Obama: Ich Bin Ein Frankfurter
As in hot dog, as in prima donna, as in darling of the mainstream media.Well, you get the picture. Even Comedy Central's Jon Stewart got carried away with the self-parody of journalists' adulation for Barack Obama. (As Republitarian suggested, he's seen as a "Messiah.") Saturday Night Live did a hilarious spoof of that last year, and yet the Pied Piper phenomenon continues nevertheless. The "first black Kennedy" (as Garry Trudeau jested) was not allowed to make his speech at Brandenburg Gate during his "campaign stop" in Berlin, as JFK did, but had to settle for a less-prominent venue, Tiergarten Park. At least 200,000 people were there, but American diplomats were advised not to attend, since partisan political activity is prohibited under the Hatch Act.
OK, I know it's easy to snipe at Obama for his over-the-top public relations, so let's look at what he actually said. (See MSNBC.) His main theme seemed to be evoking the fall of the Berlin Wall as a model for worldwide reconciliation: "The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand." Same for rich vs. poor, Christian vs. Jew vs. Muslim, etc., etc. Banning nuclear weapons and stopping global warming are crowd-pleasing, simplistic slogans, but (rather like tax-cutting), those things are much easier said than done. He did at least acknowledge the reality of the terrorist threat, but his desire to enlist European support suggests that he does not have the foggiest idea that Europe is largely a spent force in global politics, a weary bystander whose people have gotten accustomed to relying on Muslim immigrants to do menial labor. He should read Mark Steyn's America Alone.
Obama keeps denying that he's too naive to be Leader of the Free World, but until he gets across the idea that it is better to be respected (or even feared) than loved in global politics, he will face strong skepticism from those who are "world-wise."
Maliki endorses Obama
Well, the Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki didn't exactly endorse Obama as a candidate, but he sure came close to endorsing Obama's 16-month withdrawal timetable. John McCain was caught off guard by this, and the Bush administration is mad as heck. Well, the Iraqis have to prove they aren't puppets of the U.S., so something like this was bound to happen sooner or later. Hopefully, Bush and McCain will spin this as proof of the success of the surge, agreeing that there is now a greater chance of withdrawing U.S. troops without undue risk to the Iraqi people than there was a year ago.
WaPo columnist David Broder rebuts the notion that Obama is getting kid-glove treatment, noting that many of his journalistic colleagues feared that Obama would make a gaffe during his foreign trip. He thinks that Obama showed, from his meetings with P.M. Maliki, Israeli P.M. Olmert, Gen. Petraeus, and other Mideast leaders, that he is prepared for such momentous occasions as presidents must deal with. McCain, meanwhile, has been shunted aside from the debate. Perhaps, but I think Broder is being a little less analytical than his usual self this time, looking at things through mainstream-tinted glasses.