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Ed Driscoll

Neville Again: Obama Promises ‘Peace in Our Time’

January 22nd, 2013 - 5:44 pm

No longer content to compare himself with Jimmy Carter, Mr. Obama has moved on to quoting Neville Chamberlain in his speeches, promising a war weary nation “peace in our time,” Joel Pollack writes at Big Peace. What could go wrong this time?

It was either an embarrassing slip, or a frightening revelation of the president’s true worldview. Either way, the words “peace in our time,” made infamous by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain as he promised an illusory peace with Adolf Hitler in 1938, should never have been in President Barack Obama’s second inaugural address. Yet they were, and went virtually unnoticed until caught by conservatives on social media.

The phrase appeared in a passage on foreign policy, in which the president pledged to defend the nation while resolving differences peacefully [emphasis added]:

And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice–not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.

Where’s his umbrella?

Beyond that, comparisons between the America left today and the appeasement-oriented England of the 1930s, I just can’t see it myself

Update: Neo-Neocon notes that Chamberlain’s actual phrase was “peace for our time,” but as she writes, it’s almost universally misremembered as “peace in our time,” a phrase that as Bloodthirsty Liberal adds, stands today “for WWII, the Holocaust, and the general destruction of Europe, Japan, Russia, etc. Only a complete idiot would use that language without irony.”

Or as William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection writes about Obama’s maximum Kinsley-esque gaffe, “Obamaphiles can’t have it both ways. “Either, as they say, he’s the most brilliant speech writer ever who carefully crafts his texts to bring forward historical analogies — in which case he used the phrase deliberately which is frightening – or he’s way overblown and did it without realizing the significance.”

“In Chamberlain’s defense, he never gave Hitler an office,” SeeDubya Tweets. As Doug Powers noted earlier this month, “No joke: Obama and Karzai agree to allow the Taliban to open an office in Qatar.” (It will certainly make dropping by the home office of Current TV for quick soundbites that much easier.)

Related: More ghosts from the 1930s: “Obama Channels FDR and Mimics His Failed Policies,” Liz Peek writes at the Financial Times:

President Obama used his inaugural address to deliver an unmistakable challenge to Republicans: I am done trying to bridge our differences; my agenda is non-negotiable. In recent days he has issued 23 executive orders to restrict guns. He refuses to negotiate with Republicans over raising the debt ceiling.  He has single-handedly upended immigration laws.
That’s not all. In October, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor issued a report detailing over 40 examples of how President Obama has had his way – with the American people, with the Constitution, and certainly with Congress. Has there ever been such an imperious president?

During the Depression, FDR was just such a president – high-handed, hostile to critics and determined to remake American society. The parallels between the Obama and Roosevelt administrations are extraordinary, and include this: both presidents so divided and unsettled the country that neither could foster a robust economic recovery.

Roosevelt– a hero to President Obama – relied on the misery of the country and the weakness of his opponents to blast through a grandiose agenda. The imperious plutocrat turned the United States upside-down as he embraced one radical scheme after another aimed at getting the economy moving again. None worked.

But FDR has since been canonized by the New York Times and Time-Warner-CNN-HBO. Isn’t that far more important? Besides, Obama was compared to FDR even before taking office. He’s got to keep his most important constituency satisfied.

More: Ugh: “Who’s Neville Chamberlain? Bret Baier tells tweeter to Google it.”

Update: Roger Kimball emails a link to his piece on Obama channeling Chamberlain at the Corner: “Inaugurating President Chamberlain.”

Late Update: Veteran Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau takes credit for the speech. That’s him on the left:

 

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