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Being Obama Matters

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Posted on Jun 8, 2009

By Eugene Robinson

    I used to fear that President Obama was overestimating the power of his personal history as an instrument of foreign policy. Now I wonder if he might have been underestimating.

    In several interviews during the long presidential campaign, Obama mentioned the potential impact in other countries of seeing an American president with an appearance and a life story like none of his predecessors. He spoke especially of how the Muslim world, addressed by a president who had a Muslim father and who spent years of his childhood in a Muslim country, might be more inclined to believe that the United States is not an enemy of Islam.

    But nations tend to act on the basis of perceived national interest, not personality. I thought that in the final analysis, if Obama became president—which seemed a very long shot when I first heard Obama mention this theme, in a March 2007 interview—he would be seen as friend or foe depending on how he conducted U.S. foreign policy.

    Now, after Obama’s trip to the Middle East, I think we both were right.

    Taking a cold-eyed view of international affairs is never wrong. But it’s also wrong to ignore the spectacle of an audience member, at Obama’s Cairo University speech, interrupting an American president to shout, “We love you!” You will recall that the last memorable presidential appearance in the Arab world was the news conference in Iraq at which two shoes were hurled at the head of George W. Bush.

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    Not being Bush was a big factor. But at least as important was being Obama—and being able to say, as the president did in Cairo, that “I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed.”

    Obama was referring to the “generations of Muslims” in his father’s Kenyan family, his early years in Indonesia and his experience working in Chicago communities where “many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith.” The most important word in that sentence, however, came at the end: By saying revealed rather than born, Obama was acknowledging Islam as a divinely given faith.

    Obama quoted liberally from the Quran, drawing applause. Perhaps more important was that he opened the speech by putting Islam in the historical context that many Muslims believe the West willfully ignores. He spoke of how the Islamic world kept the light of civilization burning during Europe’s Dark Ages—and mentioned the Quran that Thomas Jefferson kept in his library.

    Obama was speaking the language of Islam in a tone of respect. What a concept.

    The rest of his speech consisted essentially of a summary of U.S. policy in the Muslim world, and in truth there were no real departures from traditional American policy. Prior administrations have called for a Palestinian state, and Obama hasn’t been nearly as tough with Israel as, say, James Baker’s State Department was during the administration of George Bush the Elder. Obama had nothing substantive to announce on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he properly asserted the right of the United States to defend itself against terrorists.

    Familiar policies sounded different coming from Obama, though—not just because of his identity but also because he showed a little humility. He acknowledged that in recent years our nation had acted in ways “contrary to our ideals,” and noted that he had ordered the closing of the prison at Guantanamo and an end to torture. There are those who believe that admitting mistakes is a sign of weakness. I think it’s a sign of confidence and strength, and I believe that’s how it was received by Obama’s intended audience.

    Perhaps the best indication of how Obama played in Cairo is the reaction of his competitors for the hearts and minds of the Muslim world. The Associated Press reported Sunday that the Iranian-backed Lebanon-based guerrilla group Hezbollah, an influential radical Saudi cleric and the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood all warned followers not to be taken in by Obama’s seductive words—which suggests a fear that Obama had been dangerously effective. A Web site that often reflects the thinking of al-Qaida referred to the president after the speech as a “wise enemy.”

    The fact that many Muslims now see a sympathetic figure in the White House creates new possibilities. It turns out that being Obama matters more than I thought.

    Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)washpost.com.

    © 2009, Washington Post Writers Group


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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, June 22, 2009 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

Mandinka,

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By mandinka, June 22, 2009 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment

One can only hope that barak’s past will catch up to him before 2012. He’s a chicago thug and is notorious for his pay to play mentality. Blagovich will eventually roll over on him and I’m waiting for the hospital that paid for michelle’s no show $350K a year job to be held accountable and roll over on barak as well. Look for him to be only second man in history to walked out of the White House

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By KDelphi, June 22, 2009 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment

the way to get mandinka to shut up is to ignore him.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, June 22, 2009 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

mandinka,

Your frame died with the presidency of W.

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By ardee, June 21, 2009 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

MarthaA, June 21 at 2:31 pm #

The extremist part is accurate. I do not know if he has a party affiliation but, as I learned on another forum he infested for a bit, the way to shut him up is to post links that refute the few “facts” he utters.

So far, no facts, perhaps he’s learned to be obtuse along with insane.

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By mandinka, June 21, 2009 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

Martha I was going to respond to your comments but its some liberal neo communist gibberish that only makes sense to the other haters on this blog.
Barak history is replete with hate and he has done a poor job of masking it

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, June 21, 2009 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

ardee,

mandinka’s rhetoric is ludicrous EXTREME REPUBLICAN ramblings in hopes the ignorant will grab on to it and run, which actually is the only way EXTREME REPUBLICANS get followers.  If the people will be diligent and check out the facts, NO ONE would ever be a REPUBLICAN, because they use no facts, only rhetoric to deceive.  The 70% MAJORITY Common Population have a much better chance of freedom with Democrats, and if we will march by the millions for an institutionalized multi-party political system we can have real democracy, which can only be had through an institutionalized multi-party political system.

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By ardee, June 20, 2009 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment

MarthaA, June 20 at 10:15 pm

As one familiar with the ranting of this mandinka person on other forums I can assure you that it will get no better, in all liklihood far worse. Best to simply turboscroll past his efforts and sooner or later he’ll get tired of being ignored and go away.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, June 20, 2009 at 7:15 pm Link to this comment

mandinka,

Your right-wing Republican EXTREMIST propaganda post is so delusional it’s amusing and doesn’t deserve an answer.

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By mandinka, June 20, 2009 at 6:52 pm Link to this comment

we have a Muslim not born in this country married to a women that hates America and a pastor who was his mentor who hates America what do you end up with? Another Chamberlain apologizing for the US and the folks that mean to do us harm laughing at him. How tragic

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By ardee, June 13, 2009 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment

ThomasG, June 13 at 1:41 pm #

Ardee,

Try pounding on a tree with a rock to cut it down and let me know if it resists.
........
What on earth are you talking about? How on earth does this relate to anything this side of sanity?


Folktruther…...
now Ive got to reread all my recent posts to see where on earth Ive gone so horribly wrong!

grin

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By Inherit The Wind, June 13, 2009 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther, June 13 at 2:11 pm #

I find myself agreeing more and more with Ardee.  I must be getting sick.
******************************************

Ohhhhh, the temptation!  Get Thee Behind Me, Satan!

smile

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By Folktruther, June 13, 2009 at 11:11 am Link to this comment

I find myself agreeing more and more with Ardee.  I must be getting sick.

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By ThomasG, June 13, 2009 at 10:41 am Link to this comment

Ardee,

Try pounding on a tree with a rock to cut it down and let me know if it resists.

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By ardee, June 13, 2009 at 5:19 am Link to this comment

ThomasG, June 12 at 7:41 pm #

I would comment only that your analogy falls flat. No forest resists being altered while the Democratic Party resists mightily any change that would alter its status, the power of its leadership, its cozy relationship with corporate rule and the building to prominence of another political party.

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By ThomasG, June 12, 2009 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment

Tahitifp,

You said,“Just how do you propose to wake up 70+% of the population, when 20+% is controlling the ÇM ?”

Participate in the process without expectation of personal glorification for your efforts and trust that geometric expansion of awareness will have a result.

Creating awareness is not like a light switch that you can turn on and off and feel like you’ve done something.  You can contend with a light switch because it is binary in nature, it only has two positions, and you can force one position or the other.  There are unlimited positions in a process of useful purpose and it is up to each and every one of us in the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION to do what we can to create awareness that will serve useful purpose that is a part from our own greedy self-interest, and serves the collective, rather than our own egos and greed.

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By tahitifp, June 12, 2009 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment

Thomas wrote”

“That process can be implemented by awareness in the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION,”
*****************

Just how do you propose to wake up 70+% of the population, when 20+% is controlling the ÇM ?

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By ThomasG, June 12, 2009 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment

ardee,

Based on your conversation with Martha, here is what I have to say:

Figuratively, one can stand in a forest and complain about the trees preventing him from doing what he wants to do.  Or, one can start a process of cutting the trees, using them for resources such as fuel and the building of homes, farms, ranches, etc., and gradually convert the forest into useful purpose quite different from the forest.

I am one who would not complain about the trees.  I see more benefit in converting the Democratic Party to useful purpose; and to do so is a PROCESS. 

That process can be implemented by awareness in the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION, who, if they choose to do so, can chop down the trees in the figurative forest of the Democratic Party and develop the Democratic Party to serve their own useful purpose, the purpose of the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION, rather than the useful purpose of a 20% minority population of the Professional Middle Class.

I see a process here, rather than my own or your personal discouragement over all of the figurative trees in the forest being the cause that progress is not possible.

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By ardee, June 12, 2009 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment

MarthaA, June 12 at 10:57 am #

ardee,

There’s a National Party in South America and New Zealand. I checked Google and found NO National Party in the United States.
......................

I believe that, in the context of that post, the meaning of National Party is quite clear. It refers to the upper and controlling layer of the Democratic Party…grassroots party, local party , state party, national party…...do you not even understand the party to which you enslave yourself?

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, June 12, 2009 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi,

No. I do what I can, NOT what I can’t.

The concept is figurative, the act is literal.  The reason why is the concept does NOT have form and substance, the act has form and substance.

I’m only saying that the concept is figurative.

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By KDelphi, June 12, 2009 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment

MarthA-I cant believe that I’m having this “consversatoin”—so you “do what you cant”??

I dont get it.

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By MarthaA, June 12, 2009 at 7:57 am Link to this comment

ardee,

There’s a National Party in South America and New Zealand. I checked Google and found NO National Party in the United States.  Are you talking about the national conventions for the two institutionalized political parties, or what?  What is the National Party?  Is that The Party duopoly?  To my knowledge, the United States doesn’t have a National Party.

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By MarthaA, June 12, 2009 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

KDelphi,

“You do what you can, not what you can’t.” is a concept until the concept is put into action.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, June 12, 2009 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

KDelphi,

“MarthaA—“Figuratively, you do what you can—- NOT what you can’t.” That would be literally.”

For me it would be literal, maybe not YOU.

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By ardee, June 11, 2009 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment

MarthaA, June 11 at 3:07 pm #

ardee,

Figuratively, you do what you can—- NOT what you can’t.

The people can run their own candidates in the primary, if they choose to do so, and the people can elect those same candidates in the primary, if they choose to do so, and those candidates that the people choose to run in the primary can be elected in the General Election. 
.............................

You speak of textbook explanations and not at all of physical reality. Candidates for the primaries must raise money to compete, the lower the office the less the money needed to be competitive, and conversely, the higher the office the more money is required. It currently costs several tens of millions to run for the Senate for example.

The National Party is a conduit for money to candidates, and thus controls the success and failure of those candidates. That is the reality of political life in this nation. I speak as one who spent many years in local so-called “grassroots” Democratic politics. The party structure is a top down mechanism, one which ignores the wishes of the bottom and only mandates from the top. If you have spent any time at all in that structure you understand what I say is true.

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By tahitifp, June 11, 2009 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment

Sorry, Martha, I’ve been an Indie all my life and have no desire to join the dem party and try to *reform* it. 

We don’t need reform, IMO.  We need huge fundamental change in how we elect our pols.  Ånd WHO we elect.

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By KDelphi, June 11, 2009 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment

MarthaA—“Figuratively, you do what you can—- NOT what you can’t.” That would be literally.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, June 11, 2009 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

tahitifp,

Read the post I sent to ardee. 

The COMMON POPULATION is a 70% MAJORITY POPULATION of the United States that can be used to dilute the current membership of the Democratic Party and make it into a MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION Party that will overshadow the 20% minority membership of the DLC-PPI Professional Middle Class that currently controls the Democratic Party; the COMMON POPULATION has the population numbers to get this done, all that the COMMON POPULATION needs is the awareness to make it happen.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, June 11, 2009 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

ardee,

Figuratively, you do what you can—- NOT what you can’t. 

The people can run their own candidates in the primary, if they choose to do so, and the people can elect those same candidates in the primary, if they choose to do so, and those candidates that the people choose to run in the primary can be elected in the General Election. 

Contention just doesn’t work.

The problem is awareness and participation of the masses—- NOT a few people like you and I contending over a candidate.  If you want to affect who a candidate is in the Democratic Party, join the Democratic Party and participate in the Primary Election process as a Democratic Party member.  You may have to fight pretty hard to become a Democratic Party member but it is worth the effort to effect change.  Joining and sending money doesn’t get you your membership card, you must request and contend for your membership card or your membership will be ignored.  All people interested in REFORMING the Democratic Party need to make certain they have a current membership card.

If you want to learn about this process of restricting political membership, you need to read about Supporters and Members in Adolph Hitler’s book, “Mein Kampf” about the reasons why a political party limits membership, which is far from democratic.  Here is a quote from Page 581 of “Mein Kampf”:

“If a movement proposes to overthrow a certain order of things and construct a new one in its place, then the following principles must be clearly understood and must dominate in the ranks of its leadership: Every movement which has gained its human material must first divide this material into two groups: namely, followers and members.
It is the task of the propagandist to recruit the followers and it is the task of the organizer to select the members.
The follower of a movement is he who understands and accepts its aims; the member is he who fights for them.
The follower is one whom the propaganda has converted to the doctrine of the movement. The member is he who will be charged by the organization to collaborate in winning over new followers from which in turn new members can be formed.
To be a follower needs only the passive recognition of the idea. To be a member means to represent that idea and fight for it. From ten followers one can have scarcely more than two members. To be a follower simply implies that a man has accepted the teaching of the movement; whereas to be a member means that a man has the courage to participate actively in diffusing that teaching in which he has come to believe.”  http://www.hitler.org/writings/Mein_Kampf/mkv2ch11.html

If the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION expects to effect change in the Democratic Party, so that the Democratic Party represents the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION must obtain a greater membership in the Democratic Party than the Professional DLC-PPI Middle Class that currently controls the Democratic Party.

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By tahitifp, June 11, 2009 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

Reforming the dems from within is near impossible.  They even choose our candidates in the primaries.  We need to go outside with a good candidate..still hard, but not impossible.

Both parties have morphed into one another.  I often refer to it as the one bi-polar war party!

Time for a true change.  grin

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By prosefights, June 11, 2009 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

——- Forwarded Message——-
From: “Iran Defense Forum” <support@irandefence.net>
To: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 10:01:34 PM GMT -08:00 Tijuana / Baja California
Subject: Happy Birthday from Iran Defense Forum

Hello billp37,

We at Iran Defense Forum would like to wish you a happy birthday today!


Reason?

http://www.prosefights.org/nmlegal/theinvestigation/theinvestigation.htm#reedemail

My 72nd.

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By KDelphi, June 11, 2009 at 9:00 am Link to this comment

tahitifp—YES!! I agree with you, on what I “expected” of Obama, and, I didnt even support him. I am with you on MSNBC, also. They have become as histrionic as FOX, only for neo-liberals. I try to watch Democracy Now, BBC (ssometimes). I just cannot watch MSNBC or CNN—my blood pressure goes thru the roof!

ardee—I have to agree with you again…except the revolution part—but not WITHIN the Party…I think that apple is too rotten to bake.

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By herewegoagain, June 11, 2009 at 7:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Inherit the Wind writes: “The reason Obama is holding back on so much we want to see is he’s gathering chits for the biggest battle: Health care.”

I hope you’re right, but this was sort of the same logic many used to explain why Obama caved on FISA, supported the bank bailout, and other issues that arose while he was running for President. Many assumed then “He just needs to run a drama-free campaign so he can get elected and then make the necessary changes.”

Well, we’ve seen something quite different since he got elected.

I do hope I’m wrong, but there is a pattern here that is difficult to ignore.

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By ardee, June 11, 2009 at 4:05 am Link to this comment

For all those who see the solution within the Democratic Party:

How can one see the allegiance of the Democrats to the same masters as the GOP and still believe that the solution is to vote for better democrats?

How does one accomplish such a feat when the people do not even choose the candidates, the party does? Even the primaries are skewed because the DLC driven party decides who gets the money, who gets the big name politicos to stand on stage with the candidate and who does not.

The evils that infest our political system are known to most of us, certainly. The path to eliminate these evils remains clouded however. But those who call for a “revolution” within the democratic party are still unaware, apparently, as to how loaded the dice are against such occurrences.

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By Folktruther, June 10, 2009 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

William Wexler, I really like ‘vidiots.’  I congratulate you.

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By tahitifp, June 10, 2009 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

Inherit:

He wants the media to focus on that and they can’t and won’t if Holder is making rather sensational cases against the criminally insane of the Bush admin.
***********

The problem with this is that the CM has not been focusing on this..Keith? No Rachel?  No
Maybe I’m watching the wrong CM.  I think Big Eddie has been, but I don’t usually watch him. Howard has been on, but not every day.

Holder would be doing what’s necessary quietly, gathering info.  I wouldn’t think it would be splashy in the beginning…...

I’m always suspicious about Obama, for many reasons.  But he’s not out there touting single payer or public option all that much either, is he?  And where is Sibelius?

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By Inherit The Wind, June 10, 2009 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

The reason Obama is holding back on so much we want to see is he’s gathering chits for the biggest battle: Health care. 

He wants the media to focus on that and they can’t and won’t if Holder is making rather sensational cases against the criminally insane of the Bush admin.

I don’t agree with the strategy: You do what’s right and don’t let the worst and greediest felons walk.  But that’s what he’s doing: Gathering and marshaling forces for this fight and doesn’t want it to blow up in his face the way it did in Clinton’s.

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William W. Wexler's avatar

By William W. Wexler, June 10, 2009 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

So, Eugene, what I believe you wrote is that the cult of personality has spread from the generation of vacuous vidiots in the US and now commands the rest of the world, even our enemies.

I am highly skeptical of that.

-Wexler

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By tahitifp, June 10, 2009 at 12:18 am Link to this comment

cynner:

Exactly what did you all expect to happen after 150 days on the job as POTUS?
********************

No escalation of more wars, for one thing.
Giving Holder the nod to begin prosecution of bushco, for another. These are biggies, very biggies.

Both of those things should have been addressed on day one.  Holder could actually be doing his job right now.

For pacifists, this prez is a nightmare.
*****************
Someone suggested we register as dems and vote out the DINOs.  Howard has said the both parties are corrupt and we’ve certainly seen proof of that.  It’s time for a viable third party and we need to start from scratch IMO.  Many repugs are looking for a new *home* and so are dems and Indies and Greens.

With the corps in power, we may not be able to do anything anymore except feed the war machine and vote for the lesser of two evils.  I really don’t think that’s gonna fly much longer, since hopefully the people are waking up.

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By cynner, June 9, 2009 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Exactly what did you all expect to happen after 150 days on the job as POTUS? 

I’m no Obama apologist, but “damyum” such tough taskmasters.

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By KDelphi, June 9, 2009 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

I am not at all certain that, a person shouting, “I love you!” is either helpful or appropriate at this speech. He is probably not going to date that person, or, if he does, are we in for another Clinton??

I am also not certain that Obama’s cheerleaders are doing him any favors anymore.

It is certainly getting old….

Cathy—youre right, and, you do know that we “endorsed” the Lebanese “christian” candidate to the tune of $1 billion…this will backfire, as it has everywhere else. Neo-liberals will never learn, until they run out of money and loaner countries…

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By tahitifp, June 9, 2009 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment

Both Robinson and Keith are sounding like megaphones for the party line. 

Obama, as a gifted orator, is able to fool just enuf people enuf of the time to still have them reaching for their rose-colored glasses every time he speaks.

The glasses, however, are slowly slipping off the noses of people who were star-struck during the *race.*  So where do we go?  Without a progressive/peace candidate, where do we go and who will take up the mantle?

How do we win IA?

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, June 9, 2009 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

Don’t be so down on Obama.  Obama is only one person and he is doing fine with what he has to work with.  Not everything I expected, but better than the Republicans.  You must remember Congress is mostly big business conservative including the Democrats, as there are so many DINO’s in the Democratic Party that the party should no longer be called the Democratic Party, which is no help to Obama.

We need to vote out the DINO’s in the Primary Elections next year and then see what a difference it makes in what Obama can and will do, before determining he is only a one-term president.  The people have to help him, which means register as Democrats and vote the big business conservative DINO’s out in the primaries.

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By Folktruther, June 9, 2009 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

That is why Obama was put in power by the ruling class, to rehabilitate Bushite policy with nice words, a nice smile, a Muslim name, and a dark skin. Robinson, a truth agent of the US ruling class, appreciates these attributes as much as they do, disguising and covering the Bushite foreign policy.  It has proven its effectiveness by preventing Hezbollah from outright wining the Lebanon election, and possibly might influence the Iran election.

Eventually everyone will see throught it, but in the meantime the Obama cheerleaders have something to cheer about.

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By herewegogain, June 9, 2009 at 10:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Reading these comments and similar others, I would not be surprised if Obama ends up a one-term president. The truly progressive base is fast growing disillusioned with the glaring disparity between Obama’s sweeping speeches and almost non-existent actions.

The far right, of course, could never stand him.

That’s two highly active bases that will work against him in the next election.

The Independents? They are far less susceptible to voting based on party loyalty, and so, are more critically objective in their judgment. And, they are fast becoming the majority block of voters.

It’s like Obama wants to lose in 2012. What a pity for all the folks who truly believed him and worked their tails off to get him elected.

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By godistwaddle, June 9, 2009 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

Being Obama matters because you can gull the credible into believing you’re not another fascist dedicated to government by the rich, for the rich, and of the rich.

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tropicgirl's avatar

By tropicgirl, June 9, 2009 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

Mr. Robinson, you don’t see that claiming to reform something as important as this, and not doing anything substantial, is in actuality more damaging to the cause of reform? It demoralizes the effort itself. You really can’t see this? I’m stunned.

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By Lou, June 9, 2009 at 7:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This article is a load of crap… Total BS.
Robinson sounds like Bob Herbert of the NY Times - an unpaid Obama PR guy.
The threats to Iran continue daily, the bombing of Afghanistan, the total support of Israel, corrupt Lawrence Summers in charge of our $$$, etc.
This article suggests this site should be called Merdedig.

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By Cathy, June 9, 2009 at 7:10 am Link to this comment

Here’s the key paragraph here, Gene:

“The rest of his speech consisted essentially of a summary of U.S. policy in the Muslim world, and in truth there were no real departures from traditional American policy. Prior administrations have called for a Palestinian state, and Obama hasn’t been nearly as tough with Israel as, say, James Baker’s State Department was during the administration of George Bush the Elder. Obama had nothing substantive to announce on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he properly asserted the right of the United States to defend itself against terrorists.”

You hit the nail on the head and do we go from here from here?  We’re still killing hundreds of innocents with drones and we still have Bagram, to name two really troubling issues.  Is Gitmo a bone being thrown to the people? 

When I listen to Obama speak I give myself a reality check—and then I know that nothing has changed and won’t.  Life on the homefront is getting worse, and right now the future looks kind of ominous to the people regarding the wars, health care and the economy.  I wish I could say otherwise, but at the moment Obama looks like pretty window dressing.

Look at what is happening in Iran with the presidential election.  As far as I knew the U.S. hasn’t stuck their nose in there and this is coming from the people.  Pretty neat.  I was really worried that King George would try to pull the trigger on Iran before he left office.  Thank God for big or small favors.

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By RdV, June 9, 2009 at 5:11 am Link to this comment

Meanwhile we invade and occupy their countries, lecture them about the Holocaust, for which they had nothing to do with, continue to torture them, talk about “wars of choice” that are actually crimes of war thatwon’t be prosecuted, make noises about respecting their human rights from Egypt, visiting Nazi death camps and promising to never forget, while never mentioning the recent slaughter of the Palestinians, reverse all promise of change and campaign promises except the NeoCon posturing and take the Bush-Cheney road to the point that Jon stewart on the Daily Show has taken to comparing the similarity of content between Bush and Obama speeches. But Mr Robinson asks us to be impressed with fluff.

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By coloradokarl, June 9, 2009 at 4:46 am Link to this comment

When Obama speaks the muslim world listens. He grew up in Indonesia after all. When he says “Akbar Likim Hiney” they take notice. But who in this country REALLY CARES??? Let us focus on our own and let the sand lot bullies fight it out…..

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By Everest Mokaeff, June 9, 2009 at 4:42 am Link to this comment

Agree with above comment. To deliver a great speech has nothing to do with implementing real policy towards Muslim world. I took a look recently at 9/11 George W. Bush address before Congress: it contained lots of buzz words designed to please a muslims ear. Consequences of the speech are still beyond fair estimate, we have yet to grasp them in years to come.

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By ardee, June 9, 2009 at 3:15 am Link to this comment

I have great respect for Mr. Robinson’s abilities
as an author, but I fear that he, along with the website he aids, ourfuture.org, is far too much a cheerleader and far to less of a dispassionate reporter.

Barack Obama is the best speech maker since JFK perhaps, and that audience in Cairo was one desperate to hear anything other than the continuation of war and the vilification of Islam. The perfect storm in fact, thus the overly warm reception to his words.

But the deeds have not matched those words and I begin to understand that they never will. Behind the speeches, behind the passion, behind the hope lies a politician wedded to the status quo, and that is not what this nation or this world needs.

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