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?


Sunday, July 20, 2008

An al-Maliki endorsement of Obama's candidacy?

This week, Nuri al-Maliki, the prime minister of Iraq, said he wanted US troops to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible. He said that "US presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes." That's the sound of the US occupation of Iraq wearing out its welcome.

It makes you wonder what al-Maliki's position might be on Senator John McCain's candidacy. He was much less candid about that, saying that he did not want to recommend who American's should vote for. He did say of the two candidates, however, that "whoever is thinking about the shorter term is closer to reality. Artificially extending the stay of US troops would cause problems.

Should we consider that an endorsement of Senator Barack Obama's candidacy by al-Maliki?