Saturday, August 02, 2008

Obama the "Berliner-Celeb"

Now that enough time has passed in the week since Senator Obama's famous conquest of Berlin, at which appearance he became a worldwide celebrity basking in the glow of universal warm-fuzzies, as Senator McCain's ad recently displayed regarding Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, a lovable "hunk" to the women and a properly domesticated male to both the women and, as Governor Schwarezeneggar would have it, all the "girlie-men," one might look past the o-o-hs and a-a-hs to consider what he said then and now. In the process, one can be happy not to be listening to the constant uh-uh-uhs and broken sentences and thoughts Obama presents in press conferences and interviews, all thanks given to the marvelous teleprompter as used in Berlin and sorely missed off-the-cuff.

The senator – right out of the gate – played the race-card in Berlin with this statement: "I know that I don't look like the Americans who've previously spoken in this great city." Yeah…General Eisenhower and presidents Kennedy and Reagan were white, therefore privileged – that's the gist of what Obama meant, never mind that he has done exceedingly well as a black in the American system, and hasn't done diddley-squat for Berlin. By contrast, Eisenhower gave West Germany back to Germans and Reagan gave all of Germany and all of Berlin back to Germans.

It's amazing that Obama brought up the subject of race in Berlin, where being in the wrong race meant near-certain death at the hands of Germans in the 1930s-40s, six million Jews and five million "other-than-German" types simply murdered, with a bit of torture thrown in, of course. The allied armies discovered corpses to be about as thick as flies when they made the scene in 1945…not even given a burial, decent or otherwise. General Patton grew sick at the sight.

The race-card is alive and well these days, too, for Obama, who made it plain this week that his face certainly doesn't appear to be similar to the faces on the one- and five-dollar bills, that belong to white men, one of whom was the father of the nation and the other, its savior. That he would mention himself in that esteemed and heroic company is virtually blasphemous. Perhaps it's the "our turn time" concept that the candidate is using to exploit the public, never mind that blacks still make up only a little better than 12% of the population. Senator Clinton had a better "our turn" argument, with respect to the ladies, who make up more than half the population. Neither race nor gender should decide the office, and Obama merely annoys people with this approach.

In Berlin, this is what Obama said: "And that's when the airlift began … But in the darkest hours, the people of Berlin kept the flame of hope burning." This is the sort of pandering that marks a candidate as being short on substance and long on flattery. The airlift was carried out primarily by U.S. pilots who flew around the clock from June 1948 until May 1949 and kept enough supplies moving into Berlin, even in the rigors of a cold winter (hauling coal by air), to keep Berliners alive. In the darkest hours, it was the ministry of these selfless airmen that kept hope alive, not the Berliners. Obama is also short on history, but not on oratory.

In Berlin, Obama said this: "People of the world - look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one." In the first place, "a world that stands as one" has absolutely no meaning whatsoever, and the wall didn't come down because a continent came together (Europe is always hopelessly fractured politically), but it was knocked down primarily through President Reagan's resolve as abetted by that of the American citizenry. The challenge WAS too great for the "world that stands as one," (Egad!) but not too great for the United States. Obama is history-challenged or his speech-writers are nincompoops…or both.

Obama said this in Berlin: "As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya. … This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands." This is the penultimate example of crass disingenuousness, not to mention a fear tactic that insults any intelligent person.

Save the planet? Indeed! This is the kind of unmitigated arrogance that merely annoys. The climate is going through a not unusual warming cycle (check the 1930s for some actual, unrelentingly hot weather, then followed by cooling until the 1970s). Obama was – and still is – playing the "climate-card," even though the outrageous claims in Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, with respect to manmade activities, are routinely being shot down now by renowned scientists, proving the UN-IPCC report to be false. Glaciers reached all the way into Kentucky eons ago, according to the experts, and then warmed away when there were no manmade carbon-belching machines, probably before the time of the wheel.

This was a "piece de resistance" by Obama in Berlin: "This is the moment to begin the work of seeking the peace of a world without nuclear weapons." He just doesn't get it. There will never be a world without nuclear (or worse) weapons, and this country would be led by a fool if he didn't realize this and tried to disarm this nation. Quite the opposite is needed – the best technology in the world to provide the state-of-the-art weaponry to keep this country safe.

Finally, this, in Berlin: "With an eye toward the future, with resolve in our hearts, let us remember this history, and answer our destiny, and remake the world once again." Such arrogance! It's hard to remake anything that one hasn't made, in the first place. The leaders of this country, as well as the citizenry, need to be concerned with all the world's people, but the notion that the world can be remade is merely silly. Most of the world's people don't want to be remade, though they do want help. The job of president is first, to keep this country safe, and second, to furnish as much help as is possible to everyone else. That's the U.S destiny, and Obama can let the Berliners speak for themselves.

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

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