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Obama's Berlin Speech

Friday, July 25, 2008
So last night I watched Obama's Berlin speech. Having a speech there was pretty bold, and an excellent move, since it brings up so many memories of Kennedy and Reagan. Obama's speech was a good one, but I don't think it was his best by any means. His main theme - tying the struggle against Communism in the previous generation to this generation's struggle against, well, everything, is a good one, but he seemed to lose the thread of it at times. The speech also wandered a bit in the middle with another of those damned "laundry lists" everybody seems compelled to slip in. I'm sorry, a bunch of one sentence lines about nothing in particular just kills the tempo of a speech. Obama never used to do this - I blame the consultants.

The other thing I didn't like was the speech's length, which ran to 25 minutes. By comparison, John Kennedy's famous address in Berlin was four minutes long, and included everything he wanted to say. I watched it on youtube immediately after watching Obama's speech, and there was no comparison. Obama has his moments, but he's no Jack Kennedy - yet.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 7:25 AM
  • Perhaps, but it still was a great speech. Here is what I sent to people this morning (I'm a fan reader of Dr. BH and I actually live in Berlin):

    So, I went to see Barack yesterday... and now reading CNN and the comments on a CNN political blog, I'm kind of annoyed...


    Lots of people commenting there seem to think that people were there only for the "rock concert", the "free beer" and the "free food", and that they actually didn't understand what he was saying. I really wonder how they get those ideas... Especially if they weren't there! Those are the things that people believe, just like that "Ich bin ein Berliner" tale from JFK (about how he said he was a jelly donut -- let me tell you, West Berliners did not see it as a joke, and even to this day, that speech is very meaningful to them! If you care to know more, just ask me!)... so to clarify, in case you see that and then think "oh, so he gave a free concert and free food, that's why people were there"...

    I was there. Sure, there was a concert that nobody was really paying attention to (definitely not standing in front of the stage singing along!)... we were all mostly just hearing the music as we waited to go through security. Also, about half of those 200,000 people were not really near the concert area, but tried to get closer to the podium area and just wait there... You needed to go through security lines (which were slow!) to get to that whole concert / podium area... so at least half of those people were there, behind security, with no music, only seeing the speech on the big screen. There was no free beer nor food!!! You had to pay even for the Obama shirts if you wanted one! Also, most young Germans actually speak English! Sure, there were some that didn't quite get the whole thing, but most of them were very, very interested to see what he had to say about nuclear weapons and climate change... It's not like they loved everything he said - in fact, when he mentioned the Iraq war people didn't really cheer (unlike when he mentioned Afghanistan) ... Plus, there were many Americans there (as well as people from other countries who, based on what we heard while we were there, also spoke English)...

    I know it's not the first time nor it will be the last, but it really makes me angry to see how the media manipulates things, and then, the easily manipulated minds of the people who cannot think on their own or look for other sources of information, just believe whatever they see or hear. Argh, argh, argh!!!

    His speech was great. It's awesome that he was willing to accept (and say it out loud) that the US has made mistakes and that in this globalized world we need to stand together... and all while not saying "when I'm President"... Even if he's not... the speech itself was very, very inspiring.

    By Blogger Super Babe, at 12:07 PM  
  • Oh, I wasn't saying it wasn't a good speech. I'm just sort of a connoisseur of rhetoric and thought I'd point out what was wrong about it. Obama is such a good orator that it's easy to take it for granted. It's neat you got to see him in Berlin. I saw him while he was campaigning in the primaries, but he was extremely tired and was a bit flat. Of course, exhausted he's still better than just about anyone else around today.

    Thanks for commenting!

    By Blogger Arbitrista, at 12:55 PM  
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