This may be a cheap shot, but since it's also thoroughly predictable, why did Obama set it up? The main point of a rally is to generate optics. Why would it seem like a good idea for an American candidate to be seen amid thousands of cheering Germans?
Of course, some American voters long for European love and will warm to these images of German enthusiasm, but presumably these people already support Obama.
ADDED: The German perspective:
So what is motivating Berliners and Germans in general to treat a Democratic presidential hopeful to such a royal welcome?...Good call!
In comparison to US elections, German political campaigns are short, stolid and sober affairs that focus as much on party platforms as personalities. In the wake of World War II, many Germans view charismatic leadership with mistrust.
That, however, doesn't mean that ordinary Germans or the media are immune to the aura of a politician who knows how to work a crowd.Ick. But it reminds me of the famous interview with Princess Diana:
The current edition of Germany's most serious news weekly, Der Spiegel, features Obama on its cover with the only vaguely ironic headline "Germany Meets the Superstar" -- a play on the title of the German version of the TV show "American Idol."
And many German bloggers do seem to idolize the Illinois senator.
"For me he already is the American president," wrote one user of a Website about Obama's Berlin visit. "He may not be have been elected, but he's the president in people's hearts."
MARTIN BASHIR: Do you think you will ever be Queen?Ah, so there's an angle if somehow Obama doesn't make it in the end. He can always be President of our hearts.
DIANA: No, I don't, no.
BASHIR: Why do you think that?
DIANA: I'd like to be a queen of people's hearts, in people's hearts, but I don't see myself being Queen of this country. I don't think many people will want me to be Queen.
Actually, when I say many people I mean the establishment that I married into, because they have decided that I'm a non-starter.
BASHIR: Why do you think they've decided that?
DIANA: Because I do things differently, because I don't go by a rule book, because I lead from the heart, not the head, and albeit that's got me into trouble in my work, I understand that. But someone's got to go out there and love people and show it.