Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Inspiring speech from President Obama, with some interesting moments

The differences between President Barack Obama and his predecessor George W. Bush are startling. Although Obama's speech Tuesday night seemed more about inspiration than actual substance, I listened with a growing confidence that maybe this country can get things done.

Some reaction:

The Republican members of Congress who along with Bush helped dig this country into an economic grave, sat on their hands far too much as Obama fought to inspire this country to greater achievement and to overcome our hardships.

I couldn't help but remember that today's economic troubles stem from Bush's failures as a leader, the manumental mistake of invading Iraq and the endless costs associated with fighting that worthless war. So many Americans have doed there it is tragic, only to have turned that country into a training ground for al-Qaeda, which was never there before we arrived with our invading forces on in March 2003.

I smiled and nodded when Obama hammered the robber barrons of the banking industry and Wall Street, the economic mobsters who are bleeding this country to its death. And did a virtual fist-bumped with the president as be vowed to crack down on their excesses. Let's hope he can follow through.

I was annoyed though to watch as members of congress crowded around Obama to get his autographs on their invitations. It seemed so cheesy considering that their privilege protects them from the pain of the down spiralling economy.

I laughed when NBC anchor Brian Williams stumbled through the beginning of his interview with former Congressman Rahm Emanuel who is now Obama's chief of staff. Emanuel served as a "volunteer" in the Israeli army for three works working at an Israeli military base. Emanuel has refused to answer questions about whether he did or did not wear an Israeli military uniform. Not wearing one on the base would have been unusual, but embarassing today especially since becoming a congressman and later Obama's chief of staff. The issue of loyalty is important in this country.

But Emanuel's influence was clear in Obama's speech when he failed to mention the Palestinians or Palestine in his reference to bringing peace and security to Israel and better relations with "her neighbors." Subtle but significant shift in American foreign policy tenor.

-- Ray Hanania

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