WaPo's Hoagland Unimpressed with Obama's Berlin Speech

July 26th, 2008 11:47 AM

As NewsBusters has been reporting for a number of weeks, some key figures at the Washington Post have been breaking from the Obama-loving pack and actually pointing out the absence of substance behind all the junior senator from Illinois' flash.

Add Jim Hoagland to the list who clearly wasn't as impressed with the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee's speech in Berlin as most of his colleagues in the press.

Here's what he told PBS's Charlie Rose Thursday (video embedded right):

JIM HOAGLAND, WASHINGTON POST: I think the Europeans will like what they heard today, but the target audience really is the American audience. It was a political speech more than a foreign policy speech. It was a good example of Obama`s soaring rhetoric, his aspirational ability to inspire people. But it was lacking in specifics on what he is going to really ask of the Europeans and Germans, in particular, if and when he becomes president. While it was a good speech, it does not rank at the top of the list of the speeches he has given in this campaign so far.

CHARLIE ROSE, HOST: He at least was asking them to send troops to Afghanistan, wasn`t he?

HOAGLAND: I don`t think he specifically talked about the real problem that the German military presents, which is that they`re a series of caveat, a series of restrictions on what they can do. That`s the hard case to be argued between the United States and Germans. And he did not touch it today and I can understand why. This was a political gathering. It was an occasion to project an image of Europeans, the rest of the world eager for the change that he promises. So I understand why he didn`t want to take on that degree of a difficult subject. But at the same time, he may have missed an opportunity.

ROSE: An opportunity to point to specific ways that the division can be healed rather than just saying there is a division and we must heal it?

HOAGLAND: I think that`s right. He did have that opportunity today, and he chose to play it in a more political vein than in a policy vein. Again, that`s quite understandable, but it does detract a little bit from the value of this occasion.

Of course, when Rose moved to former Washington Post correspondent Robin Wright -- the supposedly impartial press member who in October 2007 explained to Howard Kurtz why declining American casualties in Iraq wasn't newsworthy! -- the fawning and gushing over the Obamessiah predictably commenced.

Regardless, one has to wonder what's going on at the Post for so many of its writers -- and editorial staff -- to be willing to discuss Obama's lack of attire.