July 24, 2008

Obama's rally in Berlin.

How strange is it for an American presidential candidate to have a big rally in a foreign country? Why is Obama doing this in Berlin?

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?...

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.
Good call!
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.

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."
Ick. But it reminds me of the famous interview with Princess Diana:
MARTIN BASHIR: Do you think you will ever be Queen?

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.
Ah, so there's an angle if somehow Obama doesn't make it in the end. He can always be President of our hearts.

113 comments:

Hoosier Daddy said...

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.

I'm at a loss as to why either candidate is campaigning overseas. IMHO, I don't see Obama giving his version of Ich ein Berliner going to sway the more moderate blue dog Democrats much to his side, possibly the opposite. The sophisticates on the coasts of course will eat it up.

Rook said...

Well, Obama DOES hate the jews.

Pogo said...

Liberal fascism returns to its roots.

Next stop: Italy
"Obama: Il Duce"

Michael said...

I wish the media would ask Senator Obama the following question: Since the Iraq war and the surge were mistakes because Iraq did not pose any threats to the US, why did we attack Germany? The Japanese did attack us, but Germany did not. Was this a waste of young people on a useless war?

Rook said...

Germany declared war on us after we declared war on Japan.

Michael_H said...

"Why is Obama doing this in Berlin?"

Because he is the world's messiah, not just America's. He'll be campaigning aboard the international space station soon, then on to a brief on-camera appearance near the mars rover.

Chris Matthews will feel tingling in both of his legs. And Katie Couric, well, I can't describe what she feels tingling.

Cedarford said...

Great, rook and Michael, and Al Qaeda declared war on us in Iraq after we went in and made it their "Central Front of Jihad".

What's your point?

I'll give you one. Iraq appears to have been a complete catastrophe for AQ. They managed to discredit their cause with both Sunnis and Shiites...their barbarism against fellow Sunnis led KSA, Jordan (the wedding bombings) and the countries of N Africa to crack down on them as dangerous extremists deserving to be wiped out. Arab sympathy for their 7th Century barbarism and Takifiri heresy has all but vanished.

Inside Iraq, they blundered onto a killing ground of wide open spaces completely unlike the near-perfect defensive positions inside the moutainous parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. We had cooperative natives in Iraq, and short logistic lines compared to Afghanistan, and we were able to whack over 10 thousand at a price of 800 or so dead by foreign fighters hands, and Iraqis whacked several hundred AQ on their own.

And even worse for AQ, they were so eager to go in and slaughter Marines and hardened US Army (who were not easy victims AQ was used to) - they exposed their cells, network facilitators, targeting scouts, recruiters and financiers from Jordan to Morocco and in 12 Western Euro countries. And many operatives in the Gulf Emirates and KSA. The Saudis have arrested over 800 in the last two years and trotted some around to say how fucked up they found AQ, and apparantly have "disappeared" the worst hardcases.

rhhardin said...

Another idiom to avoid is ``Ich bin warm.''

Paul Zrimsek said...

And it seems to me you lived your life
With a finger in the wind,
Never knowing how to think through
When the surge went in.
And your worshippers still love you
But they're all just kids;
Your welcome wore out long ago,
Your money never did.

Michael_H said...

This just in----the press corps traveling with Senator Obama has given the campaign airplane a new nickname.

The press corps now calls it 'Air Force One' because, as Charlie Gibson explained, "Why wait until January?"

In an unrelated item, the Obama campaign has announced that the candidate will visit the Papal City, where Pope Benedict XVI is expected to begin the beatification process, the first step to sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church.

rhhardin said...

The Diana snip actually sounds okay to me, I mean as not over-the-top schtick. She's a celebrity and going the niceness route to deal with it.

But you don't want her finger on the niceness button.

gophermomeh said...

Pogo - Germany's fascism roots are in southern Germany. Munich. In conservative Bavaria.

Slim999 said...

Isn't Germany where all the Nazi's hold their big rallies.

I see the Brownshirt, Jr. brigade has succeeded in censoring another Google video critical of Adol .... I mean Barak Hussein.

See Instapundit:
http://www.pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/archives2/022082.php

gophermomeh said...

Why is Obama doing this in Berlin?

As he is currently running for President of the United States and that we are still the world's super power, wouldn't it behoove us to make nice with an ally and the EU's dominant country?

Hey, and it seems to get pretty good press coverage and great ratings. We're all talking about, aren't we?

rhhardin said...

Coulter: with the Messiah on his "Ich Bin Ein Berlitzer" Tour! (link good for a week)

Also on McCain's op-ed, commenting on its populist swill: Now the Times won't even publish McCain's op-ed. I wouldn't have published it either.

Michael_H said...

I think Obama's in Berlin because our children haven't learned to speak Spanish.

What's the German translation for 'uh uh uh uhhh um ummm um uh ah ah ahhh'?

Dylan said...

Wow.. and I thought I was gonna be cynical when I left the comment I'm about to, but you guys... well... wow.

He's holding this rally in Germany to help try and combat the perception that he's too green and inexperienced in foreign affairs. If people are concerned about that, the image of foreign countries cheering him sends a message to the electorate that even if he doesn't have a lot of foreign policy experience he'll be able to point to the images of Europe falling all over themselves for him (and, by contrast, not falling all over McCain).

After an administration which didn't really care all that much about allied involvement in, well, just about any foreign policy decision that was made, this could be viewed as a welcome change.

jdeeripper said...

It's totally misplaced to play up this Germans love the charismatic leader stereotype. This isn't Germany in the 1930s.

This is about the German Heidi Klum and her ugly jet black husband Seal and their 2 mixed race sons being held up as a model of social progress.

This is about the opposite of the enraged racial/national pride of fascist Germany.

This is about the same thing that motivates European Americans to fall all over Obama. It's about the need White folks have for a black redeemer to wash away their racial fear, guilt, shame and debt.

And what better way than to idolize not only an empty black male but a black male BORN of a White woman?

Didn't Stanley Ann Dunham do the ultimate act of expiation of White racial sin ?

White folks in Europe are still just White folks. They have all the White racial narcissism and arrogance of White Americans. And they have no less need to prove themselves superior to other White people by using their worship of a black male as that racial/moral litmus test of that relative moral superiority.

Pogo said...

After an administration which didn't really care all that much about allied involvement in, well, just about any foreign policy decision...

Who gives a shit what Germany thinks? Or France?

Germany is interested in Germany. France cares only for France. Their only interest in the US is in how it affects their own interests. They're not concerened about what we think about them.

It was ever thus.
Don't be so naive.

P. Rich said...

gophermomeh said: Germany's fascism roots are in southern Germany. Munich. In conservative Bavaria.

Wise up, dude. pogo is correct. Fascism is a liberal phenomenon, and the official name of the Nazi Party was the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Didn't they include you on the notice? That lefty lie about conservatism is dead and buried.

Quayle said...

Given that Obama wants to give his acceptance speech at the 76,000 seat Invesco Field in Denver, rather than the 21,000 seat Pepsi center (much too small for all the fans!):

perhaps Obama should move his Germany event to Zeppelin Field - a perfect place for the teeming crowd to adore a rock star politician with no former accomplishments, but a real gift for solving national problems with soaring rhetoric.

Hoosier Daddy said...

He's holding this rally in Germany to help try and combat the perception that he's too green and inexperienced in foreign affairs.

So giving a speech in front of a bunch of Krauts somehow translates into foreign policy cred?

Crimso said...

"wouldn't it behoove us to make nice with an ally"

If by "us" you mean the U.S., sure. But Obama has no more authority to engage in such activities than I do.

Crimso said...

"perhaps Obama should move his Germany event to Zeppelin Field - a perfect place for the teeming crowd to adore a rock star politician with no former accomplishments, but a real gift for solving national problems with soaring rhetoric."

Wait, wait. Are you talking about Obama or Hitler?

MadisonMan said...

That lefty lie about conservatism is dead and buried.

Bush killed conservatism.

P. Rich said...

AA said: Why is Obama doing this in Berlin?

Because by election run-up time, Obama's PR people and the complaisant press will be touting his 35 years of hands-on foreign policy experience and using this as an example.

Roger J. said...

MM: he didn't kill it, but he sure gave it a bad name.

As to Obama's rally in Berlin--according to Reuters (via instapundit) he is going to ask the Europeans to do more. Somehow, I don't think that has the same ring as JFKs speech--and it could be the Europeans may find that just a bit patronizing.

I do hope BO's speechwriters have told him that Berliner has two meanings auf deutch and he needs to keep them straight. And I hope they have told him to avoid torchlights as a backdrop.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Other things being equal, it's nicer to have Europeans cheering you than not. It just doesn't make a very good goal, that's all.

Zach said...

So has anybody else noticed how often Obama's campaign literature shows him in highly stylized illustrations? It's really uncommon in American campaigns, and there's more than a little debt to Soviet realism, what with the hopeful gaze into the distance, the accentuated angularity, and the use of ... false color.

Charlie Eklund said...

Perhaps the junior Senator from Illinois is holding a rally in Berlin because the United States is far too small a stage to hold the interest of such a world-class egomaniac.

If this clown happens to win the election, the next four years...er, the next eight to ten years, I mean...are gonna be a scream.

Quayle said...

Zach, Obama isn't the first politician to use that style, looking off into the future. But the tone is starting to creep me out.

Check out this:
http://www.listphile.com/Propaganda_Poster_Collections_Online/Nazi_Posters_1933-1945/image/hj.jpg

Quayle said...

Sorry, here is that link

http://www.listphile.com/
Propaganda_Poster_Collections_Online/
Nazi_Posters_1933-1945

Doyle said...

So Bush invades a country without justification and claims the authority to break the law if necessary for national security, and the Hitler comparisons are totally deranged.

But Obama gives a speech in Berlin and suddenly comparisons to Hitler are "maybe unfair, but to be expected"?

You folks are just too fucking crazy.

Roger J. said...

el Doyle otra vez.....

Fritz said...

Quayle.
Link - Anchor Tag

Richard said...

Ann said ...
Ah, so there's an angle if somehow Obama doesn't make it in the end. He can always be President of our hearts.

I have another part of my anatomy in mind.

Seven Machos said...

Justification

Seven Machos said...

Justification before that

Seven Machos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doyle said...

No, just authorization.

Seven Machos said...

Doyle, you are mincing words. The president is justified in war if the president and the Congress agree to justify a war. Sorry, but that's how power works.

You don't get to sit back in your single-wide and decide.

Doyle said...

A kid could ask his parents if it's okay to take his classmate's lunch money, and if they were sufficiently stupid and irresponsible parents (or if a majority of the parents are Republicans) they'll say "Sure, you've made the case that you have to take it. Go nuts!"

That constitutes authorization for the taking of the lunch money, but not justification. It's not a particularly fine distinction.

gophermomeh said...

PR: How is an nationalist-authoritarian state, liberal? Nazism grew in opposition to Germany’s late-1920’s liberal democracy.

p.s. It's dudette, to you. Think Big Ten. Think reciprocity and who's writing the checks (ouch).

gophermomeh said...

PR: How is an nationalist-authoritarian state, liberal? Nazism grew in opposition to Germany’s late-1920’s liberal democracy.

p.s. It's dudette, to you. Think Big Ten. Think reciprocity and who's writing the checks (ouch).

Seven Machos said...

Doyle -- No. The supreme law of the land does not grant the kid or his parents plenary power.

Try again.

Invisible Man said...

Doyle, you are mincing words. The president is justified in war if the president and the Congress agree to justify a war. Sorry, but that's how power works.

That is one hideously ignorant statement right there. By that standard just about ever war in civilization except for maybe 'Charlie Wilson's' was justified. You should try that again, for I'm sure that most people don't think that Hitler's war against Western Europe was justified because his executive powers allowed him the ability to start one.

Doyle said...

Look Seven I'm not going to convince you that there was no good reason to invade Iraq, or that the AUMF vote only proves Congress's complicity in it (which I'm well aware of).

My issue here is with the comparisons of Obama to Hitler, owing to the fact that they both are/were capable of drawing big crowds in Germany.

I mean that Ann would link to that Melissa nutjob who posted the two images side by side ("They're both in profile!") and say that it only "may be" a cheap shot should be pretty revealing even to Iraq war supporters that Althouse is just an irredeemable hack.

Either Obama deserves to be associated with Hitler for giving a speech in Berlin or he doesn't. Ann seems to feel that the association is valid enough that Obama should have declined to give the speech out of fear of it.

It's just bizarre that someone with Ann's pretensions of sanity would engage this crap at all.

Patm said...

This comment from Obama I don't like:
"They want a sense of purpose, a narrative arc to their lives, something that will relieve a chronic loneliness or lift them above the exhausting, relentless toll of daily life. They need an assurance that somebody out there cares about them, is listening to them -- that they are not just destined to travel down a long highway toward nothingness."

It sounds just a little too messianic for my tastes.

Doyle said...

Messianic?

You know Bush said God called him to seek the presidency, right? And that he answers "to a higher Father"? And then there's all that "wonder-working power" dog whistle stuff he used to sneak into speeches?

There's no religious language in that statement by Obama at all. He's talking about human beings looking out for one another. If that scares you maybe you're really oversensitive.

garage mahal said...

Negrofascism!

MadisonMan said...

Think reciprocity and who's writing the checks (ouch).


Don't you mean who's writing the checks, eh?

P. Rich said...

It's dudette, to you.

My apologies, dudette. [with a smile]

Are you familiar with a book called Liberal Fascism? It's a persuasive read, and it points out at length that fascism is of the left, as is modern liberalism.

You are correct that the Nazi Party and the rise of Hitler were centered in Munchen. (They point this out on bus tours of the city. "There is where Hitler's housekeeper lived." Really.) But that doesn't mean much as the appeal of the Party was a nationalistic one based on, "Germans are victims and our government will fix things.", an argument with recognizable liberal overtones.

Roger J. said...

If this Obama junket had any content othr than generating campaign footage, Obama would face an unmanaged press conference--I don't recall seeing any press conferences of that nature in this tour--Gott im Himmel---what is he going to do if he has to face a press conference as president (even factoring in the blatent bias--as president, his charm will quickly wear off and he will become just another slab of meat for the news cycle--later rather than sooner--but a slab nonetheless)

Fen said...

My issue here is with the comparisons of Obama to Hitler, owing to the fact that they both are/were capable of drawing big crowds in Germany.

Its a fair comparison - both men made expert use of rhetoric to sway simple-minded sheep willing to swallow anything.

Blue Moon said...

Fen:

Ah yes, because McCain's supporters are all vulcans and all black people are sheep... hey, I didn't know you were Al Sharpton! ;-0

BJK said...

Why is Obama doing this in Berlin?

Because Barack Obama is consciously trying to wrap himself in the Kennedy mantle, just like his planned acceptance speech at a football stadium (Invesco Field in Denver). Everyone knows the "ich bin ein Berliner" line...even if it was quite a lost-in-translation moment.

...not even going to contemplate where Scarlett Johannson fits into the picture.

Seven Machos said...

The only wars that are justified are those that are deemed just by far-left, probably unemployed blog commenters. Okay. Got it.

gophermomeh said...

Thanks, PR. Apology accepted (smile back).

No, I haven’t read it. My understanding is that fascism covers a wide spectrum that touches on both the right and left. It core is a nationalist unity and purity theme, is it not? This is my understanding. It may include some socialist tendencies, though not to the degree of communism. I thought it was considered to lean right.

I don’t know why Hitler’s strong support and power plays happened in Munich, other than that’s where he was, but Munich does sit in Bavaria, which is considered conservative.

And didn’t fascism begin in Italy (I’m asking)?

Ann Althouse said...

Patm, that would indeed be an alarming comment if Obama were talking about what he was offering people, but you've taken it out of context. Here's the passage from his book "The Audacity of Hope" -- and he's clearly talking about what people look for in religion:

Today, white evangelical Christians (along with conservative Catholics) are the heart and soul of the Republican Party's grassroots base--a core following continually mobilized by a network of pulpits and media outlets that technology has only amplified. It is their issues--abortion, gay marriage, prayer in schools, intelligent design, Terri Schiavo, the posting of the Ten Commandments in the courthouse, home schooling, voucher plans, and the makeup of the Supreme Court--that often dominate the headlines and serve as one of the major fault lines in American politics. The single biggest gap in party affiliation among white Americans is not between men and women, or between those who reside in so-called red states and those who reside in blue states, but between those who attend church regularly and those who don't. Democrats, meanwhile, are scrambling to "get religion," even as a core segment of our constituency remains stubbornly secular in orientation, and fears--rightly, no doubt--that the agenda of an assertively Christian nation may not make room for them or their life choices.

There are various explanations for this trend, from the skill of evangelicals in marketing religion to the charisma of their leaders. But their success also points to a hunger for the product they are selling, a hunger that goes beyond any particular issue or cause. Each day, it seems, thousands of Americans are going about their daily rounds--dropping off the kids at school, driving to the office, flying to a business meeting, shopping at the mall, trying to stay on their diets--and coming to the realization that something is missing. They are deciding that their work, their possessions, their diversions, their sheer busyness are not enough. They want a sense of purpose, a narrative arc to their lives, something that will relieve a chronic loneliness or lift them above the exhausting, relentless toll of daily life. They need an assurance that somebody out there cares about them, is listening to them--that they are not just destined to travel down a long highway toward nothingness.

If I have any insight into this movement toward a deepening religious commitment, perhaps it's because it's a road I have traveled.


He goes on to talk about his religious background.

Roger J. said...

Blue Moon--please let us know where Fen said anything at all about black people in his post. I am sick of PC zealots whoe see race lurking everywhere.

Trevor Jackson said...

"If this Obama junket had any content othr than generating campaign footage, Obama would face an unmanaged press conference--I don't recall seeing any press conferences of that nature in this tour"

Not sure how you define "unmanaged," but he held a press conference a couple days ago in Amman, Jordan.

FoBWgal said...

BJK - I'd agree. One of the agenda's at play here is a JFK link. Good or bad, I don't know. Some of their arcs are the same though - age, idealism, purpose.

Roger J. said...

Trevor: I stand corrected--thanks. He did in fact do a presser in Jordan with Reed and Hagel.

Chip Ahoy said...

Obama went to Germany?

vbspurs said...

Because he is the world's messiah, not just America's.

If the World Could Vote for US President

As one writer put it:

For ill - or for good - it's out of our hands: both are Americans and nothing can be done about it. We start from the fact that if you're not American, you don't have the right to vote and to choose between the two in November. This is a great injustice because the 44th president of the United States will decide things that could affect foreigners more than his own compatriots.

You know, the more I know about this Obama guy, the more I dislike him.

And when I say dislike, I mean feel creeped out, disgusted, and amazed at his hubris.

I realise why now that no one put the brakes on the Reverend Wright show, and why no one tells Obama that holding a campaign rally in a foreign country is unbelievably arrogant -- because they don't have supporters. They have enablers.

Their drug is themselves.

Come on, Hillary, where's that surprise, baby girl. I'll take you and thank my lucky stars at this point.

Cheers,
Victoria

Host with the Most said...

some American voters long for European love

and some would tell us that we don't have enough immigrant (read Hispanic) love . . .

David Brooks column last week about spending money to impress sums up the same thing.

It's good to get along when you can. But frankly, most of humankind desires to be liked or at least accepted above all else.

Just your basic cause of all of society's ills.

vbspurs said...

Obama went to Germany?

Chip, he didn't just go to Germany. He played in Germany.

Like the Beatles, you know.

Cheers,
Victoria

P. Rich said...

gophermomeh

It's probably fair to say that fascism originated in Italy in the sense that Mussolini achieved political power a decade or so before Hitler, and their somewhat differing views (and cultures) led to flavors.

Here'a a link to B&N, where there are several editorial reviews of Liberal Fascism which will provide some insight. This book has caused much turmoil on the left, as its subject matter would suggest.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Liberal-Fascism/Jonah-Goldberg/e/9780385511841

Re general Bavarian conservatism today, I hesitate to comment as I am not current on political conditions there.

Cheers.

The Drill SGT said...

rhhardin said...
Another idiom to avoid is ``Ich bin warm.''


that BTW translates in venacular to "I am Gay"

another one to be careful of is:

"Ich bin Heiss", which translates to "I am Horny"

I'm surprised Victoria didn't already provide this class :)

Trevor Jackson said...

"This book has caused much turmoil on the left"

I think the word you were looking for is "laughter."

vbspurs said...

And didn’t fascism begin in Italy (I’m asking)?

Yes, it did (since no one replied yet), in 1918.

Benito Mussolini was a long-time Socialist, born into the ideology in fact (his anarchist parents named him for Benito Juarez, the Mexican revolutionary).

He was a thorough Socialist, with all that meant at the time -- rejection of convention, of traditional values, to be an atheist, to want to do away with the rich (sometimes to kill them violently), to do away with an clerical influence not just on the law but on society itself.

In fact, he was such a thorough Socialisst, that he and his wife didn't believe in marriag: they just cohabited together. They married civilly in 1915 (despite him having had a son with another Swiss woman in the same year), and later due to pressure, they married in a religious ceremony long after he came to power.

Why this long preamble which most people already know anyway?

Because I wish to stress that Fascism grew out of Leftism. It is only "Right" because it is nationalist, unlike Communism which is internationalist.

Benito Mussolini once said, "Socialism as a doctrine was already dead; it continued to exist only as a grudge".

But scratch a Fascist long enough, and a Socialist will appear. Their goals, their mantras, their mindset are all the same.

Cheers,
Victoria

Montagne Mointaigne said...

An American politician is really popular elsewhere in the world! His popularity reflects well on America and can help advance American interests! This is clearly despicable and he should be ashamed at his arrogance. Doesn't he know that America should be hated and feared around the world?

Seriously, this is what you've got on Obama-- that people like him in Germany? He's giving a speech about America and Europe working together to solve problems and this is somehow a bad thing in your small and jaundiced world view?

I just hope people like you are in the minority.

Dewave said...

My understanding is that fascism covers a wide spectrum that touches on both the right and left. It core is a nationalist unity and purity theme, is it not? This is my understanding. It may include some socialist tendencies, though not to the degree of communism.

Fascism and socialism are really two peas in a pod, except where socialism is concerned with creating a unified international class of workers, fascism is concerned with creating a classless unified nation. Hence the fact that the Nazis called themselves "The National Socialist Party".

You are quite correct that modern fascism originated in Italy with Mussolini. Mussolini and pretty much every leading light in Italy were die hard socialists. Fascism was deemed an alternative to socialism, not a competitor. That's why they shared so many of the same positions and why they had to compete for the same political space. (And of course, the infamous "first brown, then red" motto of the German communists).

Defining what exactly constitutes the 'core' of fascism is a tricky task (people like to assign all the attributes their opponents posses to such a core) but there is no question it was a deeply totalitarian regime where everything was the concern of the state and nothing outside the realm of state, where the individual good would be subsumed to the common good, and the individual freedom would become consumed by a gloriously unified 'national will' and citizens would be deemed free by their adherence to this national will.

Modern nanny states, with their emphasis on "we will tell you what you may or may not do but it's for your own good because you can't be trusted to make these choices yourself" are thus teetering on the brink of fascism.

Additionally fascism very much subscribed to the "wrong turn" philosophy and that we had to break down and destroy the traditional institutions and strictures of the past, especially the Christian Church, the family, and the bourgeoisie middle class, and then in our new found freedom return to our glorious 'true roots' in a more authentic existence with more harmonious ties to nature.

I thought it was considered to lean right.

Lefties will claim it does, sure. In fact, they'll claim that anyone that disagrees with them is a fascist. They are in fact, largely incorrect, however. That doesn't mean you can't have righties with fascistic impulses, but fascism arrives from taking lefty ideology too far, not from taking conservative ideology too far. Ron Paul extreme libertarians and isolationists is where that takes you.

David said...

Why?

Grandiosity, that's why.

Obama as the center of the universe.

He's not going to visit U.S. troops in Germany, including the wounded at hospitals.

Why?

He could not possibly be the center of all things in a hospital with wounded troops.

America will tire of Barack Obama.

The only question is whether we will do so before or after the election.

Dewave said...

An American politician is really popular elsewhere in the world! His popularity reflects well on America and can help advance American interests!

But the reason he's popular abroad is because they think he's much less likely to care about American interests in the first place, and much more willing to subordinate American interests to the court of international opinion.

Why should this make us, as Americans, happy?

Obama isn't popular among the pro-American segments of Europe, he's popular among the anti-American segments of Europe. In short, he's popular for all the wrong reasons.

Why a candidate is holding political rallies in foreign countries and trying to change US policy in Iraq is a bit beyond me

Roger J. said...

Montaigne--while I think the warm and fuzzies you are talking about are good, they are only marginally important to furtherance of a nation's national interest. And enthusiasm for a personality is not subsititute for national interests. Read about FDR and Stalin or Kruschev and JFK if you want some historical anecdotes about how personality intersects with national interest.

If and when I get a clearer view of what policies Obama thinks are in the nation's interests, then I might factor in personality--but frankly unlikely because every world leader gets replaced and any benefit that comes from personality is gone.

If you think that is a small and jaundiced view, OK with me. I am sticking to it.

Theo Boehm said...

Professor A: You know, that passage from The Audacity of Hope you quoted upthread is not terribly reassuring. In fact, putting Obama's remark in context makes the whole thing worse.

Obama sounds like a sociologist or marketing consultant when he talks about religion.  He does not sound like someone who has had much of an internal, personal experience.  Despite what he goes on to say about his own background, it all sounds too external, too separated from his real goals in life, too compartmentalized, too separated from his core understandings and motivations, and, in the end, he protests too much.

This sort of thing is easily recognized and troubling to many truly religious people.

By way of contrast, I've just finished The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston's Catholic Culture by Philip Lawler.  This is a book whose main purpose is to examine the sociology and recent history of a complex and controversial religious subject.  The contrast in tone couldn't be more striking.  Philip Lawler is the conservative former editor of the Boston Archdiocesan newspaper, The Pilot.  One can agree or disagree with his politics and theology, but the thing that shines through his writing, even when he is being at least as analytical as Obama in the passage you quote, is his deep personal faith and committment to the Church.  This colors his writing in a thousand ways that are gratingly lacking in this section of Obama's book that becomes a self-serving position paper on his religion.

It may be just different writing styles, so perhaps I should be more generous.  But I don't believe Obama about his faith any more than I do the Clintons.  The one advantage Hillary had was that she was so transparently phoney about this that it didn't bother me at all.  I say this as a Hillary supporter.  She's tough; she's knowledgeable; she'd get the job done; and the fact that she had to say the usual BS about religion was just the usual ticket-punching humbug that didn't fool anyone but the most credulous.

I have pet goldfish that are more religious than the Clintons, but that's not a problem for me, because Hillary's other strengths overcome, IMHO, her complete lack of a spiritual life.  I want somebody experienced and competent. Hillary is that, and has just enough moral scruples to squeak by.

The problem with Obama is that he wants you to believe this nonsense about his religion.  He even wants me to believe it, and, frankly, I'm not buying.

SteveR said...

No Trevor, turmoil is the right word. Unless people not reading a book and having an opinion about it based on the title is funny.

I thought he stopped in Germany to pick up some Hummels to give out for Christmas presents.

Blue Moon said...

Roger J:

Fen said Obama uses rhetoric to get sheep to follow him... black support for Obama is over 90%... so black people are sheep... but then I called him Al Sharpton with a smiley face... it was sort of a joke.

The bigger issue is this: Fen and I have quite a few debates on this blog -- all of them have been civil. I am not a p.c. zealot, although clearly you are on the hunt for them. Good luck!

Roger J. said...
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garage mahal said...

Obama isn't popular among the pro-American segments of Europe, he's popular among the anti-American segments of Europe. In short, he's popular for all the wrong reasons.

You just made that all up. C'mon, don't be so cynical, when is the last time you saw people in Berlin waving American flags?

Roger J. said...
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Randy said...
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Randy said...

For an interesting German view of the candidate and his speech, check out Short-Term Relationship by Josef Joffe, publisher-editor of the German weekly Die Zeit.

glen said...

"Why is Obama doing this in Berlin?"

Because Obama wants more white people in his publicity photos.

Roger J. said...

blue moon--thanks for the response and I do appreciate. Here's my point: You saw this as a racial issue; I saw it as a political issue because you assumed your chain of reasoning was Fen's chain of reasoning.

Me? I assume 90 Percent of the black population support any democrat, and not just Barack Obama. Now I honestly dont give a damn if people think I am a racist as several have alleged recently. Only I know what I am and others can only guess by filtering it through their own warped perceptual lenses.

What I am tired of, and why I reacted to your post was, that in this charged political environment any reference or statement that someone perceives as racial is assumed to be racial. Thats simply lousy communications. And you assume I am on some kind of hunt for PC zealots--if you arent one, you have my apologies. But to get to your stated position you had to make a whole lot more assumptions than I did.

At any rate, if I was over the top, I apologize; but I would appreciate it if you understood where I was coming from.

Palladian said...

"An American politician is really popular elsewhere in the world!"

Yes, this is cause for concern, for reasons that others upthread stated: Americans are only popular anymore if they disparage their country and if they're actively working to subvert, or at least negatively transform, American power and American interests. Europeans like people who share their interests: socialism, repressive regulation, politically correct foreign policy, internationalism, and most of all, putting American in line with the rest of the world (meaning Europe).

This speech was a signal to Europe and to Obama's "elite" supporters: "We can cow America into submission. Yes we can!"

Get over it, America. We don't need to impress Europe. We don't need Europe to hate us, either, but if that's the price of taking care of our interests, so be it.

Randy said...

Here's the transcript of Obama's speech in Berlin, A World that Stands as One. I preferred reading it rather than listening to it.

(The link in previous comment was bad)

Dewave said...

. C'mon, don't be so cynical, when is the last time you saw people in Berlin waving American flags?

But according to Barack Obama, waving a flag was just a substitute for true patriotism and in bad taste, so the lack of American flags waving in Berlin shouldn't really concern us.

Especially not when waving flags here in America generates alarm and raised eyebrows among the liberal elite who frown upon actual displays of love of country.

Palladian said...

"A World that Stands as One."

Surely that terrifying vision of the future under the Obama should give any thinking person pause.

Again, it's this silly idea that we should all get along, this unity idea that Obama likes to toss around. But you can't "just get along" with people who have antithetical ideas about social organization and freedom to yours. You can't just iron away fundamental political and philosophical differences with tiresome sloganeering. When Obama and his people talk about unity, they mean united under their ideas. If you have your own, well, tough berliners. Get in line. The World is Standing as One, not two or three.

Fine Obama, you can go Stand as One with the World (read: Europe). I'm going to be sitting over here.

Roger J. said...

That Obama is a slick one--he just nailed down a few thousand German votes. Of course I think Obama is an idiot, but this speech was WAY over the top if had even been running for UN Secretary General--I think the McCain campaign should play and replay this speech with appropriate trenchant commentary.

Obama is, without a doubt, a nut case. This speech removes all doubt.

ricpic said...

Interesting that Obama, who describes himself as a Christian, speaks of religion as a "product."

The man is secularist to the bone. Which is fine. It's his blatant hypocrisy that's so galling.

Blue Moon said...

Roger:

It's all good, I got a little defensive so for that I apologize -you are probably right that most blacks would support a dem, but obviously there is a lot more enthusiasm this time.

I see where you are coming from -- I am black and get in trouble with other black people because my humor tends towards the Dave Chappelle end of the spectrum. It better be clearly racist before I say it is racist. Obama in the campaign makes discussions sometimes awkward because what a conservative sees as a legitmate critique of a typical liberal my mother is going to see as a race-tinged attack on a black man running for prez because for most of her life, criticism of black public figures has a lot of racism in the mix, even if that is not necessarily the case now.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Blue Moon--please let us know where Fen said anything at all about black people in his post. I am sick of PC zealots whoe see race lurking everywhere.

Well Roger, you best stock up on a lot of Pepto and barf bags cause it ain’t going to get any better. If Obama loses, it will be all because we’re a racist country. If Obama wins, don’t think for a minute that any criticism of his administration won’t be denounced as racist. Bambi’s already played that hand already.

Blue Moon said...

Changed my mind Roger, just saw your last post ;-/

Obama is a lot of things, but he's not a nut case - he's crazy as a fox. The older I get, the more I feel like I can see the subtle messages and tactics of a campaign. People want to be liked -- Obama is feeding into that by going around the world and having 14 year old girls from Leipzig swoon.

Obama is doing what my father told me once. I hesitate to tell this story, but I cannot resist. My father told me once "Son, the thing about being a black man at a liberal college is that a lot of white girls will be interested because it'll make them feel better about themselves." He then walked away... To this day I am not sure if that was a warning or an encouragement... Obama knows what my father knows, which behind all the pink bunnies and unicorns makes him as bad as John Shaft.

Roger J. said...

Blue Moon--thanks--I regard this another victory for communication.

Now--I am still not voting for Obama, not because of his melanine content, but because I dont agree with his vision!

Thanks for closing the loop on this discussion. I do appreciate it. (Damn--are you black? funny--you dont look black!!!!)

Hoosier Daddy said...

Doyle, you are mincing words. The president is justified in war if the president and the Congress agree to justify a war. Sorry, but that's how power works.

Actually if Doyle simply reads the Congressional authorization for war, it succinctly lays out the causus belli for Iraq. He may not agree with it but there it is and certainly a lot more than what Clinton got to bomb Serbia for three months but Doyle I'm sure doesn't have an opinion there.

Palladian said...

You're a racist for pointing that out!

"Interesting that Obama, who describes himself as a Christian, speaks of religion as a "product."

Marxists describe everything as "products". All human interaction can be measured in exchange. All struggles are monetary. Marxists are a lot like capitalists, except instead of making money, they want to take it from other people.

Roger J. said...

Blue--you're totally free to change your mind about my politics; just don't change them because you think I am racist!

Blue Moon said...

Roger:

I don't sound black either, which is often hilarious when I have to meet someone in person I have only spoken with over the phone. "Hi, I'm Blue Moon." "O, uh, really, I mean, hey, nice to meet you, wow. Yeah. Hey."

Randy said...

I wonder if this term is about to return to the fore in American political discourse:

one-world•er

Pronunciation: (wun'wûrl'dur), [key]
—n.
1. a person who supports or believes in any of various movements to establish a world government or a federation of nations stronger than any individual nation, for the purpose of promoting the common good.

(Historically, this has been a loaded phrase guaranteed to lose votes, so I was somewhat surprised by the title given to this address.)

Quayle said...

The references to Hitler are not made on one point alone, that of Obama drawing crowds in Germany. He is structurally positioned similarly to Hitler in many respects.

The other points of similarity are:

1. His admitted ability to woo a crowd with lofty empty rhetoric.

2. His wanting to move his Denver acceptance speech to a stadium to leverage the visual and iconic power of the adoring masses.

3. His lack of past experience or significant accomplishment of any kind.

4. The structural similarities of playing upon the despair and lack of hope of the general public, by painting a bright future of hope based on the power of “us”.

5. His description of the power of “us” that includes government programs that force everyone to chip in. As Obama’s wife said: “Obama” isn’t going to allow anyone to shirk. everyone will be required to join in an help out. This is all too close to the notion that either you help the “us” or you become a villain and a leech.

For those of us that are pattern-matchers, it is just a bit too similar to not keep an eye on.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Seriously, this is what you've got on Obama-- that people like him in Germany? He's giving a speech about America and Europe working together to solve problems and this is somehow a bad thing in your small and jaundiced world view?

Isn't it just the teeniest bit presumptious to be running around the world giving Presidential policy speeches when we haven't voted yet?

His position is a very junior and inexperienced Senator from a fly over State, what gives him the authority to speak for the United States as a whole. Maybe we don't want to work with Europe...hmmmmm? Who is he to say?

The man is not President at this time and doesn't devise foreign policy as much as he wants to make believe. I think he is pandering to the wrong people. You might be surprised to know that Germany isn't voting this year for the US President.

Quayle said...

This just in:

"'People of Berlin -- people of the world -- this is our moment. This is our time."

And THIS statement doesn't give you the creeps?

garage mahal said...
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Ann Althouse said...

Theo, I agree about O's perspective on religion -- it's sociological. People cling to it, along with their guns, when they haven't got much else going for them. If you read more of the passage it gets even clearer.

knox said...

even if he doesn't have a lot of foreign policy experience he'll be able to point to the images of Europe falling all over themselves for him

And that's what I'm supposed to find desirable in a candidate? Palladian summed it up pretty nicely: Europeans are only excited about a US politician insofar as they can drag us down to their pathetic level.

And speaking of "pathetic," the hunger for European approval by Democrats is unseemly. It's like a geek yearning to be accepted by the cool kids. Grow up.

ricpic said...

Hitler could paint an apartment better than Obama could. And quicker, too. Two coats. Look it up.

veni vidi vici said...

Obama will always be president of my bowels. His soaring rhetoric moves them so.

rhhardin said...

Maybe somebody can find the passage in Mein Kampf on the necessity of seducing the masses.

vbspurs said...

Rh, I downloaded Mein Kampf via Scribd and didn't find that particular passage (sounds familiar, but is it from MK or from a quote from Goebbels?).

Now I have to delete it, and take a shower. Ick icky.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

And THIS statement doesn't give you the creeps?

No. Only Bush should give people the creeps. He and his fumbling rhetoric who couldn't even move an F-150 up a dirt road.

But the Obamessiah can move mountains!

Cheers,
Victoria

rhhardin said...

Here's a reference to it in Kenneth Burke.

It appears to be that the masses are feminine and want to be led, whereas the Jew seduces them.