Barack Obama wanted to explain that democracy cannot be imposed externally on nations in an interview with the BBC. The president argued that we had to close Gitmo in order to get countries to adopt democracy, which should be news to both Iraq and Afghanistan, nations that began holding free elections in part because we’d opened Gitmo. But the Obamateurism moment comes in this passage, reported by Breitbart (via HA reader Mark):
“The danger I think is when the United States or any country thinks that we can simply impose these values on another country with a different history and a different culture,” the president told the broadcaster.
But he stressed: “Democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of religion — those are not simply principles of the West to be hoisted on these countries, but rather what I believe to be universal principles that they can embrace and affirm as part of their national identity.”
Hoisted? Does Obama mean that the US held democracy far above their heads, out of reach? That certainly describes the Left’s contempt for Iraqis during the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom, when many prominent critics argued that Arabs weren’t capable of self-government and that the Bush administration should pick a strongman we liked instead.
No, actually, Obama meant foisted. Like many people who want to turn a clever phrase, a lack of wordsmithing talent leaves Obama hoist with his own petard. (Note: the Hamlet quote uses “with”, not “by” as I originally did.)
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
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