The president speaks to the nation tonight in a kind of almost-a-state-of-the-union message. We'll be live blogging through the address, and, just as important, through Governor Bobby Jindal's reply. The reply may be the real news of the evening.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2009
GET THIS - AT 11:52 P.M. ET - Real Clear Politics has a video, with sound, in which someone at MSNBC is heard muttering "Oh God" as Bobby Jindal walks to the microphone. Watch it here.
LUNTZ - AT 10:55 P.M. ET: Frank Luntz, at Fox, is getting responses from a focus group. Half the group voted for Obama, half for McCain. The reponse from the group is split, pretty much as expected.
OVERALL - AT 10:51 P.M. ET - The snap polls taken after the president's speech show that he made a substantial impact. I'm not surprised. As we said earlier, he's a terrific speaker. The speech will give a temporary boost to his expansive government programs. But events in the real world will determine whether that boost will last.
10:37 p.m. ET: Jindal has finished. We'll look for better speeches from him in the future. He's a brilliant and effective guy.
10:34 p.m. ET: Jindal's speech pattern is a bit difficult to follow. What he says makes sense, but it lacks the poetry of a great political speech. I'm a little disappointed. Jindal seems somewhat stiff. I've heard him much better.
10:28 p.m. ET: Jindal is a dynamic guy, but he's following a majestic speaker with the aura of the presidency. Jindal's speaking style is vigorous, although I have to concede that Obama is the stronger speaker.
10:27 p.m. ET: Governor Jindal is now speaking. He's standing in what looks like a large hallway in the governor's mansion.
We are awaiting the Republican response from Governor Jindal.
10:11 p.m. ET: Speech over. Look, the president is an extremely effective speaker. He is not a great phrasemaker. I didn't hear anything memorable. He is no Churchill. But he's a great salesman and this speech will be effective with the American people. However, the impact of a speech generally lasts only a few days, so we shouldn't place too much emphasis on it.
10:06 p.m. ET: The speech is starting to get long. He should try to wrap it up in a few minutes.
10:03 p.m. ET: Mr. Obama is recognizing outstanding people in the galleries. It's the old Ed Sullivan routine: "Sitting out in our audience..."
10:01 p.m. ET: The president says the U.S. doesn't torture. Okay, good. But it's a simplistic statement. His own administration is setting up a mechanism under which enhanced interrogation techniques might be permitted. So there's an asterisk here.
9:57 p.m. ET: Mr. Obama says he wants to end the war in Iraq responsibly and leave Iraq "to its people." The purpose of bringing democracy to Iraq was to give the country to its people. I wish Mr. Obama would recognize that, and give his predecessor some credit.
9:54 p.m. ET: The president promises to eliminate "cold-war" defense programs. Worry now. Cutting the defense budget in this time of peril is not smart...at all.
9:50 p.m. ET: Lots of talk about education. The proposals will be popular with the American people. And the president's talk about the responsbility of parents is perfectly proper. The problem, of course, is that many education programs founder in mediocrity and under the crushing pressure of teachers' unions. No comments about that.
9:44 p.m. ET: I notice that Speaker Nancy Pelosi keeps jumping up faster than anyone else in the chamber. There are pills for this, Nancy. There are pills.
9:42 p.m. ET: There is an underlying, disturbing theme in this speech - government knows best. The words themselves are not used, but the idea permeates almost everything the president says.
9:41 p.m. ET: Talking about energy independence. A good sales talk, but he's not discussing anything in detail. Nor is he making any commitment to nuclear energy, which is opposed by some of the neanderthals in his party.
9:34 p.m. ET: Look, this guy is a great speaker. A lot of this sounds good - I'm for the little guy, we've got to regulate the bad guys. No details, but the audience at home will lap this up.
9:30 p.m. ET: The president is attacking irresponsible bankers, and says he'll hold banks responsible for their actions. It's populism, but it's rhetorically effective.
9:26 p.m. ET: The president praises the vice president. Fortunately, the vice president doesn't say anything.
9:24 p.m. ET: Mr. Obama pays tribute to the stimulus package. Democrats cheer and fall in prayer. Republicans are absolutely silent. Really silent.
9:20 p.m. ET: Once again we see the president's excellent campaign speaking style. But we'll be listening for the substance of what he says
9:17 p.m. ET: The president speaks. He says the economy is in crisis.
9:11 p.m. ET: Obama is entering. There is lightning from the heavens. There are rumors he has little stone tablets in his pockets. Holy holy holy.
9:02 p.m. ET: The Cabinet officers are entering, followed by IRS inspectors.
9:01 p.m. ET: The Supreme Court justices are entering. Democrats are carefully assessing the health of each one.
9:00 p.m. ET: The president will soon enter the House chamber. Cameras just flashed to the captain of that airliner that went down in the Hudson River. Yeah, he's here too.
WE'RE ABOUT TO START OUR LIVE BLOGGING OF THE PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS TO CONGRESS. THERE ARE ADVANCED TEXTS, BUT THE EVENT HAS ITS OWN FEELING. WE'LL FOLLOW WITH A LIVE REPORT ON THE RESPONSE OFFERED BY GOV. BOBBY JINDAL OF LOUISIANA.
NOT SMART, NOT SMART - AT 7:57 P.M. ET: This is not change we can believe in:
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano avoids the terms "terrorism" or "9/11" in remarks prepared for her first congressional testimony since taking office, signaling a sharp change in tone from her predecessors.
Napolitano is the first homeland security secretary to drop the term "terror" and "vulnerability" from remarks prepared for delivery to the House Homeland Security Committee, according to a copy obtained by The Associated Press.
Tom Ridge, who headed the agency when it was launched in 2003, mentioned terrorism 11 times in his prepared statement at his debut before the oversight committee in 2003. And in 2005 Michael Chertoff, the second secretary, mentioned terrorism seven times, according to an AP analysis of the prepared testimonies.
Napolitano, a former Arizona governor, instead charts a course in very different terms than Chertoff, who used law enforcement and military jargon - "intelligence," "analysis," "mission" - to describe the agency's objectives.
COMMENT: Absurd. I guess they're afraid of "offending" our good friends in certain countries.
YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE - AT 7:42 P.M. ET: As they say, you cannot make this up:
BLOOMINGTON, Ind., Feb. 24 (UPI) -- The major U.S. broadcasters demonstrated bias towards Republicans in their coverage of presidential campaigns between 1992 and 2004, a new book contends.
Maria Elizabeth Grabe and Erik Bucy, both associate professors of telecommunications at Indiana University, are the authors of "Image Bite Politics: News and the Visual Framing of Elections" published by Oxford University Press. They analyzed coverage of the elections on ABC, CBS and NBC and concluded all three networks showed a slight tilt to the Republican side.
COMMENT: All right, just try to contain the laughter. You know, if you laugh too hard you can strain something. Oh, by the way, one of the authors, Ms. Grabe, used to work for the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation, which may explain things.
DOW WOW - AT 5:02 P.M. ET: We don't maintain the fiction here that the stock market has anything to do with real investing, but we do follow the averages to see what "the street" is thinking. Today the Dow soared 236 points, to 7351, the greatest gain in a month. Apparently, "investors" were responding to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's statement that banks need not be nationalized.
OUR NEW SYRIAN FRIENDS - AT 4:58 P.M. ET: Americans of the Democratic persuasion have been traveling to Syria of late, heralding a new era in U.S.-Syrian relations, now that The One is in the White House. Unfortunately, Syrian actions don't seem to acknowledge the coming of the New Age:
VIENNA (AP) -- Syria has revealed that it has built a missile facility over the ruins of what the U.S. says was a nuclear reactor destroyed by Israel warplanes, diplomats said Tuesday.
Citing comments by Syrian nuclear chief Ibrahim Othman at a closed meeting Tuesday, the diplomats said the new structure appeared to be a missile control center or actual launching pad. The two -- both from Western delegations to the IAEA -- demanded anonymity for divulging details about what Othman told the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board.
COMMENT: Pay no attention. Pay absolutely no attention. This isn't important. What's important is recognizing the love between Syrians and Americans, and the rudeness that BUSH (!!) displayed toward the revered Syrian president. Got that?
DOW HIGHER - AT 2:20 P.M. ET: In an other expression of irrational exuberance, the Dow is up 196.
DOW UP- AT 1:44 P.M. ET: The Dow is showing some strength, for some reason, and is up 155.
REMARKABLE POLL - AT 1:40 P.M. ET: From Rasmussen:
Confidence in how America is doing in the War on Terror has dropped dramatically in the past two weeks. Just 47% of voters now believe the United States and its allies are winning.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 23% believe the terrorists are winning, while 25% say it's a draw. Six percent (6%) are undecided.
Just over two weeks ago, 62% said the United States and its allies were winning the war, a new record high. Only 14% said the terrorists were winning at that time. The latest results are similar to those found in early January.
COMMENTS: Maybe Americans are noticing that our enemies aren't exactly buckling under because The One is in the White House.
DOW UP - AT 1:23 P.M. ET: The Dow is up 87.
STUNNER - AT 10:03 A.M. ET: My Iranian activist friend, Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, alerts us to this stunning report from Britain's Telegraph:
Iran offered to halt attacks on British soldiers deployed in Iraq in return for a secret pact that would enable it to continue its nuclear programme, a senior British diplomat has said.
Sir John Sawers, the British ambassador to the United Nations, revealed that Iranian officials openly acknowledged complicity in attacks that killed scores of British soldiers in southern Iraq...
..."The Iranians wanted to be able to strike a deal whereby they stopped killing our forces in Iraq in return for them being allowed to carry on with their nuclear programme: 'We stop killing you in Iraq, stop undermining the political process there, you allow us to carry on with our nuclear programme without let or hindrance'."
COMMENT: We wonder what Barack Obama would have done if presented with that deal? What will he do in the future? What will Samantha Power advise him to do?
NO IMPACT - AT 8:12 A.M. ET: From The New York Times:
SEOUL — North Korea announced Tuesday it was preparing to send a satellite into orbit in what American and South Korean officials believe will be a provocative test of a long-range missile capable of reaching parts of North America.
The announcement came only days after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and South Korea’s foreign minister, Yu Myung-hwan, urged the North not to carry out the test, calling such a move “very unhelpful” and “provocative.”
COMMENT: Hillary certainly had an impact, didn't she? Maybe if she had a president with some backbone, the North Koreans might have gotten the message.
WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL - AT 8:01 A.M. ET: Readers will recall the superb reports sent by Renee Nielsen, our contact in Mumbai, India, during the recent terrorist siege in that city. Now Renee reports on the reaction in India to the whopping success of "Slumdog Millionaire" at the Oscars:
All of India is celebrating the eight Oscars the film "Slumdog Millionaire" received at Sunday night's 81st Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles. Mumbaikers (as residents of Mumbai are known), are especially filled with pride and joy because so many local sons and daughters have achieved international recognition. This is something previously unimaginable for many, including the families of the youngest stars of the film, who live in some of the poor enclaves in this enormous and impossibly crowded city. Rubina Quereshi (youngest Latika) and Mohammed Azharuddin (youngest Salim) are actually neighbors living in shanty houses within the upscale northern suburb of Bandra. Their families struggle with unemployment and, in the case of Azharrudin's father, severe tuberculosis--a disease from which many of the poor in Mumbai suffer.
For weeks there has been discussion in the newspapers and on television about why the producer and director of "Slumdog Millionaire" would need to portray India in such a negative light? Mumbai, some were afraid, would only be seen as a cesspool of crime and poverty, and a city that didn't care about its poor. That could damage tourism, they fretted, which is slowly coming back after the terror attacks last November.
Many others, however, were happy to get the real problems of the slums, such as Dharavi--another area featured in the film--out in the open for the West to see, and perhaps get some help. According to today's Times of India, some of that much-needed help is arriving in the form of permanent housing. The Times states: "In another cheerful development besides the Oscars, 14 consortia of infrastructure developers, including foreign companies, have come forward for Dharavi's makeover."
"Slumdog Millionaire"has raised the hopes of many, from the poor residents featured in the film, to the artists and actors internationally recognized for their craft and looking for future sucess. However, it is a safe bet to say that all Indian citizens would like this current worldwide interest to translate into pushing the Indian goverment to assist the urban slum population of India, numbering 80 million, to live with more dignity than theydo now. That would be the real success story.
COMMENT: We love Renee's reports. She has a keen eye, and sees things that more traditional journalists don't. And where else have you read that residents of Mumbai are called Mumbaikers?
February 24, 2009. Permalink
OBAMA'S NUMBERS SLIPPING - AT 7:21 A.M. ET: Once you get beyond the in-the-tank hype in the Washington Post and The New York Times, you begin to realize that recent polls spell some trouble for Mr. Obama. We reported on some polling data last night. Now Andrew Malcolm, of the L.A. Times's great "Top of the Ticket" blog, goes further:
One month in, Barack Obama's approval slips, disapproval doubles
And Barack Obama's poll numbers have slid almost 10% already. According to the latest Gallup Poll, the new president's approval rating of 68% in January has slipped now to 63%, about average for recent new presidents one month in.
What isn't average, however, is Obama's new disapproval rating -- 24%, or 50% higher than the 16% average for a month-old new presidency.
And it's twice the 12% disapproval rate that Obama had last month.
COMMENT: The in-the-tank crowd continues to tell us that the president is dazzlingly popular, loved, admired, respected, godlike, maybe higher than godlike. But underneath, we detect the beginnings of real concern, a sense that the man is in over his head. He will speak to the nation tonight, doing what he does best - selling himself - but there will be a limit to public tolerance. Key question: Will some of the strange goings-on in Obama's foreign policy, discussed here in recent weeks, finally get the scrutiny they deserve?
MAJOR MEDIA EVENT - AT 6:59 A.M. ET: From Jim Geraghty at National Review Online:
Meltdown on MSNBC: The Leg Tingle Is Gone?
I can hardly believe what I'm watching on MSNBC right now. Chris Matthews is almost critical — no, not even almost, he's flat-out critical of President Obama on the economic front. He mentions an earlier conversation with CNBC's manic stock analyst Jim Cramer and a University of Maryland professor (Peter Morici?) knocking Obama for several economic decisions — that the stimulus bill needed more real infrastructure and less pork, that the housing bill isn't inspiring confidence and doesn't look like it will work, and that no one has faith in Tim Geithner's solution for the banks.
COMMENT: If the left ever learns that Chris Matthews no longer feels a tingle up his leg when he sees Obama, then Matthews will have to be sent to a neurological facility for observation. It's the way these people must be dealt with. Period.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2009
UNCLE SAM, SUCKER - AT 11:45 P.M. ET:
JERUSALEM (AP) -- The United States will likely donate more than $900 million for the reconstruction of Gaza, a U.S. official said Monday, as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prepared to attend a donors conference for the war-ravaged territory next week.
COMMENT: Why? What about the wealthy Arab states donating that money? All we're doing is rewarding Hamas for the behavior that led to the Israeli retaliation. Well, at least the Obamans are consistent. They're rewarding bad behavior in the economy here at home. We practice what we preach.
MORE, MORE, MORE - AT 11:09 A.M. ET: From The New York Times:
The government faced mounting pressure on Monday to put billions more in some of the nation’s biggest banks, two of the biggest automakers and the biggest insurance company, despite the billions it has already committed to rescuing them.
The government’s boldest rescue to date, its $150 billion commitment for the insurance giant American International Group, is foundering. A.I.G. indicated on Monday it was now negotiating for tens of billions of dollars in additional assistance as losses have mounted.
COMMENT: The rescue is foundering? Why? Nothing has worked so far, and yet these industries want more, more, more. Are we simply throwing good money after bad? Isn't it time for the media to start asking some tough, probing questions about where all this money is going? And to whom?
NEW POLLS - AT 7:58 P.M. ET: New poll results present a mixed picture. A New York Times/CBS poll shows solid support for Obama and strong disapproval of the Republicans in Congress. It shows, in fact, an almost giddy affection for the president, which makes me wonder if the poll is on the level. We don't know how it was weighted. The survey shows overall approval of the president's job performance at 63 percent.
By contrast, a new Rasmussen poll shows presidential approval at 58 percent, with 38 percent strongly approving and 27 percent strongly disapproving. The Rasmussen poll, which has an excellent record of accuracy, is more sophisticated than the Times/CBS poll, and shows a more guarded picture for Mr. Obama.
CANTOR BANTER - AT 5:30 P.M. ET: A TIME profile on GOP House whip Eric Cantor contains this observation:
Cantor says he knows he can't block everything coming through — otherwise the GOP risks being labeled the party of obstruction. (Just look at the Republicans' four-decade stint in Siberia after they tried to block much of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal.)
COMMENT: Siberia? Well, let's see: From 1938 onward, Congress was controlled by a coalition of southern Democrats and northern Republicans. Liberal legislation was often blocked by members from both parties. And, as for the presidency, during the 40-year period starting with the dawn of the New Deal in 1933, through 1973, two GOP presidents, Eisenhower and Nixon, were elected for two terms each. Not great, but not a shutout. TIME needed a more complete view of history here.
DOW OW! - AT 4:28 P.M. ET: Another bad day for the Dow. The index closed down 251 points, to 7115. It wasn't too many days ago when we wondered whether the Dow would slip below 8000. Now we wonder about 7000. The lack of confidence of the markets in the president's economic plan is telling. Huge amounts of American wealth are wiped out ever time the market suffers this kind of decline.
BARACK AND MOSCOW
Posted at 11:22 a.m. ET
Our main political concern at Urgent Agenda is always with foreign and defense policy. As the saying goes, you can survive four years of a bad domestic policy, but four years of a bad foreign policy can be fatal. President Bush, with all his failings, kept us safe, and he put the United States first.
But President Obama?
The first signals are troubling. There seems to be a new concession every day, and a kind of college-level naiveté about the world. First-class reporter Benny Avni, who is based at the UN, examines the Obama attitude toward Russia, and finds it wanting:
QUIETLY, the Obama administration is offering Russia a tacit bargain: We'll concede to your hegemony in your immediate neighborhood - if you cooperate with the West in increasing the pressure on Iran.
I'm sure our East European allies are loving it. You can almost hear them chanting, "Bring back Bush!"
President George W. Bush publicly criticized Moscow after it swallowed parts of pro-Western Georgia, as well as other incursions in a region that Russia calls its "near abroad." Even more significant, Bush angered Moscow by signing agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic to deploy a missile-shield system near Russia's borders.
And a proud moment it was.
The Bush administration argued that such a shield is designed to protect everyone in the region...but the Russians still saw the missile-shield deployment as a threat to them.
So the Obama administration (many of whose top figures consider a missile shield a sci-fi fantasy anyway) is signaling that the program may be dropped.
It isn't a fantasy. One of our informed readers, Will Stroock, has written an authoritative summary of our progress in missile defense for Strategy and Tactics magazine. It's a workable system.
The Poles, a loyal US ally, can't be happy. They fear a return to the bad old days when Moscow dominated their region. Nor could the Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, have been pleased when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton raised similar thoughts when they met him in Washington recently.
But, hey, who are they compared to our good friends, the Russians?
A Western diplomat stationed in central Europe told me last week that many of his colleagues are receiving new instructions to avoid confrontation with Russia over such issues as its grab last year of Georgian provinces South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Those instructions are inspired by a new American policy, he said.
But the diplomat was skeptical that such overtures would work to turn Moscow's policies on Iran around...
..."The Russians will probably pocket whatever concession you give them and then continue to block any sanctions against Iran," the diplomat predicted.
Incredible, but diplomats of other nations are tougher on Russia than is our own government, now that it's in the hands of The One. And we must begin to recall Mr. Obama's associations with left-wing radicals through most of his life.
The new line certainly hasn't paid off so far. Moscow has welcomed Obama's reevaluation of relations, but then turned around and maneuvered Kyrgyzstan into kicking the US military out of bases crucial to operations in Afghanistan. And, yes, Russia welcomes any rethinking of missile shield, but "our stance on the Iranian nuclear program has no elements which could be interpreted as toughening of approach," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said last week.
And so a very clever bargain floated by Washington's so-called foreign policy "realists" (and adopted by an Obama administration intent on erasing Bush's idealistic "neo-con" policies) is facing a huge test. Will reality undermine the realists?
Even if it does, the in-the-tank media may spin the story in Obama's direction. And the American people, concerned about the dwindling economy, may not care. During the great Depression, foreign policy was the furthest thing from their minds.
February 23, 2009. Permalink
GOP GOVERNORS UNSTIMULATED - AT 10:06 A.M. ET:
Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Republican governors attacked President Barack Obama’s economic policies, warning that the $787 billion stimulus package will saddle states with obligations they can’t afford.
Obama’s “short-term” thinking and deficit spending are “digging yet another hole for ourselves,” said South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, a Republican, on “Fox News Sunday.” He said he may not accept all of the $8 billion in stimulus money designated for his state. Democrats criticized that approach as insensitive.
COMMENT: The GOP may take some short-term losses for its opposition, but in the long term, in my view, it benefits. The stimulus plan is ridiculous, and Americans (we hope) will eventually see that. Of course, Obama might do what his crowd does best - and try to buy off the American people with a few quick dollars. Sadly, that might work. It's worked before.
CORRECTION!!! - AT 9:03 A.M. ET - In our first entry this morning, on the Oscars, I reported a disturbing interview given by Kate Winslet, and slammed her. I've now learned, through reader Fred Hill, that the interview was a satire. I should have been more alert to that. I regret the error and have cut the offending section out of the article.
Urgent Agenda strives for accuracy. We are always happy to make corrections. Never hesitate to send them. Our sincere apologies to Kate Winslet.
CITI IN TROUBLE - AT 8:51 A.M. ET: From The Wall Street Journal:
Citigroup Inc. is in talks with federal officials that could result in the U.S. government substantially expanding its ownership of the struggling bank, according to people familiar with the situation.
While the discussions could fall apart, the government could wind up holding as much as 40% of Citigroup's common stock. Bank executives hope the stake will be closer to 25%, these people said.
Any such move would give federal officials far greater influence over one of the world's largest financial institutions. Citigroup has proposed the plan to its regulators. The Obama administration hasn't indicated if it supports the plan, according to people with knowledge of the talks.
COMMENT: Citigroup used to have a slogan, "The Citi never sleeps." No, but apparently it dies. Citi is where I have my checking account. Does this mean that my checks from now on will have a picture of Barack Obama?
NO STIMULUS - AT 8:03 P.M. ET: Economist Robert Samuelson lays it on the line about Obama's stimulus package, at Real Clear Politics:
WASHINGTON -- Judged by his own standards, President Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus program is deeply disappointing. For weeks, Obama has described the economy in grim terms. "This is not your ordinary run-of-the-mill recession," he said at his Feb. 9 news conference. It's "the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression." Given these dire warnings, you'd expect the stimulus package to focus almost exclusively on reviving the economy. It doesn't, and for that, Obama bears much of the blame.
COMMENT: What? You mean that "The One" isn't perfect? The magic wand didn't work? Who is this Samuelson? Do we allow him to live?
PHILLY FAILURE - AT 7:40 A.M. ET: From The New York Times:
The owners of The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Daily News filed for bankruptcy late Sunday night after talks aimed at restructuring their heavy debt load broke down, executives said.
The papers will continue to operate and will remain under local control, said Brian Tierney, publisher of The Inquirer and the leader of a group of local investors who bought the papers in 2006, one of several newspaper deals from that era that have gone bad as the industry’s revenues have plunged.
COMMENT: Although we're critical of the mainstream media here, it's never fun to report the bankruptcy of a newspaper. However, the industry needs more than a better balance sheet to survive these times. It must, finally, examine why so many readers have left, why so many have lost confidence in the product. Only then will newspapers be able to nurse themselves back to good health.
OSCAR - AT 7:31 A.M. ET: I did watch the Oscars last night, with some reluctance. I hadn't seen most of the nominated films, and the advance word on the telecast was guarded. However, I must say that the program itself was surprisingly good. Hugh Jackman was a disarming host, and most of the winners and presenters behaved themselves.
There were, of course, a smattering of politically profound statements. We were informed that American suburbs of thirty years ago were prisons. (For whom?) And Sean Penn, winner for best actor for "Milk," told us of his joy that America had elected an "elegant" president. Kind of rules out Lincoln and Truman, doesn't it?
The show had a foreign feel, and I'm afraid we'll have to get used to it. Hollywood is no longer the American film industry. It's internationalized. It would be nice to see a movie that celebrates the greatness of America. It would be nice to see one that celebrates the turning of Iraq from nightmare into democracy. Old Hollywood would have done it. New Hollywood will not.