Tag Archives: Obama

State of the Spectacle

The State of the Union address is a constitutional requirement… Article 1; Section 3- He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient…

The speech varies from executive monotony to… rousing patriotic oratory.  Lincoln declared the Civil War had to be won to preserve the “last, best hope of earth”  and Franklin Roosevelt reminded the free world of its “Four Freedoms.” 

We cannot escape history…

Today, the speech is more spectacle than requisite… the purpose is more political than constitutional.  Bill Clinton is the modern record holder, averaging over 1 hour and 14 minutes per speech.  All but one of Barack Obama’s have been over an hour.  (Washington’s first message is acknowledged as the shortest, just over 1,000 words.)  Thomas Jefferson had all eight  of his hand delivered to Congress; Woodrow Wilson was the next President to address Congress.  The last President not to give a speech was Jimmy Carter in January of 1981.

No dozing allowed….somebody wake up Biden !


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Presidents on the Move

2016 will bring a new President, and thus, new Presidential rankings….

History is constantly evolving and changing…. so is this list.

Can't we all just get along?

Can’t we all just get along?

George W. Bush ^  :  Loathed by modern “progressives,”  any historian worth his/her salt should have suggested patience. Presidents must not be judged immediately following their terms, nor soon after elections.  Many of Bush’s policies are now being viewed as successful- see the Surge, and TARP.  Despite the vitriol still spewed by his critics, W’s historical stock is rising.

Civil Rights Rube...

Civil Rights Rube…

LBJ  v :  Recent release of Oval Office recordings revealed Lyndon Johnson at his worstModern depictions of him in films like “Selma” have also cast doubt on his civil rights legacy.  No other President has experienced this sort of roller coaster ranking,  and this year appears to be a straight drop for “Landslide Lyndon.”


Dwight Eisenhower ^ :  Soon to be memorialized on the National Mall, Ike is liked once again.  Historians are beginning to appreciate his cool demeanor and bipartisan political record The current Republican party should do some soul searching when viewing its current obsession with ideological purity.

Professor know-it-all

Professor know-it-all

Woodrow Wilson v :   The recent uproar at Princeton over the racist legacy of its most famous history professor has everyone reconsidering our view of the Progressive champion.  Proper scrutiny is now being leveled against Wilson’s policies- many of them created as a result of his distrust of the Constitution and disregard for the Declaration of Independence.

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Exit Interview Pt. 3

Assessment of Barack Obama’s Presidency… Practically Historical attempts a nonpartisan analysis of the 44th President.


The Ugly

I'm not Bush

I’m not Bush

Arab sprung: Obama’s foreign policy was rudderless, and often alienated long-time allies.  The desperate attempt to sever ties to the Bush years was praised by the international community, but offered restored hope and strategic leniency to our enemies.  Hard withdrawal deadlines, reluctance to utilize force, and a willingness to support pell-mell regime change emboldened our enemies abroad and dangerously weakened our strategic position in the world.  The Iran nuclear deal could seriously destabilize the Middle East for years to come.


Underestimating the Junior Varsity: By 2009, few could argue that Bush’s surge of 2006 had pacified Iraq.  Obama’s stubborn adherence to a strategic recommendation(troop withdrawal by 2012)  by Bush officials may have won him political points, but it sacrificed the hard won peace in the Iraqi provinces.  ISIS emerged as a legitimate threat to peace in the region and US national security.  Obama’s half-hearted military response allowed once pacified regions of Iraq to fall under ISIS control.  His refusal to acknowledge the real threat these fanatics represent has allowed their influence to spread outside the region.  Miscalculations in Syria have prevented Obama from establishing a coherent policy for battling this very real threat to our security. 

Plan needed

Plan needed

Not my signature:  Every President wants to leave a lasting mark on domestic policy.  Obama’s legislative achievement was the Affordable Care Act- actual health insurance reform.  Every Democratic President since Truman wanted to reform the industry and cover more people.   The terribly complex and confounding legislation was heavy on regulation, passed on a party-line vote, and lacked public support nearly from its inception.  The law failed in many of its most basic goals and has wreaked havoc across the country with poorly conceived exchanges and ideologically driven mandates

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Exit Interview pt. 2

A continuing examination of the Presidency of Barack Obama… partisanship is kept to a minimum, but the issues raised are the opinions of Practically Historical and its staff.

Another lecture

Another lecture

The Bad…


The clean energy conundrum:  Obama’s attempts to be the first “Green President” cost the tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars in bogus subsidies  and crippled traditional industries(costing thousands of jobs) with an undeclared war on the coal industry.   Considering that the United States accounts for less than 15% of the world’s CO2 emissions, Obama’s policies were decidedly ideological and at odds with the majority of the American people


Minding the store:  The 24 hour news cycle brings local stories national attention, completely skewing proper perspectives.  Obama’s seeming need to insert himself in local and state matters often blurred the lines of Federalism and confounded attempts at reforming law enforcement.  The “beer summit” and professed paternal bond with Trayvon Martin did more to divide the public than promote understanding.  Obama’s image evolved into that of lecturer-in-chief, castigating the public for what he considered their ignorance.  on matters of race, religion, and tolerance.


Selective Enforcement Syndrome:  Despite being declared “scandal-free” by partisans, Obama’s Justice Department was plagued by insidious ideological application of the law.  The half-hearted investigation of  IRS officials  targeting Conservative groups with audits and denying non-profit status based on ideology concluded without a single indictment; conversely, Attorney General Loretta Lynch promptly responded to Congressional Democrats demanding an investigation into secret videos of Planned Parenthood officials leaked by a pro-life group.  The DOJ refused to pursue any charges in the botched DEA operation called “Fast and Furious.” 

Another round was needed

Another round was needed


Next time–  The Ugly

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Executive Ordering

Executive orders were once referred to as “memorandum, notes, or letters”… issued by the President.  Many Americans equate the process with the creation of law, but typically the orders are written to enforce, not write laws.  Recent Presidents have used the authority to implement policies which are not part of a legislative agenda.  Historically, the American people are uncomfortable with an overly-active executive.  The practice has only been officially documented since 1936.

Some perspective on the issuing of Executive Orders is needed….

Most notorious

Most notorious

Ge0rge Washington- 8

James Madison- 1

Andrew Jackson- 12

James K. Polk- 18

Abraham Lincoln- 48

US Grant- 217

Theodore Roosevelt- 1,081

Woodrow Wilson- 1, 803

*Calvin Coolidge- 1,203

Franklin Roosevelt- 3,721

Richard Nixon- 346

George W. Bush- 291

Barack Obama- 276

Donald Trump- 12…. and counting


Building walls

Building walls




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Not Another Campaign Speech

Historically, inaugural speeches celebrate the American system… our republican virtue and the peaceful transfer of power.  Partisanship is put  aside in acknowledgment of being part of something greater, and speakers usually are humbled by the Day.

Still on the Stump

Still on the Stump

January 20, 2017 was just another stump speech for our 45th President… unaware or unwilling to accept that the day and our history dwarf him, President Trump repeated his neo-populist campaign slogans in a not-so-subtle swipe at his predecessors.  At the precise moment he should have shed his reality TV persona, Mr. Trump chose to continue his role as rabble rouser in-chief.

"candid men will acknowledge that in such cases choice would have little advantage to boast of over lot or chance."

“candid men will acknowledge that in such cases choice would have little advantage to boast of over lot or chance.”

John Adams understood the gravity of his inauguration… March 4, 1797.  His words echoed through history for generations to follow, yet were all but ignored today:

“The existence of such a government as ours for any length of time is a full proof of a general dissemination of knowledge and virtue throughout the whole body of the people. And what object or consideration more pleasing than this can be presented to the human mind? If national pride is ever justifiable or excusable it is when it springs, not from power or riches, grandeur or glory, but from conviction of national innocence, information, and benevolence.”

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Healing Words Required

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams waged a bitter and divisive Presidential campaign in 1800… deeply dividing their countrymen.  Adams’ party was swept out of power and many expected Jeffersonians to settle scores.  The speech Jefferson gave on March 4, 1801  was barely heard by those in attendance, but his call for political unity and patriotic harmony, resonated with his people…

Unite with one heart and one mind

Unite with one heart and one mind

During the contest of opinion through which we have passed the animation of discussions and of exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely and to speak and to write what they think; but this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the Constitution, all will, of course, arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the common good. All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions.”


“But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.”

140 Characters or less...

140 Characters or less…

News of Donald Trump’s efforts at writing his own Inaugural Addressshould worry us all.  Can a man whose literary record consists only of insulting other celebrities and the media in less than 140 characters be expected to unite a deeply divided nation?

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