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RUSH: And from Der Spiegel, an opinion piece by Gabor Steingart. ‘Searching in Vain for the Obama Magic — Never before has a speech by President Barack Obama felt as false as his Tuesday address announcing America’s new strategy for Afghanistan. It seemed like a campaign speech combined with Bush rhetoric — and left both dreamers and realists feeling distraught. One can hardly blame the West Point leadership. The academy commanders did their best to ensure that Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama’s speech would be well-received. Just minutes before the president took the stage inside Eisenhower Hall, the gathered cadets were asked to respond ‘enthusiastically’ to the speech. But it didn’t help: The soldiers’ reception was cool. One didn’t have to be a cadet on Tuesday to feel a bit of nausea upon hearing Obama’s speech.

‘It was the least truthful address that he has ever held. He spoke of responsibility, but almost every sentence smelled of party tactics.’ What this guy is saying is that we got an Alinsky speech last night. We got a community organizer speech last night. Obama ‘demanded sacrifice, but he was unable to say what it was for exactly. An additional 30,000 US soldiers are to march into Afghanistan — and then they will march right back out again. America is going to war — and from there it will continue ahead to peace. It was the speech of a Nobel War Prize laureate. … For each troop movement, Obama had a number to match. US strength in Afghanistan will be tripled relative to the Bush years, a fact that is sure to impress hawks in America. But just 18 months later, just in time for Obama’s re-election campaign, the horror of war is to end and the draw down will begin.

‘The doves of peace will be let free. The speech continued in that vein. It was as though Obama had taken one of his old campaign speeches and merged it with a text from the library of ex-President George W. Bush. Extremists kill in the name of Islam, he said, before adding that it is one of the ‘world’s great religions.” They have a point! ‘He promised that responsibility for the country’s security would soon be transferred to the government of President Hamid Karzai — a government which he said was ‘corrupt.’ The Taliban is dangerous and growing stronger. But ‘America will have to show our strength in the way that we end wars,’ he added.’ He said that! We ‘will have to show our strength in the way that we end wars.’ He also opened an avenue to negotiation with the Taliban if they wanted to join us.

‘It was a dizzying combination of surge and withdrawal, of marching to and fro. The fast pace was reminiscent of plays about the French revolution: Troops enter from the right to loud cannon fire and then they exit to the left. And at the end, the dead are left on stage. Obama’s Magic No Longer Works. But in this case, the public was more disturbed than entertained. Indeed, one could see the phenomenon in a number of places in recent weeks: Obama’s magic no longer works. The allure of his words has grown weaker. It is not he himself who has changed, but rather the benchmark used to evaluate him. For a president, the unit of measurement is real life. A leader is seen by citizens through the prism of their lives — their job, their household budget, where they live and suffer.

‘And, in the case of the war on terror, where they sometimes die. Political dreams and yearnings for the future belong elsewhere. That was where the political charmer Obama was able to successfully capture the imaginations of millions of voters. It is a place where campaigners — particularly those with a talent for oration — are fond of taking refuge. It is also where Obama set up his campaign headquarters, in an enormous tent called ‘Hope.’ In his speech on America’s new Afghanistan strategy, Obama tried to speak to both places. It was two speeches in one. That is why it felt so false. Both dreamers and realists were left feeling distraught. The American president doesn’t need any opponents at the moment. He’s already got himself.’ That is Gabor Steingart from Der Spiegel.

Let us now go to the audio sound bites for reaction from State-Controlled Media. First, Chris Matthews last night on MSNBC’s coverage, said this.

MATTHEWS: I watched those cadets, and I didn’t see much excitement, but among the older people there, I saw — if not resentment — skepticism. I didn’t see a lot of warmth in that crowd out there, uh, the — the president chose to address tonight. And I thought that was interesting. He went to maybe the enemy camp tonight to make his case. I mean that was — that’s where Paul Wolfowitz used to write speeches for —

MAN: Mmm!

MATTHEWS: — back in the old Bush days. That’s where he went to rabble-rouse the we’re-going-to-democratize-the-world, uh, campaign back, uh, in — in ’02. Uh, so I — I thought it was a strange venue.

RUSH: Well, I thought it was a strange venue, too. This is a speech that should have come from the Oval Office. It was a strange venue. But here you have it, folks. From the mouth of babes comes the truth. Here’s Chris Matthews: West Point is ‘the enemy camp.’ Enemy camp! ‘Paul Wolfowitz worked there! Wolfowitz! Why, Paul Wolfowitz wrote his rah-rah speeches there, his democratize-the-world speeches. I thought it was a strange venue. Why go into the enemy camp?’ The enemy camp! (interruption) Yes, Mr. Snerdley, what is the…? Well, yeah, ‘democratizing the world’ is a Democrat of crap to these people. Look, Howard Dean’s out there saying, ‘Democracy, hell with that. Let’s have socialism.’ The enemy camp. Strange venue. For the commander-in-chief to go to the United States Military Academy to tell the cadets and the brass there about a plan to uptick the war in Afghanistan, is ‘a strange venue.’ As they acquire more power, they get more hateful. As they acquire more power, they become more honest.


RUSH: If this Gabor Steingart guy from Der Spiegel is right, just by itself it’s kind of interesting that the commandant of cadets would have to go out there and tell the cadets, ‘Now, make sure that you robustly applause the president when he comes out here.’ If you gotta tell the cadets to do that then there’s an underlying problem.


RUSH: To the phones, Sandy in Peach Tree City, Georgia. Welcome to the EIB Network.

CALLER: Hey, Rush. How are you doing today?

RUSH: Very well, thank you.

CALLER: I’m just calling to say I have an enemy combatant at the US Military Academy, and I’ve got a YUK there, and it’s sort of funny, I haven’t heard from him yet for the talk last night. He must have had classes. But when he was home over Thanksgiving we were teasing him about how he was going to be able to see Obama, his second president since he’s been at the academy, and he just said that the cadets — he wasn’t looking forward to it, the only thing he was looking forward to was that he might get out of class but he said when Bush came last January they couldn’t contain the excitement that Bush had a prolonged standing ovation, that they whooped and hollered for him, and that the cadets were just so excited, and when I was watching it last night, I just noticed a lot of polite applause and I almost wonder if they were cued on when to applause because if you noticed it started with a trickle of applause that grew in strength, and I sort of find it funny, too, that they were falling asleep. For anybody to come in and change their routine is exciting for these cadets and to have a lot of them with their eyes closed I thought that was sort of funny.

RUSH: Well, it obviously screwed with their routine, but it didn’t get them out of class. I don’t think they were in class at eight o’clock at night. They might —

CALLER: No, they were hoping. My husband said he was probably disappointed because he had to go to class all day.

RUSH: Speech was not about him.


RUSH: Not about them, it was about him. Look, I remember the rousing reaction President Bush got. Military people know who’s in their camp. Military people know who is in their corner. They know who’s not. But look, Gabor Steingart, Der Spiegel, says in his piece today that the commandant had to remind the cadets to greet the president warmly. Now, I tell you, if you have to tell the troops to be nice to the president, I mean, you connect the dots on that.


RUSH: Just got this e-mail. ‘Rush: I watched the raw feed last night at FoxNews.com so I could look for my two cadet sons in the audience. I was not surprised to hear the commandant tell the cadets when to act enthusiastically when appropriate and to remind them that they not act in a political manner. So the cadets were reminded to act enthusiastically. We got more West Point parents on the line holding on.

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