At Home and Abroad, Obama Pledges a More Active Problem-Solving Role
By Ben Pershing
Having already laid out a historically large first-year agenda that calls for remaking both the nation's health care and energy infrastructures in a matter of months, President Obama just returned from a foreign trip on which he pledged play a more active personal role in addressing global problem areas like North Korea, Iran and, especially, Middle East peace. Now, two questions: How many hours are there in Obama's day? And can he possibly deliver on all his promises at home and abroad?
Mike Allen writes in Politico that "Obama is moving into a new season of his presidency where it's clear that his celebrity is going to be durable, and now he wants to start leveraging it to add clear accomplishments on a long list of issues that have flummoxed his predecessors." The result of Obama's ambitious rhetoric, the Wall Street Journal notes, is that he will now face pressure "to carry through, not only on peace initiatives but also on the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq, the closure of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the enforcement of a ban on torture."
Obama's trip has concluded, but the criticism hasn't. Mark Steyn laments in National Review that Obama "used the cover of multilateralism and moral equivalence to communicate, consistently, American weakness." And while conservatives have derided Obama's supposed "apology tour," Matthew Yglesias complains from the Left that the problem with Obama's trip is that he actually didn't make any apologies. Yglesias says "the real problem with Obama's [Cairo] speech was that, in critical respects, it was shockingly banal, and missed the opportunity to genuinely reconfigure America's approach to the region."
Chuck Grassley also got in on the act, complaining on his Twitter feed: "Pres Obama while u sightseeing in Paris u said 'time to delivr on healthcare' When you are a "hammer" u think evrything is NAIL I'm no NAIL." Yes, even a 75-year-old Senator can write incomprehensible Twitter posts.
Posted at 8:15 AM ET on Jun 8, 2009
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