Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hanoch Daum/American dream evaporating - Charisma isn’t enough

(Ynet).The fact that Barack Obama is the first American president since 1991 not to meet the Dalai Lama is not worrying in and of itself.

The reason why Obama chose to adopt this dubious step (his wish not to upset China) is also not perturbing. After all, he does not fundamentally object to anything about the Dalai Lama. He simply listened to the wrong advisor and underestimated his power as an American president and his ability to be received with great honors anywhere in the world, regardless of who he met with the day before.

Yet the issue is becoming disquieting because of the feeling that is increasingly being reinforced in our collective sense of anxiety that the charismatic guy who ran the exciting campaign – the guy who for a moment convinced all of us that we’ll be seeing an acute change and that the world will at once turn into a good place to live in – is turning before our eyes into a so-so president, at best.

His rhetorical ability is still there, but suddenly everyone is talking about the fact that the American president is reading from a teleprompter.

The issue of the teleprompter did not emerge coincidently. After all, we knew a year ago that Obama is using this legitimate technical aide, yet only now it’s starting to bother people. Because the moment Obama starts to make puzzling decisions time and again, people start asking questions about what will happen on the day the teleprompter breaks down.

Obama is facing trouble with his healthcare reform, his involvement in the Middle East prompted several odd results and futile summit meetings, and his bizarre decision to enlist for the cause of Chicago’s Olympic bid ended with a stinging defeat by the friendly clowns from Brazil and rather embarrassing photos of the losing president and his wife.

Barack Obama was a big promise, and it is still too early to eulogize him, but it would certainly be appropriate to wake up from the dream we had here for a few minutes, whereby one person can change the course of history by himself just because of this elusive thing we used to refer to as “charisma.”