One of the most simple observations of the past election cycle was that Barack Obama wasn’t really running against John McCain, but rather against George W Bush, the least popular exiting president since, well, ever. Some analysts even went so far as to joke that John McCain’s first name had been changed to Bush (as in “Bush/McCain” as the title for anything they wanted to throw at the Arizona Senator).
And naturally he should have. He campaigned on amorphous and ehterial ideas like “hope” and “change”, few plans whose actual discussion would have made him electable whatsoever, and a shady past of his own. Had David Axelrod suggested any other strategy, he’d have been guilty of professional malpractice.
But why does he now, after having been elected and installed, continue to campaign against George W Bush? I have the luxury at HQ not to have a TV, and am fighting the temptation at the Undisclosed Alternate HQ to turn this one on lest the chattering classes spoil the beauty of reading. So instead, I logged on to the White House website; and read the speech myself (well, since the president simply read it himself, anyway…)
It’s astonishing how much he’s still in campaign mode. For 5,484 words, the president goes on about how bad the past 8 years have been, and how the “previous administration” is the reason we’re in such danger today. Were it not for Bush’s actions, so counter to everything sacred in our country today, why I wouldn’t have to be wasting my time on all this, he basically says. To be fair, there are a couple stanzas about some steps he’s taking and their rationale (mostly that, again, it’s all still Bush’s fault). Then comes this hilarious doozy:
Now, this is what I mean when I say that we need to focus on the future. I recognize that many still have a strong desire to focus on the past. When it comes to actions of the last eight years, passions are high. Some Americans are angry; others want to re-fight debates that have been settled, in some cases debates that they have lost. I know that these debates lead directly, in some cases, to a call for a fuller accounting, perhaps through an independent commission.
Clearly the press isn’t going to notice, let alone call Mr. Obama on this irony. But shouldn’t they?
– Nick (ColoradoPatriot) from an Undisclosed (so glad I never told Biden about it) Alternate HQ