Chris Matthews, gushy as always, says President Obama’s recent address to the troops in Afghanistan was “right out of Henry V.” Well, no. Obama’s address may have been eloquent, but the key point of Henry’s famous speech before Agincourt was that he himself, the king of England, was personally leading his troops into battle. Thus the power of Henry’s declaration:
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile
This day shall gentle his condition.
Even the lowest commoner would be treated like the king’s brother if they defeated the enemy together.
To be sure, the tradition of kings leading men into battle is centuries out of date. And of course it’s praiseworthy when any president visits troops overseas to show the nation’s support. But comparing Obama to Henry V puts a president who risks his political popularity in the same category as a soldier who risks his life. I was going to say that the president himself would be the first to disavow any such comparison, though considering the way he and his handlers have portrayed Barack Obama as the star of the bin Laden assassination, when it happened and today, I’m not so sure.