Friday, July 25, 2008

Presidential Presumptions

"[C]able television's talking heads... spent days before [Obama's] semisecret trip to the war zone insisting that the 46-year-old prove his gravitas. They said he had to appear presidential on the world stage.

So what did Obama do? He waded in. Soldiers, diplomats and heads of state greeted him warmly, even effusively. He seemed self-assured. He nailed the now-storied basketball shot, rode alone with King Abdullah in his royal Mercedes and committed no major gaffes.

Wouldn't you know it, after all that, Obama is now taking a hiding for acting
too presidential."
Everybody and his sister has seen the video or read the transcript of Barack Obama's Berlin speech, yesterday, to an enthusiastic crowd of more than 200,000. It was a good speech, maybe even a great one in the circumstances. Naturally, that inspires our fickle press to swivel 180 degrees and, in a herd, begin piling on Obama for being "presumptuous."

Necessarily, the Berlin speech was relatively short and general. Quite suitable for the occasion and manifestly thrilling for the audience.

But more revealing of the man, we think, is the one-on-one interview he gave last weekend to CBS' award winning chief foreign correspondent, Lara Logan, shortly after arriving in Afghanistan.

No 'presumptuousness' here. Just a thoughtful, well informed man who listens to the penetrating questions, weighs the considerations, and articulates the balanced judgments he has come to in his own mind.

For those Americans who have forgotten over the last seven and half years what "presidential" really looks and sounds like, this is definitely worth the viewing.

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