The Obama Conundrum

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Jul 21, 2008 3:56 PM
Don't expect to hear about it from the ever-worshipful MSM, but Barack Obama does face a sort of conundrum in his "get acquainted" tour of the Middle East and Europe.

As Ben Smith notes, Barack is playing up his "American-ness."  Well, that makes sense, because Americans (rightly) are a little suspicious of candidates that Europeans like too much.   And the last thing Barack needs is for voters to figure that maybe he should just be President of the European Union instead, where his collectivist economics, busybody big government activism and general tone of condescension toward regular people fit right in. 

But the other side of the conundrum is this: If Barack somehow manages to offend the Europeans by playing up his American-ness too much, then where is the Obamessiah of worldwide hope, light and unity that we've been hearing so much about?

Chances are, of course, that he won't make the latter mistake.  Lefties of Barack's ilk do just fine in Europe, where their tendency to seem embarrassed by some of their fellow Americans plays right into the Europeans' favorite prejudices.

But if Barack thinks he's going to impress Americans with the size of the rapturous crowds he addresses overseas, he might want to think again: As a doting MSM runs the cameras lovingly over the bedazzled countenances of a thousand fainting frauleins, it may occur to voters here in the US that the depth of German enthusiasm really doesn't tell us a lot about the quality of a potential leader.  

After all,  Germans (and really, Europeans generally) have gone wild about some pretty unfortunate people over the past 100 years -- and soa fainting European crowd only tells you so much.