As Barack Obama launches into a European tour — presumably because the USA alone can’t comprise the “57 states” he said he visited on his campaign — one has to wonder whether citizens of the three countries he’s visiting — Germany, France and England — have any idea what they’re dealing with.
But why would they, right? I mean, America sure doesn’t seem to have a clue. While the Democratic-led congress hits a record low 9% approval rating despite high pre-election hopes, the even further left-leaning embodiment of that epic failure is now shuffling around the globe, sending crowds into frenzies through speeches pimped out with eminently forgettable rhetoric that would make great political speechmakers like Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill scratch their heads.
Polls show that Europeans would overwhelmingly vote for Barack Obama over McCain, if they had the opportunity. And apparently, as is the case here in America, it really has little to do with Obama’s policies. The Associated Press reports that Euro-fever over the Obamamessiah is due to the fact that they hate Bush. Well, alright, but has anyone told them that Bush isn’t actually running? “I’m voting Obama! Bush sucks!” isn’t actually a rational political argument; it’s a sign that one’s hormones are having a party.
The same article also cites Obama’s blackness as a reason for their support. Never has outright racism been so exciting or so chic — both here in America and abroad! Kumbaya! In fact, a German paper called him “the black JFK,” which is an insult to the late President Kennedy, who — again, leaving aside the blatant racism here — was nowhere near as far left as Obama.
The truth is that Europe isn’t what it used to be. All skin-deep considerations aside, Barack Obama embodies everything that Europeans have been rejecting in recent years. Germany, France, Italy, and most recently England (at least, for the time being, in the form of the first conservative mayor in 40 years and far-right British National Party gains) have all kicked their liberal leaders to the curb in favor of the right-leaning alternatives.
Conservative German Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying to improve the German economic landscape by increasing trade between EU countries. Meanwhile, Obama came out swinging against NAFTA — a policy supported, as the Heritage Foundation points out, by conservative greats such as Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Milton Friedman.
In France, Obama is expected to participate this week in a joint press event with right-wing President Nicolas Sarkozy — a true “rock star” politician, married to a supermodel, and actually able to speak substantively in the absence of a teleprompter. Sarkozy was elected last year by insisting on immigrants speaking French and insisting that they integrate into the French culture. Immigration Minister Brice Hortefeux points out in an online video at ToutesLesReformes.com that France has the right to choose the immigrants it wants, and will do so. Obama’s call for Americans to learn Spanish to accommodate the onslaught of Mexican immigrants makes the French government sound like Rush Limbaugh.
While Sarkozy has been cutting income taxes to stimulate economic growth, Obama’s set on raising taxes on people making a whopping $250,000 — which may sound like a lot to someone living in a small town, but try visiting a city like New York or Los Angeles, or traveling overseas, and seeing how far an income like that will get you if you’re taxed at 56%, as Obama is proposing.
As for Obama’s positions on Iraq — they could have their very own, motion-sickness inducing ride at Six Flags: from advocating immediate troop withdrawal to his more recent realization that what George Bush and John McCain have been saying about not having a withdrawal timetable is the way to go. It’s no wonder the New York Times spiked an op/ed by John McCain on Iraq, citing the fact that it lacked any “new” positions. That’s what happens when you don’t flip-flop enough on an issue — your consistency gets boring.
But if one thinks that it’s perhaps Obama’s positions on the war — whatever they happen to be today — that might be appealing to Europeans, consider that in the UK, liberal Labor Prime Minister Gordon Brown — Tony Blair’s successor — is one of the biggest pro-withdrawal advocates, and his polling numbers are still tanking in favor of David Cameron’s center-right Tories. And for the first time in 40 years, the City of London has a conservative mayor in Boris Johnson — a journalist who once said of George W. Bush, “That is the best case for Bush; that, among other things, he liberated Iraq. It is good enough for me.”
So rather than trying to force any speech Barack Obama gives this week on the European leg of his campaign for the US presidency through the prism of JFK’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” address, why not draw comparisons to the infamous talk that his rhetoric of “hope” and “change” most closely resembles: that of pre-WWII British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s “Peace For Our Time” speech? As Chamberlain said, long before Hitler’s name became a household one: “My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time…Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.”
Maybe, as they’re already beginning to do in Europe, it’s actually time to wake up.
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