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Speech Ideas

Politico is collecting ideas for the Inauguration Speech. They are varied and amusing.

There is this one:

I want President Obama to invoke the miracle of the jet that crashed in the Hudson River without a single life lost. I want him to use this as a metaphor for what America can be again. A place where highly-trained professionals like the pilot use their best judgment, and we can rely on the well-educated brainpower of Americans to secure our future. A country where dedicated public servants take their work seriously and are always prepared to serve. A nation where miracles can still happen because of the talents of our people and our ability to work together across divides, and under the most challenging circumstances, to make a difference.

In a word: no. The last thing we need is everyone thinking about near-death experiences, sinking, and why they never want to fly again. Should it come as a surprise that this idea came from a Harvard professor?

There is this one from Mark McKinnon:

We need a true call for sacrifice. No time for sugar coating. Everybody’s got to give. But the new boss has got to ask. Hard times demand hard choices. And President-elect Obama has to level-set expectations between what he promised during the campaign and what is now possible, realistic and pragmatic. He’ll take some heat, but easier to fade it now when he’s got the helium of historic approval ratings to keep him afloat. In short, he’ll need to give hope a haircut. President Bush has been incredibly gracious during the transition and Obama should return the gesture during his remarks by acknowledging that despite their differences, they share a core sense of decency and humanity.

Boy, that makes a whole lot of sense and would be illustrative of the bipartisan, non-ideological notes the Obama team has been sounding. I fear however that we’re not going to get a dose of undiluted realism on Tuesday.

Then there is this one from Donna Shalala:

I hope he also says something about immigration reform. It is time to get that done.

Yikes! Even if you favor comprehensive immigration reform you have to think that would be a horrid topic — too pedestrian, too divisive, and just wrong. It isn’t time for this, not for a while and not until you get everyone to stop panicking about their own jobs. Other than that, great idea.

Well, it is fairly obvious that President Obama is going to deliver a lofty, inspirational message that will have the MSNBC anchors tingling all over. And if he reminds us that government power is an imperfect instrument which should be used wisely (with the law of unintended consequences firmly in mind), offers some praise for President Bush and the progress we’ve made in winning an historic battle against Islamic terror,  acknowledges that bipartisanship means more than lip service to one’s opponents, and gives some suggestion that he is pivoting away from the unseriousness of a campaign to the serious business of making hard choices  – well then it might be a very memorable speech indeed. But please no plane crashes.


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