Grading Obama's Speech to the Muslim World

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Grading Obama's Speech

Early this morning in Cairo, President Obama delivered his long-awaited address to the Muslim world. Text of the speech available here, or you can watch the speech in its entirety. Expectations were high for Obama, and even he reportedly expected "to help 'reconcile Islam and modernity.'" So what did Obama accomplish? Was it a flop? A success? Did Obama pull a Richard Gere and accidentally offend Muslim values? Let's look to the blogosphere for answers. But first, Katie Tumulty details how hard it was to pull the event off. Now, we turn to the conservatives. Dan Spencer is a fan. "The big question will be whether this does anything at all for our standing in the Muslim world," writes Ed Morrissey. "Frankly, I doubt it; this may wind up eroding Obama's standing instead. Still, a much better effort than I'd feared." Marc Thiessen tears Obama's speech apart. Things he objects to: "moral equivalence," engaging Hamas, platitudinous talk on democracy, the fact that "there was not one word of praise for our troops and what they have done for the people of the Middle East in the entire address," the list goes on... Lee Smith thinks the president is boneheaded to engage Iran. Ira Stoll thinks Obama is bad news for both Israel and U.S. national security. Max Boot examines the flaws in the speech, but that doesn't mean he can't like it overall: "No question: He is a more effective salesman than his predecessor was." And Erick Erickson gets the award for conservative hyperbole of the day: "Barack Obama's ivory tower naiveté will get us all killed." Check out Chris Good's roundup of conservative reactions for more.

The Liberals Respond

Greg Sargent likes what he heard: "The most striking thing about Obama's speech was his refusal to fudge his discussion of politically difficult issues or conflicts." Marc Lynch concurs, writing that the rollout to the speech alone was "one of the most successful public diplomacy and strategic communications campaigns I can ever remember." Michael Fauntroy hopes "this is the start of a serious and sustained effort to undo the stereotypes on both sides of the issue." Stephen M. Walt reacts positively, though he ends his first assessment of Obama's speech with this caveat: "Now he needs to follow up words with deeds. And so do his listeners." William Bradley's reactions are kind of all over the place. Highlight: "The fact is that Obama didn't really say anything new. The positions he laid out are positions he had in his campaign. But he did say it all at once, and quite well." Watching Obama today, Andrew Sullivan was "reminded of why many of us saw this unlikely figure a couple of years ago and concluded that he was uniquely capable of guiding the West -- and East -- away from a catastrophic conflict that we learned, by bitter experience, could not be won by force of arms alone." And M.J. Rosenberg finds eight messages in the speech he couldn't be happier with.

Other Assorted News on the Speech

Here's how Israel is responding to Obama. Israelis themselves are divided over the speech. Iran and Hamas think Obama's full of it, but the Palestinians don't, according to Mark Halperin, at least. The BBC tag clouds Obama's speech (spoiler alert: "people" wins). Obama delivers a hidden message to the Egyptian Islamic Brotherhood. Turns out the White House translated the speech into 13 other languages. And in other assorted news that has nothing to do with Obama, Bonnie Erbe's been feuding with the likes of Michelle Malkin, et al. Here's the post that started it all. Blogger Gateway Pundit overreacts to Erbe here, and Malkin fires back one of her own.


Chinese officials block crews from filming Tiananmen Square with cops disguised as pedestrians holding umbrellas. Really?... Here's a photo collection of international canned meats... Zach Galifianakis is just darn funny... And next stop: Obama heads to Germany.

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