It seems that President Obama pulled a Mitt Romney on his European trip — he bombed in Berlin. Well, that’s according to Nile Gardiner, who characterized President Obama’s speech as a “weak, underwhelming address from a floundering president.”
When John F. Kennedy delivered his “Ich Bin Ein Berliner” speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate on June 26, 1963, with 450,000 people in attendance. Ronald Reagan delivered his famous speech June 12, 1987, which included his famous call to “Tear Down This Wall.”
In stark contrast to that of his presidential predecessors, Barack Obama’s message on Wednesday was pure mush, another clichéd “citizens of the world” polemic with little substance. This was a speech big on platitudes and hopeless idealism, while containing much that was counter-productive for the world’s superpower. Ultimately it was little more than a laundry list of Obama’s favorite liberal pet causes, including cutting nuclear weapons, warning about climate change, putting an end to all wars, shutting Guantanamo, ending global poverty, and backing the European Project. It was a combination of staggering naiveté, the appeasement of America’s enemies and strategic adversaries, and the championing of more big government solutions.
But Barack Obama underscored again why he is no JFK or Ronald Reagan. In front of the Brandenburg Gate, Obama sounded more like the president of the European Commission than the leader of the free world. It is never a good sign when a US president parrots the language of a Brussels bureaucrat when he is supposed to be a champion of freedom. Obama’s distinctly unimpressive speech in Berlin was another dud from a floundering president whose leadership abroad is just as weak as it is at home.
The National Journal also had a similar take on President Obama’s speech, characterizing his trip as a “turbulent European vacation,” noting “he [President Obama] didn’t come away with much, winning just a smattering of applause from a crowd that was one-hundredth the size of JFK’s.” The crowd was also far less than the 200,000 Germans who witnessed his 2008 address as a presidential candidate. I guess the right is trying to make the argument that President Obama isn’t an international rock star any more. The NSA leaking scandal is weighing heavily on the minds of many, since the argument can be made that the U.S. is spying on everyone, even though other countries like Russia and China aren’t above reproach.
President Kennedy’s Berlin speech:
President Ronald Reagan’s Berlin speech:
President Obama’s Berlin speech: