In an interesting test of what might be the essence of his State of the Union speech after the first of the year, and, for that matter, a theme in his run-for-a-second-term, President Obama told a small group of kids at Winston-Salem's Forsyth Tech, "We need a commitment to innovation we haven't seen since President Kennedy challenged us to go to the moon."
He said, "We need a new 'Sputnik Moment.'" Referring to the October 4, 1957, launch of the Soviet satellite.
He told the kids, "I believe right now there are bigger issues at stake for our country than politics. These issues," he said, "call for us to respond not as partisans, but as Americans."
Wow! This is a Sputnik moment.
He said, "We must win the future."
Sputnik was indeed a wake-up call for the free world. It had been developed in secrecy. It shocked the world when it was launched with its funny beeps from space. There was a sense of vulnerability---a sense of losing control to evil as the little steel ball circled the globe every 90 minutes.
Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson demanded a Congressional investigation on the impact of Sputnik.
But I'm wondering who needs the "Sputnik Moment"---we the people, or the President?
President Obama was elected on the promise of "change," yet his first two years in office have shown his policies to be old and tired; those of the previously failed presidencies of Johnson and Carter and Wilson.
And Barack Obama is no John Kennedy.
His call for a "Sputnik Moment" may in fact be a call to salvage his own political future, rather than the future of the country.
He told the kids, "We must win the future." Whose future?
It is difficult to hear a man who has insisted that America is not exceptional and has toured the world---particularly the Muslim world, apologizing for America's past, now calling for a "Sputnik Moment" which he defines as a moment to put aside partisanship and to respond to the economic threats from China and Russia and to once again strive to become a leading nation.
Barack Obama is on track to have the most spectacularly failed presidency since Carter, or even Woodrow Wilson.
It is difficult to hear a President who refused to hear from the minority in Congress as he rammed through a healthcare bill that essentially sets the stage for America to become another European-type socialistic country, now calling for non-partisanship.
And defining this past election as a call from "the people" to work together, or in Obama-speak, work with him, is laughable.
More than a year ago, Dorothy Rabinowitz, writing for The Wall Street Journal said, "The President has a problem. For, despite a great election victory, Mr. Obama, it becomes ever clear, knows little about Americans. He knows the crowds---he is at home with those. He is a stranger to the country's heart and character."
A stranger in a strange land.
It is true, his profile is fuzzy. His past even more so. He seems to be devoid of content. He doesn't seem to command our respect, including that of many who supported him just months ago. He seems unable to appeal to our common sense. He seems to be a little of everything and a lot of nothing. Core values?
Mrs. Obama's comment, revealing she had never been proud of her country until her husband became a candidate for the Presidency, lingers in minds.
For 20 years he and his family partook of the "ministry" of Pastor Jeremiah Wright, without taking issue. Only when this association threatened his own political ambitions did he remove himself from this extreme anti-American environment.
He told the kids at Forsyth, "The hard truth is this: In the race for the future, America is in danger of falling behind."
It could be that America had a "Sputnik Moment" sometime ago, realizing that we made a terrible mistake in 2008. The anger expressed in Town Hall meetings last summer was rooted in the awareness that a majority in America had voted for change, hope and a better future, but had received tired, out-of-touch policies and an isolated leader---one who is "a stranger to the country's heart and character."
The "Sputnik Moment" has likely already happened for the American people. This may be nothing more than one man's awakening to what has already happened.
It is indeed a hard truth. Without proper leadership, America will fall behind.
However the good news is this: Our Founding Fathers understood "Sputnik Moments" and gave us another chance to get it right.
In our case it's called "Election 2012."
May God bless and help us all.
Faith and Freedom
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