So now that you know that the rest of the world loves Obama, how about you?
I raised that question last Thursday night on my radio talk show at Washington, DC’s 630 WMAL, albeit rather facetiously. Despite what the forces at CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, Rueters, The New York Times, and “CNN International” may want me to believe, I don’t assume that “the world loves Obama,” anymore than I assume that “the world hates Bush.”
But now that the week of cathartic revelry is behind us and the excitement has subsided a little bit, it’s time for some reflection. And despite the aura of victory that was entailed in many reports, there were moments that reflected very poorly on Mr. Obama himself, and on our country.
For one, there were Obama’s remarks in Israel regarding his good deeds on the “Senate Banking Committee.” In responding to an Israeli reporter’s question about his commitment to defending Israel (Israeli’s are rightly skeptical of Mr. Obama, given his previously stated commitments to meet “unconditionally” with Iran’s tyrannical leader), Mr. Obama explained that “his committee” - - the Senate Banking Committee - - had just voted in favor of a bill that provides for sanctioning, and the divesting of revenues out of, Iran.
But Mr. Obama doesn’t serve on the Senate Banking Committee. And he hadn’t “just voted” on anything. Senators don’t “text message” or “email” their votes - - they vote in the Senate chamber, and Mr. Obama was out of the country all week. Mr. Obama lied to the Israeli reporter - - and to the rest of the world - - with these remarks. Are we to regard this as “presidential?” Or was this merely “change we can believe in?”
Then there was the speech in Berlin last Thursday. While many of the journalists repeatedly stated that “an estimated 200,000 people" had turned-out to see Obama, blogs were all abuzz with reports that the “crowd” to which Obama spoke was drawn not so much by the candidate (who insisted that he was NOT “speaking as a candidate”) himself, but rather, by a rock concert with free music, food and drink.
The wide-angle camera shots of Obama waving to a sea of people looked great, but what was really happening right then and there on the ground? Was it a well choreographed campaign event from “America’s next President,” or was Obama’s speech inserted into the midst of a mini music festival?
But then there were four particular sentences from Obama’s Berlin speech, the intricacies of which went largely ignored by “the press.” Ostensibly Mr. Obama was calling for the United States and Europe to unite for the common purpose of defeating Islamo-fascist terrorism, and that’s what the headlines conveyed. Yet, Obama’s relativistic, multi-cultural, "I-wouldn't-dare-offend-anybody" sensibilities colored his remarks on this all-important subject:
“This is the moment when we must defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it. This threat is real and we cannot shrink from our responsibility to combat it. If we could create NATO to face down the Soviet Union, we can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks that have struck in Madrid and Amman; in London and Bali; in Washington and New York. If we could win a battle of ideas against the communists, we can stand with the vast majority of Muslims who reject the extremism that leads to hate instead of hope.”
So what are we to make of this? For nearly seven years, the United States has called upon Europe to join us in combating terrorism and the ideology that drives it. President Bush has made it clear to Europe - - and to the rest of the world - - that we will wage this fight, and win, with or without the help of other nations. This is something which Mr. Obama and his fellow Democrats have pejoratively decried as Bush’s “cowboy diplomacy” and his “go it alone” approach.
But notice the structure of the last sentence: “If we ('we' presumably meaning the U.S. and what was then 'Western Europe') could win a battle of ideas against the communists, we can stand with the vast majority of Muslims who reject the extremism that leads to hate instead of hope.” Who is it, exactly, that “we” - - citizens of the U.S. and modern-day Europe - - are supposed to stand with? The implication is that “the vast majority of Muslims who reject the extremism” already have some kind of well-developed movement going on, and the rest of us non-Muslims just need to get on board with it.
But where is this “vast majority of Muslims?” Do they have a website? Can I sign-up for their newsletter, or attend a rally? And who speaks for this “vast majority?” Is it President Ahmedinejad of Iran? Or would it be the two hijab scarf-wearing Muslim women who were denied their “rights” to sit on the platform behind Obama’s podium last month in Detroit, and who pitched a fit and eventually coerced an apology from him? Are they the examples of the “vast majority” who reject “extremism?”
Mr. Obama may find camaraderie with this elusive, mystical “vast majority.” But the rest of us Americans must remain vigilant, lest we fall prey to not merely “hate,” but to beheadings and suicide bombings as well.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.