Speechless

by Jay Nordlinger

In today’s Impromptus, I have a brief note on the speech that President Obama gave on the occasion of the 50th anniversary: the 50th anniversary of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Parts of Obama’s speech, I thought, were excellent. But, for me, they were overwhelmed by the small, narrow, political parts — and by “political” I really mean partisan.

I thought of JFK’s famous putdown of Nixon: No class. I have thought of this a lot, during Obama’s presidency.

Here in the Corner, I’d like to say something else about the anniversary event, because, since writing my column, I’ve seen a picture: a picture showing Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and the Obamas on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. This looks wrong to me. Because the MLK anniversary was a Big National Moment, and where were the Republicans? Maybe they were simply out of that camera shot . . .

Earlier this year, there was a smaller national moment, the dedication of the George W. Bush library in Dallas. Everyone was there: Obama, Bush the Younger (of course), Clinton, Bush the Elder (as you would expect), Carter — and their wives. There was an American tableau! (To see the write-up I did of this event, go here.)

Wasn’t it even more important to have “everyone” present for the MLK event?

One more note, please: Last night, I read an interesting blogpost by Nile Gardiner on the Telegraph site. Its title is “President Obama’s flat and uninspiring message to America: I have a big government dream.” Gardiner writes,

This was a speech that in key parts Francois Hollande or the president of the European Commission could have given. It was a sneering attack on the free market system, and a defiant defence of big government interventionism, higher taxes, trade union power, and socialised healthcare.

Gardiner ends, “It is hard not to conclude that Obama’s dream for the United States is an extremely narrow one, rooted in a radical left-wing ideology that the American public has grown increasingly wary of.”

My response is, Yeah, yeah: Not wary enough not to reelect the guy, and his team — less than a year ago. I think we have to consider that something fundamental may have changed in America. That 40 years of left-liberal educational and cultural dominance have done their work.

Anyway, that’s too big a subject for a lil’ blogpost . . .