Friday, July 18, 2008

The Audacity of Continuing to Use the Word Audacity in Stories About Barack Obama

Charles Krauthammer does it today (or perhaps his headline writer did) in the Washington Post. Whatever the case, it headlines one of the more ridiculous stories written about a candidate so far this season. Here is the beginning:

Barack Obama wants to speak at the Brandenburg Gate. He figures it would be a nice backdrop. The supporting cast -- a cheering audience and a few fainting frauleins -- would be a picturesque way to bolster his foreign policy credentials.

What Obama does not seem to understand is that the Brandenburg Gate is something you earn. President Ronald Reagan earned the right to speak there because his relentless pressure had brought the Soviet empire to its knees and he was demanding its final "tear down this wall" liquidation. When President John F. Kennedy visited the Brandenburg Gate on the day of his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, he was representing a country that was prepared to go to the brink of nuclear war to defend West Berlin.

Who is Obama representing? And what exactly has he done in his lifetime to merit appropriating the Brandenburg Gate as a campaign prop? What was his role in the fight against communism, the liberation of Eastern Europe, the creation of what George Bush the elder -- who presided over the fall of the Berlin Wall but modestly declined to go there for a victory lap -- called "a Europe whole and free"?
So, Krauthammer is telling us that the problem with Barack Obama is not that he doesn't have skills or experience for the job. No, Obama's problem is that he is so full of himself that he would pick a venerated location to give a speech. Does this yet qualify as grasping for straws?

1 comment:

bigsmithdude said...

while i certainly do not agree with the columnist, i have been to brandenbrug gate and it still has this eerie "feeling" surrounding the area. it is an extremely sacred spot in berlin, but it is also the heart of the city making it the most logical spot for a speaker speaking to more than 200,000 people!


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