So Dana Milbank noticed that President Obama by-passed an opportunity to meet with world-leaders visiting our country, yesterday, so he could hang out with the gals on that execrable program, The View. Milbank, while raising an eyebrow at Obama’s priorities, carefully manages to mention that Mitt Romney and his wife have also done the silly shows.
As Ed Morrissey points out, that false equivalence is pointless; moreover until yesterday, the American President did not blow off meeting with world leaders to hang with Whoopi.
Today, an Obama adviser trots out an excuse, and it’s a whiney one: “If he met with one leader, he would have to meet with 10″.
Um. Yeah. That’s his job. If he doesn’t want to do it, he should just stand down and stop wasting everyone’s time, and a great deal of money, with an almost surreal campaign for re-election.
Meanwhile, Egypt and America seem to be confused about how to define our relationship. A meeting might have helped. A couple meetings with a couple of world leaders might have helped the cause of mutual communication and clarity and shore up good faith.
But perhaps that’s precisely why Obama didn’t want to have to meet with anyone. Increasingly this president, a very confident fellow who doesn’t feel a pressing need to meet his security advisers, doesn’t want to meet with anyone, much, beyond his tight inner circle. The guy who thinks he can do any job better than anyone else seems intent on isolating himself from the lesser lights.
Why should he listen to other world leaders? He knows more than all of them.
Instead of talking to other world leaders — what a waste of his time — Obama decided he would wait for the big microphone and explain it all to the world.
And it’s quite a piece of rhetoric. Except for the over-insistence that a short film no one saw sparked terrorism, (and a perhaps too eager insistence that America had nothing to do with that) — Obama seemed to be channeling hated old George W. Bush:
“. . . we believe that freedom and self-determination are not unique to one culture. These are not simply American values or Western values – they are universal values. And even as there will be huge challenges that come with a transition to democracy, I am convinced that ultimately government of the people, by the people and for the people is more likely to bring about the stability, prosperity, and individual opportunity that serve as a basis for peace in our world.” [...] True democracy demands that citizens cannot be thrown in jail because of what they believe, and businesses can be opened without paying a bribe. It depends on the freedom of citizens to speak their minds and assemble without fear; on the rule of law and due process that guarantees the rights of all people.
In fact, it was a mostly great speech.
But in reading it I couldn’t help but think that the man giving it is the man who wants to party but not to parlay; the guy who will speak with to the pop culture, but only to the political one.
This was a “president of the world” speech. A call, I think, to end old paradigms and shake off the dust of the last 40 years of wandering in a diplomatic desert, to reach the promised land of Internamity (International Amity).
Great words. But they I think for many they’ll have a hollow ring to them, because now we know this man, and have seen that while he loves to deliver grand oratory, he does not especially want to engage, anywhere. The spirit may be willing, but the flesh votes “present” time and again, and then leads from behind.
I see a lot of hysteria in social media about this line:
“The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
I sincerely hope the Romney campaign doesn’t try to make hay of that, because it’s just a teaser — I’m quite sure the speechwriter knew it would be bait for the far-right. But taken in context, it’s all quite good:
The future must not belong to those who target Coptic Christians in Egypt – it must be claimed by those in Tahrir Square who chanted “Muslims, Christians, we are one.” The future must not belong to those who bully women – it must be shaped by girls who go to school, and those who stand for a world where our daughters can live their dreams just like our sons. The future must not belong to those corrupt few who steal a country’s resources – it must be won by the students and entrepreneurs; workers and business owners who seek a broader prosperity for all people. Those are the men and women that America stands with; theirs is the vision we will support.
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. Yet to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see when the image of Jesus Christ is desecrated, churches are destroyed, or the Holocaust is denied.
Still, I get a sense that this UN Address, delivered by a president who went out of his way not to talk to another world leader before he made it, is Obama making a move.
What move may that be? Can’t say for sure. But just as some of our post-modern Christians talk about moving “beyond God, beyond Jesus,” I have a feeling it might be a move “beyond” America.
In the words of Bob Marley: One world; one love; let’s get together and feel alright.
Great words, and yet, I got a chill. But, you know. I could certainly be wrong.
Over at the WaPo, Jennifer Rubin finds it scandalous.