My mom has been asking me to blog about Senator Obama's wold tour. Ok: I have a few things to say:
First of all, it looks more like the old Pope or the Rolling Stones than an American president. The crowds, the pres coverage, the rock-star charisma: I wonder how to score back-stage passes. Will I get laid if I say I'm with the band?
John Stewart had the best joke: Senator Obama is in the holy land, traveling today from Jordan to Jerusalem. He'll also take time to stop in Bethlehem, where he will visit the manger in which he was born.
The next thing I have to say is that Obama looks presidential. He looks more presidential than any president since Regan. And he's not even president. Yet.
Poor Chuck Hegel. And who's the other guy? (no, honest: I really don't know).
Here is the most refreshing and presidential thing I saw come out of this trip, and if it doesn't make everybody rush out to put Obama bumper stickers on their cars then the American people are idiots: after eight years of the Bush White House passing the buck by saying they would defer every decision to the generals on the ground, (currently David Patreus), Obama said that, if he were Patreus he would like that situation; but as President it will be he, Mr. Obama, who will set policy and make the final decisions, not the Pentagon, and not General Patreus. Well! Where have you been, Harry S. Truman?? When I heard that I almost jumped out of my skin. It honestly took me by surprise. I hadn't expected that much fortitude from Obama at this point, and it hadnt' really occurred to me that Truman was what we are in need of. But I'd been thinking a lot about Truman and MacArthur lately. I've never completely thought Truman was right to fire MacArthur, but I'm not sure what other choice he had. My friend Paul Hilts says it was the most important moment in American history because, to him, it proved that Americans are indeed different, that on the whole we believe in the rule of law. MacArthur could have been Caesar. It would have been easy. He had a huge army at his command and popular support at home. He was our greatest living war hero and general (sorry, Ike, but it's true). He could have ignored Truman. He could even have staged a coup, as would have happened in 80 to 90% of the countries in the world at the time. But MacArthur didn't cross the Rubicon. He obeyed the order and stepped down.
I'm not comparing Patreus to MacArthur or to Caesar. I'm comparing Obama to Truman. I hadn't expected that. It is the most impressive thing I've seen from anybody in this campaign. I don't know how others will take it, but to me the message was loud and clear.
He is ready.