The Intercultural Competence of Barack Obama

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The Intercultural Competence of Barack Obama On the Necessity of Cliché and Barack Obama’s Rhetoric On February 19, 2008, New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks, under the title “When the Magic Fades”, opined: “Up until now The Chosen One’s speeches had seemed to them less like stretches of words and more like soul sensations that transcended time and space. But those in the grips of Obama Comedown Syndrome began to wonder if His stuff actually made sense. For example, His Hopeness tells rallies that we are the change we have been waiting for, but if we are the change we have been waiting for then why have we been waiting since we’ve been here all along?” Then, on February 25, 2008, Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times wrote in his column on “Obama and the art of empty rhetoric”: “I have watched Mr Obama speak live; I have watched him speak on television; I have even watched his speeches set to music on a video made by celebrity supporters ( But I find myself strangely unmoved – and this is disconcerting. It feels like admitting to falling asleep during Winston Churchill’s “fight them on the beaches”speech. I will admit one thing. Mr Obama has a nice, gravely voice – which is perhaps a legacy of his days as a heavy smoker. But his most famous phrases are vacuous. The “audacity of hope”? It would be genuinely audacious to run for the White House on a platform of despair. Promising hope is simply good sense. “The fierce urgency of now”? It is hard to see what Mr Obama means when he says this – other than that some inner voice has told him to run for president.” Well, politicians hardly ever say what they mean and hardly ever mean what they say. As Konrad Adenauer, the first German Chancellor after WWII, famously commented on his possible successor Ludwig Erhard: "He's totally unfit to be chancellor, he believes what the says."
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