Obama could learn from Bush’s straight talk

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I’ve been stirring something around in my head for a long time, unable to figure out why it bothered me so badly. This weekend I gathered my thoughts and now present them to you.
Return with me if you will to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address in January. Obama is an extremely eloquent speaker who is able to punctuate his words in just the right way to strike a chord in Americans’ hearts. Even though I have vowed to respect any president of the United States–unless they become tyrannical–something that he said that night really bothered me.
 

“I will not accept second place for America!”
 

It was so emphatic and still rings in my ears. “I will not accept second place for America!”

Really? Isn’t this the same president who began his term practicing a policy of apologetics? I was in Weimar, Germany when he was apologizing for World War II. This new mantra of demanding superiority just doesn’t make sense to me. He even mentioned Germany as one of the countries that he didn’t want to be inferior to.
 

What?
 

Over the weekend I was at a pro-life fundraising event. Somewhere in between having Governor Rick Perry pinch my cheeks and the hostess mispronouncing Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s name as “Kailey Bay,” former president George W. Bush spoke.
 

Let me make a disclaimer: Bush was far from perfect.
 

But the sincerity and simplicity that he speaks with is astounding. He didn’t use a teleprompter, which meant his words were not flawless. But he told stories of being president and said something that resonated with me: “Everyone wants to be free.”
 

The difference between Bush and Obama is that Bush didn’t play the game of appeasement, which is why he has drawn so much criticism. He followed through on everything that he thought was important, whether it made his opponents happy or not.
 

I respect Obama, but I would like consistency. If he really believes that what he is trying to pass is good for Americans, he wouldn’t have to compromise so much. I think the American people deserve honesty, not just well-delivered speeches.
 

Recently one of my good friends took me to see a solo performance artist (READ: drag queen) who said this, “Why not accept second place for America? [Hell,] why not seventh? I don’t see Canada getting attacked.”
 

The queen has spoken.

 

Lauren Smart is a junior creative writing major. She can be reached for comment at lsmart@smu.edu

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