“The Obama doctrine is not about brute force, but forceful beliefs”



While I wipe the tears following the president’s marvelous statement, here’s a few  thoughts:

1. Not even one anti-American sentiment during the celebrations. Tell me that this is not president Obama’s doing.

2. Look who brought Democracy to a Middle East country without firing even one bullet, without killing innocent citizens, without sacrificing young Americans lives.

3. Dear pundits, don’t you get it? You will NEVER be able to beat this man. All of your brain cells combined can’t match his. Really, stop it. It’s embarrassing.

4. How poetic it is that the history in Egypt totally killed the GOP lunatic convention?

5. To James Rubin, to the Wingnuts, the PUMAs, the PL and the rest of the bitters, here’s the *exact* quotes from president Obama’s speech in Cairo, and the full video. Watch it again, I doubt you’ll ever see such greatness in your lifetime again.

…I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq.  So let me be clear: No system of government can or should be imposed by one nation by any other.
That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people.  Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people.  America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election.  But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things:  the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose.  These are not just American ideas; they are human rights.  And that is why we will support them everywhere.  (Applause.)

Now, there is no straight line to realize this promise.  But this much is clear:  Governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure.  Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away.  America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them.  And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments — provided they govern with respect for all their people.This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when they’re out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others.  (Applause.) 

So no matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who would hold power:  You must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party.  Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Barack Obama, we love you!

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you.  (Applause.) 



It’s sad that most of the best articles comes from outside of America’s MSM. Here’s Simon Tisdall of The Guardian: (It’s from this morning, BEFORE Mubarak stepped down):

Hosni Mubarak has still not grasped how fundamentally the old political order is changing in Egypt and the Arab world – but it seems Barack Obama has.

In a forceful statement after the Egyptian president’s latest exercise in reality denial, Obama came off the fence following a fortnight of humming and hawing. If the choice is revolution or repression, democratic ideals and values or hard-nosed self-interest, then the US is officially on the side of the angels.

This dramatic shift could in time have a bigger impact on the Middle East than the Egyptian uprising. In sharply criticising the Cairo government’s prevarications, demanding it respect universal values, and stressing that his administration stands shoulder to shoulder with the demonstrators in Tahrir Square, the US president dramatically changed the way his country does business in the region. This was, to all intents and purposes, the proclamation of an Obama doctrine.

This is a direct challenge not just to Mubarak and his old guard but to the legitimacy of the previously untouchable, US-allied autocrats of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the Gulf. Universal values are universal after all. So what goes in Egypt will logically go, too, in Algeria, Jordan and Yemen, to name just three countries where America has largely turned a blind eye to repression in pursuit of wider security and commercial interests.

The Obama doctrine implies readiness to intervene directly in a country’s internal politics in support of broader principles. In this instance, his stinging criticism of Mubarak’s failure to make “immediate, meaningful and sufficient” reforms was tantamount to a demand that he resign.

It also risks the alienation of regional rulers and the fracturing of old alliances that have sustained US and western European policy since the cold war. The Saudis had taken a dim view of the US president’s undercutting of Mubarak; now they will wonder who might be next.

Israeli leaders, too, are alarmed. They never quite trusted Obama. And repression of the Arab masses by Arab autocrats suited them quite well for, by and large, the Arab street has always been more hostile to Israel than the Arab elites.

Israel, too, could hitherto pose as the region’s only real democracy. But that moral advantage is slipping, along with long-held strategic and defensive preconceptions. This uncertainty might yet jolt Israeli leaders out of their obstructive complacency over Palestine. Obama just accelerated this uncharted process.

Events in Tunisia and then Egypt forced the US president down this road. But his speech in Cairo in 2009, about engaging and developing the Arab and Muslim spheres, showed he was not a reluctant traveller.

Halfway through his presidency, he is finally beginning to define his own distinctive and transformational approach, after initially accepting most of the old US foreign policy shibboleths. In Afghanistan, overly influenced by his generals, he bought into the old way of doing things. Now, burned by that experience, he is forging a different path.

This is not a return to the “liberal interventionism” of the Bush-Blair era. The Obama doctrine is not about brute force, but forceful beliefs. Even so, it is winning fans on the American right, as well as among Egyptians.

// snip

in beginning to enunciate a foreign policy doctrine guided by clearly established democratic values and mutual respect, he may not only avoid more Egypt-style dilemmas, he may also be on his way to bridging the gulf between pragmatism and principle.


152 thoughts on ““The Obama doctrine is not about brute force, but forceful beliefs”

  1. BWD: I just had an idea: you should make a post ranking his top speeches, just for fun.

    My top speeches:

    1) His speech on race. It was so simple and beautiful, but also so profound, it had such wonderful meaning that that was the first time that I decided to vote for him.

    2) His speech in Cairo. It had such immediate practical impact on a whole region. The words were not so profound as his other speeches I think, but noone ever says them.

    3) His speech in the DNC. Very moving, very inspirational.

    4) His speech on the Tuscon Shootings: what he said about our language being respectful of their sacrifices I think changed the tone of the country a lot.

    5) A particular speech where he said “we are the change we have been waiting for”. I was crying just like the woman in the background!

  2. When asked in the winter of 2006 why he wanted to run for President, one of the many reasons Barack Obama gave was: “Because once I raise my hand to take that oath, every young American will realize that anything is possible.”

    Could it be that it wasn’t just young Americans that realized anything was possible thanks to the election of Barack Obama?

  3. He makes me proud almost every day. He just gave an appreciative and humorous speech to honor Gibbs – finally returning the tie he borrowed years ago. He has set such a wonderful example of leadership for the rest of the world. Now – if we could just get our US media and some of the naysayers on the right and left to see it too.

  4. BWD, did you see what that friggin MSNBC did to our wonderful President? They split the screen with live images from Egypt with audio–while he was talking.

    Also, I just watching Tamara Hall. A parliament member in Egypt, Moustafa El Gindy, was being interviewed by phone. He was in tears and said there is nothing left–no senate no house. He said President Obama had been on the right side of history. He is the only President who has ever been on the side of the people. I started tearing up too. He was so moved and so proud of Obama.

    Thank you for posting the speech, I should have known better than to watch msnbc. Vipers is what they are.

  5. A President leads a Nation, far too long on the dark side of history, into the light.

    That President is Barack Obama.

    That Nation is America.

  6. Blackwaterdog, I agree with absolutely everything you said.
    This is a stunning day. I’m really speechless, thank you for giving voice to my tumbling thoughts.

  7. I thought the whole tie thing was so funny! it’s like the TV Show “West Wing” !!! 🙂

  8. My predictions:

    1. I may not be alive to see it, but historians will recognize PBO one of America’s greatest presidents – ever. This I’m sure of.

    2. I will be alive to see this – a Palestinian state alongside Israel. (Re: Guardian article)

    3. PBO will win by a landslide in 2012 and will regain the House.

    4. OBL will be captured within 2-4 years (if still alive)

    5. Fox News and R.L. will become irrelevant (their ratings are both way down).

    I am still hoping for free and fair elections in THIS country (Citizens United and election finance laws) – can’t hold my breath that long – but I’m hoping.

  9. The eloquence, the patience, the farsightedness, and absolute brilliance, and empathy of this President NEVER ceases to amaze me.

    I kept thinking recently, it’s a shame he couldn’t be re-elected to a 3rd term. Think of all the good he could do.

  10. What is it about this president that makes me choke up? First it was election night 2008. Then it was the Tucson speech. Now today with his comments on Egypt, and the reports of young Egyptians chanting his name. Jeez, this stoic Cuban can’t take much more! 🙂

  11. Completely agree with point 3. Notice the PPP polls: PBO romping away in swing states. That’s because the likely voter model is different for a presidential election than for a midterm. The GOP basically benefited from one last cycle of the old electoral behavior, where Dem voters don’t come out for midterms. I think with 2012, and after 2 years of GOP House control, that will change. We have to make sure it changes and stays changed.

  12. My gf just called and asked why I was happy. I said “History is happening”. I wasn’t expecting to wake up to this.

  13. I found a BBC blog that mentioned that young Egyptians were chanting President Obama’s name (sob, sob) … while there, I found this photograph of the celebration. For some reason, it reminds me (if photography were around then) of July 4, 1776:

  14. It reminds me more of the storming of the Bastille — although hopefully without a descent into Terror and then a Napoleon figure.

  15. As someone else in this thread asked: Who would’ve thought those words coming out of Arabs just two years after the end of the GWB administration?

  16. I liked the following, by Bill Clinton, during the Democratic National Convention in August 2008:

    “We should not lead through the example of our power, but through the power of our example”.

    Here you have a statement of American Exceptionalism that even I can live with.

    President Barack Hussein Obama just did that – and let us all rejoice in the effect !

  17. Wow that quote brought tears to my eyes.

    What this President has accomplished without hatred, but simple acknowledgement of basic human wants and desires, and with his “forceful beliefs” and advocates on the rights of others, is incredible.

    Yes the Egyptians took change into their hands and they own their independence. What they did was incredible, and awe-inspiring, but they were inspired by the words of this great man.

    They saw that change WAS possible if you tried.

    President Obama lit the match for the ideas of freedom – without a single bomb, without killing anyone, without words of hatred and fear.

    I am grateful for a leader like President Obama!! It just sickens me that he is like pearls before swine – the PL and the Right wing nut jobs who can’t appreciate the greatness in front of them.

  18. What has happened in Egypt has really damaged al Qaeda more than anything Bush did, and probably more than anything currently going on in Afghanistan.

    I can just imagine what OBL is thinking seeing cheering rowds in Egypt showing that much love for the President.

  19. NY Times article on President Obamas speech

    But President Obama’s statements yesterday were a big step forward, and his speech just now was pitch perfect. It’s our job as journalists to criticize, but I thought he got it exactly right. He put the United States unambiguously on the side of Egypt’s youth and future and freedom, all while making it clear that Egypt’s future is up to Egyptians to decide.


  20. They’re all great! I also liked these:
    1. His speech on patriotism during the campaign – it was sober and true.
    2. His inauguration speech – very deep, but simple, too.
    3. The speech he made to the House Dems the night before the Health Care vote – this is my absolute favorite.
    4. Election night.

  21. Oh – and I really like the one he did yesterday about Broadband. There was something so inspiring about tying America’s history to the future.

  22. What I love about that tie is that it really reflects the journey they’ve been on. From all those days ago, that tie made the move all the way to the White House. Quite a tie.

  23. He has packed more in two years than any president in history. His next six years will be more like 12yrs. He has sit the bar so high for the next person. I have never been more proud to be an American since he was voted into office and sworn in.

  24. 4. OBL will be captured within 2-4 years (if still alive)

    I am quite sure that what we have witnessed in the past few hours made Osama bin Laden obsolete.

    For terrorists to have traction, you need people in desperate situations.

    Unless the rest of the Middle East (including Israel) remains the same, in spite of the Egyptian Revolution, this will be history.

  25. One more (I could do this all afternoon), the “Just Words” speech was pretty good, too. And so apt today. ok – I’m done.

  26. Good to see Kristof writing this. I was truly upset by his column yesterday, accusing the president in “betrayal of Egypt’s facebook generation”.

  27. This reminds me that little Chris Matthews is having a special for Clinton on President’s Day, calling him the “President of the World”. He might want to revisit that title.

  28. We are so lucky (and so is the rest of the world) that we have such an amazing President at this time in history.

  29. I am thankful to you, BWD for this site. I say that so much because I really do find comfort, intellectual interaction in conversations, news that is open and hones, and the fair and respectfulness that is shared with all of you. You keep this a place of calmness, respect, and informative. Thank you so much,BWD!!!!

    Our President of the United States did it again today! His speech was perfect and on point. What a gift we have to enjoy. Let us point all of our positive energies toward his re-election in 2012. We need this wonderful man as our President going forward. Much to be thankful for today. Thanks to all of your comments here as well. I love you all with so much respect and appreciation. Thank you!!!

  30. Don’t know if this has been posted, but a new PPP poll finds President Obama beating EVERY repub in the swing states. This is why the right wing heads just keep exploding.

    A quote:

    “Across 36 horse race match ups against Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Mitt Romney in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, Iowa, Nevada, and Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District Obama is 36 for 36. If he stood for reelection today against one of the current Republican front runners Obama would almost certainly win the same number of electoral votes he did in 2008, if not more.”


  31. I absolutely believe Rhoda’s #1 prediction that he will be considered by historians as one of our greatest presidents. I am in my late sixties and have seen a whole lot of presidents in my lifetime, but this is the best there has been and likely the best there will be for many generations. Other politicians look like pygmies beside him even when he isn’t trying. At his top form he is among the most formidable presences in our history.

  32. Can we add:
    That the United Supreme Court return to their rightful, Constitutionally mandated place of non-politicizing.

  33. Yes, Egypt just showed the Middle East that change can happen without terrorist tactics and in fact that it is better that way. When people believe that they can have a government that is responsive and of/for/and by the people they don’t feel the same need for the type of tactics that OBL represents. And when the US president is not blustering about blowing them up if they don’t do things our way, the hatred of our country goes way down. When instead the president shows support for the people of the region and gives them hope that “yes, they can” they not only hate us less but actually might start to like us. Imagine that.

  34. Yeah, then we can do a post ranking Da Vinci’s top five paintings 🙂

    The phrase “spoilt for choice” comes to mind.

  35. I know! It’s too hard to try and rank, especially seeing the other ones mentioned by Theo67!

  36. And a Fox News (yuck) poll:

    Obama 48
    Romney 41

    Obama 49
    Huckabee 41

    Obama 55
    Jeb Bush 34

    Obama 54
    Gingrich 35

    Obama 56
    Palin 35*

    *Sadly, another question in the poll asks:
    Do you think this person would make a good President, and the answer for Sarah Palin among Republicans (!) is:

    Yes 40
    No 56

    So it looks like I won’t get my dream candidate Sarah Palin. Damn!

  37. That irked me to no end! Why doesn’t Chris Matthews just kiss the royal ring already! The suck up is ridiculous so is the delusions of grandeur given all that’s happened in Egypt lately!

  38. This is why none of these bozos have announced. They’re all losers and they know it.

    When they can’t skew their own poll in their favor, you know they’re done.

  39. One that I really liked, that I believe is overlooked is President Obama’s speech on Immigration Reform last July. I think it might be overlooked because it never lead anywhere because the GOP got skittish about giving Dems any “wins” in an election year.

    Anyways here’s a link – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xmze28TIpQg

    The President quoting parts from Emma Lazarus’ “The New Colossus” at the end was brilliant.

  40. The world was given a gift in this President Obama. He rises above skin color, religion, genders and the pettiness of this world. He did say during his Breakfast speech that he was ‘spiritual.’ What power!

  41. I don’t know if you posted this or not but here’s a key quote from the Guardian’s liveblog:

    “NBC’s Richard Engel, who has done a brilliant job reporting from Egypt, gets the reaction to Obama’s words live from Tahrir Square, where he is mobbed by young men chanting Obama’s name and “We love America!””

    Does anybody remember a former de facto President of the United States claiming that we would be greeted as liberators after imposing weaponized Democracy on Iraq?

    I cannot tell you how grateful I am about the man and the team currently occupying the White House.

    This is a great day today.

  42. I thought that POTUS was pretty consistent the whole time, with some confusion arising from messages gleaned from other members of the administration. But POTUS has always been like [deeply paraphrasing]: “I stand with the people; Mubarak needs to begin an immediate and orderly transition now; the ground has shifted, power to the people.” Seems like it was everyone else running around with hair on fire, which I guess is understandable. Great job, WH, and to the Egyptian people: “yes you could, yes you can, yes you did!” Congratulations and good luck.

  43. I’m stunned by the thinking: It’s our job as journalists to criticize, um no, Mr. Kristof, it’s your job to analyze and report the facts! But credit where credit is due, great column.

  44. And if it were their role to criticize, where were they during the previous administration? Oh, yes, I forgot: bootlicking.

  45. All I could think about when I saw the ad for that was the HOURS I spent watching Chris Matthews tear Clinton up about the Lewinsky scandal. Some folks might forget that he had a show every weeknight during those years where that was all he could talk about. And the PL’s favorite lawyer Johnathan Turley would come on regularly to comment about how Clinton had committed an impeachable offense.

    But I guess its just a good example about how those people blow with whatever winds gets them ratings.

  46. When looking for a place to watch the President (before it was rescheduled), I went to CSPAN and noticed a little link off to the side for CPAC and thought as you did, BWD, “Nobody cares…non-issue.” They can have their little nutbowl get-together and it won’t even be a blip on the radar.

  47. ‘We need not be defined by our differences, but by the common humanity that we share.’

    “‘There’s something in our souls that cry out for freedom.'”

    Well said, President Obama.

    Mr. President, we feel blessed to have a president who not only knows this, but who is incorporating this into his leadership here and abroad.

    May God bless you and give you the time to continue to make a meaningful difference in America, and for American around the world..

  48. Blackwaterdog:

    You’ve done it again! Here in California it is early in the afternoon and I just came home from work. I first heard of Mubarak’s resignation on the radio as I was driving to work. I just couldn’t wait to come home to your blog to see your take on this event. As I always, I was really overwhelmed by the way you covered this event. I especially liked the magnificent quote you chose as the heading of this segment: “The Obama doctrine is not about brute force, but forceful beliefs.” Your enumerated thoughts were also quite powerful. As usual, of course, the comments, from all the people in this community you have gathered together, were enlightened, positive and heartwarming.

    So, I simply wanted to say thank you for your inspiration, your hard work and your dedication to truth and decency. I know of no one else who has worked as hard as you have to spread positive information about President Obama. As for the President, I have nothing more to say that hasn’t been said by all the people who have commented on this historic day, not only for Egypt, but for the entire world.

  49. I’m telling you, I’m praying that the US national media spends a lot of time reviewing coverage of these historical events, and realizes how much they could help the country and the world by discarding sensationalism and not feeding our drama addiction. Imagine if this led to a sustained period of introspection and coherency in terms of what the role of journalists actually might be?

  50. Wow; thanks for providing the history. Seems like they get caught up in the dramas and sensations of the DC bubble a little too often!

  51. Jamie Rubin is so bitter he didn’t get a hired to work in the WH.

    The seminal post on this matter was by the great Al Rogers.

    Less than six months ago, Arabs threw shoes at George Bush. Today, in a address bound to go down in history, President Obama was unexpectedly greeted by a standing ovation in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world.

    In a towering speech before 4,000 Egyptians in the Grand Hall of Cairo University, and to another 1.4 billion Muslims world-wide, the President was interrupted 30 times by applause and people shouting, “we love you”.


    Click on the link, and notice how Al’s conclusion correctly focused Obama’s call to the youth:

    And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country — you, more than anyone, have the ability to reimagine the world, to remake this world.

  52. The Republican wingnuts are helping us to do our job: they are as awful as we imagined and people are scared. Now if we could get some messaging reminding people why we’re in the mess we’re in, that would just reinforce things.

    The Gov. of WI and the Republican legislature is going to pass a bill ending all collective bargaining for state workers and actually threatened to send in the National Guard to enforce it.

    That’s what happens when the Left stays home and ‘sends a message’ by not voting.

  53. What’s interesting about that is that Richard Engel has been less than objective about Obama in his reporting from Egypt. He wanted Obama to support the protesters outright and he’s been very vocal about his displeasure.

    So I wonder how it felt to hear directly from the Egyptian people that they see Obama completely differently?

    I’m not criticizing Richard Engel. I think he was very close to these people and to this issue and grew impatient, but it did cloud his reporting.

  54. Wow, that article by Al has some gems for all of us, doesn’t it?

    “All power comes from the barrel of imagination, after all.”


    “What we must learn anew is the power of optimism as a cold and calculated strategy and tactic.”

    That second one particularly hits home for me. I’ve been realizing lately that where I often part ways with progressives is in their entrenched cynicism. I know that comes from years of disappointment, but the minute we give up believing is the minute we’re lost for good.

  55. Oh thank you bwd for having his speech from today up.. I had to leave and so missed it, and omg, it was so spot on (of course).. gave me tears- I’m so proud of the Egyptian people and all they’ve accomplished. Its all so amazing. And I am extremely proud and grateful for how our President handled it throughout, pitch-perfect, imo.

  56. Others have said it in this space, but the Right wins elections because THEY VOTE. Election after election they turn out and vote for their people. We have to inculcate that same fierce determination into those on our side. I feel sorry for the people of WI, but elections aren’t invalidated because a good chunk of the electorate didn’t turn out to vote, out of apathy or disillusionment that things didn’t get better by Presidential fiat. Those who vote have a voice; those who don’t gnash their teeth mutely.

  57. When was the last time world history changed on Feb. 11th?

    In 1990 it was the day Nelson Mandela was freed.

    If there were such a thing as world holidays, I’d certainly nominate this as a good one.

  58. Beautifully stated, Nathan! I couldn’t agree more; BWD’s work has been extensive and is invaluable. We don’t bury our heads in the sand; the bad is discussed alongside the good. Yet the information is aggregated and assembled in such a way that a far more complete picture is created, rather than the hyperfocus on areas of disagreement or disappointment at the expense of balance.

    A major component of progress during a time of historical change like this, is celebrating progress as it comes. This celebration will not cause anyone to lose focus or imagine that there’s nothing left to do. But it allows positive steps to build one on top of the either. This space is excellent beyond words as the week-long coverage of the Egyptian (largely peaceful) revolution so aptly illustrates.

  59. So well said Nathan, I second it.

    Bwd you do us such an important service by providing this space. And more and more I see it as the come to place for thoughtful, intelligent, truthful commentary.

  60. Also…

    On this day 32 years ago the Iranian revolution took place when the Shah’s forces were overwhelmed

  61. Yup – I disregard everything that Turley has to say because of that history – he was part of that ugly Republican lynch mob . . I’m amazed at the short memory on the part of the PL . .

  62. Amen to that – I’ve been around a while, living through one awful presidency after another. President Obama has revived and reinvigorated my innate sense of optimism. Hard to believe, but I feel as though he gets a bit better every day . .

  63. That title struck me as unfortunate too. How does the rest of the world feel about THAT? Does this mean Clinton will be going down on the next Titanic?

  64. HZ, I have read your comments here so often and I just wanted to thank you.. you are always so kind and generous, and I personally have appreciated your input.. its very touching. Best wishes.

  65. Al is usually spot-on and as GN said, he just gets it. This time was no different. He doesn’t write as much as many of us would like, but it’s because he’s actually out there doing the work so when he comes back and blesses us with his insight it’s informed by the actual work. That is why he deals in ‘authentic journalism’, not the MSM kind.

    Yes, that piece had so many good nuggets and really, when you think about it… if, after decades and decades of work that has required more sacrifice than a lot on the PL could ever imagine, Al is not cynical then those who take that knee-jerk route 90% of the time probably weren’t in it for the right reasons anyway. (see: Arianna)

    This site, Al’s site and some others help give me that strategic boost!

  66. Ditto. I liked also that he stressed the non-violence tact taken by the protesters.

    Too often, using a broad brush, the picture painted of people from that part of the world is violence and hate.

    These young people showed resolve, resilience and discipline.

    Indeed, Egypt will never be the same after today.

    What proud and historic moment!

  67. Thank you so much Saint Roscoe for the link to this brilliant speech that I hadn’t seen before. I really think that we must find a way to share Obama’s speeches, like this one, with more people. The MSM have done their best to suppress this information from reaching the majority of Americans. That is why, for example, the demagogues on issue of immigration have the upper hand. I also agree with you that “the President quoting…from Emma Lazarus… was brilliant.”

  68. I’m so happy for the Egyptian people, today was a glorious day! Obama speech was absolutely wonderful, and may I also add, that President Obama always looks good, but he looked extra cute today in his polka dot tie!
    I love this man!!!!

  69. This is fun…South Carolina Primary Victory Speech is and probably will always be my favorite- I just love the sound of his voice in that speech, ‘when we were up, and when we were down’, ‘don’t tell me we cant change.’ He really sounded like a preacher in this speech- Ah, the memories 🙂 Theo, I also love the speech that he gave to Congressional Dems before the healthcare vote, so that would be my number two favorite. Thank you so much BWD for this space and all that you do!:)


  70. Omg yes! I didn’t want to be the first one to say it. Michelle mentioned on Regis (or the today show, I don’t remember) that he needs to put a little color in his wardrobe. I think he heard her call.

  71. To answer your query: I know “it wasn’t just young Americans that realized anything was possible” because of “the election of Barack Obama.” I am an older person who never imagined it possible that the United States would elect a young, intelligent, and visionary, African American President. Now I am definitely convinced that “anything is possible.” As a student of history, the election of President Obama made me appreciate, more deeply, the reaction of a former slave, who was about 100 years, to the abolition of slavery, after the Civil War. He said that he had been “praying for over seventy years” for the end of slavery, and finally “God had answered his prayers.” How I wish we, young and old, could learn from slaves the meaning and importance of hope and perseverance.

  72. the one on race was my favorite. I also have a book of his speeches. Found it on Amazon. I hope there are more in the future.

  73. thanks! Ive never seen that speech before either. I need a compilation of all his speeches, I feel like a lot of them get lost in time. Each one is valuable. Each one is historical.

  74. Exactly! they are not obligated to criticize. look at the situation and make a fair and logical analysis.

  75. I never liked Mr. Turley very much. But last year when he said he “could understand” the arguments of Roberts, Scalia and Co. re Citizens United, I understood how this man was out of touch. The law isn’t interesting in itself, it’s how it affects people and societies that’s important.

    President Obama would CREAM him in a debate over constitutional law.

  76. He’s been pretty awful in his editorializing. I have a real problem with that when you’re supposed to be reporting.

    Richard Engel is an immensely important resource as a reporter in the Middle East; but he conflated his sympathy with the protestors with what I consider out of line editorializing about what President Obama should do and when he should do it (yesterday isn’t fast enough). Without being privy to what was happening behind closed doors, and making his sympathy more important than geopolitical concerns, he was a huge disappointment this past week.

    That being said, evidently many Egyptians did not want intervention. They wanted their country back on their own terms, and Richard Engel should have respected that.

  77. We’re in a really high signal to noise ratio period in which there’s just massive misinformation floating around; seems like people just throw, whatever, out there because it sounds good, particularly if it’s a snappy or snarky remarks disparaging POTUS, and just see what sticks. I’m praying for this to turn around. Sites like this are a humongous part of the solution IMO.

  78. And now Tweety continually tells us how awful it is to give Sarah Palin press while……giving air time to Sarah Palin.

    He’s got a Democratic soul. But he is far more concerned about his image than going where his heart and head should lead him. So afraid he’ll be labeled a liberal, he does all he can to look ‘balanced’.

    The balance is what is unbalanced because it doesn’t follow reality.

  79. Oops; meant, low signal to noise ratio period, but what’s a comment from me without a few typos lol.

  80. FLOTUS shared the insight that her husband is very good at compartmentalizing. I guess we’re seeing that.

  81. Short of Bush sabre-rattling and threatening with our military might, what really was Obama supposed to do? What is there to criticize? How can people making six figures all over the media not understand that if we support a mob, even the most deserving and well-intentioned, we open ourselves to supporting that indiscriminately? That we are tantamount to saying if the tea party makes enough noise and brings enough guns, they can have the government. Who was in charge of these protests? Would we be saddled with a regime worse than the one that was replaced? How could supporting the Egyptian people not be considered enough? What the hell is wrong with this country?

    How can there be any question that advocating for an orderly transition to a Democratic government is in everyone’s best interests? That instead of a knee-jerk emotional response with no planning for consequences (hello, Iraq!) is childish and dangerous? Now there is an interim government from the military who refused to open fire on its citizens and ultimately chose the future and not the corrupt past.

    The weeks ahead are still perilous. But not only was the Mubarak regime removed, but it happened with very little bloodshed and the Egyptian people ready to come together to forge a peaceful, democratic Egypt.

    Only in this toxic political climate would this not be heralded as a monumental diplomatic victory on the part of the President of the United States.

  82. Everybody wanted him to force something to happen in Egypt, as if the United States has some god-like right to order the world around and be obeyed.

    Bravo to him for understanding we’re not the boss of the world, that it was time to stand back and let the people decide for themselves what would happen in Egypt.

  83. This is interesting, from TPV:

    “A Look at Obama’s Role at Booman Tribune – An excellent read. Kudos to kosack Kitty for pointing it out.

    The brave Egyptian people deserve the credit for making this revolution happen, but it was crucial that our president signaled his support for the effort, did everything he could to protect them a violent crackdown, and finally put his finger on the scale at the crucial moment. We will learn more details in the years to come. There is no doubt that there has been division within the administration, with Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and even envoy Frank Wisner showing support for a continuation of the Mubarak regime. But the president didn’t waver and he kept the promises he made in Cairo nearly two years ago.”

    I’m unsure if the assertions are sourced — does anyone know if Hillary wanted to support Mubarak? Wondering what others have heard in this regard.

    He has not disappointed me. His leadership validates my belief in his instincts

  84. They do not seem to carry the “understars” in the same way they do Rachel, etc. I looked and looked. TiMT wants to see it also. It was disgusting. I was hurt and angry for our President. I am sure he would you brush it off. I loved that moment.

  85. Liberal Librarian:

    Thank you for your wisdom and for always speaking the Truth. The “Professional Left (PL)” thought they were punishing the President and the Democrats because they didn’t fulfill 100% of their agenda. Guess what, by encouraging people not to vote, the so called progressives guaranteed the election of right wingers who are hurting ordinary people more than they are hurting Democratic politicians. What the PL forgets is that, rather than teaching Democrats a lesson to become more progressive, Democratic losses to right wingers may teach them a different lesson: that the only way to win is to move to the right to appeal to the energized teabaggers.

    Just imagine: What would have happened if progressives, in the election of 1964, and especially African American voters, had stayed home because the Kennedy-Johnson Administration had failed to enact a Civil Rights Bill in it first term in Office? Not only that, Black voters had every right to be angry with LBJ, and to boycott elections, given what transpired at the 1964 Democratic Convention, which refused to sit the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in place of the segregated White Democrats of Mississippi. Yet, the majority of African Americans voted for LBJ overwhelmingly.

    May be I am naive, but I just don’t understand the logic of punishing Democrats, who are undoubtedly imperfect, by facilitating the election of rabid right wingers who are intent on undoing all the progressive achievements, including those of FDR’s New Deal. How, in God’s name, can you valorize FDR and at the same time make possible the election of the Know Nothing faction (a.k.a “teabaggers”) of the GOP, just because the President, and the Democrats in Congress, did not enact legislation that you think was 100% perfect? To piggy back on your last observation, I am convinced that those who don’t vote will absolutely guarantee that their interests will be ignored, and would play no role in the formulation of public policy.

  86. “This is the power of human dignity” – That’s the Obama foreign policy doctrine right there.

  87. Nathan, I’m hopeful for 2012.

    During the 2010 election, I was hoping against hope that the likely voter models the pollsters were using were outdated, based on the seminal election of 2008. I was wrong, they were right. Now look at these same pollsters: showing quite substantial Obama leads against all major comers in the swing states which are essential to a Dem victory in 2012. I think the Dem electorate has learned its lesson, and will come back out in greater-than-2008 numbers in the next election. Assuming that happens, we may finally be looking at a permanent sea-change in American politics.

  88. bwd, on points from 1 to 5 – Amen, amen, amen, amen & amen.

    on tisdall’s piece,

    “he Obama doctrine is not about brute force, but forceful beliefs. Even so, it is winning fans on the American right, as well as among Egyptians.”

    Bingo. Ironic that most of the carping in the last 18 days has come from the left than from the right. The left can either work with this man and get their agendas (which seem to be never ending) done or they can whine on and on and be consigned to the dust bin of the history. Yes, it is either with him or against him choice.

  89. Both Biden and Hillary did come out with statements of here & now urgency days of before PBO himself came out forcefully yesterday.

  90. BBC

    BBC’s North America editor, Mark Mardell, says: “Egypt is a vital ally of America in the region and some here are nervous of what the change will mean. The White House insists that the demonstrator represented a broad range of people not dominated by a single ideology, and that there is nothing to fear from democracy. No-one in the administration or Western diplomatic circles echoes the fears of some conservatives that the Muslim Brotherhood is a dangerous force, that could take over and turn and ally into an enemy. But the White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, has stressed that it is important that the next government recognise the peace treaty with Israel. President Obama has spoken of the Egyptian people as an inspiration, like Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Some autocratic allies of America in the region might find these words uncomfortable. But the White House singles out one country that should heed the message from Egypt. Protests are planned in Iran, and the US says the government there is scared of the will of its people.”

  91. I am not so sure, earthgirl, that the current right wing members of the Supreme Court (except, may be, Justice Kennedy) are at all interested in “non-politicizing” their rulings. Of course they will always claim that their decisions are not political. IMHO, however, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority’s decision in “Bush v. Gore,” is proof positive that the Supreme Court is very politicized.

  92. As for those third rate media punditz that Egypt happened because of shrub, remember shrub’s last going-away present from Iraq and they were hand delivered too.

  93. Argh. Doesn’t look like it worked. But it is at Politico under a caption which went something like “Gibbs gets tie back”.

  94. NLinStPaul:

    I remember it very well! It was during that time that I began to loose faith in the MSM. The hype about invading Iraq, which Matthews participated in, completely turned me off from the MSM. You are absolutely right: Chris Mathews goes with what ever direction the wind is blowing.

  95. Yes, indeed. Me too. I never knew that I could love and respect another human being outside of my family this much. Thanks for sharing!

  96. Very well said GN. Journalists should be about analyzing not criticizing. The Irony, of course, is that it wasn’t until President Obama was elected that journalists decided that their job was to criticize. These are the same journalists who, during the period that led up to the war on Iraq, felt that their role was to either keep quiet, or cheer for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Yes, today’s Kristof’s column is commendable, but his premature criticism of Obama about Egypt was despicable.

  97. JordanRules:

    Thanks for the link to Al Giordano’s article. Al is such a rare journalist who still believes in reporting on real situations without hyping or sensationalizing his reports. Unlike our sensationalist MSM that tries to make what is going on Egypt to be all about President Obama, Al Giordano summons to eschew spin and focus on reality: What is going on in Egypt is first and foremost all about Egyptian people. It is not about the United States; and it certainly is not about Israel. Thankfully we have a president who recognizes that reality.

  98. Thanks GN. As you know, I really value your comments. I am truly grateful that BWD created this community that is attracting some of the most informed and thoughtful people who, in my judgement, are deeply grounded in reality. Obviously no human being, including President Obama, is perfect. Thankfully the President is the first person to admit that he is not perfect. Nevertheless, he is such a gifted person who is doing a great deal to improve the lives of people. I am glad that BWD and people like you do not dwell excessively on his imperfections and instead focus on the positive things he is accomplishing.

  99. His job should be to report the facts not critisize just for the fun of it. I have no faith in the media or the experts they bring on to armchair quarterback everything. It seems like they only book people are are trying to sale a book.

  100. Thanks for the information amk for obama. I try to avoid second hand sources about divisions in the administration. I have high regard for both VP Biden and Sec. of State Hillary Clinton. I am sure that if they had such profound disagreement with the President, on such a monumental issue, they would have tendered their resignations. I am speculating here, but I am sure people may be inflating the fact that they might have raised concerns about the possibility of ending up with a worse regime than that of Mubarak, or voiced concerns about the future relations between Egypt and Israel. These are legitimate issues for the U.S. to consider. I am thankful that President Obama selected both VP Biden and the Secretary Of State, Clinton, not to be just “Yes” people, but because he valued their independence and wisdom to offer him honest and valuable advice to help him make informed decisions.

  101. I was just asking, because everything I had heard from Hillary was in support of the Egyptian people. So I was curious.

    Frankly, even though the PL will go apeshit crazy — a responsible administration IS going to weigh our relationship with our one of our most stable Middle East allies and the issues of stability, etc. To think these conversations don’t happen or shouldn’t happen is the height of childishness.

    I think it all comes down to one thing: the PL actually has a secret admiration of the bluster of the likes of Bush, they just want that bluster to be wielded from our side. I deeply agree with our President that we must return to a more careful and thoughtful path in policy, domestic or foreign. That used to be standard — you could assume that kind of maturity. Ever since the march to the right that began with Reagan’s reckless statements 30 years ago, we have lost all sense of what diplomacy and statesmanship should look like.

    Did ya hear Pawlenty yesterday at CPAC? Insane.

  102. He’s one of several otherwise fantastic journalists who have IMO simply lost their minds when it comes to this POTUS. They go beyond just posting the news and choose to use their own bully pulpits in a punishment/reward scheme: “you will do what I tell you to do or I will punish you with scathing commentary.” Utterly unprofessional and highly misleading to readers/viewers.

  103. Not all of us, teresa, not all of us. I didn’t believe the neoconservative view that we were to force democracy upon other people ten years ago, and I don’t believe it now. Human nature doesn’t work like that. And I have no desire to see the US as the international dictator either.

    I second your bravo, and great comment!

  104. Extremely well said.

    That instead of a knee-jerk emotional response with no planning for consequences (hello, Iraq!) is childish and dangerous?

    It’s unreal, the need for drama outweighing common sense!

  105. BWD, I love this site. I come here several times a day when I can. I rarely comment because after I read your diaries and all the comments, I have nothing to add. It seems as though my every thought, emotion and comment has already been either diaried or commented on. 🙂 This is great work. I wish every American had access.

    Thank you for creating this very positive place in the midst of a country I sometimes think has lost its bearings.

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