Human Rights,  Obama

“I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear…”

That’s right. President-elect Obama will recite his full name when takes the oath of office on January 20.

“I think the tradition is that they use all three names, and I will follow the tradition,” he said. “I’m not trying to make a statement one way or another. I’ll do what everybody else does.”

I think it’s great, not least for all the people it will anger and flummox.

As for the sure-to-come complaint that Obama’s campaign objected to his opponents’ use of his middle name– how disingenuous can you get? Does anyone doubt what they were trying to insinuate?

Or perhaps Obama could avoid the brouhaha by legally changing his middle name to, say, Jason or Steve.

The president-elect also said he plans to give a major address in an Islamic capital as part of an outreach to the Muslim world. Again, I think that would be great, as long as a speaks over the heads of the leaders to the people. One custom I’d like to see Obama adopt when he visits places like Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia, or any undemocratic country, is to ask for meetings with members of the democratic opposition– even if they happen to be in prison. Imagine the impact this could have.

Despite his stated commitment to democratic transformation, it’s something George W. Bush never did.