Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler, never shy with his thoughts on politics, took the occasion of President Barack Obama‘s speech Sunday night to compare the address to President Franklin Roosevelt gave on the eve of the Second World War.
The result? No comparison, as Obama’s rhetoric falls far short, said Zeigler.
“On this Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, President Obama’s oval office speech cries out for comparison with the Presidential speech given Dec. 8 of 1941,” said Zeigler. “Obama announced no new military strategy, gave no clear plan for protecting America, and continued to blame Americans. Contrast the Franklin Roosevelt speech a day after the Pearl Harbor attack.”
Zeigler says the world stage today is not unlike that of 74 years ago, when Nazi Germany’s incursions into eastern Europe were continuing unabated and fascist leaders in Italy and Japan were pressing their neighbors and threatening the global status quo.
Zeigler quoted from FDR’s historic speech from the day after Pearl Harbor, when the President addressed Americans and an embattled world which had passed the point of no return.
“Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan,” said Roosevelt, in a turn of phrase inscribed in world history.
“The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific,” Zeigler quoted Roosevelt.
“Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our secretary of state a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack,” said Roosevelt, in line of rhetoric led to a trope of perceived “sneaky” Japanese behavior that persisted long afterward, culminating in internment for thousands of immigrants from the island nation.
Zeigler provided a link to the full speech, which can be found here.
The statement Monday was far from the first time Zeigler had criticized Obama and his administration.
Zeigler recently wrote an op-ed in support of Donald Trump‘s 2016 White House candidacy, calling him the “un-Obama” along the way to critiquing the administration’s “dumb” Iran deal and saying the government is best run by “a business tycoon, not a community organizer,” a dig at Obama’s past as an activist.
Zeigler, who holds a unique ombudsman-like office elected statewide, had mostly stuck to state politics of late, however.
The auditor has decried the removal of former Govs. George and Lurleen Wallace‘s official portraits from the Capitol rotunda, the state’s closure of half a dozen state parks amid budget cuts, as well as in favor of reimbursement a state scholarship plan fund and other sundry state issues.