There were several factual errors in the president's speech, including his contention that since the War of 1812, when the British burned down the White House, "it's been smooth sailing" between the U.S. and Britain. Not exactly. Gimson cited one example: "Suez did not seem like plain sailing."
The president claimed, "...young men and women in the streets of Damascus and Cairo still reach for the rights our citizens enjoy." That is debatable, especially since the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood will be active, perhaps decisive, in the coming Egyptian election. And who knows what government will follow in Syria, should Bashar al-Assad stop killing protesters, or Libya with or without Gadhafi, or anywhere else in the Islamic world?
There were some emotional high points in the president's address, especially his reference to "the grandson of a Kenyan who served as a cook in the British Army to stand before you as president of the United States."
That brought applause, as it should have, but this is biography over which the president has no control, not policy, which he sets.
The Irish and British press put their skepticism on hold during the Obamas' visit, much as the American media regularly do with most Democratic presidents. In America, the big media have a political agenda, which is that of the Democratic Party. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, it was style over substance.
Forget Scotty McCreery, winner of TV's "American Idol." As host Ryan Seacrest might put it if he were announcing the arrival of President Obama in Ireland and England: "THIS is our 'American Idol.' "
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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