Like millions of Americans, I had better things to do yesterday evening than watch yet another speech by President Barack Obama. I was at a reception hosted by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation at the Latvian Embassy in Washington, DC.
And even if I had been near a television yesterday evening, I would not have watched the speech. Former Latvian President Vike-Freiberga’s remarks were much more interesting. More on that in a moment.
I read President Obama’s speech this morning. It is more of the same, but on political steroids. There is no doubt that the country is having a tough economic time, but rather than elevate the debate and challenge Americans to reach for the mountains, he droned, complained, and whined. He has had weeks to work on a proposal, but offered political hyperbole about the state of things in Washington.
“A political crisis that’s made things worse … we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy … this isn’t political grandstanding … the politics of the moment … we are bigger than our politics have been,” he said. “I am sending this Congress a plan that you should pass right away.” And then he went about seventeen times asking, that reads like demanding, that Congress pass his plan, his way. Not the words of a great leader, but a political operative. At best.
President Obama can learn something from the Latvian Iron Lady. I knew about her, but had never heard her speak about her experience surviving behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. She spoke about the importance of America’s place in the world and expressed a great deal of gratitude for our contributions to freedom’s cause, to a commitment higher than ourselves. The tenth of anniversary of September 11 a reminder that much work remains to be done and that America has a special calling.
There is no question. We made the right choice by passing on watching the President’s speech.