And so the outlines of the second term become ever clearer: intellectual vapidity, fashionable (if warmed-over) Leftism, horrendous advance-staff work, and a disinterested president who truly does view his job as that of a spokesmodel, all waves and speechifying. Add ‘em up and you get the stupefying embarrassment that was Obama’s adventure in Europe. From my New York Post column today:
First he mistook Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer for a soul singer, calling him Jeffrey Osborne instead of George. Then he explained to an audience in sectarian Belfast that, in the interests of religious harmony, Catholics ought not to have their own schools. Finally, sweating in the hot sun and without his TelePrompTer, he stumbled through a nearly incoherent speech at the Brandenburg Gate that almost nobody attended.
Throw in the cold shoulders from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russia President Vladimir Putin, the ridicule of the British press (“just another lame duck”) and the disappointment of the German media, which had expected another walking-on-water moment like candidate Obama’s 2008 speech at the Victory Column, and it was not a successful foreign adventure for President Obama.
Too bad he needed one.
It’s foolish to play the “if this were Bush” game with the Left, since one of their few admirable qualities is that they stand by their man right up to the moment when they throw him to the wolves to save themselves, whereas Republicans flee in panic at the first sign of the Rabbit of Caerbannog. Still, the trip left the clear impression that Team Obama is simply too uncaring and lazy to put the slightest thought or preparation into what it clearly sees as a revolving series of international photo-ops designed to boost the president’s popularity back home. Foreign dignitaries are not representatives of sovereign states but interchangeable props in a never-ending, solipsistic infomercial that doesn’t even bother with a freshening rewrite now and then. How many times is Obama going to congratulate himself in public for “not looking like” previous presidents — and what difference does that make?
With a malfunctioning TelePrompTer, he stumbled over the surname of Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit (it’s Vo-ver-ite) and rambled on about nuclear disarmament, global warming, the rise of the oceans, “peace with justice” and 18th century Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant before an invited audience of only about 4,500 — a far cry from the hundreds of thousands who turned out to see him in 2008.
At the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, Putin bluntly informed Obama that “of course our opinions do not coincide” on the crisis in Syria, while in Berlin Merkel criticized the NSA’s spying program, saying, “there has to be proportionality” between security and personal freedom.
And nobody thinks that Obama’s long-held fixation on reducing US and Russian missiles to about 1,000 apiece (roughly the same as in 1954) has the slightest chance of happening — Putin is happily upgrading his missile force under Obama’s last treaty with Russia.
With Obama we’ve reached the post-presidential presidency, one that exists purely within and for itself, like a television sitcom. Impervious to reality, fueled by a terrific animus against the country and its founding principles, and nourished by its academic Alinskyite roots, it is the perfect expression of resentful, post-’60s pathologies, and given ideal embodiment by Barack Obama. No wonder the Left loves him so — and why, among the more rational of them, a sense of dread is beginning to set in:
Of course, better stagecraft might not do the job. It’s possible that folks have simply caught on to him, and the act is wearing is thin. The president himself said it best when he explained the absence of his wife and children from the Berlin dais by observing, “The last thing they want to do is to listen to another speech from me.”
Judging from the world’s reaction, they’re not alone.