On President Obama’s State of the Union address

Candidate Obama is back. In his State of the Union address, he was more forceful, eloquent and shrewdly misdirecting than he has been since 2008.

In the history of the American political cycles, President/candidate Obama may have more successfully evaded accountability for a failed economy than any president in history. Perhaps we should finally acknowledge as a nation that a president cannot work magic on an economy. Perhaps we should finally grant to this president, for the first time in American history, a pass for an abysmal economy and kudos for good intentions. Perhaps we should, for the first time in American history, give a sitting president credit for the excuse that it would have been a lot worse.

I admire much of what the president said. I love his eloquence. I admire particularly the very shrewd focus on all that can be done. But I wonder where the leadership to do all of those things was when it mattered. President Obama had enormous political capital in his first two years and chose to squander it on health care reform, without even exercising genuine leadership in that raucous debate and deliberately capitulating to the congressional circus for all of the particulars of that misbegotten bill. All of these wonderful ideas to stimulate the economy, retrain America, get rid of bad teachers, help businesses upgrade their plants, stop illegal immigration (by means other than there being no jobs in America for illegal immigrants to cross the border for), get jobs for veterans — if he was serious about these ideas, he’d have proposed them in 2009. He didn’t. He pursued health care reform.

And health care reform has been a palpable drag on the economy. And so we have a president running on great ideas for America who didn’t actively pursue them when he could, and instead pursued, sort of, health care reform, to the detriment of the economy, with an abysmal economy, saying “vote for me” (and, by the way, conveniently never mentioning health care reform).

But lots of bold ideas. How many times did the president say in his SOTU address send me a bill and I will sign it? That is preposterous. His time to say that was two years ago if he was a leader. Saying it only now is cynical. He knows it won’t happen. And that’s why he’s proposing it now instead of two years ago when it might have been viable. That is a deeply cynical presidency trying to do something no incumbent has ever achieved before with such a bad economy: evade accountability for a terrible economy.

I don’t think Barack Obama is a bad president. Like every president, he has priorities. I question his priorities. But I credit some of them — like getting Osama bin Laden (truly, kudos Mr. President), like taking out much of the al Qaeda leadership, like realistically keeping open Guantanamo, like insisting that “America remains the one indispensable nation in world affairs” and he intends to keep it that way as long as he is president. In short, I like some of President Obama’s foreign policy because it is George W. Bush’s foreign policy against which he campaigned vociferously. I like that mature transformation of Barack Obama. I feel safer because President Obama is actually doing what President Bush did (notwithstanding the rhetoric of apology and capitulation that were words only and not deeds).

I just don’t like Barack Obama for what he was in 2008 geopolitically (and now chastened) or what he is in 2012 domestically. It’s still, for candidate Obama, about “fairshareism.” As if President Obama and members of Congress “paying their fair share” would put the slightest dent in the deficit. What a grandiose gesture — please tax me and members of Congress more! — and what a useless and transparently cynical sop that has nothing whatever to do with the deficit. Simply taxing rich people would do virtually nothing to reduce the deficit. Yet virtually no rich person in America would object to higher taxes if it were coupled with serious deficit reduction measures.

That’s a failure of presidential leadership.

And this is what candidate/President Obama poses for America: the rich aren’t paying their “fair share,” and that’s the conversation we need to have as a nation, and that’s his campaign mantra. Damn the rich, like me, he says coyly. That’s a serious shame because that squanders an opportunity to institute deep deficit reduction measures, coupled with sensible tax increases, and fiscal measures that promise financial health for America.

None of that matters if making rich people bad people makes for a good talking point. Like “the Buffett Rule.” Camera to Warren Buffett’s “secretary.” Can’t have Warren Buffet’s “secretary” paying more in taxes than Warren Buffett. First, she doesn’t. Not even close. Second, her income tax rate is higher than his capital gains tax rate (but not his income tax rate) because Congress treats capital gains and dividend income differently than income, and for a reason. Third, reasonable minds can differ on what the rate for income tax, capital gains tax, and dividends tax should be, but it is silly to compare the tax on Warren Buffett and Warren Buffett’s secretary. It’s comparing different taxes. But the president knew this.

This is a president digging out of a hole that may not matter. Watching Gingrich and Romney duke it out, this president may very well get a pass. He already knows he has a leg up because any challenge to him is wounded. Barack Obama is looking like the superior candidate. No Republican can challenge him, thanks to the circular firing squad. And there are so many reasons why challenging President Obama matters.

 

On Herman Cain and the Obamanation of Racial Politics

Herman Cain is a black black man. He’s got an accent. He was, in his words, po before he was poor. And he’s wildly popular — get this, with Republicans. Herman Cain is a southern conservative straight-shooter and currently leading some polls among Republican primary voters.

Herman Cain is an impressive man — and particularly compelling on the bread-and-butter issues that concern most Americans. But he’s not likely to win the nomination for the following reasons:

  • He lacks any organization in key primary states. While he doesn’t seem disturbed by this deficit, and it could be that his campaign is ground-breaking in appealing directly to voters without organizing on the ground, it’s hard to predict him a winner against candidates who are doing the hard on-the-ground conventional work of appealing to individual voters.
  • He lacks any political experience — arguably a plus for the voters who distrust seasoned politicians, but never historically a plus for Republican voters angling to win the general election. And it doesn’t help that one of the chief Republican criticisms of Barack Obama is his lack of experience, his meteoric rise way beyond himself after community organizing and two years as a Senator. The president has gotten some on-the-job training — but Republicans would still like to say, he wasn’t ready and he’s been inept, which is a more difficult argument if Republicans nominate someone who himself lacks any political experience.
  • He lacks foreign policy expertise, to put it mildly, and has committed some gaffes in this area that give foreign-policy-focused Republicans pause.
  • His insistence that he would never name a Muslim to his cabinet — while presumably designed as red-meat for voters idiotically obsessed with the imposition of Sharia law — cast doubt on his presidential ability to be inclusive. (To his credit, he back-tracked on this a bit. But it’s out there.)

If he nevertheless wins the nomination, count me a supporter. I just don’t think he will.

Which leads me to the Obamanation of racial politics. Some Democrats just don’t know what to do with a black man making headway in Republican primary politics. It can’t be that Republicans aren’t racist. And it can’t be that a black man could be conservative. So it must be a scheme — which narrative takes the following forms:

  • Herman Cain is a tool of the diabolical Koch brothers, a veritable Manchurian Candidate, poised for power and ultimate execution of the Plan. In other words, he’s not really black or real — just a puppet with a black face. (In short, the traditional slander against any African-American who dares to buck liberal dogma.)
  • Herman Cain is in it to make Republicans “feel good.” Or as Democratic strategist and former spokeswoman of the DNC Karen Finney told MSNBC, “I think he makes that white Republican base of the party feel okay, feel that they’re not racist because they can like this guy, I think they like him because he’s a black man who knows his place.” Knows his place?! Could you be more condescendingly racist?
  • Herman Cain won’t win the nomination — which confirms the racism of Republicans — or, as random ridiculous bomb-thrower Bill Maher put it: “I will put up a million dollars against one that he will not be the Republican nominee. A million to one… I will give you a million dollars if you think that the Republicans are going to have an election with two black guys against each other. That they don’t have a choice to vote for a white man in the general election. That will never happen.”

These are three distinct species of disrespect for African-Americans and recklessly base contempt for Republicans.

1. The notion that an African-American cannot really be a conservative — and that if he’s posing as one, he must be a tool of white conservative interests — is preposterously condescending. It suggests that all African-Americans merrily think the same. And it suggests further that a couple of rich white guys who support an African-American candidate must therefore control him, because it couldn’t be that the African-American candidate thinks for himself, which he probably doesn’t do in the first place, thinking that is, being conservative.

It may be that the left should no longer take for granted people of color. It may be that people of color have diverse views. It may be that some people of color reach conservative views for legitimate reasons. Shocking, to be sure — but given the broad-brush racism painted on Republicans for opposing President Obama’s policies, isn’t is just a bit racist to hammer Herman Cain as a tool of white interests just because conservative white people like and support him?

2. That any ostensible spokesperson of anything could speak of Herman Cain as a man who “knows his place” bespeaks a profound tone-deafness in leftist racial politics. This, to me, is the nadir of the Democratic party race-card. Yes, Karen Finney was presuming to describe Republican reaction to Herman Cain. She hoped to belittle Republicans — but she most shockingly belittled a black man. A black man who “knows his place.” I don’t have words. It speaks for itself.

I don’t believe Herman Cain will win the nomination — but if he does, and he becomes president, he’ll be the post-racial-president that Obama articulately promised and starkly failed to deliver.

3. And finally, Bill Maher’s easy sleazy prophecy — Herman Cain can’t be the nominee because white Republicans won’t stand for it. (Eyes roll.) I’m betting a million dollars to your one, seriously, a million dollars, that Bill Maher won’t be the Democratic nominee for president because Democrats would never permit a rich repugnant white ass to usurp their half-black man, especially if a black-black man might be his competitor. You see my point?

Bill Maher and his ilk are determined to paint Republicans as racists. It’s trickier if a black man is popular in Republican politics — so the solution is to call Republicans racists for not nominating Herman Cain. Anything to call Republicans racists.

It’s exactly the rhetoric of Karen Finney and Bill Maher that produces more black conservatives — men and women sick of being stereotyped by the left, tired of the canard that an African-American must be a liberal, and that any deviation from liberal dogma makes them a traitor and an Uncle Tom.

We’re not even close to post-racial — one of the reasons I’ll vote for anyone over Barack Obama because I took that promise seriously — and reaction to Herman Cain tells me the right has a better chance of being post-racial than the left.

President Romney?

It’s a rookie mistake to predict early in politics. Too many electoral variables and too many unpredictable missteps, scandals and cheery assassinations counsel modesty in political predictions. It is a prerogative of the blogosphere, however, to be immodest. It’s one of the things that makes us spectacular and stupid and perfectly content to be routinely both, always knowing we can shade the latter into forgotten land with yet more gushing immodesty on safer topics. And so…

I believe Mitt Romney will be our next president. I watched the Republican presidential debate on Bloomberg Tuesday evening and what a rollicking and fascinating insight into the vastly more interesting American political party. I loved the format — strictly limited to economic issues, as befits the Bloomberg network, which produced a little more depth of discussion, even if sexy issues like immigration and evolution were off the table, and a segment where candidates asked each other questions, mostly pointed.

Mitt Romney was manifestly presidential. The man has evidently thought about everything, and he has the gift of signaling that he has thought about everything with short and succinct statements that connect with a range of sensibilities. (Lover of irony? Romney probably had a five-word ironic parenthetical in his 30-second response.)

I was a John McCain fan in 2008. I didn’t like Romney. But he has converted what sounded slick and glib in 2008 to what sounds thoughtful and more sincere in 2011. That’s an accomplishment. Here are the reasons I predict a President Romney inauguration in January 2013.

1. Romney will likely prevail in the Republican primary, despite being suspect among the deeper right wing. First, he keeps winning debates, and Republicans, notwithstanding their rants, like winners. Second, his challengers keep making this or that mistake or faux pas or squandered opportunity — and he doesn’t. Third, he’s gracious toward his challengers (even when they’re pointedly not), which signals the luxury of a front-runner’s diplomacy. In short, he’s not angering any of the Republican base, even as he systematically adds to his own.

2. He’s been running for president for six years and has gotten remarkably good at it. And that’s not just cynicism. Thinking about issues to the obvious extent he has makes him competent at the American political game to a degree that dwarfs the other candidates. As Rick Perry was forced to acknowledge, somewhat pathetically, when he promised a “plan” in due course but not yet, Romney has been doing this for six years while he had been at it only for a few weeks. Yes, and it shows.

3. The Herman Cain surge is fascinating on so many levels, but unlikely to dislodge Romney’s nomination win. Cain is straight-talking and gifted at the sound-bite, but has no political or governance experience — much like the Democratic party’s candidate in 2008. As intriguing and increasingly popular as he is, Republican primary voters will ultimately be loathe to nominate a candidate who has precisely the same defect they’d like to be able to level at the incumbent: inexperience and what that produces.

4. Rick Perry just didn’t think through what being a presidential candidate was all about — maybe because there had never been a President Perry to shepherd his steps as there had been for Dubya. Romney keeps making Perry look like a sticks challenger.

5. Assuming the primary win, onto the general election, where Mitt Romney will get to be even more essentially Mitt Romney than he is currently permitted to be in the primary. That’s because Mitt Romney really is an inclusive candidate and really does thrive at bringing people together — a quality of particular importance to independents. He was the Republican governor of Massachusetts, one of the bluest states in the nation. He understands, in a way that none of the other Republican candidates understands, and that the sitting president didn’t understand coming into the job (and hasn’t demonstrated a gift for learning on the job), how to forge genuine bipartisan connections and make things happen for which credit could be generously spread. Romney has worked successfully with both sides of the aisle in a way that no one else in this election ever has. (Perry and Huntsman governed Republican states, and while they’ve enjoyed some bipartisan success, they don’t hold a candle to Romney.)

6. When an election is as profoundly about the economy as this one, Romney’s claim to understand, from both a businessman’s and a governor’s perspective, how to create jobs, resonates. As to both business experience and governorship, Romney massively trumps Obama.

7. Romney passionately wants the presidency, in a way that is oddly difficult to see in our current president. I happen to like Obama. I think he’s a smart and interesting man. But I think he got swept into national politics prematurely, and I think maybe even he wonders at times why he did this odd thing of becoming president. Being a Texas native, I’m reminded of Ann Richards, Texas governor from 1991 to 1995, and unseated by George W. Bush. I remember her reelection campaign, and how I was struck by the dullness and apathy of her campaign ads, which seemed to say, vote for me or not whatever. These were her campaign ads, not a speech to a chamber of commerce. She lost. President Obama signals something vaguely similar, a going-through-the-motions rah-rah about it all. Romney wins that dynamic.

8. In the general election, Romney’s difficulties with the right wing of the Republican party become plusses. Independents will like the fact that Romney didn’t appeal to the overly-caricatured Republican base. This is not because Romney is not a true conservative. He is. It’s because conservatives are innately suspicious and broadly circulate their suspicions. Good for the political dialogue. And good for the gradual American education in ideology versus actual governance. Conservatives are actually getting to second grade here, where liberals languish in kindergarten. Independents, most of whom are in junior high school or higher, will like Romney’s un-ideological focus.

9. But he’s a Mormon! Precisely. Give him his three wives. Kudos to the Democrats and the American people for electing our first Catholic president, John F. Kennedy, who privileged the Pope over the Constitution. I think we’re ready for a Mormon. And the fact that it’s a first takes a bit of the sting out of not re-electing our other first.

10. And speaking of our other first, on a delicate matter, to paraphrase Tina Turner, what’s race got to do with it, got to do with it? Right after the huge Republican victory in 2010, I counseled sobriety, despite being drunk, and said President Obama was on track to win re-election using a triangulation strategy. I’ve also said Americans would be loathe to fire their first African-American president. As it happens, he hasn’t done triangulation very well, hasn’t even seemed to have his heart in the rudimentary effort. Moreover, he hasn’t been “post-racial,” as promised. Quite the contrary. Meanwhile, Republicans have gotten excited about the Herman Cain candidacy, despite initial skepticism, and proven that Republicans aren’t the incorrigible racists of Democratic party narratives. Indeed, the Tea Party — preposterously reviled as “racist” by Democrats — has gotten especially excited by Herman Cain. And while I don’t believe Herman Cain will be the nominee, he will enthusiastically support the nominee. African-Americans will overwhelmingly vote for Barack Obama, but Herman Cain undermines one persistent ridiculous racial stereotype, and that is good for America — and incidentally good for Mitt Romney’s presidential bid.

I’m getting used to President Romney. I could be massively wrong. But that’s how I’m thinking.

 

UPDATE (10/13/2011): On #9, it was a ham-fisted joke, intended to invoke the bigotry JFK confronted in his presidential race (e.g., a protest sign that read, “We don’t want the Kremlin or the Vatican“). I’m making fun of the bigotry (of course Mormons don’t do polygamy, but see HBO’s Big Love), but it’s not actually funny. Back in June, according to a Gallup poll, 18% of Republicans and independents said they would not vote for a Mormon — and 27% of Democrats said the same. Got that? I mean really got that?

A Funeral Oration for Joe Bob Birtherism

Why do I not title this post the more musical “Death of Birtherism”? Because President Obama’s release of his long-form Certificate of Live Birth did not, strictly speaking, kill Birtherism — anymore than Communism died with the disintegration of the Soviet Union or JFK assassination conspiracy theories died with the publication of the Warren Commission Report.

Birtherism simply suffered a fatal blow yesterday, subject to Whac-a-Mole resurrection by people with time and strange inclination to conceive new layered conspiracies about conspiracies.

Nevertheless, we properly gather for the funeral to pay our last respects to Joe Bob Birtherism (and mumble privately what an ass he was while alive). Herewith, then, my Shakespeare-inspired respectful eulogy to Joe Bob Birtherism upon his timely demise.

“Friends, Americans, countrymen, lend me your minds. I come to bury Joe Bob Birtherism, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; the good is often interred with their bones. So let it be with Joe Bob.

“The noble MSNBC has told you, repeatedly and with strange enthusiasm, that Joe Bob was ambitious. If so, it was a grievous fault, and grievously has Joe Bob answered for it. But MSNBC is honorable.

“When the unknown Obama leapt into strange and sudden prominence in the struggle for our country’s leadership, his party’s opponents wept, and Joe Bob Birtherism was born, weeping himself.

“Ambition should be made of sterner stuff. Yet MSNBC says, repeatedly and with strange enthusiasm, Joe Bob was ambitious, and MSNBC is honorable.

“Just yesterday, the word of Joe Bob Birtherism might have been a sound and a fury signifying nothing, and now here he lies, merely signifying nothing.

“And yet if I were to stir your hearts and minds against the rampaging obsession with Joe Bob by MSNBC, I would do MSNBC wrong, because MSNBC, as you all know, is honorable.

“Joe Bob was loved most well by MSNBC. Joe Bob had few friends at the ignoble Fox, and many at the noble MSNBC. And now I must pause for a moment because my breaking heart is in that coffin with Joe Bob, along with the large heart of MSNBC and its daily chorus of Joe Bob celebrants. Forgive me for a moment…

“My countrymen, Joe Bob Birtherism is dead. We, the great callous majority, might have wished it a swifter and less painful end.

“But such is the genuine affection for Joe Bob by the noble MSNBC that it desired nothing so much as Joe Bob’s steady companionship. However weak and frail Joe Bob became, however pocked with the war-torn marks of conspiratorial ravage, MSNBC well and truly loved Joe Bob, and wished him an eternity.

“Now we bury Joe Bob, taking solace in both the end of his suffering and the certainty that his memory and his progeny will thrive at MSNBC.”

P.S. One of the items uber-Birthers have seized upon as suspect in Obama’s long-form Certificate of Live Birth is the “II” in Obama’s name, because it should have been more probably “Jr.” My name is Gordon Kendrick Macdowell II. Turns out my parents just didn’t like “Junior,” and didn’t want to risk me being called “Junior.” The improbable “II” is therefore evidence, to me, of authenticity — and endearing as well.

Conspiracy Theories Again? Not If We’re a Serious People

Conspiracy theories are back in the news. Donald Trump has “operatives” finding out “amazing things” about President Obama’s birth. It’s vaguely respectable again to entertain the Birther nonsense. (And there, by the way, is the limit of money: it frequently buys notoriety, sometimes buys vague respectability, even more rarely buys legitimacy, and never buys integrity or authenticity.)

Possible Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, who might have been an attractive African-American counterpoint to Barack Obama, floated his own conspiracy theory when he was asked whether he would be comfortable appointing a Muslim to his cabinet or as a federal judge: “No, I would not. And here’s why. There is this creeping attempt, there is this attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government. It does not belong in our government. This is what happened in Europe. And little by little, to try and be politically correct, they made this little change, they made this little change. And now they’ve got a social problem that they don’t know what to do with hardly.”

Truther Jesse Ventura (Minnesota, what were you thinking?) now promotes, with a book, the preposterous notion that 9-11 was an “inside job.” Which, by the way, the jihadists abroad love. Thanks much Jesse.

Conspiracy theorists, fascists, jihadists, rightwingnuts, leftwingnuts, all have something in common. They thrive on sinister narratives. They all love whatever encourages abortion of thought and embrace of evil design. Oh my goodness now I get it, thank you for explaining so I never have to think again. Thank heavens the world isn’t complicated after all. It’s actually simple, “they” manipulate us.

I’ve always been impatient with conspiracy theories, because, basically, I’m a Pollyanna guy who refuses to see how diabolical people can truly be — especially when they team up and hatch really, off-the-chart nasty plots (which, make no mistake, they’re doing as we breathe this moment).

Also, I think it exceedingly rare that three or more people could ever truly collude to achieve some nefarious purpose without the thing unraveling — based upon the very mistrust that fuels conspiracy theories. If you think about it, conspirators have abundant reason to distrust their co-conspirators. By definition, as an evil conspirator, all of my co-conspirators are evil, meaning I sort of have to assume the worst about them, and I sort of have to assume that they’ll play self-protective three-dimensional chess (see Wild Things), meaning my very best Prisoner’s Dilemma option is probably cooperating with the authorities. No picnic for the Illuminati there.

Also, I’ve never minded too much not being in on the joke, which seems to bother many people greatly.

Because that’s what we really fear, right? Being taken as dupes? Being manipulated, notwithstanding all of our high-school civics rhetoric about democracy and freedom and self-determination? The wealthy and powerful obviously do something with all that wealth and power — so why not collude to make fools of all of us? And we’ll have none of that. By dang.

Anthropologists Todd Sanders and Harry G. West observe “that a broad cross section of Americans today … gives credence to at least some conspiracy theories.” Oh my.

Given the enormous policy challenges our country currently confronts, the single greatest threat to our viable democracy, in my opinion, is the embrace of conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories are narratives for people who no longer wish to think. And we are at a crossroads that desperately demands thinking.

Conspiracy theories are to thinking what prostitutes are to a man’s sex drive. It gets satisfied and shut down, embarrassingly.

UPDATE (Sat., Apr. 23, 2011): Politico published an article on Birtherism shortly after this post. It’s worth the read. Interestingly, and I did not know this, the actual origin of the Birther conspiracy theory was an anonymous email circulated by Hillary Clinton supporters in the spring of 2008. Those racist Clintons.

UPDATE (Sat., Apr, 23, 2011): From the Volokh Conspiracy today — these numbers are really troubling:

“Belief in political conspiracy theories is widespread on both sides of the political spectrum. Some 45% of Republicans believe that Obama is not a native-born citizen and (presumably) that the Democrats have gotten away with covering up that fact. Similarly, 35% of Democrats believe that George W. Bush knew about the 9/11 attack in advance, but let it happen anyway. About a quarter of all Americans, including 32% of Democrats and 18% of Republicans, believe that “the Jews” are to blame for the financial crisis of 2008.”

Come on America, Give Christina a Break

Hod Hasharon, Israel—I missed the Super Bowl because it started at 1:30 a.m. here. But the internet menu today permitted a recreation of every moment from every angle, with special emphasis on the non-football parts. And as the Middle East convulses, America couldn’t get enough of Christina Aguilera-bashing. Ha! Just kidding.

No, actually, I’m kidding about the kidding.

Poor Christina. She left some stuff out of the Star Spangled Banner. Oh my the huffing and the puffing and the sniffing and the pissing! You’d think she left some stuff out of the Constitution (wait, the Republicans did do that), or left some stuff out of the Declaration of Independence (wait, Barack Obama did do that). Well, anyway, the national sense of violation, of travesty, of mutilation is fully ignited, and Christina is America’s favorite punching bag. Poor girl’s launching a national apology tour.

I say, Christina, you go. Sing it your way! I’ve got your back!

Full disclosure: I served proudly in the culture war that posed the bitter question: who’s better—Christina or Britney? I was fiercer then. Such indeed was my fearsomeness that some Britney defenders, I was informed when that war was over, had merely pretended to be Christina defenders. Now I’m a kindler, gentler compassionate conservative, who doesn’t get out much, lest I shoot my entire compassion wad in an afternoon. But the old loyalty persists.

So again I say, you go Christina. Sing it your way.

It’s a difficult song. I know. I’ve tried to sing it. Earlier today. I wanted some intimacy with the experience before purporting to write about it.

So I retired to the venue where I am well known as “the talent.” I’m talking about the shower. I belted out a splendid Star Spangled Banner.

Oh say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming
Whose broad stripes and bright stars
Hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmmmm
And the rocket’s red glare the bombs bursting in air
Gave proof through the night
That our flag was still there
Hmmm Hmmm Hmmm Hmmm-Hmmm-Hmmm Hmmm Hmmm-mmm-mmm-mmm-mmm Hmmmm
And the home of the brave.

America—don’t lie. You do it too.

It’s a difficult song people. Americans are not difficult or complicated. Why is our national anthem difficult and complicated? The British – they’re difficult and complicated. So difficult and complicated, their drinking songs are as difficult and complicated as our national anthem. In fact, the melody for our national anthem – this is a true fact – comes from a popular British drinking song.

Which is particularly odd because Francis Scott Key wrote the poem that became our Star Spangled Banner while held captive on a British warship during the War of 1812. So we appropriated a difficult and complicated melody from an enemy drinking song and made it our national anthem. How complexly Greek, and neither Americans nor Greeks are Greek.

So come on, Christina wasn’t disrespectful, just forgetful, with no humming option. And let’s face it. She’s advanced in years for a pop star. A little compassion people.