Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Quick response following a quick read...

I liked the Churchill story:
I was struck by an article that I was reading the other day talking about the fact that the British during World War II, when London was being bombed to smithereens, had 200 or so detainees. And Churchill said, "We don't torture," when the entire British — all of the British people were being subjected to unimaginable risk and threat.
Among other things, it reveals that President Obama READS!

Aside: this bit also reminded me of the quotation used to introduce the Senate Committee on Armed Services report, INQUIRY INTO THE TREATMENT
"What sets us apart from our enemies in this fight ... is how we behave. In everything we do, we must observe the standards and values that dictate that we treat noncombatants and detainees with dignity and respect. While we are warriors, we are also all human beings."
- General David Petraeus, 10 May 2007
It's not about them. It's about US!

I liked the running dig at Congressional Republicans:
I can't sort of define bipartisanship as simply being willing to accept certain theories of theirs that we tried for eight years and didn't work and the American people voted to change.
And if that is how bipartisanship is defined, a situation in which basically, wherever there are philosophical differences, I have to simply go along with ideas that have been rejected by the American people in a historic election, you know, we're probably not going to make progress.
I do think that our administration has taken some steps that have restored confidence in the American people that we're moving in the right direction and that simply opposing our approach on every front is probably not a good political strategy.

[emphasis added]
These points were actually spread out over responses to two questions - I think they have more force when re-packaged all together, as above.

Grammatical nit: "slow" and "quick" are NOT adverbs. [" Troubled? I'd say less troubled, but, you know, sobered by the fact that change in Washington comes slow.";... "You know, politics in America changes very quick."] Could President Obama be coached to use the correct forms, "slowly" & "quickly"? - I bet that I speak for thousands of English teachers!

I liked the imagery of...
But even as we clear away the wreckage of this recession, I've also said that we can't go back to an economy that's built on a pile of sand, on inflated home prices and maxed-out credit cards, on overleveraged banks and outdated regulations that allow recklessness of a few to threaten the prosperity of all.
Yes - the wreckage!... left behind by the hurricane that was W.
... and, the "recklessness of a few" threatening "the prosperity of all" is a very succinct summary of W's legacy... (tho' the comment was aimed at the geniuses leading the financial sector.)

The gracious reference to W provided another none-too-subtle dig at the current crop of Republicans as the party of NO:
I do want to compliment Democrats and Republicans who worked diligently back in 2005 when the bird flu came up. I was part of a group of legislators who worked with the Bush administration to make sure that we had beefed up our infrastructure and our stockpiles of antiviral drugs, like Tamiflu.

And I think the Bush administration did a good job of creating the infrastructure so that we can respond.
I doubt the gracious reference to former Texas Governor Bush will deflect Republican criticism. (Speaking of which - was there a Republican response?)

Finally: my prediciton for what the Republicans will highlight.
So wash your hands when you shake hands. Cover your mouth when you cough.
I predict this common-sense advice will be used by Republicans as evidence that President Obama is clueless. "'Wash your hands'??? Is he kidding?"

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