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Thursday, January 22, 2009


Who is Edgar Bergen?

There was much made of the Obama swearing-in flub, in which the new president repeated the words given to him by the Chief Justice. But that was in the script. That's what was supposed to happen: repeat after me: “I, Barack Hussein Obama … I, Barack Hussein Obama.”

What was supposed to happen after that was that this bright, articulate, handsome man would find his own words.

So it was a little strange today, to hear the newly minted President of the United States in his first official act, repeat the words of his White House counsel. There is a transcript available on the Limbaugh website, but I was listening to the announcement and this is what was actually said. Limbaugh’s transcript – of course- includes the verbal pauses and tics that most of us throw into our conversation.

OBAMA: …In order to effect the appropriate disposition of individuals currently detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo, uh, and promptly to close the detention facility at Guantanamo consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and interests of justice, I hereby order. And we then we will then, uh, provide the process whereby Guantanamo will be closed no later than, uh, one year from now.

At this point, Obama addressed Greg Craig:

OBAMA: We will be... Uhhh.... Ummm.... Is there a separate executive order, Greg, with respect to how we're going to dispose of the detainees? Is that it, eh, uh, what we're doing?

CRAIG: We'll set up a process!

OBAMA: We will be, uh, setting up a process whereby this is going to be taking place.

OBAMA: What we're doing here is to set up a special interagency task force on detainee disposition. They are going to provide me with information in terms of how we are able to deal in the disposition of some of the detainees that may be currently in Guantanamo that we cannot transfer to other countries, who could pose a serious danger to the United States, uh, but, uh, we cannot try because of various problems related to evidence, uh, in a Article 3 court. So this task force is going to provide us with, uh, a series of recommendations on, uh, that. Is that correct, Greg?

CRAIG: That's right. And detainee policy going forward.

OBAMA: And detainee policy going forward so that we don't find ourselves in these kinds of situations, uh, in the future.

CRAIG: And there is clear guidance for the military as well.

OBAMA: And that we are providing clear guidance to our military in terms of having to do with it.

Greg Craig is feeding Obama his lines.

This is not good.

Before the election questions were being asked about Obama’s role in this administration.

That’s right, Obama’s role.

There were questions in some corners, perhaps the paranoid corners of the Right, who wondered whether a pretty, articulate, “clean” black man with virtually no legislative track record (whose votes of “present” had become a joke) was THE MAN or THE FRONT MAN.

In other countries and other times, worse things have happened. This Republic is a little over 230 years old. Are we due?

How old do you have to be to remember Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy?

I like the line: "A stick of wood that talks!"


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