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State of the Union Commentary By…Machiavelli

Posted By Jeanette Pryor On January 27, 2010 @ 9:07 pm In NewsReal Blog | No Comments

Dear Friends,

Welcome to a News Real Blog exclusive pre-oration analysis of President Obama’s State of the Union Address. Having obtained excerpts of the actual speech, we turn for perspective to one of history’s most experienced and consulted statesmen, Niccolo Machiavelli. Mr. Machiavelli has graciously agreed to comment on the highlights of Mr. Obama’s dissertation. We hope that you will find his insights enlightening!

President Obama:

“For while the people who sent us here have different backgrounds and different stories and different beliefs, the anxieties they face are the same. The aspirations they hold are shared. A job that pays the bill. A chance to get ahead. Most of all, the ability to give their children a better life.”

Mr. Machiavelli:

“Men are so simple and so much inclined to obey immediate needs that a deceiver will never lack victims for his deceptions.”

President Obama:

“You know what else they share? They share a stubborn resilience in the face of adversity. After one of the most difficult years in our history, they remain busy building cars and teaching kids; starting businesses and going back to school. They are coaching little league and helping their neighbors. As one woman wrote to me, “We are strained but hopeful, struggling but encouraged.”

Mr. Machiavelli:

“People are by nature fickle, and it is easy to persuade them of something, but difficult to keep them persuaded. Is necessary to take such measures that, when they believe no longer, it may be possible to make them believe by force.”

President Obama:

“To do that, we have to recognize that we face more than a deficit of dollars right now. We face a deficit of trust – deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years. To close that credibility gap we must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; and to give our people the government they deserve.”

Mr. Machiavelli:

“A wise ruler ought never to keep faith when doing so would be against his interests.”

President Obama:

“That’s what I came to Washington to do. That’s why – for the first time in history – my Administration posts our White House visitors online. And that’s why we’ve excluded lobbyists from policy-making jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions.”

Mr. Machiavelli:

“The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.”

President Obama:

“But we cannot stop there. It’s time to require lobbyists to disclose each contact they make on behalf of a client with my Administration or Congress. And it’s time to put strict limits on the contributions that lobbyists give to candidates for federal office. Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign companies – to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, and worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.”

Mr. Machiavelli:

“Though fraud in all other actions be odious, yet in matters of war it is laudable and glorious, and he who overcomes his enemies by stratagem is as much to be praised as he who overcomes them by force.”

President Obama:

“I’m also calling on Congress to continue down the path of earmark reform. You have trimmed some of this spending and embraced some meaningful change. But restoring the public trust demands more. For example, some members of Congress post some earmark requests online. Tonight, I’m calling on Congress to publish all earmark requests on a single website before there’s a vote so that the American people can see how their money is being spent.”

Mr. Machiavelli:

“The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present.”

Mr. Machiavelli offered this final remark concerning the President’s first year:

“He who, blinded by ambition, raises himself to a position whence he cannot mount higher, must thereafter fall with the greatest loss.”

Related posts:

  1. State of the Union or State of Denial?
  2. FULL TEXT of President Obama’s State of the Union Address
  3. Obama’s First State of the Union: Rhetoric but no Substance

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