PunditWire readers may recall my analysis of the intellectually and technically unsatisfactory speech by President Obama in Cairo. Now we have the first major overseas speech given by President Trump, delivered in Saudi Arabia at the heart of the ‘Islamic World’. How did he do?
We mere citizens of the world who once upon a time looked to the President of the United States to be both a strong leader and a bold representative of important moral principles sit aghast at the horror of #USElections2016. Still, it may soon be over, or not as the case may be.
For all the clever tweets, sophisticated data, and focus group tested messages the Hillary Clinton campaign pumps out daily, they may have forgotten to ask the simple question that should be at the heart of every campaign: If voters had one sentence to explain why they support her candidacy, what would it be? After nineteen months of campaigning, I’m not sure they have an answer to that.
The problem with anyone young is that they have all sorts of positive qualities: energy, fresh thinking, ambition, confidence and so on. But they (necessarily) don’t have the experience that comes from knowing lots of things. From seeing how things play out over time. For grasping the deeper dynamics of any negotiation. From understanding relationships in all their baffling complexity. From grasping what the Serbs call duh situaciji – the spirit of the situation.
What First Lady Michelle Obama gave us was a gift, a way to imagine America differently, a reaffirmation of the American Dream drawn from the experience of those who should have every right to be bitter about it. And she transformed politics from a blood sport about our wants and needs and anger today into a sacred promise we hold with our children to shape their lives and their futures.