If you ask him about the Middle East peace process, he will wax rhapsodic about the need to get energetically engaged. He'll talk about the shared interests all have in democracy and prosperity. But then when you ask him concretely if the U.S. should sit down and talk with Hamas, he says no. “There's no point in sitting down so long as Hamas says Israel doesn't have the right to exist.”...But don't all candidates do this? Maybe the real difference is that a lot of people love the "Bromide Obama" routine... at least for now. It's not the evasiveness that's special. It's the eloquence. The supposed eloquence. I don't consider evasive speech eloquent myself. But clearly, Obama in his windy, inspirational mode has impressed people. At least for now.
In other words, he has a tendency to go big and offer himself up as Bromide Obama, filled with grand but usually evasive eloquence about bringing people together and showing respect. Then, in a blink, he can go small and concrete, and sound more like a community organizer than George F. Kennan.
April 30, 2007
"Bromide Obama, filled with grand but usually evasive eloquence.... Then, in a blink, ... small and concrete... like a community organizer..."
I didn't link to this nicely written column by David Brooks a few days ago because it was behind the TimesSelect wall, but here it is reprinted in a little Connecticut paper. Brooks says you have to ask Barack Obama every question twice, "the first time to allow him to talk about how he would talk about the subject, and the second time so you can pin him down to the practical issues at hand."