Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Nobel Speech (UPDATED)

Yes, Obama's speech today was a "pleasant surprise" as the guys at Powerlineblog observe:

"President Obama's Nobel Prize acceptance speech was, I thought, a mostly pleasant surprise. It's a long oration, too long, and there is much legitimately to pick at. But fundamentally I think Obama delivered a mostly thoughtful discussion (as these things go) of how to reconcile our lofty ideals with the existence of evil, and how to reconcile the occasional need to go to war (including at times for humanitarian reasons) with the tragic nature of any actual war.

In doing so, Obama nodded towards Gandi and Martin Luther King, but seemed to make most use of President Kennedy. He could certainly have done worse.

Most importantly, Obama seems to have learned how to speak to an international audience without apologizing for, or otherwise disrespecting, his country."

It was certainly pretty Bush-like in tone.  I guess the Bush-Obama doctrine is securely in place.  Well done (for the most part), Mr. President.

UPDATE: Michael Ledeen says that, on balance, the speech contained many ideas that were "downright neoconnish":

"So maybe Obama's getting to the point where he understands that the evil regime in Tehran can't be talked out of its war against its own people, and against us.  We shall see;  words aren't nearly enough.  But they are essential."

Finally, Max Boot calls the speech "boffo" and "a masterpiece that deserves inclusion in compendia of the finest presidential speeches."  Wow, I guess he liked it.


  1. You know, I gotta agree with Jacobson at Legal Insurrection's super brief comment on the speech. Obama has set the bar of our expectations so low that anytime he doesn't talk about peace unicorns and how he's the culmination of all our hopes and dreams, it becomes an acceptable speech.

    The fact is that Obama's popularity is dropping and if he can paint himself as more of a centrist then he can get more on his non-centrist agenda done. Let's see how what they do at Copenhagen. The Nobel speech, a meaningless thing, could be the spoon full of sugar for Americans as they get set up for Cap & Trade, health care "reform" or any other economy killing measures. As Jacobson noted, Obama presented himself as a centrist during the campaign.

  2. You are absolutely right, Yukio. While these were good words (for the most part), they were JUST words - unless they are ultimately backed by real actions. I (mostly) liked the speech for what it conveyed, but I don't believe he meant most of it. And Obama DID try to hide his leftist views during the campaign. Is this the "political," as opposed to a real centrist, emerging? We'll see soon enough.