Obama Finds His Voice, MSM Still Lost

If you missed the Tucson Memorial tonight, you can read President Obama’s speech here.

It was a very good speech, very well delivered. I was watching it and monitoring twitter at the same time, and saw many judging the speech to be his best since the election. I think I agree with that. I recall being disappointing with Obama’s inaugural speech, and even some of Obama’s biggest supporters have complained that he sometimes seems too detached from his words or surroundings, but this was a speech Obama was very much present too, and it struck the right notes. Others may wish to debate content vs actions (those fights were already starting on twitter when I left) and some may wonder why he didn’t insert this unifying tone into the last few days of madness, but things have been so over-the-top amid the pundit class since the shooting, I doubt he would have been heard as well as he was tonight. You choose your moments, after all. For now, for tonight, I say give the man his props; it was a very fine speech, and a presidential one.

And the fact is, even if you disagree with every one of a president’s policies, you still want him to be presidential. The country needs that.

The Crowd: I am not a person who likes applause at Mass, and I don’t like it much at memorials, either; the raucous crowd had even some mediafolk (Anderson Cooper comes to mind) expressing doubt about the cheering. I think it was simply the venue. A different venue, something smaller, quieter, more intimate, might have inspired a different sort of reaction from the crowds, but perhaps adrenaline was running some of it.

Obama’s brief bio sketches of the dead were appropriate and warm. He seemed to catch his own emotions as he imagined 9 year-old Christina Taylor Green, puddle-jumping in heaven. I was most moved when he announced that Gabrielle Giffords had, this evening, opened her eyes for the first time, and indicated that she could see, and when he introduced her heroic aide, Daniel Hernandez, and the other ordinary folk who took down the shooter and saved who knows how many lives.

Hernandez was somber throughout the event; the most solemn face there. Obviously he has endured a great trauma; he’ll be especially in my prayers tonight.

Will the speech change anything? Charles Krauthammer, in post-speech remarks, said he thought it would put a stop to the insane, Palin-heavy rhetoric of the past few days. I hope that is true but I have my doubts. On twitter, I watched a number of journalists (Andrea Mitchell, Dave Weigel and others) immediately begin either talking about or snarking about Palin, and I couldn’t help thinking, “the president–your president whom you love–just gave the speech of his presidency and not five minutes later you’re on Palin again? Conservatives are here praising the president, and instead of joining in, you’re obsessing on Sarah Palin? Does that seem like normal, rational, healthy behavior or sick obsession?

Other reactions:
Major Garrett: When Gabby Opened her Eyes
Rich Lowry
Ed Morrissey
Legal Insurrection

Jennifer Rubin

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://j3b3.wordpress.com jb

    Beatrix . . .

    No it is not arrogant and patronizing to encourage anyone to go and pray and meditate . . . especially in such a charged atmosphere.

    I read the site on the link you provided, it was nothing but more of the same.

    If you were offended by my words, or whatever you thought I was saying, I apologize.

    But I will not apologize for suggesting prayer.

  • Lisa

    “But at least he finally came out on the right side, and deserves to be praised for it.”

    @richard40 – Yes, he does look like the hero doesn’t he?
    Hence, the cynicism. As FDR said, nothing in politics is accidental.

    Hopefully, at some point this tragedy is going to be about the victims, the lack of accountability by the Tuscon Sheriff’s office, mental health – and the one thing no one is talking about – the connection between marijuana use and schizophrenia.

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  • Robert C

    Susan. Take a pill.

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  • Beatrix

    Well then I, jb, suggest that you go pray. Perhaps it will do you good.

  • http://j3b3.wordpress.com jb


    It will also do you good to do so. Seriously.

  • Beatrix

    Well, I’m about done wasting the Anchoress’ badwidth on this, but:

    “Beatrix . . .

    No it is not arrogant and patronizing to encourage anyone to go and pray and meditate . . . especially in such a charged atmosphere.

    Yes it is. If you express an opinion and instead of engaging with what you’ve said I shake my head sadly and suggest that you go pray and meditate, then I’m being, arrogant, patronizing, and passive aggressive, never mind the atmosphere.

    Disagree? *Sigh*. Please just go pray until you agree with me. Seriously.

  • Joseph

    Charles Krauthammer was wrong when he said the President’s speech would a stop to the “blood libel”. It’s still going on, and I see no light at the end of the tunnel. They just can’t let go.

  • Bender

    They just can’t let go.

    That is the nature of rabies.

  • Max Lindenman

    First, a fair warnin: I think this will be one of those days when I descend on the Anchoress Blog like a biker gang on a Mojave Desert ghost town.

    Obama’s speech was wonderful. He did his best to speak not merely for the nation, but for the ages. If he fell short, it wasn’t by much.

    Critics have taken issue with the celebratory tone. Though I agree the t-shirts were a little over the top — practically all by themselves, they made the gathering into an Event with a capital “E.” But the applause didn’t bother me. Many people forget that a memorial service is not a funeral. Typically, funerals are sober, reverent and intimate (although this is changing in some quarters). Memorial services are typically flashy and public — one reason the immeidate family will typically postpone them until some time after the funeral.

    Taste, good or bad, knows no partisan divisions. In June of 1998, I attended Barry Goldwater’s memorial service, which was held at Arizona State’s Gammage Center. The festivities — the word fits — included a mutlimedia presentation, and, yes, a Native American tribal dance. Apparently the senator had endeared himself to the Hopi (or was it the Navajo?), who nickamed him “Grandfather Gold Medal.” If anyone thought the dancers a threat to Christian civilization, he kept it to himself.

  • Lisa

    Weasel Zippers is reporting that the t-shirts came from Organizing for America – Obama’s CAMPAIGN organization.


  • SKAY

    As with all things and people that surround Obama–there is more to everything he does than meets the eye.
    It looked like a campaign rally.

    Where were the T-shirts etc. when our soldiers were also senselessly shot at Fort Hood?

    Max-the circumstances of Barry Goldwater’s death and memorial were quite different.

  • Max Lindenman

    So, let me see if I’m understanding you correctly. Only octogenarians who die of natural causes are allowed to have Native Americans dance at their memorial services? Thanks. I’ll make a note of that.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    “I went to the Tuscon Memorial, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.”

    Sorry, any way you look at it—it’s tacky.

  • SKAY

    I was not commenting on the Native American dance Max.