Chris Matthews: Obama Speech Akin To Gettysburg Address

220px-Abraham_LincolnPresObamaI have already given my view of the Inauguration Speech. However, I just read MSNBC’s Chris Matthews comparison of this unremarkable speech to the Gettysburg Address. I previously tweeted about the now formulaic approaches of Fox and MSNBC to covering the president. However, this comparison demonstrates the detachment from the actual observed news once filtered through these cable programs.

I liked the speech but I thought it was unexceptionable in both content and delivery. It was a safe speech that had a few good lines. I do not see how anyone could rank the speech as in one of the top inauguration deliveries, let alone akin to one of the greatest speech in the history of the Western World.

Within minutes of the end of the speech, Matthews said “It reminds me of another second inaugural, Lincoln’s, so much of Lincoln in that speech, from the Gettysburg Address to the second inaugural itself. He talked about the government that we want, which is infrastructure, education, regulation, all the good things, and then recognizing that government can’t solve all the problems.”

Really? I am not saying it was a bad speech but it was not a memorable speech in my view. It was predictable and largely contentless (not unlike most such speeches). I can understand liking the speech but to compare this to Gettysburg seems entirely detached from reality.

I am currently listening to MSNBC as another commentator, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., is picking up the comparison to Gettysburg and agreeing with Matthews. Listening to MSNBC sounds entirely like White House press releases. That is a problem for any journalistic organization.

80 thoughts on “Chris Matthews: Obama Speech Akin To Gettysburg Address”

  1. Actually, Chris Matthews interviewed 2 fellows who claimed to have read and reviewed former inaugural speeches. Matthews asked these guides to rate the speech in an historical context. I believe one or both was a professor, btw. Anyway, they ranked the speech as one of the best, not as good as Lincoln’s. They noted that there have been some horrific speeches in the past.

  2. For Dave;
    ‘In screwed news…Republicans in Virginia took an outrageous step Tuesday to rig the next state Senate elections. While the nation was focused on the Inauguration, Republicans passed legislation to redraw the state’s districts and increase how many of them are considered safe Republican seats. Currently, the Virginia state senate is split 20-20 between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans were only able to sneak this legislation through because one of the Democratic state senators was in Washington, DC attending the President’s inauguration – thus, giving the Republicans a one-vote advantage. …’

    [a clear example of Government FOR the People(some) BY the people(some), SCREW! the PEOPLE!!!!!!!! 😉

  3. RWL – your understanding of the American Civil War is pretty screwed up if you actually believe the propaganda that slaves fought for the South. Even a little research beyond the BS shove out by the apologists disproves that big lie.

    But believing the big lie certainly explains your appreciation of Morning Joe.

    1. Frankly,

      One of the leading historical texts on slaves fighting for the south: Black Southerners in Gray (1994) by the late Richard Rollins. You can also look up the Civil War Gazette/slaves fighting for the south; or their is another text entitled “Forgotten Confederates”, delineating the slaves participation in helping South.

      Don’t worry about Morning Joe; it is not my favorite show, but Joe is the leading, realistic republican that I can tolerate (as an independent, I can barely tolerate both parties).

      1. RWL and Frankly,

        The idea of slaves fighting for the South to me signifies little other than they were slaves. Many grew up in slavery so it seemed the natural order. Slaves, for the most part, were purposely kept ignorant of the issues raised by the abolitionists and lived under a system where they were powerless. If ordered to fight, some would fight merely because their “Master” ordered them too. This does not speak to their acceptance of slavery, nor to their hating the conditions they lived under, merely to human beings accepting what seemed to them to be the natural order of things from which they couldn’t escape.

        When we look at a analogous, yet more modernly structured situation, the Shoah in Germany the question arises why did so many Jews allow themselves to go like sheep to the slaughter? While in fact there was fierce resistance by some and escape by others before the War, the majority were tied down by family,wealth ad a lack of knowledge of the true danger awaiting them. Also the power of the State seemed such that they felt helpless to resist and believed the well crafted lies that they faced certain death. The famous sign in front of Auschwitz “Arbiter mach frei” kept up the pretense that this death camp was merely a work camp.

        Many slaves no doubt rebelled, others sought freedom via escape and we know that many wound up fighting for the Union. We must consider though the handicap that slaves faced in a country whose majority population thought them inferiors and how overwhelmingly oppressive that must have appeared to them. Even abolitionists did not generally agree that the African was the equivalent of the White man. The true history of the rebelliousness of many slaves was also repressed by the fact that shortly after the Civil War the South regained control of history’s message and ended Reconstruction. After that there was a mythological representation that romanticized the Rebels and even the evil genocide of slavery. Think of the movies depiction of Black people as sort of carefree children which was shown in silents, cartoons and epitomized by “Birth of a Nation” and “Gone With the Wind”. The former, considered a film “masterpiece”, depicted black people in the ugliest terms, yet was immensely popular and was for years held up as the “greatest” American film. GWTW showed a kindlier stereotypical version of black people as sort of “innocent children” loyally supportive of their Masters and Mistresses, who were portrayed romantically as heroic people fighting a noble, but lost cause.

  4. rafflaw:

    “Unless we get the money out of politics, it won’t matter how many parties there are.”


    Where do I sign up for your party? The older I get the more of a classicist I become:

    “The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.”
    ― Plato, The Republic

  5. Unless we get the money out of politics, it won’t matter how many parties there are.

    1. Seems the only way you can get anywhere in any party is to have the bucks so even though they are more of the same I would t hink that someone with the $$$ of a Bloomberg could do it, even though just a rearticulation of what is already there.
      Nader could never have won, I don;t think, but maybe if he had real money behind him he might have made a better showing.
      Problem also is the way they are now they seem to mostly be siphoning off votes helping the other guy to win.

  6. Mike S, I do get it, but Bloomberg and Friedman are the ones that were involved in starting a third party in 2011 but it did not go anywhere. If Santorum had been the nominee, it might have. “A third party” is too vague. What does the third party stand for? Is it just a group of former Ron Paul supporters? I am not against a third party but don’t expect a group of angry gun toting white men to attract young people, women and minorities. 🙂

  7. CORRECTION: “a third party masquerading as a populist movement when it is really just a flimsy front for the corporatist ambitions of the Koch Brothers and Dick Armey’s Freedomworks”

    That’s what I get for typing during a commercial break on “Justified” when the show comes back on.

    However . . .

    “Just saying that just because its is a third party does not mean it is not corporatist.”

    Nor does it mean that it is as a matter of certainty or necessity. That violates the Rule of Identity. A thing is what a thing is and one cannot be certain of that nature until the reality of the thing in question is interrogated by examination. But there is no avoiding that the stranglehold of corruption and corporatism isn’t going to be broken by either major party as they simply are too indentured in their servitude of their corporate masters and not paying attention to the needs and/or desires of their rightful bosses under the letter of the Constitution, We the People. Either one of the existent major parties is going to have to change in a substantive manner – which to this date they have shown zero inclination for doing – or a third alternative is going to have to enter the fray on the side of the people. It’s an inescapable logic. One outcome leads to ever increasing corporatism and decreasing rights, the other to the possibility of fundamental change which inherently brings a degree of uncertainty. If people want change, they are going to have to accept that a certain amount of both uncertainty and discomfort are going to be the price of that change. However, the status quo will never be broken without it.

  8. Just saying that just because its is a third party does not mean it is not corporatist.

  9. And the point of that statement would be what exactly, Smom? That we as a nation shouldn’t try to break the hold of the two party system simply because some third party might be as bad or worse? Pick a team and play through. Yeah. That’s been working out so well for us in fighting both the creeping rot of fascism and the steady erosion of our rights.

    The Tea Party was an attempt to build a third party masquerading as a populist movement when it is really just a flimsy from for the corporatist ambitions Koch Brothers and Dick Armey’s Freedomworks and they’ve sputtered and floundered under critical scrutiny. A prime example of astro-turfing. Both the GOP and the DNC are neck deep in corporatist corruption and the Libertarian Party’s economics aren’t just a bad idea based in a political polemic poorly disguised as economics (when it is nothing of the sort), but a corporatists wet dream as well.

    Omelets are not made from unbroken eggs. Every opportunity for change comes with risks and/or costs. This is simply the way of things.

  10. Bloomberg would like to start a third party. He is a social liberal but definitely a corporatist. Thomas Friedman is another one that would like to start a corporatist third party, and there are others underway. A third party could very well be as corporatist or even more so than the existing parties.

    1. SwM,

      Bloomberg is a billionaire whose policies as Mayor were every bit as bad as Giuliani without the bluster. Friedman is a poppmpous ass who married into a billionaire family. Any 3rd party they would form would be equivalent to what conservatives were 40 years ago. Also they both promote the bi-partisan meme which is actually a bad idea and was created to ensure the Cold War continued. I know uou get that but any time I hear either of their names my bood boils. 🙂

  11. Blouise,

    “Matthews aside … Obama is going to be a force to reckon with within the Democratic party for years to come. He and Clinton, together, will be organizing and rallying from sea to shining sea for decades to come.”

    A reasonable and accurate observation, however . . .

    “That’s reality, not Matthews-type hyperbole, and very, very bad news for republicans”

    Okay, I’m still with you, but . . .

    “and those who wish to promote a third party.”

    Which is simply bad news for everyone. If we are ever going to break the hold of corporatists and money over politics, it is becoming manifest that the only way we are going to do this is by first breaking the choke hold that the two-party system (an ultra vires construct with no protection in the Constitution) imposes on the system and is jointly responsible for our ever eroding civil liberties and human rights.

  12. “Now, Blouise, how in the *%&$ do you think that all of that is bad news for the Republicans and a force to recon with???” (Dave Mattingly)

    I rest my case.

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