The Obama Backlash

Barack Obama’s Magical Mystery Tour of the Middle East and Europe was cast in the best possible light by a fawning media.  But, based on events over the last week, it should leave Obama supporters wondering:  Will history repeat itself?

In the closing weeks of the 2004 presidential campaign, the results of an unusual opinion poll were released.  The poll, of thousands of citizens of 35 nations, asked: Who’s your choice for president of the United States?  

The result:  John Kerry in a landslide. 

Not that it helped Kerry much.  In fact, the poll (in addition to Kerry’s declaration that world leaders were secretly rooting for his victory) caused a backlash among voters who wanted reassurance that in a time of war their commander in chief would look out for their interests first. 

Fast forward to this week and a similar dynamic has emerged.  Europe’s sudden infatuation with Obama has increased skepticism about the candidate among the many Americans who reflexively recoil from popular European sentiment. 

That Obama was well-received in Europe is no surprise. This son of an African father raised partly in Asia may think of himself as a “citizen of the world,” but his thinking is quintessentially European. They look at him and see themselves. They are socialists and so is Obama. Many Europeans support abortion-on-demand and homosexual “marriage.” So does Obama. They believe resistance to radical Islam is futile, and thus appeasement is their policy. It is Obama’s policy too.

The climax of Obama’s trip, his speech to 200,000 Berliners, can be summed up by recalling songwriter Sheryl Crow’s 2003 remark that “the best way to solve problems is not to have enemies.”  Obama alluded to a supposed “world community” and insisted, “there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.”  Events in just the past week make plain how naïve such a worldview is, and how uneasy it makes many voters.

Three homicide bombers struck Iraq this week, killing at least 57 people and wounding another 300.  The attacks were carried out by women, chosen because Islamic law forbids women from being patted down by men and there are few female law enforcement officers.  Does Obama’s “world community” include whoever convinced these women that the most noble thing they could do is to kill other women because their victims “sinned” by adhering to a different branch of Islam?

Does it include Mirian Farahat, an elected member of the Palestinian parliament and mother who raised three sons to be homicide bombers for Hamas?  She says she is willing to sacrifice all 10 of her sons to the war against Israel because “Israelis are not civilians and there are no prohibitions of killing them.” 

All over the United States and across the world, even in Iraq, mothers encourage their children to become doctors, lawyers and teachers—to give, defend and nurture life.  But in other parts of the world, areas often governed by an Islamofascist mindset, mothers weep for joy at the news that their son or daughter has become a martyr for Jihad.  Clearly, the world is a long way from standing as one. 

Obama also told his audience that “the walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand.”  But this very week, at a meeting of countries with the least, those walls became a little thicker.  Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a sympathetic crowd at a conference of the “Non-Aligned Movement” that the U.S. is to blame for AIDS and said “the big powers are going down.” 

Ahmadinejad railed against the indictment of Sudanese dictator Omar al – Bashir by an international prosecutor on charges of genocide in Darfur.  Ahmadinejad and Bashir’s vision of the world includes the large-scale slaughter of Christians, Jews and Muslims. Does Obama’s “world community” have room for the likes of Ahmadinejad, Bashir and their millions of followers?

Obama’s vision of one world community has been tried before.  It is the same mindset that spawned the League of Nations and United Nations.  The U.N. was formed to represent the “world community.”  But its primary focus has been to force America to relinquish its sovereignty while repeatedly and inexcusably failing to act in the face of real injustices, like those committed in the half-decade-long genocide in Darfur.  

This week it was reported that Islamic nations are using their places in the U.N. to run a so far successful campaign to enshrine in international law prohibitions against “defamations of religion,” particularly Islam, in order to prosecute as criminals anyone who insults Islam.  These actions are not those of an organization intent on tearing down walls.

Though Obama’s study abroad week played well in Berlin, it didn’t play as well where it counts most.  A fresh Gallup poll found Obama’s favorability ratings fell immediately after his trip, 5 and 6 percentage points respectively among Independent and Republican voters.  Meanwhile, John McCain gained 10 and 3 points, respectively, in the new poll.  That poll came after a NY Times/CBS News poll found 46 percent of respondents thought McCain would very likely “be effective” as commander in chief, while just 24 percent believed similarly about Obama. 

These data reflect disapproval of Obama’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge what most Americans now recognize:  that the Iraq troop surge was the right thing to do.  They also reveal deep skepticism among many voters about Obama’s view of the world, one that daily events expose as dangerously naïve.