Berlin, Paris, Kalamazoo. He could have given this speech anywhere. Obama goes to Berlin and winds up in Bangor. But maybe that was the point. Unlike JFK, Clinton, or Reagan, Obama’s purpose in Berlin was essentially self-serving. The great cause at stake was his own campaign — not the threat of Communism, or adapting to a post-Communist world. The great purpose to which Obama was asking his Berlin audience to rally was his own presidential aspirations. Pretty thin, not the stuff of history books. And so far the American public agrees. All of the hoopla leading up to this moment has been in the press — not in the polling. Obama has yet to see a Berlin bounce. Maybe the visuals will help. The text was forgettable.
Democrats keep trying to distract the public from the fact that during the dreaded Bush years French and German citizens replaced Chirac and Schroeder (the latter of whom campaigned against Bush and the Iraq war) with Sarkozy and Merkel who promised to promote free market reforms. Obama drew applause when he promised to end the Iraq war. But then, so did Kerry in 2004. Remember Kerry’s pledge to submit American national securities interests to an international “test”? That may have gone over, overseas. But it didn’t go over, over here.