Kathryn Lopez

Obama's European trip, of course, provided a wide stage for his self-assured pomp and inconsequence. The speech at the Berlin Victory Column furnished the fireworks of the trip, but it -- with its Leni Riefenstahl-like rally posters translated into German -- did not stand alone in audacity. After conducting some would-be freelance diplomacy with the leaders of the Israeli and Palestinian states, Barack Obama presented himself in Europe as president-elect, rather than as a frosh senator who lucked out with a few good choices on either side of the aisle, and who is now clearly in over his head.

And considering the depth and extent of grief George W. Bush gets for being stubborn, you'd think Obama would show some humility for being on the wrong side of the biggest war story of the last year, the troop surge in Iraq. The surge worked, yet he and his fellow Democrats opposed the considered advice and airtight plan of the commander on the ground in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus. But what did a seasoned warrior know compared to this young politico from Chicago? Community organizing in the Windy City must have made him a military expert.

Audacity is nothing new to Barack Obama. The book title, "The Audacity of Hope," of course, comes from a speech by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's former pastor, from whom Obama decided to distance himself when it became clear that he would forever be a political liability if the senator didn't "throw him under the bus," in the parlance of urban wheeling and dealing.

Audacity can be a beautiful thing. Hope, surely. But when both are rooted in nothing but the well-crafted words (thank you, Obama aide David Axelrod) of a supposed political savior, I, for one, am not signing up, thank you. Say what you will about John McCain, at least we know he's got deep roots in tried and true political virtues: duty, honor, country. Those are more stable principles than the audacity of whatever the Obama team comes up with next.


Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.