The goodbye that really isn't

As I recall, President Reagan gave a nice and pleasant farewell speech from the Oval Office in 1989.  I really don't remember President George H.W. Bush or President Clinton saying goodbye.  I missed those two!  President George W. Bush did say goodbye, but it was spoiled a bit by the story of the plane dramatically landing on the Hudson River.   

Last night, President Obama said goodbye in something that looked a lot more like a campaign rally than a farewell speech.  Some in the crowd were even screaming “four more years.”  We confirmed later that President Obama’s goodbye was rather long:

Clinton spoke for 7 minutes, 25 seconds; Reagan spoke for 20 minutes, 42 seconds; and George W. Bush spoke for 13 minutes, 7 seconds. Obama spoke for 51 minutes, 10 seconds, nearly 10 minutes longer than the other three put together.

Obama also broke from the tradition of delivering his final speech from the White House. Clinton and Reagan both spoke from the Oval Office, and George W. Bush spoke in front of a small audience in the White House East Room; the Obama administration distributed public tickets for his speech at the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago.

Obama spoke to a crowd of 18,000.

On balance, it was Obama being Obama.  President Obama was in Chicago, which was a bit bizarre since he won't be going home for his post-presidency.

He flew over the last eight years, reminded us that he killed Osama, got everybody health insurance, and saved the world from a Great Depression.  I guess he and I have different memories of the last two terms.  Maybe that’s why the Democrats are in such bad shape or why his popularity never elected anybody.

Obama’s goodbye won't be any goodbye at all.  He will be living about a mile from the White House, and there is no shortage of “in the tank” reporters who will be dropping by to get his reaction to any of President Trump’s decisions.

The other news is that the rest of his party was at cabinet confirmation hearings.

Yesterday, we watched Democrats turn confirmation hearings into a fundraising scheme.  You will soon see many of their questions in political ads attacking Trump and the GOP about this that.

At one point, A.G. nominee Sessions had to remind Senator David Durbin that Congress writes the laws.  It was a reply to a question about whether or not the A.G. would use his discretion to go around Congress.  It’s a shame that the very polite Mr. Sessions did not remind Senator Durbin that the Democrats had majorities and did not a darned thing about immigration reform.

At another point, Senator Feinstein took her entire time to ask questions about Roe v. Wade and the recent Supreme Court decision about same-sex marriage.  Mr. Sessions again reminded another Democrat senator that the attorney general enforces the law.

Frankly, these nomination hearings have turned into a joke.  It won't be any better when President Trump nominates a candidate for the Supreme Court.

Many years ago, a college U.S. history teacher explained to our class that the Senate was different than the House.

He repeated that famous phrase that “[t]he Senate is the saucer into which we pour legislation to cool.”    

I get the feeling that this version of the U.S. Senate is not about cooling anything off!

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