Political chatter from DC and NYC, the amNewYork way

Politicking like a presidential rockstar

(Credit: Politirazzi)

By LaShawnda

It’s safe to say Obama is the most popular politician since John F. Kennedy. And that’s being rather generous to Kennedy, since he certainly didn’t draw crowds like Obama (at least I haven’t come across a record). And that’s not a snub to Bill Clinton either, who during his time, was also the most popular politician since Kennedy. However, former president Clinton tarnished his image a bit during the last year of campaigning, so we aren’t inclined to think of him in positive terms of popularity.

What a nasty web we weave when we politick to deceive. My first gasp of outrage with Bill Clinton came when he implied Obama was on a fairy tale quest and later made a lopsided comparison of Obama’s campaign to those of Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Rev Jackson never held public office. He’s never been an elected official campaigning to the various demands of his constituency. So the only basis of Clinton’s comparison was these two black men had made a run for the White House. As this presidential cycle moved on, we became alarmingly aware of the fact that Jackson believed the Clinton hype about not just his relevance to Black America but to America. That is, his superior relevance over the upstart, Sen. Barack Obama. Where did that boy come from?

Jackson ran off at the mouth and forgot the one tried and true rule of interviews with journalists, especially in a cycle and technology age where every agency is trying to top every other agency with any tidbit of information. Jackson forgot that if a mic and camera are around, NOTHING is off the record. So we learn, what we suspected and perhaps what they feared, Rev. Jackson really is in the same boat with the Clintons and they are all fear the imminent danger of drowning as political has-beens. Through no fault of their own. They are all amazing political figures — for the time and place that they shined the most.

(continued) This backward dance was brought on by the July 27th broadcast of the Meet the Press. Sen. Barack Obama sat for the full hour with Tom Brokaw in London. The interview wrapped up his week-long whirl-wind world wide tour. Brokaw quoted conservative columnist, Charles Krauthammer, “He [Obama] hasn't earned the right to speak there [Berlin]." Brokaw went on to quote New York Times writer, David Brooks "When John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan went to Berlin, their rhetoric soared, but their optimism was grounded in the reality of politics, conflict and hard choices. Kennedy didn't dream of the universal brotherhood of man. He drew lines that reflected hard realities. Reagan didn't call for a kumbaya moment. He cited tough policies that sparked harsh political disagreements. Much of Obama's Berlin speech fed the illusion that we could solve our problems if only people mystically come together. Obama has benefited form a week of good images. But substantively, optimism without reality isn't eloquence. It's just Disney."

I beg to differ. Kennedy spoke often about the ‘universal brotherhood of man,’ I can’t offer opinions on what he dreamed about, but while in Berlin, John F. Kennedy said, “You [Berliners] live in a defended island of freedom, but your life is part of the main. So let me ask you, as I close, to lift your eyes beyond the dangers of today, to the hopes of tomorrow, beyond the freedom merely of this city of Berlin, or your country of Germany, to the advance of freedom everywhere, beyond the wall to the day of peace with justice, beyond yourselves and ourselves to all mankind....Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free.” Kennedy closed his speech with his now famous claim, “Ich bin ein Berliner”.

Sen. Obama’s Berlin speech is titled, “A World that Stands as One” and he opened with a statement many of us don’t acknowledge, “I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen - a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.”

I would like to say, each of the estimated 200,000 people who showed up to see and hear Sen. Barack Obama in Berlin deemed him worthy of that moment. Who made Krauthammer the judge on who has rights to speak in other countries? And Brooks’ comments echo the Clinton-speak of the primary season.

Careful what you wish for, you just might get it, Sen. John McCain.... McCain had to be kicking himself during Obama’s week away. McCain kept poking at how little international interaction Obama has had. How he’s not ready to be a representative of the United States overseas. If you’re so big and bad, why don’t you go to Iraq? I’ve been several times! Sen. Obama took his criticism and took steps to remedy that lack. He was welcomed not as a citizen but as a president. The American media turned slightly on him, touting his European and Middle East tour as arrogant and audacious. He’s only a nominee, for goodness sake! Those he visited saw his presence as the hope of a democracy our country was built on; his potential presidency as a new era of American diplomacy. Our reputation and international relationships have been damaged. It appears the world sees Barack Obama as a hope and change they can believe in as well.

McCain was here:

McCain’s catty comment, "I'd love to give a speech in Germany. But I'd much prefer to do it as president of the United States rather than as a candidate for president," while dining at a germ an restaurant in Columbus, OH.

Obama was there:

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