Barack Obama did all right in his Berlin speech today, but he did seem a bit underwhelming. OK, I don’t have to be overwhelmed by a speech or a speaker to respect him, but something seemed missing.
I was looking at a pleasant man, a well-educated man who seemed just a little too thin in stature and experience to be behind that microphone, in front of such a huge and adoring crowd (and that was just the press corps).
I was happy Obama talked about freedom and I felt reassured as he reminded Europeans they have to begin carrying their share of the load in to defend democracy and stop genocide. I was a little annoyed that he praised Germany’s cut in CO2 levels, but failed to note that Germany’s energy policies have made that country dangerously dependent on Vladimir Putin’s natural gas.
Testing needed. But all in all, it was a friendly offering of America’s hand to Europe. In Germany where Turks still are viewed suspiciously, the sight of an African-American as the front-runner in an American presidential election also spoke volumes on the potential to move beyond bigotry.
Nevertheless, Obama had the demeanor of the skinny kid actor trying out for the role of a seasoned adult. He was pushing the leader’s tone a little too hard. He’ll get over that as he is tested over the years. Today, he was reciting Sheriff Andy Taylor’s lines but looking more like Opie.