In November 2005 the South African cricket team arrived in Australia to play a 3 Test series against our boys. Their captain, Graeme Smith made some very brave and eventually foolish statements about how the South Africans were going to defeat the Aussies and that our genius bowler, Shane Warne wasn't really that much of a threat. Australia defeated them 2-0 and a month later went over to South Africa and thrashed them 3 out of 3.
This year the South Africans again came over to play. This time their captain (Smith again), didn't say much except that they were feeling that if they played well, they had a chance of winning. There was no trash talk. Instead a just a calm and confident statement of how things were shaping. They won 2-1 and now look good for more victories at home when Australia visits next month.
Compare this to Obama. He's made a lot of statements about hope, unifying the country, taking on the economic meltdown and implementing change. That's a lot of brave talk. If he were just about to embark on a cricket tour we'd be asking big questions about Obama backing up the talk when he walked onto the field. Is he going to be the Graeme Smith of 2005 or 2008? His talk so far has been the Smith 2005 vintage. Rhetoric to win elections and gee up the population is expected. Follow up action is problematic.
Let's hope for the sake of our American friends that there is substance behind the verbals.