Published for www.commentarymagazine.com, May 2, 2012
In 2008, Chris Matthews famously said this after listening to Barack Obama’s speech: “I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often.”
Let’s hope not.
Now, in 2012, after President Obama’s speech in Kabul, Afghanistan, the Obama Legend grows even larger.
“It was right out of Henry V actually,” Matthews said, “a touch of Barry, in this case, in the night for those soldiers risking their lives over there.”
So Obama, whom his press courtiers have compared to Lincoln, can now take his place next to Shakespeare.
This is only a hunch, but I rather doubt Obama’s speech will be remembered and quoted more than 400 years from now.
Young King Henry V’s speech at Agincourt is one of the greatest in history (here’s Kenneth Branagh delivering it in his 1989 film “Henry V”). For Chris Matthews to compare what Obama said last night at Bagram Air base to the St. Crispin’s day speech is beyond ridiculous. It is to enter a world of fantasy and parody, of obsequiousness and hero-worship, that most of us cannot even imagine.