I haven’t yet had a chance to watch the speech Barack Obama gave in Berlin. But I have a feeling that it will not measure up to all of the hype and hysteria that have surrounded it. When a candidate for President gives a speech overseas, his audience is mainly used as props and the real focus of the speech are the folks back home. You know, the ones that vote. When a President gives a speech overseas, that speech is necessarily filled with substance and serious diplomatic meaning. The words of a President are consequential. The words of a candidate for President don’t amount to anything in diplomatic terms because a candidate for President is in no position whatsoever to promise anything.
Thus, I am not surprised by Andrew Ferguson’s review of the Obama speech. Seeing as how Barack Obama really didn’t have anything consequential to say and was just looking for a fabulous set of television images to be beamed back hom, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that for all of the great imagery, the speech Obama gave struck Ferguson as being nothing more than fluff. I will reserve full judgment until I have a change to watch the speech myself. But I imagine that I will wonder what the big deal was.
Somewhat relatedly, we are reminded anew that Obama does not meet with the foreign press to answer their questions. That’s the thing about his campaign. His undoubted eloquence causes many people to miss the fact that lots of times, he doesn’t appear to have anything interesting to say. But eventually, they catch on.