44th president makes 1st mistake

Watching all the pomp and circumstance of a formal hand-over o power excites the political geek in me, but one bit of circumstance irked the journalistic fact-checker in me.

In his inaugural address, President Obama said, near the beginning, “Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath.”

Yes, at the time, he had already taken the oath, to become the nation’s 44th president. But according to WhiteHouse.gov (which, impressively, was updated immediately after the oath):

President Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States. He is, however, only the 43rd person ever to serve as President; President Grover Cleveland served two nonconsecutive terms, and thus is recognized as both the 22nd and the 24th President.

Unless there’s another piece of presidential trivia I’m missing, that makes Obama the 43rd person to take the oath.

Photo courtesy of Cayusa on Flickr

Obama Goes To Black Father’s Day = Nixon Goes to China?

African American men are one of Barack Obama’s strongest constituencies. And yesterday, Father’s Day, he called them out about disproportionately high levels of asbsentee fatherhood among African American men.

This is tough stuff. This is akin to John McCain going to white seniors and lecturing them about the current structure of Social Security and Medicare threatening their grandchildren’s ability to retire in dignity. It’s like Hillary Clinton going to feminist activists and lecturing them about inadvertently fostering a culture of victimhood by occasionally overstating sexism to gain a personal advantage.

Make no mistake, Barack Obama stuck his political neck out here. Guts, or nuts?

There is a phrase used in politics, “only Nixon could have gone to China.” President Richard Nixon was able to politically survive negotiating with Chinese communists because of his staunch anti-communist street cred. Therefore, the reference “only Nixon could go to China” builds off that historical analogy to make the larger point that personal history dictates one’s relative credibility to be a messaging pioneer.

The son of an absentee black father went to an African American church yesterday in the same way Nixon went to China. Others would not have been heard in the same way. Others would have chosen the safer route with their strongest constituency, pandering rather than pushing. Others would not have survived politically.

All of us need to be pushed by our leaders. I need to hear about the need to sacrifice more in taxes to truly “support our troops,” so the fiscal pain for my generation’s wars are not pushed off onto my kids’ generation. I need to hear that my kids should be subject to military service as surely as other people’s kids, so I am not insulated from the pain and sacrifices associated with our foreign policy decisions. I need to hear that I’m not the “self-made” man I sometimes fancy myself to be, and that I need to do more to give back to the next generation in the same way past generations of taxpayer’s gave so much to me.

And I don’t hear enough of that from my leaders.

African American dads are hardly the only ones in America who need less pandering and more pushing. All leaders need to search their souls and ask themselves, “where is my ‘Nixon goes to China’ opportunity to say what really needs to be said?”

- Loveland

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Romney Shows His Heart and Soul as He Quits

Mitt Romney just gave the best speech of his campaign — dropping out. No notes, no teleprompter that I could see — just speaking from his heart.

The news clips will show you the part where he says he’s quitting. But pay attention to the middle of the speech, where he lays out the conservative issues he believes in. He gives eloquent and passionate and powerful voice to the concerns and fears many Americans have and to the conservative solutions he — and millions of others — believe will solve the problems and keep us free, safe and prosperous.

Here’s a man who’s become an automaton on the campaign trail — and how impossible it would be not to, giving the same speech stop after stop.

This time, he gave it everything he had. He clearly cares. He showed he was sad not to have won the chance to be president, not to have won the chance to put in place ideas and policies he believes would help America. I disagree with almost all of his proposed solutions, but he made me feel how much he cares about what’s happening to America.

-Bruce Benidt expense reports kind

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