Sunday, December 06, 2015

Obama's Oval Office Address on Terrorism 2015

Obama's speech on terrorism Sunday evening was a typically frustrating Obama speech for me. (Address to the Nation by the President 12/06/2015)

He sounded sensible and Presidential, discouraging mindless bigotry against Islam and Muslims and stating he wouldn't be drawn into a ground war. That made it far better than what we hear from Republicans these days. Even if there is a bit of semantic trickery in calling the Special Forces and others American combat personnel who are and will be participating something other than ground forces. He made sensible sounding proposals about better gun regulation, which he is unlikely to press in any serious way.

But then he talked about terrorism exclusively in terms of Muslim perpetrators (Bipartisanship!), declared he would escalate US military intervention in Syria/Iraq with no obvious coherent political strategy (Bipartisanship!) and talked about American Exceptionalism (Bipartisanship!). And there wasn't ONE WORD addressing the recent murderous terrorist attack by a violent Christianist in Colorado Springs. (Bipartisanship!) And the Republicans will reward him by calling him soft on Islam and appeasing of terrorists, and demand even more military escalation.

During the speech, I couldn't help but think back to Obama's let's-all-come-together speech after a rightwing nutter shot Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in the head in an attempted political assassination of a sitting Member of Congress of the President's own party. If Obama had taken the opportunity then or with any of the other rightwing terrorist incidents during his first term to start stigmatizing the Ted Nugent/Jim Gilchrist NRA and similar gun-proliferation advocates, he might be in a position now to achieve some substantial progress on limiting gun proliferation and holding Republicans morally responsible for blatantly encouraging far-right violence. And, so far as I know, Cliven Bundy is still out there mooching off the federal government and his supporters who showed up for an armed confrontation with federal agents have suffered no consequences for their actions. Bipartisanship! (A year after armed standoff, Cliven Bundy still star of his own Tea Party-tinged western Guardian 06/01/2015)

But he wasn't interested in doing that. I think his seemingly intense desire for Bipartisanship as such is limiting him even at this stage of his Presidency.

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