Tag archives: President Obama

Obama Hypocrisy on “Federalizing” Marriage

by Peter Sprigg

February 28, 2013

Press reports indicate that President Obama’s Justice Department will file a brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn California’s Proposition 8—the state constitutional amendment adopted by California voters in 2008, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Most people know that President Obama announced last May, for the first time, “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.” But at the same time, he repeatedly said that this debate should play out at the “local” (presumably he meant “state”) level, and not be “nationalized” or “federalized.”

So is today’s decision hypocritical? Judge for yourself from the following excerpts from President Obama’s May 9 remarks:

Transcript: Robin Roberts ABC News Interview With President Obama

Obama Announced That He Now Supports Same-Sex Marriage

May 9, 2012

… I’ve been going through an evolution on this issue… . Whether it’s no longer defending the Defense Against Marriage Act, which— tried to federalize— what [has] historically been state law.

 . . .

At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that— for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that— I think same-sex couples should be able to get married. Now— I have to tell you that part of my hesitation on this has also been I didn’t want to nationalize the issue. There’s a tendency when I weigh in to think suddenly it becomes political and it becomes polarized.

And what you’re seeing is, I think, states working through this issue— in fits and starts, all across the country. Different communities are arriving at different conclusions, at different times. And I think that’s a healthy process and a healthy debate. And I continue to believe that this is an issue that is gonna be worked out at the local level, because historically, this has not been a federal issue, what’s recognized as a marriage.

 . . .

 … [W]hat I’m saying is is that different states are coming to different conclusions. But this debate is taking place— at a local level. And I think the whole country is evolving and changing. And— you know, one of the things that I’d like to see is— that a conversation continue in a respectful way.

I think it’s important to recognize that— folks— who— feel very strongly that marriage should be defined narrowly as— between a man and a woman— many of them are not coming at it from a mean-spirited perspective. They’re coming at it because they care about families.

 . . .

ROBIN ROBERTS: I— I know you were saying— and are saying about it being on the local level and the state level. But as president of theUnited Statesand this is a game changer for many people, to hear the president of theUnited Statesfor the first time say that personally he has no objection to same-sex marriage. Are there some actions that you can take as president? Can you ask your Justice Department to join in the litigation in fighting states that are banning same-sex marriage?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I— you know, my Justice Department has already— said that it is not gonna defend— the Defense Against Marriage Act. That we consider that a violation of equal protection clause. And I agree with them on that. You know? I helped to prompt that— that move on the part of the Justice Department.

Part of the reason that I thought it was important— to speak to this issue was the fact that— you know, I’ve got an opponent on— on the other side in the upcoming presidential election, who wants to— re-federalize the issue and— institute a constitutional amendment— that would prohibit gay marriage. And, you know, I think it is a mistake to— try to make what has traditionally been a state issue into a national issue.

I think that— you know, the winds of change are happening. They’re not blowin’— with the same force in every state… .

 . . .

I want to emphasize— that— I’ve got a lot of friends— on the other side of this issue. You know, I’m sure they’ll be callin’ me up and— and I respect them. And I understand their perspective, in part, because— their impulse is the right one. Which is they want to— they want to preserve and strengthen families.

And I think they’re concerned about— won’t you see families breaking down… .

 . . .

I’m not gonna be spending most of my time talking about this, because frankly— my job as president right now, my biggest priority is to make sure that— we’re growing the economy, that we’re puttin’ people back to work, that we’re managing the draw down in Afghanistan, effectively. Those are the things that— I’m gonna focus on… .

A Meditation on the State of the Union and Having It All

by Rob Schwarzwalder

February 13, 2013

President Obama wants nearly 30 new government programs, but says they won’t cost anything. He wants to encumber businesses of all sizes with an unworkable health care plan whose thousands of pages are only now beginning to be fully understood, but says he wants to reduce health care costs. He calls for creating a stronger, more vibrant middle class, but wants to put four year-olds in pre-school. He calls for fatherhood as a moral imperative, but wants to redefine marriage. He applauds America for being a land of laws and justice, but his Cabinet officers ignore multiple Freedom of Information Act requests from around the nation.

I guess I’m kind of like the President. I’d like to eat prime rib and ice cream several times a day without gaining weight. I’d like to climb all of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks without cracking a sweat. I’d like to win an Olympic gold medal without having to train. And why doesn’t someone just give me a Ph.D. without my having to study or write dissertation? After all, I want it.

Mr. Obama lives in a twilight world of utopian dreams and impractical policies. His goals, his means, and his ideas are about as compatible as Mike Tyson and Tiny Tim.

Politics, like life, is about choices, often hard ones. Mr. Obama’s self-contradictory policy proposals collapse under the weight of incoherence. Our nation loses as a result.

On Being Taxed For Just Standing There: The Roberts Opinion on the Obama Health Care Law

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 28, 2012

Historian John Steele Gordon makes a compelling point about todays Supreme Court ruling in the Obama health care case:

Never before, that I know of, has a federal tax been placed on inactivity. If you buy something, you pay a sales tax. If you earn income, you pay an income tax. If you do business as a corporation, you pay an excise tax. Now, if you dont buy health insurance, you pay a tax on not doing so. What else then can be taxed? Not exercising? Not eating broccoli? Not agreeing with the president?

This seems a proper interpretation of what Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the decision itself. Consider some of his opinions most compelling paragraphs:

… the mandate is not a legal command to buy insurance. Rather, it makes going without insurance just another thing the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income. And if the mandate is in effect just a tax hike on certain taxpayers who do not have health insurance, it may be within Congresss constitutional power to tax.

The Affordable Care Acts requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.

… it is reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance. Such legislation is within Congresss power to tax.

Where does Roberts find the linchpin of his argument that the mandate is simply a constitutionally justified form of taxation? He explains:

Under the mandate, if an individual does not maintain health insurance, the only consequence is that he must make an additional payment to the IRS when he pays his taxes … That, according to the Government, means the mandate can be regarded as establishing a conditionnot owning health insurancethat triggers a taxthe required payment to the IRS. Under that theory, the mandate is not a legal command to buy insurance. Rather, it makes going without insurance just another thing the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income. And if the mandate is in effect just a tax hike on certain taxpayers who do not have health insurance, it may be within Congresss constitutional power to tax.

Sure, redefine the meaning of terms like mandate and tax, and the phrase under that theory becomes like the accelerator on a juggernaut. The only consequence a phrase so pregnant and looming its sort of like the old line, Other than that, how did you enjoy the play, Mrs. Lincoln? Accepting that only consequence is like saying we should welcome incoming nuclear ordnance. It just makes a big noise, right?

In summary, heres how Mr. Roberts logic seems to operate:

(1) The mandate is, in fact, a tax.

(2) It is a tax on something people choose not to do, as noted by Gordon above.

(3) Congress has the constitutional authority to tax people at least those whose income Congress decides is adequately high - for something they elect not to do.

This is a phenomenal moment in constitutional interpretation: Now Congress has the power to tax a specific kind of volitional inactivity. This is amazing coming from a self-professed originalist like Mr. Roberts.

Those who believe the Constitution actually means what it says know that the taxing power of Congress extends only to those things (the Enumerated Powers) over which the legislative branch of the federal government has authority. How does something people decide not to do conceivably find its way into the Constitutions limited and specific list of federal duties?

As Gordon observes, the extension of this argument is both unlimited and frightening. If I choose not to exercise, will Congress force me to pay higher taxes because Im not doing enough to sustain my health? If I dont fly in airplanes, will I be taxed for failing to do my part for the American aeronautical industry? If I dont wear brightly-colored shirts, will I be taxed because I am insufficiently supportive of the U.S. vegetable dye industry?

However absurd such scenarios might now seem, their plausibility is strengthened by a Court that has decided that Congress possesses the constitutional authority to tax choices that involve conscientious disengagement from a particular form of conduct.

Abraham Lincoln once noted that we cannot escape history. Indeed. And when the history of this court and of our time generally is written, the new federal power - delivered with a whats the big deal? tone in the Chief Justices opinion - will be an inescapable chapter in the story of libertys diminution.

Thoughts on the President’s Easter Remarks

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 4, 2012

As he did last year, President Obama offered some moving remarks about the meaning of Easter to a group of pastors this morning at the White House. Among his most noteworthy comments:

Its only because He endured unimaginable pain that wracked His body and bore the sins of the world that He burdened — that burdened His soul that we are able to proclaim, He is Risen! So the struggle to fathom that unfathomable sacrifice makes Easter all the more meaningful to all of us. It helps us to provide an eternal perspective to whatever temporal challenges we face.

Well, amen. Good words. Although contra Mr. Obama in another section of the speech, Jesus did not “know doubt.” He knew the unutterable pain that would be His, but anticipation of suffering and doubt as to its purpose are two different things.

But not to nitpick: it is encouraging when an American President refers to “the sacrifice of a risen savior who died so that we might live.” Yet lost, sadly, in his affirmation of the reality of an atoning death and justifying resurrection is the potency it would have were Mr. Obama to ally himself to what Paul the Apostle called “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). This includes the belief that the unborn child in Elizabeth’s womb leapt with recognition of his cousin Jesus (Luke 1:41), that the risen Savior was conceived in a virgin’s womb, that the kind of marriage ordained by God in Genesis 2 and affirmed by Jesus at Cana (John 2) exists only between a man and a woman, that honoring religious convictions means not coercing those who hold them into violating their consciences.

The President need not be a theologian, but his encouraging profession of trust in Christ is dampened by his unwillingness to apply the implications of that relationship to his public policies. Now, three years on, doing so should not be above his paygrade - or beyond the reach of his faith.

World Aids Day: A message of hope and behavioral change

by Jessica Prol

December 1, 2011

Its World Aids Daya time to unite in the fight against HIV and commemorate those who have died of the disease.

Political parties will vehemently disagree on the precise tactics and funding levels required to address this horrific disease. But in a refreshingly bipartisan event this morning, President Barack Obama made the following comment:

As we go forward, we need to keep refining our strategy so that we’re saving as many lives as possible. We need to listen when the scientific community focuses on prevention.

My good friend Suzanne Taylor just released a film that tells the moving story of the treacherous AIDS epidemic in the African country of Botswana. The Road We Know documents what a small group of college students are doing to encourage prevention.

In Botswana, 1 in 4 people adults has HIV/AIDS. But while the government has done everything the Western world has encouragedlike handing out condoms and offering free testingthe formula has clearly failed.

Desperate for a solution, the government invited a small group of college students to help save their generation with a message of hope and behavior change.

In the films trailer, the student leaders share an upbeat message across the country—a message that sex is good and that abstinence isnt only possible, its life-saving. As President George W. Bush remarked in his 2004 State of the Union Address, Abstinence … is the only certain way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.

In a 2010 report, UNAIDS could point to a 25 percent drop or more in new infections for young adults ages 15 to 24 in 15 of the most infected nations—primarily due to sexual behavior change. This confirmed that story documented in Botswana was not an isolated trend.

Now thats a message of hope and change. The kind we should all believe in.

To watch the film or host a screening, visit www.theroadweknow.com.

To connect with Evangelical or Catholic AIDS ministries, check out FRCs Real Compassion website at www.realcompassion.org.

The Mall Mauled

by Robert Morrison

July 8, 2011

The National Mall in Washington is our nations showplace. Its intended to be that centerpiece that we share with millions of our fellow Americans who flock to the capital each year, as well as with tens of thousands of foreign tourists who are drawn to see this Great Republic. I had the honor of taking two young New Zealanders on a trek around the Mall earlier this week. I always enjoy sharing our great monuments with friends new and old. Dr. Sam Bloore and his wife, Julia, were my guests.

I was, frankly, embarrassed by the mess on the Mall. Not just the trash left over, but the torn-up, boarded-up, barricaded mess that theyve made of this great public space.

Everywhere there are Jersey walls, chain-link fences, ugly signs, plastic orange cones.

Is it the fault of this administration? Frankly, yes, it is. I know, I know. People will say that President Obama is hard-pressed. Hes busy driving the unemployment from 9.1% to 9.2%. Hes got three wars where hes trying to lead from behind [their phrase]. Hes heavily engaged in evolving on marriage. Apparently, a 41% out-of-wedlock birthrate is not high enough to produce enough low-income voters who will share the wealth around, so hes working hard to repeal welfare reform and make marriage a total irrelevance.

Cant you conservatives give the poor man a break? Arent you being too partisan?

Not really. It was Democrat Harry Truman, after all, who kept a sign on his desk in the Oval Office: The Buck Stops Here. After 800 days of this administration, however, it is the President of China who keeps a sign on his desk: Your Bucks Stop Here.

When President Reagan took office, the economy was in shambles, too. Fifty-two Americans had been held for 444 days, released only on the day he took the oath. The Soviets were running amok in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Reagan delivered his Inaugural Address from the West Portico of the Capitol, looking out over the magnificent Mall. It was clear and clean, as stern as those days were.

Ronald Reagan made a point of sprucing up our national parks, restoring our sense of civic pride in being Americans. He never bowed to foreign despots. Jimmy Carter had ordered our military not to wear their uniforms in the nations capital. Ronald Reagan required them. The Statue of Liberty was completely refurbished on Reagans watch. He was proud to preside in 1986 over the re-lighting of the torch held high by the Lady in the Harbor.

Once you get past the Jersey walls, there is still a lot to appreciate on the Mall. At the World War II Memorial, Julia Bloore shared with me stories of her grandfathers. One, a Hollander, had to endure Nazi occupation. The other, one of New Zealands always brave solders, became a prisoner of war of the Germans. The experience broke his health. I told these young friends about my dad, how he survived being torpedoed by a German U-boat. These family experiencesthese tributes to our fathersbring us together.

The World War II Memorial has a somber but beautiful display of 4,300 bronze stars arrayed above a reflecting pool. There, my Kiwi friends delicately asked me why it was the United States had waited so longuntil December 7, 1941to enter the Second World War. New Zealand, like Australia, Canada, and South Africa, had declared war on Germany when Britain did, in September, 1939.

I pointed out those stars. Each one represents one hundred American fighting men who laid down their lives in the war. That is mute testimony to why Americans hate war and why we honor those who sacrifice so much for our freedom. Today, hundreds of World War II veterans come to the WWII Memorial, many of them moved to tears. There were twelve million of them then. They are passing on to the last muster at the rate of thousands each day.

At the Jefferson Memorial, we took time actually to read the words engraved on the wall God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.

The full quote goes on: gave us liberty at the same time. Jefferson did not think it was above his pay grade when life and liberty are endowed. Maybe thats why President Obama keeps saying we are all born equal with inalienable rights, but never mentions Who it is who endows us with those rights. Jefferson had no trouble acknowledging the divine Author of our liberties.

You can get to the Lincoln Memorial from the Jefferson only with difficulty. But its worth the effort. I read the familiar words carved into the stone wall with new solemnity this year: Our Fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation… Will the assault on marriage, the merciless attack on the very notion of fatherhood, make this sentence from the Gettysburg Address incomprehensible to future generations?

The Washington Monument should be first in any tour of the Mall. It was for us. We could not go up to the 555-foot summit. You had to wait until 8 pm for a ticket to ride.

Thats an encouraging note. Washington still commands our respect. I pointed out an aluminum pyramid that tops the Washington Monument. On its East front is engraved Laus Deo. Praise the Lord!

By law, no building in the capital can be as tall as the Washington Monument. That means that the first rays of each mornings sun strike the words Praise the Lord.

I told the New Zealanders about Christopher Hitchens. Hes the British Marxist who became a naturalized American citizen. Ann Coulter points out that liberals loved Hitch when he wrote a book attacking Mother Teresa, hated him when he wrote a book attacking Bill Clinton. But now, all is forgiven. Hitch wrote a book attacking God.

Standing beneath the Washington Monument, you know this is the wrong country to come to if you want a career as an atheizer. A days tour of the monuments reinforces your belief that this country has been blessed by God, and has sought His protection from the beginning. Laus Deo!

President Obama’s State of the Union Address Leaves the Family Behind

by JP Duffy

January 26, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 26, 2011

CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Darin Miller, (866) FRC-NEWS or (866)-372-6397

Washington, D.C.- Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement in response to President Obama’s second State of the Union Address:

Tonight President Obama recognized the important role of parents in the educational achievement of their children. President Obama himself has set an example as a father and husband. However, the agenda he has pursued and articulated tonight does not strengthen the kind of family children need: one with a Mom and Dad.

The intact married family is the core strength of the United States, and public policy should encourage formation of such families. Social science clearly demonstrates that children do best when raised by their own mother and father who are committed to one another in a lifelong marriage, and that adults also thrive when in such a marriage. Sadly, only 45 percent of American children grow up in an intact family.

Broken homes often result in such social ills as crime, a higher school dropout rate, and drug abuse, themselves leading to enormous costs for state, local and our federal governments. Cutting government spending is imperative, but policies that foster healthy families are even more important - and, interestingly, there is no question that intact families are the most economically productive.

Unfortunately, many of the Administration’s policies have undermined strong families by affirming sexual behavior that is unhealthy and destructive to individuals, families , the military, and society.

Tonight President Obama appropriately paid tribute to the victims of the Tucson shooting. However, he did not mention the recent indictment of abortionist Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia for the murder of a mother and seven live-born infants. The Philadelphia tragedy serves as a ghastly reminder of the moral toll abortion has taken on America’s sense of justice. U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), in his official Republican response, deserves praise for reminding the President it is the role of the government ‘to protect innocent life,’ not to encourage the taking of it.

The President’s policies that promote abortion also undermine family formation. Abortion does this by contributing to infant mortality, victimizing women, and encouraging the abdication of responsibility by men. He is even opposed to commonsense parental notification laws. These laws reaffirm the unique role that a mother and father have in the life of a child.

Regrettably, Mr. Obama’s health care law allows our hard earned dollars to pay for abortion coverage. The American people should not be forced to pay for abortion, which is why it’s necessary for this Congress to pass the ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act’ and restore neutrality on government funding of abortion,” concluded Perkins.

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So, Whats Wrong with Dude?

by Robert Morrison

November 3, 2010

So whats wrong with the President of the United States letting his hair down, going on TV to mix it up with the coven on The View and get called Dude by comic Jon Stewart? Isnt that just another way of stripping the Oval Office of its aura. Isnt that just another way of showing youre not stuck up?

Before we had Presidents Day, and gave equal billing to Jimmy Carter and James Buchanan, we had Washingtons Birthday and Lincolns Birthday. Little children in grade school would cut out hatchets to remember the boy George Washington and the legend of the cherry tree. For Abraham Lincoln, a tall, black stove pipe hat would be our introduction to the tallest of our Presidents.

A new book, a best-seller by James Swanson, tells the story of the death pageant for President Lincoln as his body was taken back to Springfield, Illinois, following his assassination on April 14, 1865. More than a million Americans lined the tracks and brushed quickly past the open casket to pay their last respects to the man they called Father Abraham. It was an unprecedented outpouring of grief. Author James Swansons Bloody Crimes contrasts the Lincoln funeral train with the hunt for Confederate president Jefferson Davis.

One of the things we learn from Swansons wonderful book is that the funeral train was a tribute not only to Abraham Lincoln, but also to his people, all of his people, and to all the blood that had been shed to preserve the Constitution he called the last best hope of earth.

Swanson includes a remarkable account from journalist George Alfred Townsend. Townsend had been permitted to enter the dead Presidents office as his effects were being packed up, a month after he was shot.

I am sitting in the Presidents Office. He was here very lately, but he will not return to dispossess me of this high-backed chair he filled so long, nor resume his daily work at the table where I am writing.

A bright-faced boy runs in and out, darkly attired, so that his fob-chain of gold is the only relief to his mourning garb. This is little Tad, the pet of the White House…He will live to be a man pointed out everywhere, for his fathers sake, and as folks look at him, the tableau of the murder will seem to encircle him…

They are taking Mr. Lincolns private effects, to deposit them wherever his family may abide, and the emptiness of the place, on this sunny Sunday, revives that feeling of desolation from which the land has scarce recovered. I rise from my seat and examine the maps…[they] exhibit all the contested grounds of the war; there are pencil lines upon them where some one has traced the route of armies…was it the dead President?

Jim Swanson describes the passage of the great funeral train along a 1,625-mile route that re-traced Lincolns Inaugural journey of 1861. It was an unspooling of a ribbon of fire across this broad land as people from all walks of life came to offer their prayers, their flowers, their salutes.

Another Townsend, General Edward D. Townsend, has charge of the funeral train. It is his duty to make sure the remains of the dead Emancipator suffer no indignity along the route.

In Baltimore, for example, there is some fear that Lincoln haters might try to break through the cordon of guards and spit on the corpse. Nothing like that happens. In fact, Baltimores nobility shines through her tears. Black and white Baltimoreans gather to show their deep affection for the slain leader. They shuffle quietly past the catafalque in what may have been the Souths first great integrated event.

Gen. Townsend performs his function with great honor. But he is nearly dismissed when a wrathful Sec. of War, Edwin M. Stanton, learns that Townsend has permitted a photographer in New York City to make an image of Lincoln in his casket.

Stanton had wept, but then had taken brisk command during that terrible night of April 14-15, when fear ruled the nations capital and it seemed an assassin lurked behind every lamppost. Now, he belongs to the Ages, Stanton said as Lincoln breathed his last.

Stanton could not imagine anyone being allowed to hawk ghoulish souvenirs of the Presidents face frozen in death. He need not have worried, the photograph is distant, ever so respectful, and gives us the only image we have of Lincoln in repose. Its a national treasure.

Lincoln would have been the last one to stand on his own dignity. He was an awkward man whose rumpled clothing and giant boots gave no hint of elegance. When a visitor once expressed his surprise that the President was blacking his own boots, Lincoln disarmed him: Whose boots should I black?

His dignity came from his own soul, his integrity, his great mission. It was Lincoln who said right makes might. It was Lincoln who appealed to the better angels of our nature.

Not every President can be a Lincoln. We can thank God we have not had another Civil War to tear us apart. But even during the Civil War, Lincoln did not refer to the people of the South as his enemy. Yet, that is how President Obama refers to his domestic political opponents in an appearance on Univision.

When you allow the Presidency to be degraded, Mr. President, when you willingly lower the dignity of the high office to which we have raised you, you degrade us all.

Every President who comes into office has to look to Washington and Lincoln as models. All the great ones did.

Nobody looks to Andrew Johnson for a guide. President Johnson took a train trip out of Washington for a swing around the circle in the 1866 mid-term elections. He harangued drunken crowds from the back of the train. He called for his political foes in Congress to be hanged. His performance was so rancid that Gen. Grant left the Presidential train in disgust. Johnson suffered a landslide vote against him and his policies in those congressional elections.

President Obama came to Washington invoking Lincoln. Its not too late for him to return to that high road.

Escaping History Not an Option

by Rob Schwarzwalder

September 1, 2010

On the credenza behind his Oval Office desk, President Obama has placed a bust of Abraham Lincoln.

This is admirable, in that Lincoln represents the very definition of American greatness. Perhaps, though, Mr. Obama might take some time to ponder something the 16th President wrote in an 1862 message to Congress: We cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this Administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us.

That was true during the Civil War, and it remains true today, which is why the image Mr. Obama used last night that we have now turned a page in Iraq is unsettling.

In the sense that our combat operations have been completed, he is right. And as the President said, our Armed Forces have fought with valor and tenacity, and deserve the gratitude and honor of a proud and thankful nation.

However, it is noteworthy that President Obama opposed the war in Iraq from its inception and, as a Senator, voted against the surge that enabled American forces to quell the rising militancy of Iraqs Islamist terrorists.

This should be said, not to encourage contempt for the Commander in Chief but because it calls into question his strategic judgment. No one is right all the time, and Mr. Obamas placement of a major new combat force in Afghanistan under General Petraeus was a brave choice, one opposed by the Presidents left-wing base.

It is when his judgment is driven by his statist impulses that our eyebrows should raise. Mine did when, last night, Mr. Obama called upon America to tackle (our) challenges at home with as much energy, and grit, and sense of common purpose as our men and women in uniform who have served abroad.

This calling is wholly unrealistic domestic needs never animate national will with the same intensity as does a military crisis. Part of the reason is that we presume prosperity; for most Americans, its always just around the corner, and thus fighting for energy independence, as Mr. Obama called for last evening, will never produce a martial spirit.

Another reason is that a military adversary is tangible and visible. Our enemies have faces. Things like deflation, unemployment, energy production, and technological innovation do not. They are concepts, not targets.

No national calling can ever be created similar to that inspired by immediate and serious threats to our survival as a people threats like al-Qaeda and Nazism.

As troubling, if not more, was the Presidents inference that we can now afford the luxury of turning inward, as if the cessation of American combat operations in Iraq means we can shift our gaze more exclusively to our own economic needs.

Mr. Obamas penchant is to transform America, as he said repeatedly during his presidential campaign. Mr. Obama and his colleagues on the Left view the national landscape as a gigantic machine with which they can tinker and to which they can make whatever improvements they wish in some sort of domestic bubble. Make the World Go Away is, for them, less an Elvis Pressley anthem than a political demand.

Mr. Obama is bright and sophisticated. He is mindful of the realities of a grim world. Still, he seems dragged into global leadership with a grudging sense of duty, not a mature understanding that to be the American President is to lead freedoms march, not merely walk with it. He must remember, as Lincoln did, that we cannot escape history.

Another young President understood this well. Much has been given us, and much will rightfully be expected from us. We have duties to others and duties to ourselves; and we can shirk neither. We have become a great nation, forced by the fact of its greatness into relations with the other nations of the earth, and we must behave as beseems a people with such responsibilities.

Theodore Roosevelt saw international leadership not as a burden to be born but an opportunity to be greeted with resolve and optimism. May Barack Obama learn from his example.

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