Saturday, July 12, 2008


The Washington Post: Ich bin ein Obamer

One of the many perks of my job is foreign travel – specifically to Poland (Warsaw) where I have been spending most of my time the last month plus. Unfortunately that has cut into my time and opportunity for commenting on the ways of the world as well as following my fellow bloggers take on the same. Hopefully this breaks the ice for me this time:

Today’s Washington Post has an article that leaves little doubt as for whom the writers will be casting their votes. Start with the headline: Germany Denies Being Pressured on Obama

“The German government strongly denied Friday that it had been pressured by the Bush administration to discourage Sen. Barack Obama from giving an address in front of the landmark Brandenburg Gate during his upcoming European tour.”

The 25+ paragraph article then goes on to not list a single bit of evidence that the White House has said anything about the matter to the German government. They do note the comments of a Treasury official but later also note evidence that his comments came BEFORE the issue of an Obama visit to Brandenburg was even raised. (On the other hand, this Administration is noted for its preemptive strikes.) So the Headline could just as easily have read: No Evidence Of White House Pressure on Germany Regarding Obama Visit. But this is the Washington Post and I guess they are required to by modern journalistic ethics to put a negative Bush spin whenever possible.

That said, we do well to remember the words that have made speaking in Berlin of such symbolic importance:

“There are many people in the world who really don't understand, or say they don't, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin. There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. And there are some who say in Europe and elsewhere we can work with the Communists. Let them come to Berlin. And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress. Lass' sie nach Berlin kommen. Let them come to Berlin.” John F. Kennedy Speech - Ich bin ein Berliner

“General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Ronald Reagan... Brandenburg Gate

It is unfathomable to me that ANY prominent modern day Democrat could speak in such non-relativist terms today. It is simply no longer in their DNA to be able to say, on behalf of the USA: “We’re right – you’re wrong”. Towards this I present Senator Lieberman as Exhibit A.

It should be enough for Senator Obama that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is apparently not keen on the idea. As president that’s who he would be dealing with – not the mayor of Berlin. But wherever he speaks in Germany, I’d like to hear him speak in favor of our strong alliance with Israel, the importance of our success in Iraq and the need to curtail Iran’s military ambitions. But if he wants to get an enthusiastic response from his fans in Germany, he’ll have to deliver one of his typical rhetorically strong but weak-kneed bits of verbiage. I know what I’m expecting.

Side Notes: The writers of the Post piece are much taken with Senator Obama’s apparent popularity in Germany:

“Obama's campaign has declined to confirm the dates of his trip, but politicians here continued to squabble over where, exactly, to lay out the red carpet for the presumptive Democratic nominee, who, in contrast to President Bush, is very popular with the German public.”

“A poll commissioned by Bild Am Sonntag, Bild's Sunday edition, found that 72 percent of Germans surveyed wanted Obama to win the U.S. presidency, compared with 11 percent who supported Sen. John McCain.”

Of course, they note all this because the German populace is world-famous for its long-standing commitment to wanting what’s best for other people as well as in the careful choosing of their own leaders.

Welcome back, MC.

Your headline cracked me up. Obamer would definitely be an Obummer.
Thank you Will
Welcome back!

My question about the Post is whether the editorial page will be consistent with its Maryland Senat endorsement from 2006, in which it dismissed Michael Steele for his lack of experience. (Though he has a lot more experience in the area of legislating, arguably Sen. Cardin has been wrong about two issues he campaigned on: Iraq and embryonic stem cell research.)

So will the editors look at the experience gap come the fall and endorse McCain, or will they show their true political colors and endorse Obama. (This isn't the NYT, there is a chance that the Post will endorse McCain, I just don't think it's an especially large chance.)
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