Obama’s Berlin Speech, Revisited

Obama packed the house in Berlin last week with his speech on the Berlin airlift of 1948-49. But as Jeff Jacoby notes, the Democratic candidate fudged the history books in his recitation of events, leaving out some key information, and extracting the wrong lessons from the story.

Not once in his Berlin speech did Obama acknowledge Truman’s fortitude, or even mention his name. Nor did he mention the US Air Force, or the 31 American pilots who died during the airlift.

Indeed, Obama seemed to go out of his way not to say plainly that what saved Berlin in that dark time was America’s military might. Save for a solitary reference to “the first American plane,” he never described one of the greatest American operations of the postwar period as an American operation at all. He spoke only of “the airlift,” “the planes,” “those pilots.” Perhaps their American identity wasn’t something he cared to stress amid all his “people of the world” salutations and talk of “global citizenship.” . . .

Obama’s speech was a paean to international cooperation. “Now is the time to join together,” he said. “It was this spirit that led airlift planes to appear in the sky above our heads.” No – it was a Democratic president named Truman, who had the audacity to order an airlift when others counseled retreat, and the grit to see it through when others were ready to withdraw.

Obama is like a schoolgirl who is just dying to gain entrance into the “in” clique among her peers — he will do whatever it takes to buy their approval. The idea of standing on his own two feet and proudly representing American exceptionalism would be too embarrassing.

I don’t want a “citizen of the world” serving as my President. I want a citizen of the United States, which is what the Constitution calls for. If Obama is ashamed of that limitation, he has no business running for this office.

UPDATE: Andrew Ferguson re-read Obama’s speech for specific policy statements, but found only vague rhetorical flourishes, nothing that would tell us what he would actually do to confront the very real and specific threats to America and her allies.

Floating along on a cloud of metaphor and generality allows Obama to do what he wants to do, in the Berlin speech and elsewhere. As a public figure he means to rise above any hint of conflict, and to suggest that problems and dangers dissolve when we “come together.”

Like the beauty pageant contestant who gushes that her ultimate dream is “world peace,” Obama doesn’t have a clue how the real world works. Unfortunately, neither do many of the people who will be voting in November.


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