I have been so busy that I am very late to this topic, and it is so late tonight when I write this that I have no time for in-depth analysis. I also add a HUGE caveat that I am NOT becoming another David Brooks, eager to find reasons to fawn over Barack Obama while still claiming to be a conservative. Day after day after day I write editorials for the Washington Times and columns and blog entries here and at the Wash Times taking Obama to task on a multitude of fronts. I do not agree with him, do not trust him, do not admire him, do not like him.
BUT, basic fairness requires that when a public figure does something right, it should be acknowledged especially by his harshest critics. Only one other time since he became president have I complimented Obama; I think it was for a morally serious and well targeted speech he gave on the Holocaust. But… and here I finally get to the point … just a little while ago I FINALLY got a chance to read Obama’s Nobel Prize Lecture… and I thought it was mostly well aimed, mostly eloquent, mostly constructive. He made a solid moral case for the use of force, and he made a solid case for universal principles that included not just fuzzy-headed “sustainability” nonsense but also freedom and other Western values. He even praised Ronald Reagan by name — leaving out a large part of the Reagan story, but still graciously and generously praising him — for working for peace and achieving it, with appropriate acknowledgement of Reagan’s too-little appreciated inspiration of and support for “dissidents” worldwide.
So, while there were a number of things about the speech that grated on my conservative ears, a host of things I could nit-pick, I agree with some other conservative columnists that the bulk of this speech was an admirable representation of American thought and values. Yes, his actions in office have not seemed to match large parts of the speech that were the very parts I liked best. But, as Reagan understood, some world stages are so big that well-chosen words on those stages are effective actions in and of themselves. So, while I will probably never get around to a more thorough public analysis of Obama’s Nobel address, I do say here, for the record, that it merits a bit of a “Bravo” from Americans of all reasonable political persuasions, including from conservatives.