Washington Babylon — December 2, 2009, 9:48 am

Obama’s Afghan Speech: The (TV) review is in

From Tom Shales:

Would you buy a used war from this man? Americans might be seeing their bright, young president in a dark, new light this morning after watching his televised speech Tuesday night centering on escalation of the war in Afghanistan…

But if the speech had a familiar ring — an eerily familiar ring — perhaps Obama thought that with his superior powers as a speechmaker and television presence, he could sway American hearts and minds more effectively than did his predecessor — even if Obama’s message on Afghanistan might have sounded awfully similar to President George W. Bush’s on Iraq.

Just like Bush, Obama made sure to make a conspicuous reference to the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, but Obama said its perpetrators came from Afghanistan, not Iraq.

Could it be that Obama, who made liberal use of the personal pronoun, enjoys setting up lofty challenges for himself so as to seem amazing should they be achieved — the challenge Tuesday night being to persuade a viewing nation, suffering from a ruinous recession, to support an escalated and expensive war in the Mideast.

Obama is said to have great confidence in his popularity and in the degree to which the electorate loves him. Some supporters as well as detractors must be wondering, after watching the West Point performance, whether he’s overestimating that affection — and whether he’s due for the proverbial rude awakening.

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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