Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Bad manners

My FP colleague Christian Brose is a prince among men, but I suspect he’s been nipping at that bottle of "W" brand Kool-Aid he keeps stashed in his desk drawer. Over at Shadow Government, he’s caviling about the Obama inauguration speech showing bad manners. Ai yi yi. And another yi. What Obama was talking about ...

My FP colleague Christian Brose is a prince among men, but I suspect he's been nipping at that bottle of "W" brand Kool-Aid he keeps stashed in his desk drawer. Over at Shadow Government, he's caviling about the Obama inauguration speech showing bad manners.

My FP colleague Christian Brose is a prince among men, but I suspect he’s been nipping at that bottle of "W" brand Kool-Aid he keeps stashed in his desk drawer. Over at Shadow Government, he’s caviling about the Obama inauguration speech showing bad manners.

Ai yi yi. And another yi. What Obama was talking about rather carefully about was a predecessor who had started a needless war and dragged America’s name through the mud of torture. But in a larger sense, Chris’s comment befits a president who often seemed more committed to making sure people wore neckties in the Oval Office than to developing an effective war strategy in Iraq. Protocol before competence, as it were.

But then, President Buchanan’s aides probably thought it rude when Lincoln expressly promised on March 4, 1861, in his first inaugural address, to fully enforce the laws of the land.

On the upside, that most eloquent but obtuse of columnists, Charles Krauthammer, delivers a surprisingly insightful analysis of why Obama’s inaugural speech wasn’t aiming for eloquence.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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