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Senior Aide to Barack Obama Says Supporters Hopes Unrealistic

Aide Says Obama Burdened With Supporters' Unrealistic Hopes

Is the hope of Obama supporters, entirely too audacious? Perhaps so, according to one of Obama's own senior aides. In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph in the midst of Obama's big trip abroad, it appears like that famous hope has become a burden wrapped in unrealistic expectations of what Obama can actually achieve if he becomes president.

Greg Craig, one of Obama's top foreign policy advisers with him on the trip said that Obama is well aware of the burden of hope:

He is very conscious of it. He knows he has become a vehicle for peoples' hopes and dreams and expectations and we all fear that such expectations tend to be unrealistic.

In his trip that includes a swing through Europe, Obama is expected to meet with Gordon Brown to encourage the UK to proceed with planned troop cuts in Iraq next year to free them up to redeploy in Afghanistan.

Obama's plan for Iraq also caused a big email misunderstanding this weekend. To see the audacity of the Inbox,


A German magazine, Der Spiegel reported that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had:

Supported prospective US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's proposal that US troops should leave Iraq within 16 months . . . US presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes.

Everyone all the way up to the White House believed this notion — going so far as to accidentally send out the news to a huge distribution list (always check before hitting "Send," folks.)

Making the email oops worse, it turns out that the whole Maliki quote, was actually a huge misunderstanding. Der Spiegel it seems mistranslated. Maliki's spokesman said that statements by Maliki or any other member of the government should not be seen as support for any US presidential candidate.

Are Obama supporters placing unrealistic expectations on what the reality of Obama can actually do? Will there come a point when they find out they've been way too audacious?


Join The Conversation
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
If it is, I haven't heard it. That doesn't necessarily mean anything... ;)
True-Song True-Song 9 years
"What we need to become audacious about is our own collective ability to help our selves and stop thinking that one person or handful of people can cure our ills because they have our expectations at their back." I think that's part of Obama's message. Isn't that one of his taglines?
Lady-Boleyn Lady-Boleyn 9 years
haha ohh dave
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
From "Audacity of Hope" to the "Burden of Hope"? This is almost funny.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
LOL! My comment was short, but I just thought I'd ad an entry from my friends blog that was appropriate for the occasion.
jenintx jenintx 9 years
I do think that some people may put too much stock into what they think Obama can do. But as far as I'm concerned, even the minor changes--like trying to diminish lobbyist input in congress by not accepting their monetary support (and showing that it can be done without them)--is a step in the right direction.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
jeeeeeeezzzzz hypno, let me know to pack a lunch the next time I read one of your comments ;)!
stephley stephley 9 years
Oh, you mean that "WE can do it" thing - I think a long suppressed energy would be sparked by an Obama victory and the new sense of empowerment would encourage people to contribute more to solutions. We'd turn a page in our history. Obviously, where we go from there depends on all of us.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
What we need to become audacious about is our own collective ability to help our selves and stop thinking that one person or handful of people can cure our ills because they have our expectations at their back. IMO the problem in America with respect to the undeclared fourth branch of government, the constituency, has become so consumed with the self that we've forgotten how well we work together to get things done. A healthy democracy requires thoughtful participation not the burden of indifferent hundreds of millions who are content to simply change the steering wheel every few years and hope for the best. When leaders like Sen. Obama command our attention it is to teach us something, to show us how we can do it better rather than make them a scape goat for our own lethargic response to our discontent with the system. My advice to the general hopeful public is that if Sen. Obama becomes President Obama simply listen, take notes and do what you can to help. “We speak often of our national obsessions, and in the tallying of these we just as often lie to ourselves regarding the root causes. The provenance of this almost manic desperation toward hope, as a most apt current exemplar of this inclination, rarely (if ever) is given vent. The truth of the matter is that because of the retrenchment of civil, social and economic rights (indeed human rights in toto) under the Bush administration Americans have been eddying at a rapid swirl into the mire of hopelessness. Now this is held up as a banner for causality without acknowledging that it is merely the symptomatic denouement of the real cause: our collective irresponsibility in ceding the wielding of OUR power to leaders so that we can bemoan the fact, in apparent contradiction, that we are powerless to change what is done to us and done abroad under the auspices of this country. In a statement, we are hopeless because we have chosen to engage hopelessness in all aspects of our existence; and from this frenzy springs the unfettered end-run around despair towards the illusory smoke of hope. The consequences of our own irresponsibility are not some exogenous visitation from hostile forces beyond our ken. They are in every nuance the direct result of a dis-ease within the body politic, the body economic, the body social and all other forms of our manifestation as a nation. Bush is not the problem but a byproduct of the chemical reaction of our careless lab work; and just as no man is wholly the Devil incarnate, neither can one man be the angelic personification of peaceful and prosperous harmony in a society composed of a multiplicity. The leaders we have vested energy in are but a mirror reflection of where we are as a culture, and the window of our own soul is bared and waiting for us to recall the truth of what we hold; or in the absence of recognition and a choice to shift to a different experience, we will continue to be witnesses to what we have allowed and very witting participants in the manufacturing of our on-going hopeful/hopeless assembly line.” By Sean J. Hoskin
Lady-Boleyn Lady-Boleyn 9 years
I don't know, you should ask him. He is the one who said that it was misunderstood.
stephley stephley 9 years
And Der Spegiel says Maliki's office supplied the translator, so how could the translation be incorrect on that topic which came up more than once?
Lady-Boleyn Lady-Boleyn 9 years
Maliki said his comments were misunderstood when they were translated.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
"I believe Maliki back tracked after speaking with officials from the Bush administration." Totally. I bet he got an angry phone call from Condi.
liliblu liliblu 9 years
"Others are reporting that Iraq starting hedging on the interview after a call from Washington... may not be such a big 'oops'." Stephley, I don't think there is any maybe about it. I believe Maliki back tracked after speaking with officials from the Bush administration.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
He can't help that people have unrealistic expectations of him any more than Bush can help that people have hope that one day he'll learn to read and write. People want a better America, so they're projecting their dreams onto someone who they believe will fulfill them.
em1282 em1282 9 years
I'd rather his campaign slogan be based on hope and change rather than doom, gloom, and a static state of affairs ;) I agree with Stephley. While I think people may have unrealistic expectations of him, I think a lot of people tend to do that in an election year with the candidates. I've always been a Hillary supporter, but will be voting Obama in the fall and I'd be lying if I said that he hasn't at least brought a glimmer of hope into my cold, cynical heart. (OK maybe it's not that cynical, but still...)
stephley stephley 9 years
Of course anyone who believes the ice cream and unicorns version of what Obama can do will be disappoionted. But I think many people are excited about the possibility of a U.S. government taking a more intelligent, far-sighted approach to world affairs and that wouldn't be disappointed. Maliki's didn't say "I endorse Obama", but did refer to his 16 month timeline for leaving Iraq. Der Spiegel is standing by the story and says the Iraqis supplied the translator. Others are reporting that Iraq starting hedging on the interview after a call from Washington... may not be such a big 'oops'.
bleached bleached 9 years
hope. not home.
bleached bleached 9 years
He is the one whose campaign slogan was based on home and change though...
True-Song True-Song 9 years
I can see how expectations would be a problem. I think a lot of people don't have a great understanding of the powers of the presidency, how limited they are.
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