Sunday, July 27, 2008

The audacity of hype

Last week, Senator Barack Obama made an international tour. Senator John McCain is the very one who goaded Obama into doing so by belittling Obama's foreign policy experience. Now McCain has the audacity to spin hype about how presumptuous Obama was to give a speech at the Tiergarten in Germany. The media have been just as relentless at trying to trip Obama up. Even the sweetheart anchor, Katie Couric, tried relentlessly but unsuccessfully to weave Obama into a catch-22 on the 'surge' while he was visiting Jordan.

Meanwhile, as Obama was addressing 200,000 spectators in Germany, McCain showed him up by visiting a grocery store in Pennsylvania where the local Republican party was able to funnel an entire shopper to meet him and drive home the message about the rising prices of food. As if he did not wreak enough damage on Obama with that move, McCain followed it up by drawing a throng of six small business owners to the Sausage Haus in Ohio. At the Haus, McCain said:
McCain at the Fudge Haus
Well I’d love to give a speech in Germany to -- a political speech -- or a speech that maybe the German people would be interested in but I would much prefer to do it as president of the United States rather than as a candidate for the office of the presidency.
Translation: "I would love for the German people to be interested enough in me to draw a crowd of even 200 people (let alone 200,000). Maybe then it would be worthwhile for me to visit there as a candidate instead of waiting to be President." This is what makes the media's hype about Obama's trip being presumptuous so audacious. McCain had just finished an international trip of his own, meeting with American generals and foreign leaders. Yet the press never asked him if perhaps he should have waited to be elected President before making his trip.

Granted, 200,000 Germans attended Obama's speech, which could have been seen by some as over the top. But it's not as if he put a gun to their heads and forced them to attend. They wanted to hear Obama speak to them. Isn't that 200,000 reasons enough for Obama to make his international tour, whether he be President or just a candidate?



Anonymous said...

George Bush Sr. put it best when asked. What do you think of Senator Obama giving a speech to 200,00 Germans? George replied," I'm jealous".! Judging from the political ad McCain ran, he is too.

Anonymous said...

Obama needs to appear presidential, especially with his thin foreign policy resume. This campaign-contrived event fit the bill, and he pulled it off masterfully. Much of the world probably views the U.S. as a rogue nation with a stockpile of weapons (nuclear or otherwise) that has demonstrated it's not afraid to use them. I'm sure that's pretty scary. The 200,000 Germans, like many other people in the world, are hoping that the new guy won't be so "bombs-away" like our current president.

Anonymous said...

Notice how Obama's poll numbers plunged in recent days as soon as McCain's campaign went negative? That just shows what little substance the Obama candidacy has right now. He better figure out how to put some meat in the sandwich, and quick.

Anonymous said...

It's nice that the Teutonic masses showed up for the free beer, free music and a "hate-Bush" love-in.

Now that the big event is in our collective rear view mirrors, what did it accomplish? What were we left with?

More than 40 years ago, JFK gave his famous "ich bin ein Berliner" (a berliner is a type of donut and not the name of Berlin residents...btw). It resonated with free people and gave hope to those living under the USSR's thumb. Today, his words have a special place in history.

Likewise, when Ronald Reagan gave his famous "tear down this wall" speech, his words meant something and lived on beyond just the next news cycle.

Senator Obama's speech, on the other hand, was empty. Lots of hope and platitudes, but not much else. Remember anything special from it? "This is our moment"? Well, sorry, that was U2's Bono back at Live 8.

This event was nothing more than a stunt. It may have earned him some new friends in Germany, but what did it do here in America? Apparently, not much.

Perhaps his coming rockstar speech at the Democratic convention (in the football stadium) will bring new eyes, ears and votes. If he hopes to do better, he's going to have to do better than he did in Berlin.

Anonymous said...

Say what you will, BHO's speech in Germany was well done. Who ever heard of Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton before they burst on to the scene and into the White House. Sure, Obama's going to need some on-the-job training, but he sure seems like a plausable president.

Anonymous said...

I bet John Edwards couldn't get a audience of more than five people right about now.

G said...

Eh, I am not worried. Of course McCain is jealous as he should be. Barack will have plenty of knowledgeable advisors wrt foreign policy matters.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps knowledgeable advisors is over-rated. Condi allegedly earned her stripes as an expert on the Soviet Union, but with the collapse of communism that suddenly seemed obsolete information. She became National Security Adviser and then Secretary of State, helped lead us into a Middle East quagmire and -- SURPRISE! -- when she wasn't looking we practically have World War Freakin' III breaking out in Georgia. I'd like to continue, but I have to get back to digging that fallout shelter in my backyard.