical associations. Are Obama's spiritual mentors and friends demonstrably guilty of hating America? Do their frankly stated views reflect on Obama's own unstated views? According to Obama, the subject is illegitimate. Raising the subject "uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon." It sounds almost unconstitutional, if not a violation of human rights.

. . . "The change we need" requires augmenting the powers of government and expanding the embrace of the welfare state. No principle limits the powers of government. No cost is registered against which to measure putative benefits. Resistance can only betoken mean-spiritedness.

. . . Senator McCain's "many accomplishments" of course include military service and martial sacrifice beyond the understanding of most of us. If it is possible to give something beyond the last full measure of devotion, McCain gave it on behalf of the United States over five-and-a-half years in North Vietnamese hellholes. I'm not aware of Senator McCain ever declining to acknowledge Obama's "many accomplishments," but he might be well served by expressly acknowledging them in his stump speech:

Senator Obama, I honor your work in the private sector for a year or two after you graduated from college, and I honor your work for three years as a community organizer in Chicago. I understand that as a community organizer you pressured city authorities to remove asbestos from the Altgeld Gardens apartments in 1986 with at least partial success.

When the on-site manager of the apartments didn't take action, you nudged the residents into confronting city housing officials in two angry public meetings downtown. These generated "a victory of sorts," you said later, as workers soon began sealing the asbestos in the buildings, even if the project gradually ran out of steam and money and even if some tenants still have asbestos in their homes, according to current resident Linda Randle, who worked with you in the '86 anti-asbestos campaign.

When you chose to quit organizing the South Side of Chicago after three years, your good deeds did not stop. You rendered valiant service by attending Harvard Law School and winning your first election as the president of the Harvard Law Review.

Your service to the Harvard Law Review did not bring an end to your remarkable benefactions. You returned to Chicago, where you won election to the Ilinois state legislature before the triumph that brought you to the Senate for the past three-and-a-half years. We all know your accomplishments in the Senate.

And last, but far from least, I honor your authorship of Dreams From My Father, a memoir that has spent many weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. You, sir, have served our country with uncommon distinction.

How long, I wonder, before Obama would find the acknowledgement of his many accomplishments beyond the pale of civilized discourse?


I think that could be expanded upon significantly.

"Among his many accomplishments, Senator Obama has led the charge against special interests in the Senate. When the choice was between our national security or supporting the trial lawyers, Senator Obama chose national security. When it came to Big Labour trying to undo the most basic aspect of a democracy, the right to cast a secret ballot, Senator Obama bravely voted in favor of democracy . . . "

[Lieberman whipers in ear]

"Hmmm, scratch that. I seem to have those two wrong. Sorry. No matter. I am sure that Senator Obama means to stand up to some special interest, somewhere, sometime, perhaps."

Etc., etc. This could be fun - and devestating. McCain really ought to jump at this one.

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