Friday, July 25th, 2008

Obama’s Award Tour

In Berlin, Germany, Barack Obama had a rally for 200,000 people. They wanted to believe.

Meanwhile, John McCain ate a bratwurst with businessmen and bored reporters in the German Village section of Columbus, Ohio.

For the past week, Obama has been on award tour, and his message has been greeted with the kind of fervor that now makes U.S. reporters–overly sensitive to Clinton/McCain-esque charges that they are giving the guy kid-glove treatment–highly uneasy and eager to downplay.

Obama has modified his two Americas speech to talk about reconciling the world. In Germany, where at the Berlin Wall the First World once ended and the Second began, he said,

The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes, natives and immigrants, Christians and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.

It was high theater. Obama was being consciously Reagan-like, consciously Kennedy-like, consciously presidential.

Earlier in the week, Iraq Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, despite being pressured by Bushites, signaled his agreement with Obama’s call for withdrawal. Suddenly Obama’s foreign policy didn’t look plagued by inexperience, but blessed with prescience.

Meanwhile, McCain cancelled a visit to an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico because of Hurricane Dolly. Then a massive oil spill along the Mississippi River in New Orleans kind of spoiled the whole idea that McCain might be able to steal Obama’s thunder in the Mideast by championing the virtues of domestic drilling.

But for the Obama campaign–now well stocked with images of the true believers in Kabul, Ramallah, and Berlin to match those in Chicago, Boston, and Des Moines–the real battle will still be fought on home soil.

Despite Obama’s award tour, he has not moved the meter much. He still has a slight lead in all national polls, and there are signs that at least one key red state–Florida–is getting grapes.

But with bad news coming down the wire every day on oil prices, mortgages, and the economy, the next month leading up to the conventions will look more like trench warfare than a love parade.

Welcome back Senator Obama. Back to the grind.

posted by @ 7:32 am | 0 Comments

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