This is a bit jarring, and admittedly a downer, at a very uplifting moment here in Washington. But it's probably worth bearing in mind that some views of America may be too deeply ingrained even for Obama to change--at least by pure virtue of his image--and especially after the conflict in Gaza has apparently inflamed Arab anger towards the U.S., perceived patron of Israel.

Protestors burn a portrait of US president-elect Barack Obama during a demonstration outside the US embassy in Awkar, on the northern outskirts of the Lebanese capital Beirut, on January 18, 2009 against Israel's Gaza assault. The protest took place as Egypt hosted an international summit of European and Arab leaders, also attended by the UN secretary general, with the aim of shoring up a truce in the Gaza Strip. The United States is not represented at the meeting ahead of Obama's inauguration in two days. (Anwar Amro/AFP/Getty Images)

--Michael Crowley