Filed under: Election 2008, Europe, Foreign Policy, Iraq, Liberalism, Media Bias, Military, News, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Politics, Terrorism, The Constitution | Tags: Europe, Germany, Liberal lies, Washington Post
Barack Obama’s “Presidential World Tour” provoked a fair amount of humor and sarcasm on many right-leaning blogs, including this one. The repainted plane, with the U.S. flag on the tail removed to be replaced by the Obama symbol, the seat labeled “the President”, the entourage including three major television anchors, the announcement of his foreign policy towards Iraq and Afghanistan before going there on a “learning” trip were a few of the occasions for questioning presumptuous behavior.
But it was the arrogant request to speak at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin that really raised questions. (Like who does he think he is?). Wolfram Weimer, editor in chief of the German political monthly Cicero said:
It would not occur to any one in France to let Oskar Lafontaine, the co-Chair of the German Left Party, hold a campaign speech at the Arc de Triomphe. No one in England would think of helping one of the Kaczynski brothers stump for Polish votes in front of Buckingham Palace….Why not? Because there is such a thing as a feeling of reverence toward national symbols. And this feeling forbids one from allowing such places to be misused for the politicking of foreign nations. It shows a lack of respect to want to degrade the historical monuments of friendly countries into electoral campaign scenery.
Weimer added that “By virtue of his request he makes brazenly clear that he is not really interested in Germany as such. What interests him is, above all, the décor for a good photo opportunity.”
His Berlin speech, where he presented himself as a “citizen of the world”, without irony, made him sound like a candidate of transnational progressivism — where global rules and norms are more important than sovereign nations — and little things like the American Constitution. The Press, however, ate it up. “He looks so Presidential”, they gushed.
Amir Taheri wrote about Obama’s tour that:
“He looked like a man in a hurry,” a source close to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said last week. “He was not interested in what we had to say.”…Iraqis were most surprised by Obama’s apparent readiness to throw away all the gains made in Iraq simply to prove that he’d been right in opposing the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein. “He gave us the impression that the last thing he wanted was for Iraq to look anything like a success for the United States,” a senior Iraqi official told me. “As far as he is concerned, this is Bush’s war and must end in lack of success, if not actual defeat.”
There were, however, some cracks in the media’s adoration. Katie Couric gave him the toughest questioning of the tour. Reporters had to gently remind his campaign staff that “He isn’t President yet”. The slight bounce in the polls after his appearances in Berlin, Paris and London has pretty much disappeared. He has encouraged portrayal of himself as a messianic figure, welcomed portraits of himself with halos. Though the mock “presidential seal” has disappeared, the media enthusiasm has not. Chris Matthews still has that ‘tingle’.
Dana Milbank from the Washington Post showed today that the press is not always a faithful and dependable doormat:
Fresh from his presidential-style world tour, during which foreign leaders and American generals lined up to show him affection, Obama settled down to some presidential-style business in Washington yesterday. He ordered up a teleconference with the (current president’s) Treasury secretary, granted an audience to the Pakistani prime minister and had his staff arrange for the chairman of the Federal Reserve to give him a briefing. Then he went up to Capitol Hill to be adored by House Democrats in a presidential-style pep rally.
Along the way he traveled in a bubble more insulating than the actual president’s. Traffic was shut down for him as he zoomed about town in a long, presidential-style motorcade, while the public and most of the press were kept in the dark about his activities, which included a fundraiser at the Mayflower where donors paid $10,000 or more to have photos taken with him.
[At the] adoration session with lawmakers in the Cannon Caucus Room…he told the House members, “This is the moment…that the world is waiting for,”adding’ “I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions.”
As he marches toward Inauguration Day (Election Day is but a milestone on that path), Obama’s biggest challenger may not be Republican John McCain but rather his own hubris.
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