Sunday, June 21, 2009


U.S. or World Leader?

Does Barack Obama want to be the President of the United States or did he seek the job because it happens to provide the world’s biggest stage to act on?

I am happy to read that he is becoming more vocal about the obvious atrocities being visited on Iranian citizens. But, if I may borrow from some of his previous eloquence, “I'm very concerned, based on some of the tenor and tone of the statements that have been made, that” President Obama is too focusing his comments on himself and his “citizen of the world” shtick and not enough as speaking for the United States.

Here is the latest statement:

“The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.

"As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion. "“Martin Luther King once said -

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.”

In every instance where he uses the word “we”, it is as a more global reference. But surely someone has told him that much of the world has already sought its own counsel on this matter: France (!!), Germany and the UK have spoken earlier and more forcefully, Russia just doesn’t care and China is no doubt enjoying that anyone but them is feeling this kind of heat.

Please Mr. President, don’t let this devolve into an instance of trying to discern where the world is going so you can then lead it.

Side Note: The President’s statement also includes another example of a verbal tic of his – his constant references to his own past statements (i.e. “As I said in Cairo….”). It shouldn’t be long before we have a sufficient database from which anyone could quickly generate an Obama speech for any occasion simply by rehashing quotes from earlier speeches. Bye Bye Jon Favreau.

If you’re one of those people who feel duty bound to watch Presidential news conferences, why not liven it up by developing a drinking game around each time he says a variation of “As I’ve said before…” Here’s a link to an earlier press conference you can practice with. But caution – do this at home or have a designated driver with you; you will be in no shape to drive afterwards.

Dear MC - I am not sure whether you are criticizing the President for being a leader of the free world, or for failing to be one. In any event, peace and, as all ways, Durham delenda est. Bruce
thanks Bruce - I am criticizing him for aspiring to be perceived as a world leader at the expense of his daytime job.
...but always good to hear from you. hope all is well back up Baltimore way.
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