Sleazy. (Now With Cartoon)

"Good News" from The Ryskind Sketchbook

The main word that comes to mind upon reading the President's speech last night. (By the way, did he start on time? I turned the tube on at 10 pm and he was still going, yet I haven't heard anyone complain that he spoke for more than an hour, and the speech doesn't read that long.) Sleazy because he couches a raw federal power grab (see Krauthammer's take, eg or "He is my shepherd") in terms to make it seem as if he's simply "facilitating" the free market. Even WaPo has grave doubts.

Foreign policy was hardly mentioned, but what was interesting is that no allies were mentioned apart from Israel, and you'd think only the Middle East existed.
This was not an isolationist speech. But it was one in which, with the sole and neutral acknowledgment of Israel, American stood entirely alone. The support of Britain, Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands in Afghanistan went unmentioned, as did all of America’s allies in East Asia. So, curiously, did India, an omission highlighted by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s folksy response. Nor did Obama say a good word for freedom, democracy, or liberty abroad, an omission that will surely be noticed in Venezuala, China, Russia, and Iran, all of whom also fell by the wayside. Above all, it left the sense of an America turning inward, eager to sound engaged but unwilling to notice that engagement requires painful commitments by allies that deserve to be acknowledged, and confrontations not simply with abstract forces like hunger, but with dictators and tyrants who wish us harm.
This may have been the sleaziest line of all:
To overcome extremism, we must also be vigilant in upholding the values our troops defend – because there is no force in the world more powerful than the example of America. That is why I have ordered the closing of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, and will seek swift and certain justice for captured terrorists – because living our values doesn’t make us weaker, it makes us safer and it makes us stronger. And that is why I can stand here tonight and say without exception or equivocation that the United States of America does not torture.

Yeah, we've cancelled all the "enhanced interrogation" techniques where we can control the level of harshness, retaining only "rendition," in which we outsource to regimes known to torture. (Don't worry, we make them "promise" not to.)

Delivery-wise, the President was his pleasant self, although he seemed to be on uppers, as did Bobby Jindal afterwards. They both spoke too quickly and seemed giddy and pre-meditatedly positive. Trying too hard. Speaking of which, what was with Pop-up Gramma (which, by the way, would make an excellent drinking game next time around)? I know Pelosi's delighted to have Democrats ruling the world again, but the way she shot out of her seat every second to "ovate" Obama looked silly. As if she were being to be judged on explosiveness of take-off, height, form and sticking the landing.

"Joe," meanwhile, whom you don't mess with, apparently, appeared to be Blackberrying through the speech, although I s'pose I'll be told he was merely studying the text.

Michelle had a nice moment hugging that girl from SC.

Update: Two items from CMR's take. Comparing Obama w/ Clinton, Patrick notes that Clinton convinced himself he was telling the truth.
Barack Obama is far scarier. He lies, he knows he is lying, and he doesn't care. "I don't believe in bigger gov't" - "Tax cuts for 95%" - "No earmarks" Lies all. His lies seem to be pre-meditated fabrications to give him what he wants, more power. With Clinton, the truth always seemed distorted. Cloudy. With Obama, truth is simply irrelevant.
nobody messes with Joe. Well, except Joe of course.