The Obamas touched down in Dublin early this morning, embarking upon a week-long European schmoozefest that will include stops in England, France, and Poland. While it is always nice to touch base with some of our closest allies, the real purpose of the trip feels more like a 2012-minded attempt to reverse the disenchantment that some of the once-adoring Europeans are starting to feel for Obama after all of his failed promises and foreign policy fumbles, and thereby refresh his appeal for certain groups of voters back home.
The blatant multicultural-pandering began in Ireland, as the President and the First Lady spent the day meeting with dignitaries, attending a tree-planting ceremony, and drinking Guinness in a small Obama-paraphernalia-adorned pub in Moneygall, the village in which the President says his great-great-great grandfather was born in 1830. Why yes, those are some mighty close ties, I can see why the President feels that he “came home” this morning!
President "O'bama" wrapped up the day’s publicity with a speech in Dublin in which he touted his own tiny drop of Irish blood and the Irish and Americans’ shared history, romanticizing about his own distant relatives’ hardships and perseverance and saying that "there's always been a little green behind the red, white and blue." He applauded Ireland for having come so far after the economic crisis and our shared sense of responsibility (despite the massive bailouts and the ever-worsening, unsustainable debt-to-GDP ratio), and of course, never let it be said that President Obama missed an opportunity to discuss investing in the future and the importance of young people. More of the same recycled Win-the-Future rhetoric, gone globalized:
We remember, in the words made famous by one of your greatest poets that ‘in dreams begins responsibility.’ This is a nation that met that responsibility by choosing, like your ancestors did, to keep alight the flame of knowledge and invest in a world-class education for your young people. And today, Ireland’s youth, and those who’ve come back to build a new Ireland, are now among the best-educated, most entrepreneurial in the world. And I see those young people here today. And I know that Ireland will succeed. (Applause.)
Okay, fine, whatever – nobody can expect a politician to not make himself as appealing as possible to the largest number of people possible, and in the great mixing bowl that is the United States, there is indeed a good deal of Irish ancestry. But really, this is just starting to look like a wild attempt to boost worldwide approval ratings and throw back to the 2008 campaign's success. President Obama concluded the speech by offering this little gem to the enthusiastic, chanting throng: "Is féidir linn!" Translation? "Yes we can!" Ughhhh.