I’m just back from a week’s vacation. A few thoughts by way of catching up:
–The best thing about Obama’s Europe trip was the images, and that’s because Obama is a politician of physical genius. He looks great, moves with grace, and holds himself with a natural authority. This always has been and always will be an important element of political leadership–see, for instance, Brookhiser on Washington. (For me, this makes it all the more perverse that some conservatives criticized Romney for being too good looking, although the stiff Romney doesn’t have the natural grace of Obama.)
–I thought the Berlin speech was incredibly fatuous, even by Obama standards. Who seriously addresses “people of the world,” unless you’re a space alien descending to take over Planet Earth? I think the “citizen of the world” thing is potentially a big problem for Obama and if someone–if not McCain, an outside group–packages it together with Obama’s other post-national statements in an ad, it would make for a powerful critique. I write my column today on this theme.
–I buy the basic Obama defense of his decision not to visit Landstuhl. I don’t think he was deliberately snubbing wounded troops. So I think the McCain ad is unfair, but it hits on a key vulnerability of Obama–the sense that he’s above-it-all and entirely too grand for his own good. I think Jay Cost pretty much nails it here. If Obama’s trip proves to have been a mild negative it will be because it reinforced this sense of him.