20 January, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Mr. President.

It feels so damned good to say that.

Barack Obama was sworn in at the 44th President of the United States, although not without incident:

The presidential oath of office is quite straightforward, and only 35 words long: "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Somehow, Chief Justice John Roberts, with the whole world watching, managed to flub it.

As you can see in the video, Roberts initially made the first sentence too long. It should have been "I, Barack Hussein Obama," and then wait for the response. In fact, Obama started to respond at the right time, but Roberts kept going, adding, "do solemnly swear." Obama recovered and corrected it. No biggie.

But then Roberts, who had allegedly practiced this, rearranged the words of the oath, saying, "that I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully." That's wrong in two places -- the "to" and the placement of "faithfully." Obama stopped, realizing Roberts had misspoken, before saying "that I will execute ... the office of president of the United States faithfully." That's not what the oath says, but that's what Roberts told Obama to say.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer said, "John Roberts had one job to do today and he sort of screwed up." True. Roberts, I noticed, wasn't reading from a prepared text, apparently confident that he could just memorize the 35 words. Note to the Chief Justice: four years from today, bring notes.

Josh Marshall added that some "nutballs" who'd hoped to prevent the inauguration, claiming that Obama isn't a natural-born citizen, "may get a second lease on life by claiming he didn't take the oath correctly."

Count on it.

Considering just about everything else went smoothly, that's ultimately not so bad. Despite the fact we'll now have a plethora of right-wing frothers trying to discredit his administration over an oath John Roberts flubbed.

Best wishes to Sen. Ted Kennedy, who suffered a seizure during luncheon. He's alert and joking now. Hopefully, he'll be there soon to help our new President turn this country around.

Not everyone, of course, is excited to see Obama take office:

“Are conservative talk-show hosts eager to go on the attack, after years of defending Bush?” asks the Louisville Courier-Journal’s Larry Muhammad. The answer is clearly yes.

Barack Obama has not yet taken office, and Rush Limbaugh is already rooting for his failure. On his radio show last Friday, Limbaugh said, “I disagree fervently with the people on our [Republican] side of the aisle who have caved and who say, ‘Well, I hope he succeeds.’”

Limbaugh told his listeners that he was asked by “a major American print publication” to offer a 400-word statement explaining his “hope for the Obama presidency.” He responded:

So I’m thinking of replying to the guy, “Okay, I’ll send you a response, but I don’t need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails.” (interruption) What are you laughing at? See, here’s the point. Everybody thinks it’s outrageous to say. Look, even my staff, “Oh, you can’t do that.” Why not? Why is it any different, what’s new, what is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what’s gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it? I don’t care what the Drive-By story is. I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: “Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.” Somebody’s gotta say it.
It hasn’t taken long for Limbaugh to reveal his core hypocrisy. In July 2006, with conservatives in power, Limbaugh offered one of his common screeds against the left. “I’m getting so sick and tired of people rooting for the defeat of the good guys,” he complained.

Hey, Rush? Shut the fuck up.

Change is coming. It's already begun:

This is so cool

BREAKING: White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel stops Bush’s last-minute regs. Emanuel signs a memorandum ordering all agencies and departments to stop all pending regulations until a legal and policy review can be conducted by the Obama administration.

Awesome. Neocon heads are going to start spinning. We may even see some pea soup flying through the air, there.

This little item is a beautiful way to illustrate the contrast between our new President and the one we just rid ourselves of:

The LA Times reports this morning that one of Barack Obama's first acts as president will be "to lift a rule that prevents federal money from going to international family planning groups that counsel women on abortion or perform the procedure."

This seems to be something of a recent tradition. One of Bill Clinton's first acts as president was to lift the global-gag rule, and eight years later, one of George W. Bush's first acts as president was to bring it back. Obama is apparently poised to keep the trend going.

It's probably worth noting that Bush didn't exactly know what he was doing when he acted on this issue. Soon after his inauguration, Bush met with a group of Roman Catholic bishops in the White House to tout his support for the "the Mexico City" policy, which got its name because Ronald Reagan launched the ban in Mexico City in 1984. Bush was anxious to show his support for issues of direct concern to the church, and was overheard by a live microphone that he didn't know was piping his remarks directly into the White House press room.

The president had just signed an executive order on the policy, literally just days prior to speaking to the bishops, but he clearly had no clue what he'd just done. Bush ended up bragging about "the money from Mexico, you know, that thing, the executive order I signed about Mexico City."

I'm so very, very happy we now have a President who can actually comprehend what he signs, and moreover, can make quick, reasoned decisions about what needs to be done. And explain the result using clear, complete English sentences.


The new Administration even has a blog:

The entire Whitehouse.gov website has been renovated to reflect our new President, Barack Obama. It is a thing of beauty and nearly brought tears to my eyes - again.

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Change has come to WhiteHouse.gov

Welcome to the new WhiteHouse.gov. I'm Macon Phillips, the Director of New Media for the White House and one of the people who will be contributing to the blog.

A short time ago, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States and his new administration officially came to life. One of the first changes is the White House's new website, which will serve as a place for the President and his administration to connect with the rest of the nation and the world.

Millions of Americans have powered President Obama's journey to the White House, many taking advantage of the internet to play a role in shaping our country's future. WhiteHouse.gov is just the beginning of the new administration's efforts to expand and deepen this online engagement.

Just like your new government, WhiteHouse.gov and the rest of the Administration's online programs will put citizens first.

That's good to hear.

Mr. President: thank you for bringing us to this day.

Today, our country has a new direction, a second chance at getting things right, and hope for a better future.

Together, yes we can.


Cujo359 said...

I think the idea that Obama isn't President because the guy administering the oath misplaced an adverb is even more ridiculous than the idea that he's not a natural born citizen. The meaning of both sentences, the right one and the one Roberts delivered, are identical. Obama was swearing to do the same thing, just not as grammatically as we'd like. Not that it will stop someone from trying this line of nonsense, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

The people who want to deny Obama the presidency are not governed by logic. One case - on the grounds that he wasn't born in the U.S. - made it to the Supreme Court. It lost in record time.

HOWEVER ... under law, Obama became president at 12 noon on January 20, even without the oath. If he'd never taken the oath, he'd still be president.

Cujo359 said...

Yeah, where's all that "strict interpretation" stuff now, huh? The Constitution says the President has to take the oath. It doesn't say he needs to actually recite it correctly.

Ted said...

Take the test.

FIRST QUESTION: Who IS the actual and lawful 44th President of the USA?

ANSWER: Joe Biden

Biden was initially the Acting President for at least 5 minutes under either the Constitution’s Article 2 or the Constitution’s 20th Amendment, from 12:00 Noon 1/20/09, having already taken his Oath of Office and before Obama completed his ‘oath’ at approximately 12:05 PM, 1/20/09. Under the 20th Amendment if the President-elect shall have failed to qualify, or alternatively under Article 2 if the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term, being 12:00 Noon 1/20/09, which ability and/or qualification includes that he take the Article 2 oath “before he enter on the execution of his office,” then either the Presidency shall devolve on the Vice President under Article 2 or the Vice President shall act as President under the 20th Amendment. (The importance of the oath in ‘commencing’ an ‘Obama Presidency’ — rather than merely the 1/20/09 Noon time — is confirmed by the re-take of the ‘oath’ by Obama at the White House on 1/21/09 after the first ‘oath’ was NOT administered by Justice Roberts NOR recited by Obama in the words as required under Article 2.)

This is significant because at such time that the Supreme Court finally rules on the merits on Obama’s disqualification as not being an Article 2 “natural born citizen” (clearly he is NOT), Biden’s automatic status (without needing to take a separate Presidential Oath) of being President would be predicated upon four different bases: First, having been Vice President under Article 2; second, having been Vice President-elect under the 20th Amendment; third, having been actual President in the hiatus before Obama took the ‘oath(s)’; and fourth, retroactively deemed President during the full period of the Obama usurpation so that the acts of the Federal Government under the usurpation can be deemed authorized and/or ratified by Biden’s legitimacy.

SECOND QUESTION: Who will be the 45th President?

ANSWER: Hillary Clinton

One must assume that Bill and Hillary Clinton have been aware of all of the above. Biden’s wife recently “let the cat out of the bag” on the Oprah Show that both Biden and Hillary had considered alternatively Veep or Secretary of State, in either case, setting up Hillary to be President on a vote of the Democratic Congress if need be.

THIRD QUESTION: Is Obama an unwitting victim of this troika or a knowing participant?

ANSWER: Yet undetermined.