Charles Krauthammer looks into the New Foundation presented on Tuesday by Barack Obama in his Georgetown speech. Invoking the metaphor employed by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, Obama proclaimed his big government domestic programs a “new foundation” of rock to replace the old one built on sand. Krauthammer cruelly notes:
Obama is not the first to try this slogan. President Carter peppered his 1979 State of the Union address with five “New Foundations” (and eight more just naked “foundations”). Like most of Carter’s endeavors, this one failed, perhaps because (as I recall it being said at the time) it sounded like the introduction of a new kind of undergarment.
Carter’s 1979 State of the Union is accessible here. Carter didn’t have the gall to dress his “new foundations” in scriptural authority. Krauthammer ignores Obama’s explicit derivation of the “new foundation” metaphor from the Sermon on the Mount, although he judges that Obama’s “new foundation” to be built on sand. He finds Obama a false prophet.
Georgetown is of course run by the Jesuit order. Obama’s citation of the Sermon on the Mount must have been calculated in part to appeal to his audience at Georgetown. CNSNews provided an interesting footnote on Obama’s speech. Yesterday it reported that, at the request of the White Hosue, Georgetown covered over the monogram “IHS” (referring to Jesus) that is inscribed on a pediment on the stage where Obama spoke.
According to CNSNews, the White House asked Georgetown to cover up all signs and symbols behind the Gaston Hall stage. Why would the White House ask? Why would a Catholic school accede? Is it written somewhere that before Obama crows three times, Georgetown will deny Jesus?
CNSNews followed up with two more stories yestereday. In the first follow-up, it reported that that covering over of the monogram “IHS” inscribed on a pediment at the back of the stage was the unintended consequence of the White House’s desire to have a backdrop of flags behind the president. The story includes a full set of photos allowing the reader to judge the explanation. The CNSNews story also reports the statement issued by the White House in response to inquiries:
The President appreciated the gracious hosts at Georgetown University where he delivered his speech on the state of the economy. Decisions made about the backdrop for the speech were made to have a consistent background of American flags, which is standard for many presidential events. Any suggestions to the contrary are simply false.
CNSNews addresses this assertion in the second of its two follow-up stories. As First Lady, Laura Bush spoke at Georgetown University in front of the same “IHS” monogram that Georgetown covered up when President Barack Obama spoke there on Tuesday. The official photo of the event was posted here by NRO editor Kathryn Lopez on NRO’s Corner.