David Brooks ignores Obama's dis of Martin Luther King and Jesse Jackson and looks for the substance of Obama's speech. He is still looking:
...[Per Obama's speech] The Berlin blockade was thwarted because people came together. Apartheid ended because people came together and walls tumbled. Winning the cold war was the same: “People of the world,” Obama declared, “look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together and history proved there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.”
When I first heard this sort of radically optimistic speech in Iowa, I have to confess my American soul was stirred. It seemed like the overture for a new yet quintessentially American campaign.
But now it is more than half a year on, and the post-partisanship of Iowa has given way to the post-nationalism of Berlin, and it turns out that the vague overture is the entire symphony. The golden rhetoric impresses less, the evasion of hard choices strikes one more.
When John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan went to Berlin, their rhetoric soared, but their optimism was grounded in the reality of politics, conflict and hard choices. Kennedy didn’t dream of the universal brotherhood of man. He drew lines that reflected hard realities: “There are some who say, in Europe and elsewhere, we can work with the Communists. Let them come to Berlin.” Reagan didn’t call for a kumbaya moment. He cited tough policies that sparked harsh political disagreements — the deployment of U.S. missiles in response to the Soviet SS-20s — but still worked.
In Berlin, Obama made exactly one point with which it was possible to disagree. In the best paragraph of the speech, Obama called on Germans to send more troops to Afghanistan.
The argument will probably fall on deaf ears. The vast majority of Germans oppose that policy. But at least Obama made an argument.
Steven Erlanger of the Times makes a similar point:
Obama, Vague on Issues, Pleases Crowd in Europe
PARIS — For Senator Barack Obama, who came to Europe once in the last four years, making a stop in London on his way to Russia, the response of many Europeans to his potential presidency has been gratifying — emotional, responsive, replete with the sense of hope he seeks to engender about a more flexible, less ideological America.
European governments and politicians are not so sure.
On Thursday evening in a glittering Berlin, Mr. Obama delivered a tone poem to American and European ideals and shared history.
But he was vague on crucial issues of trade, defense and foreign policy that currently divide Washington from Europe and are likely to continue to do so even if he becomes president — issues ranging from Russia, Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan to new refueling tankers and chlorinated chickens, the focus of an 11-year European ban on American poultry imports.
Kumbaya, baby - our next President.
NOT FEELING THE FEELING: Now this is just disrespectful.