Blog author: jballor
by on Monday, September 12, 2011

The folks over at Think Christian asked me to write up a response to President Obama’s jobs speech from last Thursday. That response is now up over at the TC site, “The misplaced faith of Obama’s job speech.”

I took special note of President Obama’s invocation of a couple lines from JFK: “Our problems are man-made – therefore they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants.” I found this quote, used in this context, to be particularly illuminating. It illustrates perfectly, I think, an idolatrous view of human ability, particularly of human politics.

So when you add the formula, “Man can be as big as he wants,” to the president’s derision of “some rigid idea about what government could or could not do,” and you’ve got an equation that results in government as big as we want.

In some ways then the question really does come down to this: How big of a government do we really want? We’ve been electing politicians for decades that have been promising us things that could only be accomplished by massive expansions in government. If we want truth-tellers in politics, as Thomas Friedman rightly urges, then citizens have to demand them, and hold ourselves to the maxim, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”


  • http://twitter.com/RayNothstine Ray Nothstine

    That was a poor line for Obama to borrow from Kennedy. The line comes from Kennedy’s peace speech at American University. Kennedy’s address was not a partisan hack address.

    The free Western man was in a serious moral conflict with a totalitarian state committed to world domination. The free world and free man did achieve big things in the face against a moral evil. Berlin airlift, NATO alliance, landing a man on the moon, freeing nations with American blood. Kennedy’s speech is quite a contrast with the “pass my jobs bill” speech.

    Trying to draw comparisons with a long and moral struggle against the Soviets with your job package also shows the disconnect and aimlessness in Washington today. Mitch Daniels was right, the debt is the new “red menace” and our leadership is aimless. Good article!