Obama's Berlin Transfiguration Speech

Obama's Berlin speech was the platform for his transfiguration into the presumptive victorious candidate for global leadership.  

Back on February 13, 2008, American Thinker ran an article entitled "Obama, The Global Candidate" that predicted this:

"Obama will be packaged as the Global Candidate to whom the world's poor and oppressed look for signs of hope for the future. His mixed race and varied national backgrounds symbolize his connectivity with peoples across the planet.  The adulation felt for him beyond America offers the U.S. a chance for enhanced strength and repaired credibility worldwide. Sure, he's an American citizen, but he's also a global citizen, a man of the world." (snip)

Meanwhile, the MSM will make no effort to peel away the veneer of conceptual vapidity surrounding Obama's seductive oratory. They will not push him for clarity or details.  Instead, they will be his campaign's de facto PR firm."

It happened in Berlin.

Obama's handlers may have read Clarice Feldman's, July 9, 2008 American Thinker article entitled "Memo from Leni Riefenstadl," and staged his transfiguration in Leni's homeland. Larry J. Sabato, a professor at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics and a frequent commentator for FOX News, described the audience's response as a "rapturous reception." Sounds like a religious experience. 

The text of his speech was clear and well-written, and delivered entirely in English, from the one who earlier ridiculed Americans for not being multilingual, before a German audience. The stated messages are generally unremarkable, and included these:

  • My being here displays an improbably political story.
  • Berlin was a key location in the Cold War.
  • The people of Cold War Berlin hoped for a better future.
  • The Berlin Airlift worked.
  • Today we face new challenges that include terrorism, global warming, unsecured nuclear material, illegal drug traffickers, violence associated with impoverished peoples, and genocide in Africa.
  • The greatest walls -- playing off of the Berlin Wall analogy -- are those that divide us as peoples.
  • (Note: The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s name was not mentioned.)

More important were the implied meta-messages that included these:

  • When I'm POTUS, I'll treat Europe more deferentially than has Bush. You'll like me better.
"True partnerships and true progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice. They require sharing the burdens of development and diplomacy; of progress and peace. They require allies who will listen to each other, learn from each other, and most of all, trust each other."

  • I'll put more emphasis on fighting global poverty.
"This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created and share its benefits more equitably." (snip) "Will we extend our hand to the people in the forgotten corners of this world who yearn for lives marked by dignity and opportunity; by security and justice? Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty, shelter the refugee in Chad, and banish the source of AIDS in our time?"

  • I'll take the reduction of carbon emissions more seriously than has the Bush administration. I care about the planet.
"Let us resolve that all nations -- including my own -- will act with the same seriousness of purpose as has your nation, and reduce the carbon we send into our atmosphere."

  • I share your dislike of the image of America projected by the Bush administration. I'll fix it.
"Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law?" (snip) "I know my country has not perfected itself.  At times, we've struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We've made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions."

  • I'm the presumptive POTUS who will lead the world. This is my time.
"People of Berlin - people of the world - this is our moment. This is our time." (snip) "People of Berlin - and people of the world - the scale of our challenge is great."

We should note one particularly important statement.  Obama said,

"And despite past differences, this is the moment when the world should support the millions of Iraqis who seek to rebuild their lives, even as we pass responsibility to the Iraqi government and finally bring this war to a close."

That one sentence contains three meta-messages:

  • I agree with you. Bush was wrong to overthrow Saddam Hussein. But, nevertheless...
  • Help me rebuild the Iraq that Bush destroyed so we can withdraw. (Does he assume the military portion of the fight is effectively over? Sounds like it.)
  • That will enable me to finally end the war America was wrong to start.

So, what do we make of this speech?  The answer is -- it doesn't matter.  The speech was ancillary to the event. It carried no news. The German audience was merely a European stage prop.  The target audience was (1) the old news media, who will fawn over the sort of positive audience reception there that Bush will never enjoy, and (2) undecided voters back at home.

Obama's aim was to build his image as a global statesman. Did he do that? He may have to some extent, but another statesman who flew the other way across the Atlantic delivered a far better speech about America.

When French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke before the Congress of the United States on November 7, 2007, these were among his words.

"...From the very beginning, the American dream meant proving to all mankind that freedom, justice, human rights and democracy were no utopia but were rather the most realistic policy there is and the most likely to improve the fate of each and every person. (snip)

Here, both the humblest and most illustrious citizens alike know that nothing is owed to them and that everything has to be earned. That's what constitutes the moral value of America. America did not teach men the idea of freedom; she taught them how to practice it. And she fought for this freedom whenever she felt it to be threatened somewhere in the world. It was by watching America grow that men and women understood that freedom was possible.

What made America great was her ability to transform her own dream into hope for all mankind. (snip)

I remember the Berlin crisis and Kennedy who unhesitatingly risked engaging the United States in the most destructive of wars so that Europe could preserve the freedom for which the American people had already sacrificed so much. No one has the right to forget. Forgetting, for a person of my generation, would be tantamount to self-denial."

Isn't it odd that the French President understands America better than a man who has at least a fifty-percent chance to become the next American President? 

In the audacity of his advancing megalomania, Barack Obama imagines that he has a manifest destiny to bring hope, not just to America, but to the world. 

Perhaps had he been aware of recent comments by former NASA astronaut (Apollo 14) and moon-walker Dr. Edgar Mitchell, he would have expanded the range of his audience to include extraterrestrials. They, too, deserve hope.