American Elephants

An Ego That Knows No Borders by The Elephant's Child

Obama came to Berlin. He came in his campaign plane with the Obama logo on the tail and the Obama slogan painted on the side, with his entourage, and his television anchors, and his crew of worshipful reporters. This visit, unlike his stops in the Middle East, was not paid for by the taxpayers, but by his campaign.

Speaking to an enthralled audience of “tens of thousands of elated Europeans” who just happened to turn up to hear him, he said “Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen — a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.” Not as a candidate? Then why the plane, the logo, the posters, the fliers, etc., etc., And “citizen of the world”? What the heck is that? Nobody is a “citizen of the world”. A citizen, by definition, belongs to a state. And it’s wise to remember which one.

He throws in a line about his race, as if it were something new and different, ignoring the fact that the faces of American foreign policy for 8 years have been African-American ones.

After some fuzzy history (Obama has trouble with history), he apologizes for his country: “I know my country has not perfected itself”, “reject torture and stand for the rule of law” Apologizes to Germans? The history I recall had us going to Europe twice to rescue Europe from the Germans.

Many platitudes, promises to solve all the world’s problems with German help, bring a new dawn to the Middle East, defeat terrorism, end racism, defeat AIDS, end antisemitism, religious bigotry, class envy, and nationalism.

He also promised to save the planet from global warming. “As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya”. Oops! But he went on in that vein: “This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands.”

Sigh. The ice caps in the Arctic are not melting, the coastlines are not shrinking perceptibly, the Midwest has been suffering more from floods than drought. The oceans are not rising unless you consider centimeters significant, and storms come and go completely unaffected by global warming. Even Obama in his Messiah role cannot cause the storms to cease, the ocean to cease its rise, and drought to end. If he becomes President, he won’t have the slightest control of the factories in Beijing. Anyway, it quit warming about ten years ago, and has been cooling in the last five years. Obama will probably take credit for stopping the warming if he finds out.

This is theater. Obama is playing a presidential role to convince the electorate that he can be “presidential”. From speeches with a fake presidential seal on the podium, to an embarrassing request to speak at the Brandenburg Gate, to the entourage, he is playing president. It’s one way to address a thin resume.

It is apparently successful with a gullible and adoring press, but I’m not sure it is playing so well at home. Obama apparently believes that people will not question the meaning of his words, which is slight; wonder why he is campaigning for the presidency in Europe when he hasn’t even been nominated yet; or wonder why his big European campaign event is in Germany.

Oh wait, we do know why his big event was in Berlin. It’s because Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy made important speeches in Berlin. What they said there has been long remembered. I looked for the significant words, the memorable words in this speech, but I couldn’t find them. The only thing notable about this speech was the messianic language (some borrowed from FDR and Lincoln) and the pretentious and arrogant demands. Obama’s really not in any position to be telling the Germans what they must do.

When the curtain comes down on this campaign tour, will the Europeans love us again? This is our moment, this is our time. Didn’t amount to much.

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