Commentary Magazine


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Obama Listens to Kristol?

Rick Klein speculates that Barack Obama listened to Bill Kristol’s advice and incorporated more military references in his speech this week on public service. It would be nice if the sentiment came intuitively and not as an afterthought dragged out of him by conservative critics. Still, his excuse that he didn’t join the military because it was a voluntary force by the time he was old enough to serve seems especially lame. The point is of course that he could have chosen to serve. He need not have been defensive — he chose to pursue other avenues — but he could be more humble and honest. Voters might respect him more and scoff less if he came right out and said the physical danger and personal hardship of military service was not one that he undertook, but that is all the more reason for him to appreciate those who did. It would seem humility and gratitude are frowned upon by the Obama team. One wonders why — a healthy helping of each is sorely needed.