President Obama held a campaign style event before the assembled multitude in the White House late yesterday morning. Obama spoke for 33 minutes. I am posting the complete video below. The White House has posted the text of Obama’s remarks here. Chris Cillizza treats Obama’s remarks like the Gettysburg Address and annotates the text here.
Obama referred to himself one way or another some 76 times in the course of his 33-minute speech. (Cillizza overlooked this aspect of Obama’s remarks.) In his remarks Obama opposed “gun violence.” He proposed and announced “common-sense gun safety reform.”
Recalling the victims of the Newtown massacre three years ago, Obama let his tears flow. These are “the tears of a clown” (even if they were part of the show rather than “when no one’s around”). The Newtown massacre occurred three years ago. Obama’s emotional display provided a stunning contrast to his neurasthenic speech from the Oval Office in the immediate aftermath of the San Bernardino massacre when his foremost concern was announcing that “ISIL does not speak for Islam.” (I posted the video and filed my comments under “Annals of inanity.”)
For helpful background on the issues that Obama’s remarks obscure, see Brian Doherty’s essay “You know less than you think about guns.” John Hinderaker explores the executive actions Obama announced yesterday here. At NR John Lott pronounces them dictatorial and unworkable.
Apart from the tears, Obama’s remarks were utterly standard for him. I would translate them as follows.
How great I am. How good I am. How much I know. Modest changes in the law would do great good. Yet evil forces are arrayed against me. They hold Congress in its thrall. Congress itself is driven by narrow political considerations. Not I. I am impelled by the true vision of the good that has been vouchsafed unto me.
I stand like a colossus above the fray.
Those who oppose me are evil. “The gun lobby” — they are not American citizens exercising their rights to free speech (or “peaceful assembly,” like the Aurora victims Obama cited) — “the gun lobby” in particular is evil.
Me, I am great and good. But I repeat myself.
Do I have a single proposal that would prevent any of the massacres that were the supposed occasion of his remarks? The answer is “no,” but that isn’t the question. Those who say otherwise? They’re evil. But I repeat myself.
I am great. I am good. I care about the people. I care about the victims of “gun violence.” My opponents do not. They are small men. They are not good men. I repeat myself. When I repeat myself, however, repetition is warranted.
Quotable quote: “Now, I want to be absolutely clear at the start. I have said this over and over again — this also becomes routine. There is a ritual about this whole thing that I have to do. I believe in the Second Amendment. It is there, written on the paper. It guarantees a right to bear arms. No matter how many times people try to twist my words around — I taught constitutional law, I know a little bit about this — I get it.”