Barry at the Gate. He's not wanted.
Angie Merkel: "Nein!"
By Mark Kilmer Posted in 2008 | Brandenburg Gate | Merkel | Obama — Comments (46) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
German Chancellor Angela Merkel does not want Obama to speak at the Brandenburg Gate.
Earlier, I had whined, as is my recurrent wont, about Barack Obama's strangely arrogant desire to speak at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate when he visits Europe later this year. That Gate, when it was metaphorically closed, was the scene of one of the modern world's historic speeches, when Ronald Reagan challenged Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to open the gate and to "tear down this wall!" Now, Barry wants to invite the requisite Reagan-comparisons by talking HopeChangeHope at a place where the world's reality changed. What a lightweight!
Well, this is apparently getting some bad air in Germany these days.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she opposes the idea, referring to the highly symbolic landmark as an “inappropriate” setting for a speech linked to a domestic American political campaign.
And, as Politico.com reports in the same peace, an anonymous "American in Berlin with high-ranking diplomatic experience" describes:
“If he comes here, and does something like [speak at Brandenburg] against the wishes of the head of Germany’s government, he could be seen as somewhat arrogant, as presumptuous, that he disregarded her wishes and went ahead to do this anyway,” said another American in Berlin advising the German government on the matter.
Barry says he wants his foreign policy to be based on folding to the whims of foreign governments, though he phrases it differently. His politics of personal appeasement would be on shaky ground if he were to try to play Reagan in a TV event at the scene of one of Reagan's greatest symbolic triumphs.
For a reaction to this, the web site communicated with a nameless "Democratic official":
“Obviously Brandenburg is the sexiest option,” the official said, but it would “undermine the message that Obama can work with U.S. allies and offers McCain evidence of Obama’s diplomatic inexperience.”
The Democratic official also said that wherever Obama speaks, “it will be probably the biggest pure campaign event ever held outside the United States” and that it would be “absolutely significant” because it’s taking “campaigning to a public gathering overseas.”
("The Gate's too sexy for Obama, too sexy for Obama.")
Just not the Brandenburg Gate; rather, Obama wants to be able to claim to American voters that he has a beloved and adored figure internationally. A standing ovation with raised right hands in Germany will certainly help in that regard; just as such a speech in an American stadium would prove that he has this nation in thrall.
The leadership of the Democrat expats in Berlin seems to get it:
Michael Stelzer, the head of Democrats Abroad in Berlin, said in German that “Germany is Obamaland.” But he added that Merkel’s position on Obama’s coming visit is understandable.
“She doesn’t want to mingle inside American election politics. I can respect her position because up to now only heads of state have spoken before the Brandenburg Gate and here is someone who has not even been selected the nominee yet."
At least Stelzer has a name. Not so for this anonymous German foreign ministry official:
“The Brandenburg Gate is too important to also misuse it for internal American affairs,” the German official continued.
This means exactly that the German government believes that Barack Obama seeks to misuse the Brandenburg Gate for internal American affairs. And he does. (Or perhaps he does not. This could have been Axelrod's idea; in which case, this would not be the Axelrod whom Barry has known, and the Obama bus can seek its next victim.)
Either way, we can expect similar imagery from Barry's foreign gallivanting this year. The campaign wants us to believe that Obama is not only post-partisan, but post-international hostilities. We are to believe that Obama, and by extension the United States, will be beloved across the world, bringing a, say, 1,000-year era of global peace and prosperity.
We know that the world does not work in that way, but Barry I think is talented enough to cloud plenty of minds with the uber-narrative. Words can be as opiates. Deep down, though, American voters of all sorts have typically and historically mistrusted all brands of politicians, save one, and Barack Obama is no Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Senator Obama, go there to that Gate. Barry, speak to that Gate. Mr. Obama, the wall is already down. You are too late for history.