Obama: Can sing Kumbaya, will travel
July 22, 2008
Barack H. Obama has played the race card so deftly that anyone, of any color, who comments on Obama’s ever-changing positions on world and domestic affairs must first establish their non-racist credentials; in my case, marching for Dr. King in the Deep South in the 1960s.
That said, one cannot help but note that Barack Obama, who has captured his party’s nomination by catering to the far Left, is now trying to run to the Right of GOP candidate John McCain. So, who is the true Obama?
Is it the Obama who called for the almost immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, but now shows signs of changing his mind? Or, the Obama who backed merit pay for teachers but, appearing before the teachers’ union, opposed it? Or, the strongly pro-abortion Obama who now says partial-birth abortion is abhorrent? Or, the Obama who told a pro-Israel group that he favored an “undivided” Jerusalem, only to learn that “undivided” is Middle East-speak for expelling the Jews from Jerusalem?
Or, the Obama who supported strict gun control, but now says individuals have a Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms? Or, the Obama who wanted telephone companies punished for cooperating with government efforts to listen in on phone calls from overseas terrorists to their contacts within the U.S, but just voted to give immunity to the telephone companies? Or, the Obama that opposed President Bush’s church-based services for the needy, but now says those are OK?
In fairness, it should be noted that John McCain opposed the Bush tax cuts because they were not accompanied by spending cuts. Now McCain wants the Bush tax cuts made permanent. Earlier, McCain opposed offshore oil drilling, but now supports it. Initially, McCain was for immigration amnesty, but now he says: Secure the borders and then we’ll talk about what to do with 12 million illegal immigrants.
The carefully scripted Obama is a brilliant orator; however, when Obama speaks off-the-cuff, he sometimes contracts foot-in-mouth disease. Likewise, President John F. Kennedy was at his best when following scripts written by Theodore Sorenson; however, when his own knowledge failed him, JFK covered with a keen Irish wit that Obama does not possess. Even so, BHO is trying to position himself as the latter-day JFK.
While the memory of Camelot burns brightly with some Americans, JFK’s foreign-policy mistakes led Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to erect the Berlin Wall, to think he could get away with nuclear-capable missiles in Cuba and to JFK’s attempt to play foreign-policy catch-up by deepening the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. These may not be positions with which BHO wants to be associated
Obama and his handlers have already made one mistake by proposing that BHO visit Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate to reprise JFK’s June 26, 1963, speech. Sorry. JFK did not speak at the Brandenburg Gate. JFK spoke in Rudolph Wilde Platz. It was President Reagan who, on June 12, 1987, spoke at the Brandenburg Gate and said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
Nor should BHO, who thinks all American children should learn Spanish, repeat JFK’s German-language error. When JFK announced, “Ich bin ein Berliner,” he said, in Berliner slang, that he was a jelly-filled donut. In the USA, they are called Bismarcks.
JFK should have said, “Ich bin Berliner,” meaning “a citizen of Berlin.” If JFK had said, “Ich bin Berliner,” the crowd over 150,000 would not have lapsed into a moment of stunned silence while it tried to comprehend what JFK actually meant. That stunned moment of silence has been edited out of most recordings of JFK’s speech. Only the eventual wild applause is heard. Oh, did I mention that I was in Rudolph Wilde Platz?
Obama’s Kumbaya notion of a U.S “speak-softly,-no-stick” foreign policy is favored by many Europeans. BHO will be cheered in Europe as one of them. But that may not get BHO elected as one of us.
William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today, studied at Harvards JFK School of Government. During the Kennedy Administration, Dr. Hamilton served in Western Europe as an intelligence officer.
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