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Friday, July 25, 2008

National Lampoon's Obama Vacation

I can't help but feel we're being let down by commentators one would generally describe as "conservative". It seems the general reaction to the Obama summer vacation is that it has been a rousing success and a boon to his electoral prospects. Just one example: Charles Krauthammer provides a valuable exposition on the machinations of Iraqi President Maliki and his apparent endorsement of the Obama Bug Out plan, but then concludes with this:
Obama was likely to be president anyway. He is likelier now still. Moreover, he not only agrees with Maliki on minimizing the U.S. role in postwar Iraq. He now owes him. That's why Maliki voted for Obama, casting the earliest and most ostentatious absentee ballot of this presidential election.
On what basis does Krauthammer deduce that Obama is likelier now to win in November? There is nothing to suggest the validity of that which he asserts. It strikes me as patently foolish to make such a prediction.

My sense is that some in our conservative commentariat have been caught up in the horserace aspects of the political game and have lost touch with realities on the ground. When John McCain challenged Obama to go to Iraq, I doubt that he had a clue about the direction such a tour might take. He probably thought he had Obama in a box, weak and uninformed if he doesn't go and weak if he responds to the challenge and does go.

In prior elections, take 2000 for example, you might have a candidate with suspect foreign policy credentials who makes his case by alluding to trips taken abroad in his past and to meetings with foreign leaders past and present. It all sounds a bit thin and mysterious, but it does lend a plausible veneer of credibility.

What we have right here in this campaign, is Obama building this thin veneer of foreign policy credibility right before the voter's eyes. But here, because we get a frontrow seat to the proceedings, the mystery is stripped away and voters are able to see clearly that such trips are nothing but dog and pony shows devoid of substance, signifying nothing in the way of foreign policy knowhow.

What is made clear by this Obama junket is the wide gulf between himself and McCain in terms of foreign policy gravitas.

There's a reason why an Obama trip abroad is a big deal - it's such a rare occurance. That's what's coming through to Americans in all the hooplah - this is a coming out party for Obama on the foreign stage. Far from building and burnishing his credentials as a potential CinC and world leader, this trip makes the point that Obama is a babe in the woods, just beginning to learn the ropes and the names of the big players.

The reason why John McCain's trips abroad are so poorly covered is that they are not a big deal - he travels abroad all the time. The absence of coverage is a sort of recognition that he's a seasoned player in the arena - the signal is clear that McCain has been around the foreign policy block a time or two, to the extent that his forays abroad aren't interesting - they're old hat.

In summary, I think the Obama trip has been a net negative for his campaign. It has brought Iraq and foreign policy to the forefront and has pushed Obama onto a stage where he is prone to gaffes and gaseous foolishness (his Berlin speech being exhibit A). It has effectively served to educate voters on how unprepared and unreliable Obama really is in this area.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Thrifty Scot said...

I thought Obama came very close to John Kerry "Global Test" territory.

I think the speech was an electoral disaster, both on substance and style. He spent too much time trashing America, and the contrarian instincts of the average American will lead them to reject that which 200,000 Germans embrace.

7/25/2008 11:43 AM  
Blogger Right Hook said...

Obama is a narcissistic poser!

The whole trip was nothing more than to provide a backdrop to the illusion that he is qualified or worthy to be POTUS.Contrast the shallowness of "World Citizen" Obama's speech in Germany with the eleoquence and purpose of President Reagan in his famous "Tear down this wall" speech or President Kennedy in his "I am a Berliner" speech.

As Daria put it in a comment on "Mr.D", Obama appears to be afflicted with "Premature Inauguration". Hopefully he will seek help for his condition after he gets his poser butt handed to him in the election.

7/25/2008 11:44 AM  

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