Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Obama press conference: A season of progress

Just what I didn’t want for Xmas: another Obama press conference to blog.

IS THAT YOUR WAY OF TELLING THEM THE WHITE HOUSE HAS BEDBUGS AND NOW SO DO THEY? He began, “I know everybody is itching to get out of here”.

AND A SEASON OF WHINING AND PETULANCE FOR JOHN MCCAIN: “A lot of folks in this town predicted that after the midterm elections, Washington would be headed for more partisanship and more gridlock. And instead, this has been a season of progress for the American people.”

IT WAS MORE FUN WHEN REAGAN USED TO TRY TO SAY IT IN RUSSIAN: On the New START Treaty: “So we will be able to trust but verify.”

HE’S THE REMINDERER: “In fact, I just got off the phone with Dick Lugar, and reminded him the first trip I ever took as senator -- foreign trip -- was with Dick Lugar to Russia, to look at nuclear facilities there.” Hey, Dick, remember when I’d been in the Senate about a week and you’d been there like thirty years and now I’m the president and you’re still in the Senate?

“PERFECTING OUR UNION” – IS THAT WHAT THEY’RE CALLING IT NOW? “In our ongoing struggle to perfect our union, we also overturned a 17-year-old law and a longstanding injustice by finally ending ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’”

YES, LET’S STOP PUNISHING KIDS, AND SEND THEM INTO THE MILITARY, NO WAIT, WHAT? “I am very disappointed Congress wasn’t able to pass the DREAM Act so we can stop punishing kids for the actions of their parents, and allow them to serve in the military or earn an education and contribute their talents to the country where they grew up.”

On gay marriage: “As I’ve said, my feelings about this are constantly evolving. I struggle with this.” It’s not about your “feelings.” It’s about equity. Your “feelings” about other people’s rights are irrelevant.

WHAT HIS BASELINE IS: “my baseline is a strong civil union that provides them the protections and the legal rights that married couples have. And I think -- and I think that’s the right thing to do. But I recognize that from their perspective it is not enough”. That “from their perspective” is rather telling. Just as he privileges his own personal “feelings” about gay marriage, this suggests that only gay people have a problem with their being denied marital equality, and that that problem is primarily emotional. In fact civil unions are “not enough” from the perspective of anyone who puts equity first, and the denial of equality to anyone in society is harmful to everyone in that society.

THE SPIDER-MAN PRINCIPLE (BUT THEN, SPIDER-MAN SEEMS TO BE FALLING DOWN AN AWFUL LOT LATELY): “You know, my sense is the Republicans recognize that with greater power is going to come greater responsibility.”

Asked about his failure to close Guantanamo, he went on about the reason for closing it being that “Guantanamo is probably the number one recruitment tool that is used by these jihadist organizations.” Well, no, that would probably be all the wars in Muslim countries and, you know, Israel. “And that’s what closing Guantanamo is about -- not because I think that the people who are running Guantanamo are doing a bad job, but rather because it’s become a symbol.” Unless you’re a prisoner in the 6th or 8th year of detention without trial, of course.

“And so one thing I hope people have seen during this lame duck -- I am persistent. I am persistent. If I believe in something strongly, I stay on it.” And then he went on vacation.

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