9:59: Final questions:
1. Since I had to stay up past my bedtime I’m entitled to ask: What was the purpose of that speech? Can anybody name a policy goal that it could have been designed to advance? Leave aside whether it actually succeeded in furthering any goal; what did the president have in mind?
2. Who is supposed to respond to this speech? Congress wasn’t called on to do much except support our “partners” — who still don’t include Syria and may or may not include Iran. There was no major shift in policy that I could discern.
3. Obama talks about countering the Islamic State’s ideology. How, and, more important, why, is the United States supposed to be in charge of that? On what planet are any Islamists, let alone Sunnis so hardcore al-Qaeda doesn’t want them, susceptible to the moral suasions of secular America? Maybe it’s the planet where all the peaceful, moderate, freedom-loving Muslims live.
9:48: Opening reviews are not strong!
john mccain is practically jumping through the camera to talk back to Jay right now
— Sam Stein (@samstein) September 11, 2014
Obama tonight gave up his ten year dream to be the president remembered by history for ending two wars.
— Jonathan Alter (@jonathanalter) September 11, 2014
It was a speech of threats. Just like all the others. Of course a complete reversal to what he said a week ago.
— Chuck Woolery (@chuckwoolery) September 11, 2014
Obama's wait & see approach to ISIS has put America at greater risk. He must stay focused on destroying them. http://t.co/KuNjbRHLsd
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) September 11, 2014
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) September 10, 2014
The problem with "degrade & destroy" is there's lots of distance between the two. Similar to getting a grade between "A" & "D". Which is it?
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) September 11, 2014
9:31: What was all that guff about America’s being prepared to “seize the future” around 9:13 or so? Is this a war speech or a general welfare speech? Is it Keynesian residue, like maybe Obama is thinking prosperity is created by a sense of shared national purpose (not that there was much of a clear national purpose outlined tonight)? I am not the only one wondering:
I'm perplexed on pivot to the economy and domestic cheerleading in that speech–confusing to people, different kind of USA exceptionalism
— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) September 11, 2014
9:23: Food for thought:
9:19: Happy any time an Obama peroration comes in at less than 30 minutes. I believe the word “victory” was not heard once in the speech.
9:15: “We owe our American friends our lives,” is how Obama quotes unnamed persons rescued from the mountain top in Iraq a few weeks back. That operation went smoothly, but unfortunately an evacuation doesn’t gain you anything.
9:12: Air power only, “partners’” forces on the ground. Worked in Yemen and Somalia?
9:07: From Ramesh:
Obama continues bipartisan tradition of attempting to issue authoritative interpretations of Islam.
— Ramesh Ponnuru (@RameshPonnuru) September 11, 2014
9:04: ISIL is “not Islamic” and “certainly not a state.” True or false?
9:03: “Degrade” and “destroy” in the opening statement.
President Obama won’t be the only one kicking it like it’s 2003 tonight. Stay here for National Review Online’s ye olde live blog — but updated with modern conveniences, like live embedded video of the performance, that didn’t exist back in those days of coal-burning laptops. Don’t be shy about piping up in the comments or out there on social media, where you can “pin” us with “tweets” in your “professional network.”