I regard it as the national security equivalent of his Jeremiah Wright
speech. Why? Because it managed to reach a place apart from, while being fully
part of, the furious debates we have been having. These debates are vital, and
the notion that we can simply move on from the Bush-Cheney era without some
accounting or reform is both empirically and morally false. We are struggling
for a sustainable, long-term balance between security against a ruthless and
unprincipled and lawless enemy - and a law of war, and a judicial system and a
civilization that we rightly love and want to defend. This struggle will be a
long one, and an extremely difficult one....
This speech, to my mind, was a conservative one by a conservative
president who seeks first and foremost to use existing institutions to address
the new challenges of the moment, and then seeks pragmatic compromises, always
open to future checks and balances, in those places where such institutions
clearly need reform and adjustment. The speech does not shrink from clear
positions but it always does so from a place of reason and authority as opposed
to politics and power. It is a presidential speech - from a man who seeks to
unite and lead this country forward, rather than someone who sees fear and
division as a tool to be exploited.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Andrew Sullivan interrupts his week off to post on Obama's speech today. Bottom line: he loved it!