Obama Speaks in Berlin

I've been in court and missed Obama's speech in Berlin today. 200,000 people turned out to hear him. Here's the transcript. He told the assembled crowd he speaks to them as a citizen of the world.

One message: Tear down the walls.

The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.

The German paper says it was clearly taken from Ronald Reagan:

Obama's speech was a clear echo of former US president Ronald Reagan's call to then Soviet leader Mikhael Gorbachev in Berlin in 1987 to "tear down this wall," before the fall of communism.

A big theme was the war on terror: [More...]

This is the moment when we must defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it. This threat is real and we cannot shrink from our responsibility to combat it. If we could create NATO to face down the Soviet Union, we can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks that have struck in Madrid and Amman; in London and Bali; in Washington and New York. If we could win a battle of ideas against the communists, we can stand with the vast majority of Muslims who reject the extremism that leads to hate instead of hope.

This is the moment when we must renew our resolve to rout the terrorists who threaten our security in Afghanistan, and the traffickers who sell drugs on your streets. No one welcomes war. I recognize the enormous difficulties in Afghanistan. But my country and yours have a stake in seeing that NATO's first mission beyond Europe's borders is a success. For the people of Afghanistan, and for our shared security, the work must be done. America cannot do this alone. The Afghan people need our troops and your troops; our support and your support to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda, to develop their economy, and to help them rebuild their nation. We have too much at stake to turn back now.

His next theme: This is the Moment (for hope and change):

This is the moment when every nation in Europe must have the chance to choose its own tomorrow free from the shadows of yesterday.

...This is the moment we must help answer the call for a new dawn in the Middle East.

....This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet

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

He did have some specifics:

Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty, shelter the refugee in Chad, and banish the scourge of AIDS in our time?

Will we stand for the human rights of the dissident in Burma, the blogger in Iran, or the voter in Zimbabwe? Will we give meaning to the words "never again" in Darfur?

He ended with:

Let us build on our common history, and seize our common destiny, and once again engage in that noble struggle to bring justice and peace to our world.

Again, I didn't hear it but from a craftsman's point of view, it's a beautifully written speech. I suspect the reviews will be very favorable and he'll get a big bounce over McCain.

I'm not crazy about his plans to build up troops in Afghanistan. Neither is German Chancellor Angela Merkel:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would resist any pressure to send more troops to Afghanistan during talks Thursday with US Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

Getting out of one pre-emptive war and into another is not something I like to hear. But, the war on terror, like the war on crime in the 80's and 90's, seems to be viewed by all politicians as the magic carpet ride to getting elected.

< No Slime or Goo on Tap for DNC Protesters | ACLU Obtains Key CIA Torture Memos >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Good for (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Emma on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:07:19 PM EST
    Angela Merkel.  I hope she stands strong.

    I don't think it's Merkel who's opposed (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by scribe on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:43:43 PM EST
    so much as it is the SPD whose participation in her grand coalition government makes her Chancellorship possible.  She's a neo-con, German version, and has no deep antipathy toward sending some German troops to Afghanistan.  She and her defense and foreign ministers want to go ahead with more, but the SPD will tear her up if she does.

    What she said, she's saying for her domestic audience and to keep her coaltion from unraveling.  A by-election here or there, and she's lost her coalition and chancellorship.


    I don't. (3.66 / 3) (#9)
    by sweetthings on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:22:56 PM EST
    Someone's going to have to clean up Afghanistan, and troop that Germany coughs up is one less that we have to produce. From a purely selfish perspective, I hope that Obama is able to convince Merkel that allowing Afghanistan to return to it's old ways is in nobody's best interest.

    But I understand why Merkel is skeptical. I would be too.


    Have I ever mentioned how much... (1.00 / 1) (#13)
    by sweetthings on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:24:21 PM EST
    I'd like an edit function?

    The above should read "and every troop that Germany coughs up is one less that we have to produce."


    wonderful speech (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by MrPope on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:09:58 PM EST
    it was just an inspiring speech...people here at my office here loved it....  Now the people who dont like OBAMA will bash him for it ofcourse..thats their job....but it still was a very moving speech...and soooo many people were there... amazing...never seen anything like that..

    Let me be the first to "bash" as (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by zfran on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:07:15 PM EST
    you say. Granted I only heard part of the speech, however, if I had writers, like he did, and I had a prompter, which he had, and I could read, like he can, I, too, would deliver a "inspiring" speech as you say. His message is nothing new, his expressions never change (very solomn), the setting, I thought, was to immense for his stature. I did, however, like his tie. I thought
    the color was nice and it was tied nicely (actually I thought someone probably tied it for him, as candidates have peeps who do that). Sorry, just my opinion.

    And if (none / 0) (#116)
    by mbuchel on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:10:21 PM EST
    my aunt was a man she'd be my uncle.
    And his message is new compared to what we've experienced the last eight years.
    But I'm glad you noticed the tie.

    Better than Bush. (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by tree on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:16:40 PM EST
    There's a great rallying cry for you.

    Did Obama give his speech in German? (5.00 / 1) (#179)
    by bridget on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:54:18 PM EST
     so that everyone could appreciate his "gefluegelte Worte" best?

    just wondering ;-))


    I hope (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by CST on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:12:20 PM EST
    Tear down the walls includes the one currently being built on our border.  Also, most people don't consider Afghanistan to be a pre-emptive war.  Whether or not we should still be there TODAY is a different issue from why we went in the first place.

    By pre-emptive I meant (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:25:57 PM EST
    starting a new war in Afghanistan. I wasn't referring to the one after 9/11.

    Afghanistan is where the we should be (none / 0) (#4)
    by MrPope on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:16:02 PM EST
    Not Iraq and not IRAN.

    Afghanistan, Bad Idea (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:24:28 PM EST
    The problems in Southern Afghanistan and NW Pakistan should not be made our worn out troops problem. It is a political problem at best, and should be dealt with politically.

    Pakistan, a country of 165 million people, is composed of six major ethnic groups, one of them the Pashtuns of the northwest. The Pakistani Taliban are largely drawn from this group. The more settled Pashtun population is centered in the North-West Frontier province, with its capital at Peshawar. Between the NWFP and Afghanistan are badlands administered rather as Native American reservations are in the U.S., called the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, with a population of some 3 million. These areas abut Pashtun provinces of Afghanistan, also a multiethnic society, but one in which Pashtuns are a plurality.


    Nor is it at all clear that sending more U.S. troops to southern Afghanistan can resolve the problem of the resurgence of the Taliban there. American and NATO search-and-destroy missions alienate the local population and fuel, rather than quench, the insurgency. Resentment over U.S. airstrikes on innocent civilians and wedding parties is growing. Brazen attacks on U.S. forward bases and on institutions such as the prison in the southern city of Kandahar are becoming more frequent.

    Before he jumps into Afghanistan with both feet, Obama would be well advised to consult with another group of officers. They are the veterans of the Russian campaign in Afghanistan. Russian officers caution that Afghans cannot be conquered, as the Soviets attempted to do in the 1980s with nearly twice as many troops as NATO and the U.S. now have in the country, and with three times the number of Afghan troops as Karzai can deploy.

    Juan Cole

    I appreciate his resolve (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by lilburro on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:25:22 PM EST
    on articulating a different Middle East policy, but this still seems like grandstanding to me.

    LOL - Literally grandstanding (5.00 / 0) (#20)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:29:59 PM EST
    in this case.

    Presumptuous, too (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by lmv on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:37:02 PM EST
    I didn't watch The Speech and won't, just like I didn't watch The Race Speech.  Let's just say my life experience gives me the right to think both events were overblown.

    We need to remember that the Europeans hate Bush.  To them, Obama is the great anti-Bush savior.  But, ANY Democrat would have been enthusiastically welcomed just by virtue of party affiliation.

    So far, Obama hasn't received a bump from his trip and about two-thirds of the public believe the press is trying to get him elected.  It may turn out that the helplessly inept McCain campaign actually got a message out, and couldn't have had better timing.  We'll see in a week.


    McCain is polling much better now in MN (5.00 / 0) (#105)
    by Nettle on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:56:46 PM EST
    Or at least according to one new poll (WSJ/WashPo).  I'm curious as heck if its anywhere near accurate.  He's been touting Pawlenty as VP, maybe that has something to do with it but MN is still a liberal state with a large Wellstone contingent.  Wonder if more are going toward Nader or McKinney here. hey, hold the rotten tomatoes, I'm just sayin'

    I was wondering where he was going (5.00 / 0) (#25)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:34:37 PM EST
    for the first five minutes or so. Talking about German history seemed like a bit of a tightrope walk. I had to go back to work at the point he started talking about defeating communism, so I will watch it all later and see how it worked out.

    It did seem like a follow-up to Reagan's speech.

    agree, that first part was tricky (none / 0) (#58)
    by DandyTIger on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:21:06 PM EST
    as he was giving the germans a history lesson on, um, german history. I was a place where he could have misstepped, but he handled it fine.

    I think the theme of bring down all the walls that divide countries might come back to haunt him if the repubs noticed.


    I'm sure they noticed (none / 0) (#153)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:02:35 PM EST
    But the wall fans aren't going to vote for him anyway.

    I do admire his speechwriter's ability to walk the tightrope.  I have had the same impression during other speeches.  It is a testament to the attempt to say something in a new, maybe riskier way, or something I haven't heard 1000 times.  I do like that about him.


    Not useful. (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by TheRealFrank on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:45:36 PM EST
    First of all, a candidate giving big speeches abroad makes me uncomfortable. Obama is not the president, and hasn't achieved anything yet, internationally. I think appearing in big venues (especially abroad) is something you can do when you've earned it, not when you're still a candidate.

    Secondly, right now, the concern of the voters is very much with down to earth, economic, domestic issues. So a candidate giving some speech in a country across the ocean, talking about bigger world issues, isn't going to be a vote-getter.

    Obama's campaign has done poorly since he got the nomination. He needs to be talking to the voters at home about why he will be better for them than McCain.

    He said he's a citizen of the world (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by catfish on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:24:49 PM EST
    and certain Republicans insist they're Americans, and not citizens of the world. I can't discern why, but it drives them crazy.

    And with the re-design of his plane, supplanting the American flag with his royal O logo, you could make the case he's running for president of the world.

    I know we refer to the president as leader of the free world, but he's taking it a little far. David Letterman joked about the Canadian primary and the European primary. But that was humor.


    The plane is now being referred to as.. (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Anne on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:27:22 PM EST
    "O Force One."

    They really are calling it Obama One (5.00 / 0) (#104)
    by catfish on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:54:14 PM EST
    Soon it will be ONC Obama National COmmittee and USO United States of Obama. Actually should be UNSO United Nation-States of Obama.

    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:29:52 PM EST
    These statements by Obama are going to drive the one-world types bananas.

    Citizen of the world... (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:35:07 PM EST
    ... is a pretty loaded term when you are running for President, because it suggests that America's interests are not your top priority. It's fine for people like Al Gore and Jimmy Carter who have moved beyond seeking a job looking out for America's specific well-being, but I'd have avoided it if I were Obama.

    maybe (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by Nettle on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:03:58 PM EST
    he's just borrowed Oprah's plane. Heck, she's probably got towels, the whole shabang.

    While I tend to agree with you.... (5.00 / 3) (#63)
    by p lukasiak on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:26:49 PM EST
    I wish I knew if I'd feel as uncomfortable if it was Clinton giving that kind of speech...

    And I don't think I would be.  Instead, I'd probably be praising her, etc.

    The thing is, I don't think that Clinton or McCain would be doing this to begin with.  Instead, they would be giving a speech to the German equivalent of the Foreign Affairs Council, because "that is how its done."  

    Obama is breaking the mold... I just don't know if it matters if the mold is broken or not.


    I'd have been uncomfortable with that too. (5.00 / 4) (#73)
    by TheRealFrank on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:33:56 PM EST
    If Hillary Clinton had done it, that is. Or any US presidential candidate, for that matter.

    I do know that I probably have a more negative reaction to Obama speeches, because the grandiose tone that he has used in them has really gotten on my nerves.

    But, in general, I just don't think it's appropriate for a US presidential candidate to do this. It feels presumptuous.

    I really want Obama to just get down to business in a more down to earth tone, and start addressing domestic issues in a more concrete manner.


    My thoughts exactly (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by americanincanada on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:23:06 PM EST
    But, in general, I just don't think it's appropriate for a US presidential candidate to do this. It feels presumptuous.

    paging Naomi Wolf.... (none / 0) (#84)
    by p lukasiak on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:38:56 PM EST
    "I really want Obama to just get down to business in a more down to earth tone"

    personally, I think his fashion palette is just fine, thank you! :)


    It's seen differently outside the US (4.00 / 3) (#99)
    by lmv on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:46:54 PM EST
    We're not seeing or hearing what Germans or Canadians or Brits are saying watching the speech on TV.  I expect a lot of them feel it's inappropriate.

    I know Reagan's speech in Germany is widely respected but there was controversy outside of the US when he gave it.  I know.  I wasn't living in the US when he gave that speech.  

    Any time an American politician addresses The World as a Citizen of The World, there are people outside the US that think, "Who does this guy think he is, coming here and telling us what to do or what to think?"

    This really bothers me.  He's a Senator, not President.


    He Is Sounding Presidential (5.00 / 3) (#40)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:59:25 PM EST
    Which is a good thing, imo.  About time an American leader was embraced by fawning crowds, because since Bill it has been mainly protests for BushCo.

    I would have been equally proud if it was Hillary. We need more of this and less bombs.

    I have to disagree with Jeralyn (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:02:20 PM EST
    I believe that Afghanistan was ALWAYS the central component to this struggle and, if done properly, could be turned around.

    That doesn't mean that I believe that we should engage in constant search and destroy missions.  IMO, we should establish a base of protection in the south and rebuild it and then branch forward.

    However this mission MUST be multilateral.  We cannot be the only people there and it can't be just strong armed bit players.  

    I haven't watched the speech yet but I look forward to doing so.

    German troops would help (none / 0) (#45)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:04:06 PM EST
    It would make it clear it was a NATO or at least a multi-lateral effort.

    NeoCon War Cry (none / 0) (#48)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:08:14 PM EST
    if done properly, could be turned around.

    Done properly.... lol  


    I'm very far (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:10:16 PM EST
    from a neo-con.

    But I am also a pragmatist.

    Afghanistan has been a lawless nation for much of the past 40 years.  It is bordered by both Pakistan and Iran.  

    Of course it is a difficult task.  But I have confidence that Obama won't simply tell the Afghanis to embrace democracy and wash his hands of it.


    Do You Think (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:26:41 PM EST
    That the "smart bombs" will be any smarter with Democrats behind them. Not me. They are a policy disaster.  We are not the worlds sheriff, better to use diplomacy and Aid, than bombs and combat missions, imo.

    People have a right to be lawless all over the world and not have to answer to us. I prefer to bring all troops home and concentrate on domestic problems for a change, and I do not mean homeland security.


    Do you think that (none / 0) (#69)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:29:38 PM EST
    Afghanistan retained the right to be lawless when they allowed terrorists to train on their ground that wound up killing 3000 Americans?

    I don't get you (5.00 / 4) (#79)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:35:27 PM EST
    How can you possibly support the concept of collective punishment so blithely against an utterly failed state?  Did the people who are getting blown up these days somehow elect the Taliban and empower them to give al-Qaeda a safe haven?

    I'm really hoping that liberals can have a discussion about the mission in Afghanistan that goes beyond "well, that's the good war, so let's stay the course for as long as it takes."  So far, the blogosphere has pretty much disappointed me.


    Different discussion (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:44:51 PM EST
    As I said initially I do not support search and destroy missions and "blithely" killing anyone.

    I believe we should engage in a defensive posture in Afghanistan in which we provide support for Tajik, Turkman, and Pashtun tribal groups seeking refuge from violence and the Taliban.

    Afghanistan is not Iraq and from what I know of the region, we would be welcomed by the locals if we acted appropriately.

    I don't care much for the term stay the course because it suggests that we should be simply trying to out slug our opponent. That will never work.


    Allowed? (5.00 / 2) (#93)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:43:27 PM EST
    Considering that there has been no real criminal investigation of the event of which you speak, I think that we can dispense with the notion that Afghanistan allowed 9/11 to happen. Revenge on innocent civilians has already gone on too long, imo.

    Had this been a criminal investigation, as it should have been, we would have no Gitmo, Patriot act, Secret renditions, State sponsored torture, and all of the assorted BushCo trappings.


    Water under the bridge (none / 0) (#98)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:46:26 PM EST
    I have no desire for revenge.  I have a desire to help a nation that could use our help.  

    This is why I maintain that multilateral support must remain for our presences in Afghanistan to bear any fruits.

    Drug interdiction and random bombings serve no purpose.


    Huh? (none / 0) (#131)
    by ks on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:28:08 PM EST
    "Retained the right to be lawless...?"  What does that even mean? It sounds like a pretty meaningless assertion. Are we going to make them be "lawful", whatever that means?

    "...when they allowed terrorists to train on their ground that wound up killing 3000 Americans?"

    The Taliban is out of power, no?  


    Cosign (none / 0) (#55)
    by MrPope on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:17:53 PM EST
    we are not attacking Afghanistan...we are attacking terror sects within.   As far as i know are they not in one area in Afghanistan mostly?

    what part of Afghanistan's government (none / 0) (#59)
    by Nettle on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:21:55 PM EST
    doesn't the US have control over? Karzai? C'mon.

    its still about oil only now its Afganistan.. (none / 0) (#212)
    by 18anapple2 on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 10:50:23 PM EST
    Any i.d.i.o.t knows it's still about o.i.l..the all important pipelines thru Afganistan .

    'In 1998, Dick Cheney, now US vice-president but then chief executive of a major oil services company, remarked: "I cannot think of a time when we have had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian." But the oil and gas there is worthless until it is moved. The only route which makes both political and economic sense is through Afghanistan. [Guardian]'

    The repugs have lost all credibility so now we have a democrat to sell us this war..but it's still about the o.i.l!
    Substitute Pakistan/Afganistan for Iraq and Obama for Bush and its a rerun of the same old arrogant American foreign policy of preemption that started the war in Iraq. Actionable intelligence!! haven't we heard that one before!

    And frankly it's a bit much to be preaching peace ,tearing down walls etc with one side of your mouth and calling for war with the other!


    Really? (5.00 / 0) (#46)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:05:54 PM EST
    Reagan called for the world to fight against terrorism?  Really?

    yes, then the boogyman was called the soviets (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by DandyTIger on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:08:34 PM EST
    but the concept is the same. You always need a bad guy to rally around I guess.

    That's funny (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:19:06 PM EST
    this particular boogeyman came within 200 feet of killing me.  So perhaps I find it a little more real than you.

    Could you point to the part of the speech in which Obama used fear and caricatured enemies?


    answered you, no interested in your new strawman (5.00 / 0) (#67)
    by DandyTIger on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:29:08 PM EST
    however. You asked about Reagan and terrorism, I answered about a different boogyman. I'm not saying there was any fear mongering, etc. And I'm not saying this new boogyman hasn't done bad things. I lost two friends on 9/11. The previous boogyman did bad things too, just not as obvious on our soil.

    But the bottom line is, it's a boogyman. Americans driving cars are much more likely to kill any of us than a middle eastern terrorist. So discussing it at all is of course political.


    Really? (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:35:01 PM EST
    Bogeyman - n. - an imaginary evil character of supernatural powers, esp. a mythical hobgoblin supposed to carry off naughty children.

    So I guess we shouldn't worry about terrorism?  It's just a myth?

    For 8 years I had to hear the rabid right hyperventilate about the dangers of terrorism and now I have to hear from the left about I should worry more about getting hit by a car than about terrorism?

    OF COURSE the discussion is political.  What kind of statement is that?


    glad you agree that it's political (5.00 / 0) (#95)
    by DandyTIger on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:43:55 PM EST
    and oopsie on misspelling bogeyman.  Yes, you really should worry more about traffic accidents than terrorists. Hope that's not a surprise or any sort of rude awakening. And yes, that means all these liberties we've been giving up and apparently will continue to give up no matter who are next president is will be for absolutely nothing. Sad isn't it.

    But If He Is Elected (5.00 / 0) (#161)
    by daring grace on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:16:40 PM EST
    It's completely reasonable for Obama to 'worry' about terrorists. As you point out, terrorism is the new world order of threat just as, at one time, superpowers stood astride the world stage. A U.S. president must strategize with an eye to the possibilities and how to head them off or deal with them.

    Maybe it is more reasonable for unelected citizens to worry about traffic mayhem--especially if we live or work in D.C. and may find ourselves in the path of Novak's Corvette.


    Yes, the Soviets were our "terrorists" (2.00 / 0) (#76)
    by stefystef on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:34:14 PM EST
    back in the day.

    I think the problem is a lot of the Obama followers are too young to remember Reagan and the Cold War days and how Reagan, through fancy speeches, was able to charm Europe (especially Thatcher in England) to go along with his global agenda.  I remember "Teflon Ron" very well.  

    Communism didn't fall because of Reagan, it fell because it's a corrupt system.  But that didn't stop Ronnie for taking credit.

    Obama ain't going nothing that wasn't done before.  A lot of flash, little substance.  Again, an event, a happening, not a real movement.  This is not the first time Obama has invoked Reagan (of course, to draw in more moderate Republicans and Independents) and it won't be the last...


    Agreed, and it doesn't help that ... (5.00 / 2) (#135)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:31:15 PM EST
    the media accepts the idea that we "won" the Cold War.

    Of course, young people could also be reminded that in our two proxy wars "against international communism" (Korea and Vietnam) we lost over 100,000 soldiers.  Approximately the same as US loses in WWI.

    Creating bogeymen can have very damaging results.


    It was a kumbaya speech (sorry for Right Wing (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by catfish on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:21:59 PM EST
    talking point.)

    But there were so many things he was sort of trying to say, such as Mr. Gorbachev, tear down all these metaphorical walls that divide humanity. Like Iran, Bangladesh, Chad, Darfur, Zimbabwe (why Berlin to address all of this?)

    He also had some global warming snippets in there. And some shameless Kennedy imitating about "bearing any burdens."

    It was: Europe, America, let's start being friends. (We already were friends.) It was: let's feed the hungry and care for the children of the world. Let's all get along.

    (why Berlin to address all of this?) (5.00 / 3) (#74)
    by p lukasiak on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:33:57 PM EST
    Because Obama's official "status" is that of a US Senator on a 'fact-finding' mission.   Senators do give speeches during such 'junkets', but they are usually 'serious' foreign policy speeches made to "elite" audiences, rather than campaign pep rallies.

    Obama is trying to have it both ways -- I wonder if it will work?


    Obama is co-opting Reagan again??? (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by stefystef on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:27:32 PM EST
    The "wall" speech from the in 1980s.  ~yawn~

    I remember Americans being so proud of Reagan too.  Like Reagan, Obama's giving alot of flash, little substance or genuine emotion.  

    200,000 people! (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:28:49 PM EST
    Did the Scorpions play or something?!?

    I actually haven't heard a negative reaction to Obama's trip yet, except here on TL.  For the most part people seem to think it looks presidential.

    The greatest.... (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by p lukasiak on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:35:55 PM EST
    Well, just as long as the pundits don't start getting that tingling feeling, and start referring to it as "the greatest foreign policy speech EVAH!!!!"

    I'd had to see the Bangladeshi's thrown under the bus in a couple of weeks.... ;)


    Yes Pretty Impressive (5.00 / 0) (#83)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:38:26 PM EST
    Taking back our country. This is how it looks.

    Oh squeaky (5.00 / 0) (#91)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:41:58 PM EST
    I'm not ready to click those orange links just yet!

    I believe (5.00 / 0) (#86)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:39:59 PM EST
    the bands that played before him were simply local cover bands.  

    He should have (5.00 / 1) (#140)
    by LoisInCo on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:43:36 PM EST
    booked The Hoff.

    Just so we're clear (none / 0) (#92)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:42:59 PM EST
    I was snarking on the people who always like to claim Obama's crowds are just there to hear the opening act.

    Heh (none / 0) (#100)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:47:50 PM EST
    Fair enough.

    Until he's elected, these role playing displays (5.00 / 4) (#97)
    by Ellie on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:45:29 PM EST
    ... are embarrassing.

    However, not my horse, not my barn; he still hasn't done anything to earn, affirmatively, my vote. I don't think that crowning himself King George IV will help him in the fall.


    I'm really sick of this "looking (5.00 / 3) (#101)
    by Anne on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:48:49 PM EST
    presidential" meme.  I daresay if you dressed us all appropriately, photographed us in front of the right backdrops, we could all look presidential. Rock concert-generated crowds help there, too.

    This isn't the presidential version of America's Next Top Model" for crying out loud - but it's starting to feel a lot like the Wizard of Oz, with some of us less concerned with how Obama looks than who is behind the curtain.

    My big fear is that Obama is all about being presidential more than he is about being the president - you know, the actual work part of the job?

    It's all just wearing on my last nerve.


    Me too (5.00 / 1) (#148)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:54:57 PM EST
    It used to be a small part of what people cared about, or at least admitted they cared about. Now looking the part is praised to the skies. It reminds me of that movie "Dave" where they polished Kevin Kline up to be the president.

    Yes. (none / 0) (#175)
    by tree on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:46:02 PM EST
    Bush was a disaster as a President because of what he did, not because of how he looked, or whether he could give a good speech. But sadly I hear people praising looks and speechifying as a major qualification for a good Presidency. Those qualities may be nice and might give you a thrill up your leg, but they aren't the proper indicators of a good President. See Reagan.

    Really (2.00 / 0) (#102)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:52:10 PM EST
    If anyone could look presidential, how come Bush and McSame look like such fools. No, you can not dress up a pig.

    Haha. (5.00 / 4) (#103)
    by TheRealFrank on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:53:45 PM EST
    Bush got elected. People thought he was such a great guy, and the press fawned over him being such a great communicator.

    Yes, you can dress up a pig.


    Bush Looked Like A Cowboy (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:59:57 PM EST
    And many Americans like to think of themselves as in a rootin shootin western or car and cigarette adverts, in their SUV's, just like on teevee.

    Hardly presidential, looking. But he did appear to win.

    The rest of the world saw through the act. Half of America was fooled twice, third time not a chance, imo.  


    Bush Got "Elected' (5.00 / 1) (#168)
    by daring grace on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:25:49 PM EST
    in 2000...Funny, I had the feeling the 'election' was settled by the SCOTUS.

    Once in,  the advantages of incumbency carried him into office in 2004. Not much of an electoral mandate there either, actually.


    Bush got elected (none / 0) (#106)
    by CST on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:56:55 PM EST
    But he certainly never looked presidential.

    That's what *you* thought. (5.00 / 3) (#109)
    by TheRealFrank on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:58:28 PM EST
    And what I thought as well. However, a lot of voters, sadly, thought otherwise.

    I disagree. (none / 0) (#110)
    by LoisInCo on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:58:34 PM EST
    In the aftermath of 9/11 he presented a very effective Presidential air.

    Right up to the point where (5.00 / 0) (#112)
    by CST on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:01:02 PM EST
    He opened his mouth and something barely resembling English came out.

    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:05:46 PM EST
    Particularly when he was reading My Pet Goat, or playing guitar during Katrina.

    I should have said the immediate aftermath of 9/11 (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by LoisInCo on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:13:02 PM EST
    Of course Bush is moron and hasn't done much of anything that I approve of. But honestly, there was a glimmer of something there right after 9/11. And it fed him for years. Unfortunately.

    'He passed the test of looking presidential' (none / 0) (#225)
    by andrys on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 03:17:26 AM EST
    It drives me batty too because it's about appearances and it's as if he were auditioning for a ROLE in a movie.

      And much as I thought the lighting was exceptional and he looked happy and rested and the audience we could see in front was genuinely excited by the guy, the speech was more of the same.  I could hardly stand it when he said, "This is the moment when ... This is our time... for the 14th time and then there were more.

      However, this was great for photographers and he does have a certain 'style' (but that used to be admired for first lady more than for the president).  Nevertheless, what he does is raise hope, for sure.  Let's hope he can actually meet some of it.  If nothing else, he has a very effective team, even if the whole thing seemed inordinately grandiose at times.  The big screen outdoors was quite something to see there.  Right now, it's all about marketing (with a mix of religious appeal, "believe in" -- hope...change... moment....time...Reagan walls...


    presidential compared to what (none / 0) (#75)
    by Nettle on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:33:58 PM EST
    Don't miss out, though, the new 'presidential' theme is that everyone simply wants in his pants.  The man-crush rolls on.
    Long as we're talkin' serious politics and all... .

    Hmm (5.00 / 0) (#85)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:39:44 PM EST
    Compared to Bush, I guess?  I dunno.  Presidential means presidential to me.

    I try to stay focused on the issues myself, but for a lot of people, it really does make a difference whether they feel proud of the person who represents our country abroad.  In much the same way as most of us are embarrassed to have Bush as the spokesman for America right now, some people look forward to having a well-respected person like Obama representing us to the world.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I don't see anything particularly wrong with that.


    There has been negative coverage (none / 0) (#94)
    by stefystef on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:43:54 PM EST
    but it has been purged from the MSM and many internet websites.
    The Obama camp spends alot of time and money and effort to eliminate a lot of the negative coverage of Obama.

    There isn't half the negative coverage on TL as I've seen on other sites and the moderators do an excellent job at filtering the more slanderous posts.


    That reminds me of the Ivins quip... (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Dawn Davenport on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:38:09 PM EST
    ...about Pat Buchanan's speech at the 1992 Republican convention: "It sounded better in the original German."

    (For the record, I though Obama's speech was good, not great, and I'm not comparing him to Hitler.)

    Yes (5.00 / 0) (#87)
    by jondee on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:39:59 PM EST
    and of course Raygun wrote it himself on the back of an envelope while enroute, just like Lincoln. lol

    Thanks for the chuckle.

    Actually, Reagan (none / 0) (#136)
    by oldpro on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:31:57 PM EST
    was a good writer, good speaker, both with a script and extemporaneously.  Before he became president, he wrote a lot of his stuff...reams of it...years worth in archives and some published.

    "The Great Communicator" wasn't entirely a phoney title...he was damn good...better than Obama.


    The part of his speech about (5.00 / 0) (#89)
    by my opinion on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:41:04 PM EST
    joining together to fight terrorism is amazingly similar to a speech Bush gave at the German Parliament in May 2002.

    So do I and so do the vast majority of the Germans (none / 0) (#167)
    by bridget on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:23:49 PM EST
    who had enough of war and promised after 1945 that never again would a war start by Germans. But more than once now they have been put between a rock and a hard place.  

    You probably remember that after the Lebanon war the  Israeli prime minister asked Merkel on a visit to Germany (I think it was) to send troops, i.e. ships in the region. So did W.

    I understand that Merkel had no choice and had to send ships to Lebanon. Germans are not allowed to remain "pacifists" as much as they want to. I was told since they are NATO members they had to do it or otherwise leave NATO.  


    I think Obama is aiming too low. (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by MarkL on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:12:05 PM EST
    Shouldn't a man of his stature be trying to figure out how to avoid the "Big crunch" scenario in 100 billion years?

    For someone who "inspired" (5.00 / 2) (#129)
    by sancho on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:25:53 PM EST
    so many into believing he is the anti-war candidate, Obama's rhetoric about Afghanistan should give some pause. Given who some of his advisers are (the same ones who during the Carter administration made Bin Laden a CIA asset to help fight Russia), people with a historical itch to go at it with Russia, his recent talk has me really nervous. Kerry in '04 talked about going after Bin Laden (as a way of reducing the Iraq war), Obama, I fear, wants to go after Obama to extend and expand the ongoing war. Hope I'm wrong.

    One scary thing about the most recent Bush is that he extended the range of what Presdients think they can get away with. Obama, I think, relishes inheriting this sense of increased power.  

    Obama is a hawk---much more so than (5.00 / 2) (#134)
    by MarkL on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:30:42 PM EST
    Hillary, and in practice he may be more of a hawk than McCain, because he is foolish, arrogant and inexperienced.

    preaching to the choir, markl (none / 0) (#220)
    by sancho on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 12:04:44 AM EST
    and thanks for the reply. i fear Dr. B in President O's administration.

    It's not that it's inappropriate (5.00 / 4) (#138)
    by americanincanada on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:35:48 PM EST
    for Obama to speak in a foreign country. Jesus. And I certainly don't want Bush speaking for me any longer. But Obama is NOT THE PRESIDENT yet, and he may not ever be.

    I don't think it's appropriate for any candidate to be on the stump on my dime and I don't think any candidate should be making campaign rally type speaches on foreign soil.

    and some simply (5.00 / 2) (#141)
    by Chisoxy on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:44:51 PM EST
    dont agree with an unofficial "President" presenting himself to the world as speaking for the US, regardless of individual. McCain did his little photo-op, but kept his ego in check.

    Amen (5.00 / 3) (#160)
    by americanincanada on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:15:24 PM EST
    I don't want a candidate going to a foreign country and speaking for me anymore than I would want my neighbor doing it.

    I have to say the BBC's coverage of this is not fawning at all. They said it was 'well-received' but that there were scattered boos, some protests and they mentioned the rock concert and the fact that it was unprecedented to have a 'candidate' make this appearance.

    Interesting that they keep pointing out the fact that he is not president and may never be. Hmmm...

    Coverage here in Canada has been varied today as well...more cautiously positive than negative but certainly not fawning either. Everyone seems to realize no other candidate has ever done this and that it may not have been a good thing to do to apeal to financially hurting US voters. Too bad our MSM can't see that.


    Does 'President' Really Make a Difference? (5.00 / 1) (#176)
    by daring grace on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:52:51 PM EST
    You don't want a presidential candidate speaking for you (speaking for the U.S.) overseas.

    So once Obama's elected president, it's okay? You will feel he speaks for you?

    See, that makes us different, because even though he's president, I NEVER want anyone in the world to believe what Bush says represents what I believe (or what I hope America stands for.)

    From what you say, I suspect that president or candidate, Obama will never really be speaking for you, will he?

    If true, I have no problem with that. It's just that there seems to be little distinction between him as president or presumptive nominee as to where he stands with you.


    So you think it's appropriate (5.00 / 3) (#182)
    by americanincanada on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:57:57 PM EST
    for a candidate to do a staged campaign rally in a foreign country while he asserts that it is inappropriate for him to visit injured troops?!

    No, I don't want Bush speaking for me but he does has the right to represent our country even if I didn't vot for him. He is the pesident. I can be embarrassed, and almost always am, but it is appropriate for him to make those speeches.

    Obama is not even the official nominee yet and he is speaking as though it is a foregone conslusion, no need for votes.

    As the BBC just reminded everyone, no president has ever been elected back home because he was popular in Europe.


    I Have No Problem (none / 0) (#202)
    by daring grace on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 06:49:40 PM EST
    with Obama's trip and speaking overseas. Wasn't McCain over there in June or early July meeting leaders and even fundraising.

    In addition, politicians who aren't even running for POTUS go to other countries all the time, talking policy and making the rounds.

    I don't see the relevance of the two things--speech making and yet not visiting wounded troops.

    But your 'right' or whatever to be embarrassed by Obama, express disapproval, outrage or disagreement has never been questioned by me. It was the framing of those reactions I was exploring, and I think you've made it pretty clear that Obama's actions and choices are not winning any favor with you. I'm still not sure that it has anything to do with his status as presumptive nominee.


    Its not about speaking for me (none / 0) (#200)
    by Chisoxy on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 06:36:27 PM EST
    I guess unless I vote for someone I dont feel they are doing that. But people earn that responsibility and opportunity, neither McCain or Obama have done so. Bush, while I dont like him and never voted for him, was unfortunately selected for that role by the country. Obama has officially only earned the right to speak for the people of Illinois, and should limit himself accordingly.

    Don't Worry (2.00 / 1) (#170)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:32:52 PM EST
    I don't want a candidate going to a foreign country and speaking for me anymore than I would want my neighbor doing it.

    He is not speaking for you, your chimperor in chief has you covered.


    More Reagan? How about JFK? (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by blogtopus on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:46:33 PM EST
    I guess it's better to resemble a speech that says 'Tear down these Walls' rather than one that says 'I am a Jelly Donut'.

    I could throw in my usual blah blah about Obama not living up to my expectations, but what's the point? Neither he nor Obama supporters listen to us anyway except to either A) Take us for granted or B) Tell us we don't matter and/or are stupid refuseniks.

    The fact that he reminded people more of Reagan than of JFK should cause some pause with some people today, make them ask why he sounds like that? Is it how he said it, or WHAT he said? And if it is WHAT he said, what are some other similarities between Obama and Reagan we should take note of?

    Useless Bleating aside, I'm glad that he's at least traveling outside the country.

    Alas, after appearing before a large (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by Anne on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:58:27 PM EST
    and enthusiastic crowd of Germans, Senator Obama has scrapped plans to visit wounded American servicemen and women - now that he's in campaign mode and not Senator mode, he says it would not be appropriate...

    I kid you not - heard it on the news in the car.

    McCain says it is never inappropriate to visit American wounded.

    I have a feeling Obama's decision is not going to sit well with a lot of people.

    Wonderful /snark (5.00 / 1) (#159)
    by americanincanada on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:11:51 PM EST
    he can speak to a crowd of strangers on foeeign soil in a blatantly staged campaign rally but he can't visit us service men and women. Nice.

    I agree...I don't think this is going to go over well and the McCain will probably jump all over it and rightly so.


    That was a military call, apparently. (5.00 / 1) (#184)
    by Pegasus on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:59:54 PM EST
    From Yahoo/AP:

    "We learned from the Pentagon last night that the visit would be viewed instead as a campaign event," the adviser, retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott Gration, said in a statement. "Senator Obama did not want to have a trip to see our wounded warriors perveived as a campaign event when his visit was to show his appreciation for our troops and decided instead not to go."

    So there you go.  Not a snub at all; the Pentagon just didn't want him to get any (more) good press.


    OH BS. He could have visited the troops. (none / 0) (#217)
    by MarkL on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 11:28:00 PM EST
    Congressmen do it all the time, both here and abroad.

    He Did Visit The Troops (5.00 / 0) (#219)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 11:33:10 PM EST
    In Afghanistan and Iraq. Guess you missed that opportunity to slam him for it.

    The subject here was a visit to (none / 0) (#221)
    by MarkL on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 12:10:22 AM EST
    wounded troops, not those fighting.

    No The Subject Here (1.00 / 1) (#235)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 10:30:48 AM EST
    Is his Berlin speech, not what Obama did not do in Germany. But you would rather focus on a nonsequitur in order to question his patriotism, compassion for wounded troops, and paint him as heartless.

    Typical Rove technique, change the subject and inject innuendo about poor character. I am certain that if he did visit the wounded troops in Germany you would be the first to point out that he is using the poor soldiers as a backdrop for shameless self promotion.


    So Now The Pentagon Is Dazzled (none / 0) (#229)
    by daring grace on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 09:01:06 AM EST
    by Obama?

    The Obama campaign announces the Pentagon steered them away from visiting the wounded troops.

    You say BS.

    So you must feel the Pentagon is merely an arm of the Obama campaign, right? Covering his butt when he makes an excuse?


    I took a quick look at German papers and (5.00 / 1) (#154)
    by scribe on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:03:10 PM EST
    their response is generally positive but not fawning.  All (except Bild) concur that the crowd was 200k or a little more.

    The Suddeutsche Zeitung out of Munich headlines its coverage stating "He can do it", "it" being the Presidency.  Complements his ability to make it (foreign affairs) look like he's been doing it all his life.

    The Leipziger Volks-Zeitung (a left paper) is a bit hard on him, but notes the speech was aimed more at the US audience, anyway.  I think part of their take being the way it is stems from their audience having been on the other side of The Wall when Kennedy and Reagan spoke.  I suspect they would have responded more positively had Obama spoken some about "Civil Courage" and its necessity when addressing injustice (of all flavors).  They're not happy about his stressing Afghanistan.

    The Frankfurter Allgemeine (FAZ, rough equivalent to the WSJ) headlines Obama's call for renewing and strengthening the transatlantic relationship, but then leads by noting that the strongest reference in Obama's speech was his reference to the Blockade-era speech by the Berlin Lord-Mayor "look to Berlin".

    Actually, I thought that that, and not his reference to the Reagan speech, was the
    analytical/philosophical center of the speech.  By saying today, "look to Berlin", one says look at what transition from un-freedom to freedom can do.  Demolish the philosophical walls, etc.  Berlin is a multi-cultural city;  became that way during the Cold War.  He's saying, in part, that where Berlin has gone in its development
    is where the rest of the world has to go.  One could just as easily say "look to New York" and, I suspect, the American audience would get it better than they do with the Reagan echoes.  In NYC, everyone comes from everywhere to better
    themselves, etc.

    I think of all the papers, the FAZ might have gotten closest to the philosophical center of where Obama seems to be going.  

    And, then there's Bild.

    Bild says "Obama's speech inspired the Germans", right above the article on Carla Bruni claiming she'd had only 15 lovers, not 30 like some other media outlet claimed.  But, that's Bild.

    and the campaign went to Germany on its own dime? (none / 0) (#180)
    by Nettle on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:56:41 PM EST
    And that's why he decided he couldn't visit wounded soldiers in Germany?

    Hmm, he said he was there as a citizen, not a candidate.  I'm so confused.  flip....flop.


    If the campaign did pay for it (5.00 / 1) (#196)
    by nycstray on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 06:25:06 PM EST
    maybe they should foot the whole bill:

    Moreover, some residents of Germany's perennially cash-strapped capital have taken umbrage at the fact that Obama's visit will cost a half-million euros ($786,000) -- half of which will be born by German public funds.

    "How come the German and the Berlin taxpayer has to pony up 250,000 euros so that Obama gets a nice television backdrop for his campaign?" asked one irritated blogger on the website of a local newspaper.

    If he uses any of the footage for TV commercials, he might want to fork over a location fee also. Just sayin'


    Did not match the hype (5.00 / 2) (#162)
    by citizen53 on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:18:40 PM EST
    I watched it in its entirety.  I said much the same at DKos and heard that it will be quoted in 100 years, that it was like Gettysburg.  

    It was an ok speech, but a stump speech for Americans, not Germans, and the response sounded like there were 2,000, not 200,000.

    Not a memorable line at all for future generations.

    Like his race speech, it will all be forgotten tomorrow.  Europeans will go back to looking at us in the same way they have in the past.  And there will be another poll to hype and the media will create something else to obsess about.

    I thought it was a well-crafted speech, too (5.00 / 1) (#163)
    by kempis on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:19:18 PM EST
    I didn't see it delivered (had no desire to) but I read it and my general impression is that it's nice to see an American president strike a more "we are all connected" tone in an address to the world at large.

    Of course, the rightwingers in this country are going to feed it like an ammo belt into the propaganda outlets hosted by Limbaugh and Hannity and Ingraham and others. But their brand of go-it-alone exceptionalism is more out-of-favor in this country than it's been in my lifetime. Bush helped to demonstrate how it leads to a nasty dead end. The dittoheads and wingnuts will be outraged, but I think the majority of Americans will be relieved to see a major American political figure well-received in a civil and philosophical address (as opposed to something Yosemite Sam might holler).

    Does it give me hope? Does it inspire me? No. It's a nice speech and it sent an important reminder to the world that not all Americans are George W. Bush. But it was too self-conscious to be soaring to me. For example, the "this is the moment" theme has become a canned slogan for Obama and it's a pity he trotted it out for this speech.

    To find Obama inspiring, I think you must have to believe the often-repeated comparison of his oratorical skills to RFK's or JFK's or King's. If you don't--if you remember them as speakers who were more movingly sincere and substantial--then you begin to resent Obama as you resent the comparison. Perhaps if people would stop making those (to me) silly comparisons, I could appreciate him as himself--whenever I get a sense of who that self is.


    CN is already (none / 0) (#165)
    by americanincanada on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:22:01 PM EST
    showing clips from today's Obama speech alongside both Kennedy and Reagan while also mentioning Clinton's Berlin is Free speech.

    shudder Poor Christian Amanpour...she looked so angry that she was the one chosen to cover it. LMAO


    me too, I'm so proud :-) n/t (5.00 / 0) (#169)
    by DandyTIger on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:27:22 PM EST

    LOL - I can't believe I did that (5.00 / 1) (#191)
    by kempis on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 06:15:20 PM EST
    The aura of inevitability is a powerful thing. I keep waiting for Jonathan Alter to write a column insisting that McCain drop out now.

    I should have said "prominent American political figure" instead. THANK YOU for calling this to my red-faced attention. :)

    Kempis....someone that did not seem (none / 0) (#198)
    by PssttCmere08 on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 06:26:09 PM EST
    like something you would intentionally post...:)

    Familiar playbook? (5.00 / 1) (#207)
    by fctchekr on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 07:46:52 PM EST
    Just think about this: which leaders from Europe or China, or anywhere for that matter have come to the United States before their election to address crowds of hundreds of thousands to give what we'd call a universal pitch to boost their election? Mexico's President? Maybe. But, that's it.

    Kennedy and Reagan's speeches were for the support of a united Germany. They were Presidents. They had the office beyond them, giving them authority to speak as leaders of the United States.

    I find the photo ops and the grandiose speeches nothing more than opportunistic staging for the sole purpose of getting elected. All this staging and pomposity reminds me of GWB.

    The problem with trying to impress the rest of the world, is they don't vote in November.

    I'm sorry but... (5.00 / 0) (#209)
    by lentinel on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 08:26:13 PM EST
    talking about a war on terror just sounds dumb to me.
    It sounded dumb when Bush said it - and it sounds at least as dumb now.

    When we bombed the hell out of Baghdad, the "shock and awe" horror, that was terror.

    The A-bomb was terror.
    The slaughter of hundreds of thousands in one go is terror.

    But the only terror that Obama and the rest allude to is the molotov cocktail or the car bomb.

    What about nuclear proliferation? And I mean everywhere - not just our latest bogie man - Iran. (Obama buys into this too.)

    And when he says that we won the "battle of ideas" with "the communists" - I'm wondering what stupid pills he has been taking. Is he pandering not only to the right wing of today but the right wing of 50 years ago?

    Then there's the good part. Brotherhood.

    Something for everybody.
    And nobody knows what the hell he's talking about or what he will do if he is given the enormous power of the presidency.

    This is not an endorsement of McCain. I don't know what he would do either. But geez, do we have to delude ourselves that we have a marvelous candidate to oppose him?

    Seven Years Out (none / 0) (#230)
    by daring grace on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 09:14:08 AM EST
    and you say "...the only terror that Obama and the rest allude to is the molotov cocktail or the car bomb."

    You're absolutely right about Bush and the alternating corruptions and ineptitude of his 'war on terror".

    And you're also correct about the other instances of terrorism you cite.

    But it seems to be a question of scale with you--how many casualties in one incident--which is extremely short sighted.

    It's not about just 9/11, or a train in Spain or a subway in London. It's about Israeli and Palestinian people living in a constant state of vigilance with gratuitous violence a part of their daily lives. And that's part of our legacy now in Iraq too.

    I don't for a moment see Obama as "marvelous". he's a politician with some better and some worse instincts.

    But I know he is going to deal with the challenges of international hostilities infinitely better than Bush ever did or McCain ever could. Granted, it's not a high hurdle for him to clear, but at least he will clear it.


    It isn't so much that the sentiments (4.62 / 8) (#37)
    by Anne on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:52:57 PM EST
    expressed were out of line, or not worthy of consideration, but that they were sentiments that would be more appropriate coming from a head of state - perhaps a newly-elected President making the rounds in a goodwill gesture - but not from a candidate for President of the United States.

    While we all agree, I think, that George Bush has failed to advance the cause of peace and democracy, and has not represented the American people as well as he should have in his dealings with the rest of the world, what Obama did today in Berlin overstepped the bounds that surround the office of the POTUS.  

    I guess I just don't get it.  When visiting with world leaders and learning a little more about these countries could have been done with little fanfare as part of his Senate duties, he claimed to be too busy running for the nomination.  Now he has time for grand and glorious speeches - not really working, mind you - that did what, exactly?  

    The optics were great, but I bet there will be little mention of the concert that was scheduled to make sure there was a big crowd.  And when people have a chance to look at it again, and read it again, they will end up once again wondering what it all meant.  

    For me, it just seemed too much, too "who does he think he is?"  Too "make me King of the World."  It was kind of creepy, really.

    yeah, (5.00 / 0) (#68)
    by Nettle on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:29:18 PM EST
    what you said

    For me, it just seemed too much, too "who does he think he is?"  Too "make me King of the World."  It was kind of creepy, really.

    Creepy is certainly (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by americanincanada on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:29:03 PM EST
    a word I would use to describe it. Also uncomfortable, arrogant and hubris...

    Don't look now, but (5.00 / 1) (#147)
    by Anne on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:54:34 PM EST
    the tben and sher downrating is just around the corner...

    The speech (4.33 / 3) (#8)
    by americanincanada on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:20:51 PM EST
    as written was fine, not great, but the delivery was a lot to be desired. He was flat and read the entire thing from a teleprompter while never making any real eye contact with the crowd or any real connection.

    I think 200,000 is generous. I have seen estimates that said it was more like 100,000 and that was before the crowd started tho gradually thin after the concert.

    If the reactions on several sites are any indication the speech was a major let down and certainly not what the fawning MSM was looking for. I was bored.

    Part of that problem was (none / 0) (#36)
    by scribe on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:52:37 PM EST
    that the audience was listening to it in (to them) a foreign language.  When they caught up with what he said, the audience did respond.  They understood quite well the environmental issues, the Darfur references, and a lot of the other references.

    I tried to find an internet live-stream of the speech as broadcast over German media but could not;  it was broadcast over the air on Deutschlandfunk, their all-news equivalent of NPR, but they had different programming on the internet.

    I suspect that once they get their translations and digest it - the German audience will have liked it.


    Someone pointed out earlier today (5.00 / 2) (#124)
    by americanincanada on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:19:25 PM EST
    that a large portion of germans, especially ytoung germans, speak fluent english. I doubt anyone in that crowd was confused or need to get caught up via a translation.

    The Obama campaign seems more like a satire ... (3.66 / 3) (#11)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:23:07 PM EST
    every day.  I guess the satiric underpinnings of this event might have been more obvious if he'd held it in Nuremberg ... but I guess even the Obama campaign wants to hide the joke a bit.

    What? (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by Rashomon66 on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:38:35 PM EST
    So what should he have done? Done a five minute speeach at a small venue somewhere? Seems to me the world is a stage. I would expect anyone running for POTUS to take this kind of opportunity. What he said was important. Why is that satire?
    McCain would love to do this but he wouldn't be able to get a crowd like this.

    You may expect (5.00 / 2) (#125)
    by americanincanada on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:20:40 PM EST
    anyone running for POTUS to take this kind of opportunity, but no one ever has. Why is that? Perhaps because it is arrogant to make this kind opf appearance until one is actually elected.

    How Many? (none / 0) (#6)
    by delacarpa on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:20:05 PM EST
    MSNBC said the German authories said well over 100,000 heard the speech and now it is up to 200,000 but someone wrote as much as 1 million could show up. It is shocking but MSNBC said there were geers in the crowd.

    I heard only the first part (none / 0) (#19)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:28:37 PM EST
    on the radio, but I swear I heard someone do that high pitched trilling sound I associate with Muslim prayer. (I know there is a word for it, but it escapes me)

    As far as numbers, I saw on CNN that the space, including surrounding boulevards, could hold 1 million, but from the brief pictures I saw right before it started I tend to believe the 100- 200k numbers.


    Ululation (none / 0) (#21)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:32:21 PM EST
    but it's not actually used in prayer.  It's a general-purpose expression of feeling, but generally like a cheer.  It's also used to express grief, but never, as far as I know, as a jeer or a negative.

    thank you! (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:38:10 PM EST
    That is the word my poor old brain was looking for.  In this case it was probably used as a cheer, since it was at a time when there was general cheering. If I get time to review the tape later I will mark the spot.  It was very close to the start.

    It is not something I was used to hearing from his American crowds, so of course it caught my ear.


    Call To Prayer? (none / 0) (#26)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:37:38 PM EST
    thank you, too (none / 0) (#155)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:06:22 PM EST
    It does make sense that it was a cheer, since everyone was cheering at the time.

    Thank you, too (none / 0) (#157)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:07:09 PM EST
    It does make sense that it was a cheer, since everyone was cheering at the time.

    like i said (none / 0) (#10)
    by MrPope on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:22:59 PM EST
    people who are cold to or against OBAMA will have nothing nice to say about the speech..

    And the people who just love, love (5.00 / 6) (#22)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:33:21 PM EST
    Obama will get one of those thrills up their legs.



    Interesting (none / 0) (#205)
    by daring grace on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 07:07:44 PM EST
    that you relate the two.

    Because I'm sitting here feeling neither tingles or the intense need to mock/deride. The two extremes have the passionate reflexes. That they have in common.

    I think this overseas trip has been a positive thing for Obama's campaign with some extremely useful visuals (esp. out of the Mideast). But I'm not particularly rah rah about it.

    I'll bet there are some Obama opponents sitting in front of their computers thinking a corresponding "What's all the excitement about? Still don't want to support him. Still not sure I can ever vote for him."


    Apparently there are even (none / 0) (#232)
    by tree on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 09:52:46 AM EST
    some Obama supporters thinking "What's all the excitement about."

    More of the usual... (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by ks on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:33:53 PM EST
    C'mon now, it seems like you're trying to get ahead of criticism.  The Obama's camp stage crafting was fine as usual and the speech was standard Obama fare though I do find it interesting that more media people are pointing out how the sausage was made - the free rock concert trick.  

    Again with a free rock concert? (5.00 / 4) (#27)
    by Cream City on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:37:51 PM EST
    This cracks me up.  Can we expect a warmup band in Congress before SOTUs?  Oh no, I can picture all those middle-aged Congressfolk attempting to sway with the beat.  While Obama does that, well, weirdly gender-neutral dance step he did with Ellen DeGeneres.

    Good tv.  The network groupies will love his SOTUs.


    Okay, I'll bite..... (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by Maria Garcia on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:02:26 PM EST
    ...I haven't heard the speech or read it because I have been busy to day. You said in your other post that you found the speech inspirational. I'll admit I am not an Obama fan though I do plan to vote for him. But he does not "inspire" me. Still I am curious. When you say inspirational, what precisely does he inspire you to do, besides vote for him. Is it an active inspiration that provokes you to contribute to the greater good, or does it just make you "feel" inspired?

    Excellent question (5.00 / 0) (#120)
    by Roz on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:15:52 PM EST
    What does Obama inspire people to do other than vote for him and hang out on blogs beating back the non-believers?

    What Obama Inspires (none / 0) (#173)
    by daring grace on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:43:29 PM EST
    people to do:

    volunteer in his ground operations.


    Miami Herald

    Cleveland Plain Dealer


    So he inspires them to vote for (5.00 / 2) (#177)
    by tree on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:53:03 PM EST
    him AND volunteer to get other people to vote for him. Wow. That's never happened before. No one has ever volunteered to work for any other candidate. What an inspiring leader he is.

    (I think that Roz was looking for something other than volunteering to campaign. You know, something that wasn't all about Obama.)


    Not What She Said (none / 0) (#206)
    by daring grace on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 07:14:09 PM EST
    I responded to that, thinking she was saying all his supporters are inspired to do is "vote for him" "and hang out on blogs beating back the non-believers?"

    Neither of which demands the time, energy and commitment to volunteer in GOTV organizing.

    And look at it this way, enfranchising voters doesn't necessarily guarantee they will vote for him but it may help empower them to pay more attention to the issues and participate more fully in their communities. Better investment for everyone than NOT getting out the vote.


    The point is (5.00 / 3) (#210)
    by Steve M on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 08:41:18 PM EST
    it is unclear to a lot of us what the Obama movement stands for, aside from getting Obama elected.

    How about a new empahsis (none / 0) (#215)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 11:04:56 PM EST
    on progressive values?

    How about it? (5.00 / 1) (#222)
    by Steve M on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 12:32:27 AM EST
    It's not much of a movement if every member is left to define the values for themselves.

    If you ever want to attempt a less vacuous definition, be my guest.  "Progressive," contrary to popular belief, is not a synonym for whatever Barack Obama happens to be in favor of.


    Oh, you want the long version (none / 0) (#223)
    by MKS on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 01:26:41 AM EST
    It's called getting out Iraq.

    Health care.

    Energy policy/Environment.

    No torture.

    Better immigration policy/pathway to citizenship.

    No tax cuts for the rich.

    Supreme Court judges.

    It really isn't that difficult, unless one wants to be deliberately obtuse.

    I hope you are not among those trying to build that bridge over the river Kwai.


    So basically (5.00 / 1) (#227)
    by Steve M on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 07:15:36 AM EST
    the goal of the Obama movement is to implement the standard Democratic platform?

    Somehow, I have a feeling the Republicans who support him think it is about something else.

    You are making my point for me.  Every person who gets asked this question responds that the movement is about exactly the things they want it to be about.  There is no actual organizing principle.


    Perhaps That IS The Organizing Principle (none / 0) (#231)
    by daring grace on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 09:34:32 AM EST
    And a brilliant political one, at that.

    As to implementing 'the standard Democratic platform'...YAY!!! What a concept! Bring it ON!

    Many of us have been waiting a LONG time for that.

    You know why this message of hope and change that so many people around here sneer at is such a compelling one to so many voters--even Republicans and Indies? It's an antidote to Bush-Cheney exhaustion and the years and years of cynical political marginalizing and governing by fear.

    Yeah, maybe in the end it will be just another image-making strategy. But people are hungry for a different feel to leadership. Obama has (so far) convinced many people he can change the tone.

    After Bush-Cheney, not a difficult task.


    love it hate it whatever (5.00 / 4) (#56)
    by Nettle on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:18:31 PM EST
    There are real things to pick at, nonetheleast of which is that he said he wasn't there as a "candidate". Well, that's so his campaign wouldn't have to pick up all the tab, taxpayers do.  Call me cynical but it doesn't have anything to do with whether I like or dislike the Democrat candidate for President of the US (not the world).

    Those of us in the US, IMHO, need to stop cheering on an ever imperial rhetoric, which this surely bordered on at times and at other times was full blown.  Easy for us to cheer on US plans for everyone else.  Somehow I don't think so many tribal communities and nations are going to cheer tearing down any walls when that generally means they're screwed.  Like the tribal regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, like Oglala, Blackfeet Nations, etc.  Another military wet dream for Afghanistan is absurd.  Its a little like hearing Ahnold say 'We ah da leaduhs of da free whorl'.  

    Nice speech as they go if you have to deliver for CFR and the Kennedy School and IMF - and what's anything compared to McCain - but moreover more optics with a bit of auditory.  

    Reminding me of Ronald Reagan is not endearing.


    He was not there as a candidate? (5.00 / 2) (#146)
    by makana44 on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:51:40 PM EST
    Was he invited to give this speech by the German government? By anyone else for that matter? Do private citizens just show in public places in foreign countries and decide to give speeches? Even if he just traveled to Germany as a Senator to meet with government officials, would he have given a speech in a public space to the general public? Is there any precedence for someone, anyone doing that?

    Of course he was there as a candidate. And this was a campaign speech. And the primary intended audience was the American people so they could see the great man - the great statesman - on stage.


    interesting to know what of the entire trip (5.00 / 1) (#186)
    by Nettle on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 06:08:09 PM EST
    aboard O-Force One was government paid and what campaign funded.  Israel and all? Hagel? Seriously, that's all serious money and Republicans to boot.  Wouldn't I love to know who funded.  

    Either way, after a speech and rock concert clearly geared toward his candidacy, you don't go see the wounded soldiers we've been hearing about for 5 years?  


    Middle East portion was taxpayer-funded. (5.00 / 2) (#189)
    by Pegasus on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 06:11:56 PM EST
    Classified as a fact-finding mission.  Europe was campaign funded.  Now you know -- glad I could be of some help.

    me, too, thanks (none / 0) (#199)
    by Nettle on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 06:29:26 PM EST
    Wish he'd held some fact-finding foreign relations subcommittee NATO-Europe hearings right here in the US.  But he got all those from Lugar already, I'm sure.

    geez he has me cranky today.


    Not there as a candidate?! (5.00 / 1) (#152)
    by nycstray on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:02:25 PM EST
    Obama scraps visit to wounded troops    
    Jul 24 04:09 PM US/Eastern

    BERLIN (AP) - Sen. Barack Obama scrapped plans to visit wounded members of the armed forces in Germany as part of his overseas trip, a decision his spokesman said was made because the Democratic presidential candidate thought it would be inappropriate on a campaign-funded journey.


    Is this another case of Both Ways Barack?


    WOW! That is so sad ... (none / 0) (#172)
    by bridget on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:41:16 PM EST
    how often do these wounded soldiers get visited by US senators, esp. US candidates for Pres? They would have appreciated it a lot.

    guess even the opportunity to be seen as compassionate leader (with pics on front pages) didn't do it for Obama this time. WHY?

    Inappropriate he said?
    Just after making a speech for sending more troops to more wars? But he can't make time for them?

    V. Sad :-((


    Actually (5.00 / 0) (#193)
    by CoralGables on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 06:17:04 PM EST
    This could have been a very touchy situation. Once the plane left Iraq I believe it became a campaign expense and the Military is not permitted to be involved in anything campaign related. Sounds to me like a decision made to prevent an outcry from the right using wounded soldiers as part of a campaign backdrop.

    The State Department also ruled that no federal workers could attend anything Obama related today in Germany making for a compromising situation in an American run hospital.


    And in another Me-Too moment, Obama reveals ... (3.00 / 2) (#72)
    by Ellie on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:33:20 PM EST
    ... his awesome prowess for downloading, cribbing and not attributing credit for yet more of the works and visions of others that he cobbles together into a mish mash for the lazy and the shallow.

    He goes beyond reducing to footnotes people who earned their credibility through actual years of public service, in that he doesn't even bother giving them credit where credit is due.

    He downloaded it, it's now "his own" vision.

    Even crappy singers like Harry Connick Jr. know when to thank Frank.


    The lazy and the shallow (none / 0) (#108)
    by jondee on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:58:06 PM EST
    that would be like those who are willing to lay down their lives -- or at least go into mewling barn cat mode at the drop pf a hat -- in support of  yet another deeply compromised, center-right, MIC beholden "liberal" -- as long as the gender is right.

    Oh dear, no fresh insights here either (none / 0) (#216)
    by Ellie on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 11:06:08 PM EST
    When someone doesn't support your candidate? It's not a pathology. Your candidate really is flimsy.

    The "i'm rubber you are glue" mojo? A sign that you haven't had an original idea since grade school.

    Not recognizing plagiarism is ignorant or just wilfully dumb.


    I deleted that comment (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:27:02 PM EST
    for spreading false information.

    Meteor Blades said (none / 0) (#44)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:03:08 PM EST
    the speech was inspiring and made him proud to be an American...

    Why should I know what Meteor Blades said (none / 0) (#174)
    by bridget on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:45:45 PM EST
    - whoever he is -

    What am I missing here?


    Leftist antiwar activist at Big Orange (5.00 / 1) (#204)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 06:56:45 PM EST
    More liberal (5.00 / 1) (#211)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 10:33:05 PM EST
    than I.....but in 1982 he was in Huehuetenango trying to help/gain information on the ongoing genocide in Guatemala....

    That was very, very foolish of him to go poking his nose around at ground zero of the genocide.

    He has earned my tremendous respect.


    about the anti-war bloggers (none / 0) (#213)
    by bridget on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 10:58:11 PM EST
    Yes, I agree, that was a v. dangerous thing to do.

    I don't read dkos and most other A blogs. But I do have a question.

    What about the anti-war bloggers like him. Would they agree with Obama's renewed Afghanistan and Iraq war talk.

    I am v. anti-war myself and am totally against it just FYI.

    Other anti-war activists (not on dkos) have pronounced the anti-war movement dead and I do agree with that ... the war has been completely forgotten in the last year. What about Peace?

    When was the last time we heard any pol talk that peace is what we should be striving for. I can't remember one such speech. Even Al Gore who has nothing to lose remains completely mum about it. Forget Dean. Just thought I mention him since he ran on the anti-war platform in 2004.

    Now Obama beats the drum for more troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Its politics all the way IMO. He wants to be associated with another war, namely Afghanistan, in order to beat the GOP/McCain in November in "national security" tough talk.

    Just my two sad cents.


    I do not think we have any choice (5.00 / 1) (#214)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 11:03:33 PM EST
    but to stay in Afghanistan....That is where the 9/11 attack came from.

    Wish it weren't so....but there appears no viable alternative...

    I'm not sure what Meteor Blades would have to say on this....


    He got alot of applause, except... (none / 0) (#53)
    by wasabi on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:15:22 PM EST
    for his call to send more troops to Afganistan.  No clapping at that line.

    Well, I think it's good... (none / 0) (#90)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 03:41:37 PM EST
    ... that he had at least some willingness to tell a foreign audience something they didn't want to hear.

    Oh the Germans heard plenty since the Iraq war (none / 0) (#156)
    by bridget on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 05:07:02 PM EST
    that they wished they didn't have to listen to -

    Not only was Germany (and France) trashed on US TV 24/7 for about two years straight but W refused to talk to Chancellor Schroeder and did not receive him when he came over for a US visit hoping to better the relationship between the two countries. Germany has been the most loyal US ally for 60 years and they had to put up with a lot because they spoke out against the Iraq war.

    In particular Rumsfeld's visit later and talking to the political leaders in a tone they (and the German people) never will forget comes to mind here, too.

    btw. that Obama was going to talk about Afghanistan was something everyone knew already in Germany. It was expected.

    I certainly read about it ca. 2 weeks ago that Obama was planning a "tough love" speech to the Germans cause he wants them to send more troops to Afghanistan.

    So Merkel et al were prepared and so was the country. It was in all the papers I came across bevore the visit.

    I also read that Obama's strategy was to give a speech with "words that had wings." This sounds better in German: gefluegelte Worte.

    I hade to laugh when I read that. The paper wondered if he could pull it off ;-))


    Ah, got it. Context uber alles.:-) (none / 0) (#119)
    by Cream City on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 04:15:41 PM EST

    This campaign is one huge commercial (none / 0) (#201)
    by Burned on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 06:43:42 PM EST
    done by the very best ad men and women.
    It reminds me of my 2 years in advertising so much that I have a horrible time believing anything but the opposite of what I'm seeing.
    And I know that's not true either. Everything is just so obviously DONE UP for effect.

    McCain is toast.
    Of that I am glad.

    You're glad to elect a complete cipher-- (none / 0) (#218)
    by MarkL on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 11:29:17 PM EST
    a man who has shown himself to be without any principle or backbone whatsoever?
    I shuddder.

    Even your shudder shuddders. (5.00 / 1) (#228)
    by Burned on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 08:04:31 AM EST
    Don't turn my words into something they are not.

    So He Talks To Soldiers In Iraq and Kuwait (none / 0) (#203)
    by daring grace on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 06:56:18 PM EST
    and maybe Afghanistan, but if he decides not to make a campaign spectacle of visiting wounded soldiers in Germany,it's because "...he doesn't want to talk to those kind of voters..."

    I don't understand that reaction. Well, I do, actually. But it seems kind of sad.

    If I say "uncle", will it make HIM stop? (none / 0) (#224)
    by Demogrunt on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 03:02:23 AM EST
    The very idea of his speech in a foreign land spoke of pure narcissism and pretentiousness. The man is a first term Senator in the United States Senate, for pete's sake. He has no experience in international affairs, and has barely any experience in national affairs. He has very quickly become pure spectacle, and not because of anything that he has ever accomplished. His display has everything to do with his own presumptuousness, and self-importance. It is simply loathesome behavior, regardless of all his hopey dopey rhetoric.  Obama, and his telemprompted speeches are starting to sound like a repetitive, endless loop that quickly dull the senses and ceases to impress in any way whatsoever.  I find it amusing that he hasn't been able to gather 200,000 people in the United States for any of his fab speeches.  I wonder why?  

    Out of curiosity, does anyone know... (none / 0) (#226)
    by EL seattle on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 03:58:49 AM EST
    ...what the record is in the U.S. for attendence at a political speech?

    Not as a part of a festival event with well-known musical acts or other "draws".  Just a politicial leader (or two) speaking to the crowd.


    Don't know... (none / 0) (#233)
    by DancingOpossum on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 10:14:35 AM EST
    Tried to find this out, actually, as it's a good question, but Google let me down.

    As I recall, Al Gore always drew humongous sellout crowds whenever he spoke -- not while campaigning, but afterward. With or without musical acts.

    Angela & Barack (none / 0) (#234)
    by dutchfox on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 10:30:13 AM EST
    Found this on Undernews today
    Fark news summary of the day - Barack Obama to Angela Merkel: "Send more German troops to Afghanistan." Angela Merkel to Barack Obama: "Nein." Barack Obama to Angela Merkel: "We're gonna need a few more than that"

    NYT Front Page Picture (none / 0) (#236)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 05:26:47 PM EST
    Senator Barack Obama drew a crowd of more than 200,000, according to German estimates, in Berlin on Thursday. More Photos