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Fear of leadership, fear of government

This morning on NPR, Mara Liasson wrapped up her coverage of President Obama’s health care speech by saying something like: It’s unsure whether the speech will have the effect Obama wants, but if it does, it won’t be because of its soaring rhetoric but because of the details he gave.

Are you sure, Mora? Are you sure that being inspired has no effect on political decisions? Is that why you dismissed the importance of public speech, of words, of vision? Was that a fact-based observation? Or was it perhaps because you feel you have to deny that you personally were so excited by President Obama’s speech that you felt that old thrill going up your leg, and that when he read from Ted Kennedy’s letter you teared up? Just like so many of us? Just like me? In any case, I thought it was a shame to end coverage of a beautiful, inspiring, moving speech with an explicit denial of the importance of what made it not just important, but great.

Next up on NPR’s coverage was a report on the Supreme Court deliberations about exactly how obscenely corporations can pollute our democracy — merely pornographically or the full auto-erotic asphyxiation stranglehold — in which we heard the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court casually say “Are we being asked to allow the government — Big Brother — to…” The quote is approximate, but not the apposite reference to government as Big Brother. Does Justice Roberts really think the government when it regulates behavior is necessarily totalitarian? Yikes.

9 Responses to “Fear of leadership, fear of government”

  1. I thought the speech was terrific also, but wished he had spent more time addressing some of the crazy and fabricated fear-mongering such as “the death squads.” He might have given more details about the section that people claim says that.

    The corporations should have less ability to fund or contribute to campaigns because their financial resources are so much larger than individuals’ and because they do not get their power or funds democratically.

  2. Many of the problems in our capitalist society relate to the misinterpretation and misuse of the 14th amendment, originally drafted to protect the rights (privacy, etc.,) of former slaves, to apply equally to corporations. Corporations are defined as “artificial persons” but with their size, resources, and monetary power, can certainly overwhelm the rights of many natural persons.


    I also read a book that deals with this but loaned it to someone and cannot recall the title and author. Olberman mentioned it briefly last night, the only time I’ve heard of it in the media.

  3. Moria notwithstanding:

  4. This is the book — rather pedantic but enlightening.

  5. Halfway off topic, the obligation to spell people’s names right (e.g., Mara Liasson) is unconditional.

  6. Frank, indeed. In fact, I googled a different misspelling and got the misspelling I actually used (Mora Liason). I didn’t google far enough. I’ve corrected it in the original.


  7. Frank: And so is the imperative of prissiness even about typos that are tough to correct after submitting an online comment, I see.

  8. This is why I don’t listen to NPR.

  9. Well, gee. I like Obama (despite his relentless centrism), like his program, liked Kennedy, and liked his letter, liked the use the president made of it, and thought the speech was great — but I liked the early, detail-filled part, more than the soaring rhetoric.

    I would say that’s a sign that Obama has a grounded and realistic feel for what different communities want from a speech.

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