Tag Archives: election

Obama’s European Vacation

The site of the planned Obama speech in Berlin is generating a significant amount of buzz in the German press. The Obama folks and their socialist admirers wanted the Brandenburg Gate, a controversial choice for both Americans and Germans. As a symbol of German unification, many natives wondered how Obama had helped tear down the wall; after all, he was still a law student at Harvard. And as the site of one of the most historic addresses ever by an American President, many devoted Reaganites felt the mere idea was tantamount to sacrilege.

The Brandenburg uproar forced Obama’s posse to settle on the Victory Column, yet another controversial choice. Deputy leader of the free Democrats argued (from der Spiegel)

“The Siegessäule in Berlin was moved to where it is now by Adolf Hitler. He saw it as a symbol of German superiority and of the victorious wars against Denmark, Austria and France,” the deputy told Bild am Sonntag. He raised the question as to “whether Barack Obama was advised correctly in his choice of the Siegessäule as the site to hold a speech on his vision for a more cooperative world.”

Historical ignorance aside, the most disturbing part of the speech, is the speech. When has an American Presidential candidate ever given a campaign address in a foreign country? But more importantly, when has a foreign presidential candidate ever addressed an American audience? I can’t think of one, which makes me wonder why Obama has thought it prudent to stand before a European audience to rally admirers, most of whom aren’t eligible to vote.

And memo to the American press who will cover this speech, and who continue to mischaracterize Obama’s European support as widespread and sweeping: Europeans aren’t monoliths. Just because you might have spent two months at a foreign bureau, presumably sharing croissants with American journalists, doesn’t qualify you to make a judgment about Obama’s messiah status in the old continent. Just because Germans are disturbingly obsessed with Obama, doesn’t automatically correlate to an Italian fervor over a McCain defeat. There are many plausible explanations for the German-Obama swoon:

  1. Perhaps as the most racist European country, Germans are suffering from ‘white guilt’
  2. They hated Bush more than other Europeans, so they view an Obama victory as a Bush rebuke.
  3. They heard rumors that Obama likes wienerschnitzel.
  4. The largest portion of Obama admirers are former East German communists and recognize a fellow comrade when they see one.
  5. They fell in love with Michelle Obama after she admitted to not previously being ‘proud of America’.

Obama to Make Berlin Speech?

To some conservatives, Obama’s habit of invoking Reagan’s name on the campaign trail in an admiring, deferential way, has come across as self-serving and transparent. I suppose it’s akin to former vice-President Dan Quale’s mention of Kennedy in the debate with the “what’s his name” he ran against the first go-around. Even though, honestly, I didn’t see the harm in it.

So, I’ll give Obama a pass for his opportunistic use of the father of modern conservatism’s name, though it’s tedious nonetheless. However, I wouldn’t be inclined to forgive a speech at the site of one of the greatest addresses by a President.

From Der Spiegel:

Plans for a visit by Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic candidate for president of the United States, have moved forward — slowly — in Berlin, where he may give a speech before the Brandenburg Gate this summer.

Evidently, Germany’s ambassador is keen on making it happen.

Germany’s ambassador to Washington, Klaus Scharioth, has reportedly worked for weeks to convince Obama’s campaign that the candidate’s only large European appearance should take place in Berlin.

I wonder if the Ambassador has been in touch with the McCain campaign to inquire about his European schedule, if he has any. Hmmm. I’m also curious if there is any historical precedent for a US Presidential candidate making campaign speeches to foreign audiences.

Kennedy and Reagan both made major addresses, but on both occasions they were delivered by Presidents, not aspirational wannabes.

Update: Looks like the Chancellor’s office has put the brakes on the planned speech:

From Der Spiegel:

“The Brandenburg Gate is the most famous and history-rich site in Germany,” the Chancellery source said. In the past, the location has only been used on very special occasions for political speeches by world leaders. In the past, the location has been used only on very special occasions for political speeches by world leaders. And it has been reserved for use only by elected American presidents, not candidates. And it has been reserved for use only by elected American presidents, not candidates. The decision on whether the Democrat can speak at the location ultimately lies with the Berlin state government. The decision on whether the Democrat can speak at the location ultimately lies with the Berlin state government. Chancellery officials are concerned that the Brandenburg Gate could be turned into an “arbitrary stage” that other campaigns could also seek to use in the future. Chancellery officials are concerned that the Brandenburg Gate could be turned into an “arbitrary stage” that other campaigns could also seek to use in the future.

It’s a traditional practice for US presidential candidates to visit Germany before the election. It’s a traditional practice for U.S. presidential candidates to visit Germany before the election. However, the source pointed out that agreements can only be made with elected presidents. However, the source pointed out that agreements can only be made with elected presidents. The source also noted that a the German federal government would also be equally pleased to play host to a visit by Republican candidate John McCain. The source also noted that a the German federal government would also be equally pleased to play host to a visit by Republican candidate John McCain. The door is just as open for him, the source said. The door is just as open for him, the source said.

Obama’s Secret Weapons

Tiger Woods dons a red shirt on tournament Sundays. Michael Jordan never forgot to put on his North Carolina Tarheel shorts underneath his Bulls uniform. The long-standing relationship between athletes and their superstitions, good-luck charms and pre-game rituals is considered largely innocuous by sports fans, rather a side-note to the victories and defeats. Sure they might get a mention during a half-time feature, but for the most part, their pre-match voodoo goes unnoticed and unreported.

We might not care if our athletes or next door neighbors are superstitious, but our Commander-in-Chief, the nuclear passé-partout daddy, carrying around lucky stones, golden monkeys and little eagles for luck?

Are American voters aware that the “yes we can” candidate, is so unsure that he can, he is jiggling some stones in his pocket hoping that he will?

The Global Scelto: Barack Obama

Like I explain in my book, The Absentee Ballot, recognizing traits unique to the United States and Americans became easier after I had been abroad for a while. I didn’t notice our idiosyncrasies because they bombarded me daily.

One of the most glaring American deficiencies is our obsession with acceptance. We are consumed by wearing the latest trend, living in the most beautiful house and driving the best car. I was reminded yesterday when I parked outside of a golf shop and sat in the car while my husband went inside. I watched a man exit the store and open the car door of a late model black Mercedes, with shiny rims and windows with a gangster tint, sitting in the spot adjacent mine. His hair was perfectly coiffed, his clothes spiffy and a diamond encrusted Rolex sparkled on his wrist. My mind then drifted to a Milanese Rolex dealer who once told me that Rolex only makes the diamond face for the American market; Europeans would never wear them. Sure, they might buy a watch costing five-hundred thousand Euros, but it wouldn’t contain diamonds and no one would ever know.

This story does have a point, apart from materialism. The diamonds we wear, the Guccis we carry, and the BMWs we drive aren’t for our benefit. They are for the benefit of the guy at work and everyone else we come in contact with. Like this psychological need to impress, we have become unhinged in our recent desire to re-curry favor in the international community. It’s like there are three hundred million Sally Fields standing on the world stage demanding “like me, really really like me.”

Barack Obama isn’t just the first black American to receive a major party nomination; apparently he’s the only one who can make the world like us again. A Washington Post article starts out by pointing to our tattered reputation abroad. It goes on to explore the global reaction of Obama’s nomination.

From India: Sunila Patel “A black president of the U.S. will mean that there will be more American tolerance for people around the world who are different.”

It’s nice that Ms Patel is concerned about our racial tolerance, but maybe she should worry about the fissures within her own community. Just how tolerant are the Hindus toward the Muslims and vice-versa. And how evolved is a society based on a caste system and one in which males having more value than females.

From Britain. “Obama is the exciting image of what we always hoped America was,” said Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House, a British foreign policy institute.

What were you hoping America was? Tolerant? Racially diverse? Multicultural? Compassionate? One question. Who was the last black, or nominee of Indian or Pakistani descent to become Prime Minister of Britain? Maybe I missed him or her in my history books. Perhaps Mr. Niblett is simply excited at the possibility of having a fellow socialist in the Oval Office.

From Germany: Obama also has strong support in Europe, the heartland of anti-Bush sentiment. “Germany is Obama country,” said Karsten Voight, the German government’s coordinator for German-North American cooperation. “He seems to strike a chord with average Germans.”

Which average Germans would those be? Is she referring to “evolved” citizens like herself who work in think tanks and universities, or the ones desecrating Jewish graves and inciting racial violence throughout the Fatherland?

I voted twice for Bush, and he has proven worthy of a spot in a ‘who is the worst President in the last hundred years?’ debate. The dollar is a shadow of its former self, healthcare costs have skyrocketed, gas prices have ballooned, relations with our allies have suffered, wages have stagnated, and our federal budget has expanded to unprecedented levels. And for all of the Bush apologists who point to an increase in security, try traveling internationally. While machine gun toting and profiling Italian police roam Malpensa airport in Milan, our security asks us to take off our shoes. I’ve smuggled cheese each and every trip and until they catch my cheese, I won’t admit that the country is safer.

Bush’s poor performance aside, when did a President become a reason to celebrate or despise a country? Do we hate Venezuelans because of Chavez? Are Iranians evil because of Ahmadinejad?

It is too simplistic to characterize a nation based on the election of its President. It is also unhealthy for Americans to elect a President based on a desire to be liked.

Clooney, Obama and Veltroni-The Communist Cupola

I just read an interview with George Clooney in Italy’s La Repubblica, a leading Italian newspaper, and about fell out of my chair. In it, he discusses his new movie and a commercial he filmed for an Italian politician, Veltroni, a former communist and foreword writer to the Italian version of Obama’s Audacity of Hope. When I read it, I was surprised, not because he filmed a commercial for a communist, but that he actually said something in Italian considering the fact that he still doesn’t speak it, despite calling Italy “casa mia,” or my home. I know. Amazing. He doesn’t speak the language, he spends less than half the year there, and yet he finds time to film a commercial advocating a candidate, a communist one at that. It’s funny, he advocates a “hands-off” approach when it comes to minding other countries’ affairs, yet he wastes no time violating his own rule.

I was relieved when I looked up the YouTube video of the commie ad. It simply showed his photo along with a quote that read in Italian, “I’m with Obama, I hope that after the many errors, my country will heal. And Italy, it’s my home, and Veltroni (the communist, sorry, reformed communist), he is a good friend.”

If only McCarthy were alive…He’d have a field day with Penn and his admiration for FARC backing Chavez. Oliver Stone, Spielberg, Danny Glover and all of the other thespians that I have neglected to mention who trip over themselves to praise Castro would merit special scrutiny as well.

Clooney? I’m not sure he’s as sinister as he is naïve. And I’m not sure what is more disturbing. Is it loony Clooney, or the fact that we might have the only U.S. Presidential nominee in history that has had a communist pen his introduction?

Clooney supports communist=Clooney is a communist.

Communist supports Obama=Obama is a communist.

Clooney supports Obama=Both are communists.

In my new book, The Absentee Ballot, I discuss how Hollywood affects Europeans’ opinions of the United States. It certainly doesn’t help enhance our image abroad when the most visible Americans are filming spots for communist politicians, while simultaneously indulging in a good dose of self-flagellation.

Obama’s Pastor Picks on Italians

Rev. Wright and his church, Trinity United of Chicago, are making news again, for all the wrong reasons. It seems they’ve moved on from targeting whites and Jews. And as journalists and bloggers pour over his sermons, which have proved to be a treasure trove of hate-speech and vitriol, CNS News has uncovered a recent article in Trumpet Magazine which sheds light into another nationality the Reverend holds in little regard. Italians.

From CNS News:

“(Jesus’) enemies had their opinion about Him,” Wright wrote in a eulogy of the late scholar Asa Hilliard in the November/December 2007 issue.

Wright goes on to spin the birth of Christ: “From the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth (in a barn in a township that was under the Apartheid Roman government that said his daddy had to be in), up to and including the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ death on a cross, a Roman cross, public lynching Italian style. …

Public lynching Italian style? Ok. Maybe I should just let it slide. After all, this is a guy who called the U.S, the U.S. of KKK A. Maybe he was simply remembering how Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci were hanged in a public square in Milan.

But his bigoted remarks then extended to their anatomy. “The Italians for the most part looked down their garlic noses at the Galileans.”

The Reverend and his ilk seem to have a peculiar preoccupation with noses. The founder the New Black Panthers, whose endorsement was proudly posted on Obama’s website until it made news, referred to the “hooked-nose, bagel-eating, lox-eating” Jews.

Garlic noses… hooked noses… What about Caucasians? We have noses too?