Friday, July 25

Obamapalooza

I've been working on this post forever trying to bring an objective tone so you can all make your own assumptions and opinions on Sen. Obama's world tour this week, but I can't do it. I am fired up!

I think the trip to Afghanistan and Iraq was appropriate and necessary. But then Obama had to get all spineless and concede that "America's troops have contributed to improvements on the ground in Iraq, but I still stand by my vote against the surge." Why not just admit that he was wrong?
I can respect a man who admits when he is wrong.

Then the Obamalooza moved on to Israel, Germany, and France? Are you kidding me? Since when does a presumptive presidential candidate (he's not even officially the nominee yet) go overseas and speak to heads of state as if it is January 2009---and to be given a "rock star" welcome in these countries to boot.

  • Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq's welcoming gift was an endorsement of Obama's troop withdrawal plan.

  • King Abdullah of Jordan was happy to be his limo driver in Amman

  • Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted she "wouldn't resist" another presidential back massage.

Then strangely, I read that "No foreign reporters were granted places on his O-Force One and the only interviews he's deigned to give so far have been to the American big shots.

So if Obama doesn't want the adoration of the world, what does he want? Hmm...Oh I get it. Now it's all clear.

This trip was to show the American people that he does have the foreign policy chops he needs for the White House...except I didn't know simply meeting with foreign leaders and fawning all over each other made you an expert in foreign policy.

Frankly, I don't think voters care if he wins the 2008 Presidential Miss Congeniality award from the world. I think we're more concerned about the $74 it took to fill up our mini-vans this week or the second jobs our husbands had to take so we can pay for groceries or how the next President of the United States is going to keep our families safe.

That's what I want to know from the presumptive candidates.

Americans like leaders who are self-confident, poised and in command. But as I watched the news and read the papers this week, I saw a candidate that came across as arrogant, presumptious and disingenious.

Well, that's how I see it. What do you think? Do you think this week's world tour boosted Sen. Obama's campaign? Do you think I'm PMSing (and you'd be right) and need to take a chill pill? Or, do you think Obama's tour o' countries actually helped McCain?

30 comments:

Kat said...

I think Obama knows he has no foreign policy experience. And I think he knows that we know he has no foreign policy experience. I think this world tour was about perception. He wanted to change or add to the perception that he is presidential to the American public. It wasn't about courting world opinion or gathering facts. It was all about: "Hey Americans! Look I can meet with these big boys/girls and play ball. They like me and think I have what it takes. I like me and think I have what it takes. I am going to keep doing these things until I lull the American public into complacency to either vote for me or stay home on election day."

The Gang's All Here! said...

I agree with you and kat - it's ALL about perception. In his snappy dress clothes, shaking hands and bowing and hobnobbing. It struck me as arrogant also to be there without even the official nod from his party yet. But most elections since the advent of television have been won on perception and sound bites and the media paloozas that surround them, for good or for bad . . . To me, it also showed the media's hand being tipped to the dems . . .

Melissa said...

Obama is sounding more like the "Hot Trend of 2008" then an actual viable presidential candidate. He's right up there with Miley Cyrus and Brangelina's new twins. Woo-hoo. They all seem to share an almost-cult like following only the mainstream press can't seem to find anything hurtful to say about Obama.

Unfortunately, I think this tour helped him because let's remember whose vote he is going after. The younger, very impressionable voters out there that tend to believe everything the media spoon feeds them. Case in point...almost every 6th grader in my daughter's science class said they would vote for him. Based on what exactly? No one really knows....

Kate said...

As someone who will for sure be voting for Obama in November, I have to say that I totally disagree with you. He was condemned for NOT traveling and meeting with world leaders, and then when he does . . .talk about damned if you do, damned if you don't. I don't understand the extreme Obama loathing. People are going to vote for McCain? Really? To continue the non-working policies of the last 8 years? That makes no sense to me at all.

I used to enjoy reading this blog. I found it informative and useful, and pretty objective. No longer. You've crossed a line.

Also, I'm a 40 yr. old white woman who used to vote Republican. Always. Please don't insult me by comparing me with 6th graders.

tigrefan98 said...

I support McCain, but for what it's worth, I've talked to Obama supporters who had reservations about this trip as well - in principle or in practice.

Natalie should have the opportunity to share her opinion as long as it's stated as such. Everyone has a bias, we've watched other 'objective professional' reporters discuss how Obama sends 'chills up their spine' and yes, many of *them* are acting like middle schoolers. But frankly, i'd rather *know* the opinion of the person bringing me info so I can see it through that lens. Picking on the authors accomplishes nothing productive.

Natalie said...

Kate,

I hope you will rethink leaving this site b/c more than ever we need to be able to discuss and debate candidates. That was one of my motivations for starting this site: getting women to think about who they're voting for, not just voting down party lines or for the candidate who is best dressed or is the funniest or most popular.

Because I strive to be impartial in my posts, I did clearly mark this post as my opinion. But just b/c it's my opinion doesn't mean I still can't bring you concise and objective information in the future. In fact, I never said I was or wasn't voting for Obama...I just stated that I thought this trip turned out to be indulgent and off the mark---a conclusion many journalists are making themselves.

We need differing opinions to help us think about what we truly believe. I invite you to be part of that dialogue so we can all make informed decisions. Plus, I'd love to hear more about why a loyal Republican is voting for Obama. That's the type of discussion that could be constructive.

Natalie

Melissa said...

Kate -
Your comment is what I'm talking about. It's like no one else can have an opinion, especially against Obama or you're going to take your ball and go home.

As far as the "same policy as the last 8 years" McCain is not Bush. He should be given a chance to stand on his own 2 feet and not have to suffer at the hands of the current administration. Shall I pose the same question that Obama will behave as badly as Clinton did when he committed perjury and adultery? No. My reasons for not wanting Obama for president have NOTHING to do with any former administration....it has to do with his lack of experience and abundance of arrogance.

KarenW said...

Obama has no foreign policy experience and the campaign trail is not the time to gain that experience.

Jo-Ann said...

Wondering if you wrote the same piece when McCain went on the same tour.

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/03/mccain-travels.html

Could this blurb have applied to McCain's trip as well?:
"This trip was to show the American people that he does have the foreign policy chops he needs for the White House...except I didn't know simply meeting with foreign leaders and fawning all over each other made you an expert in foreign policy."

Seems to me that if this blog is about open discussion and crossing party lines then what's good for the goose should also be good for the gander.

Since I'm new here, I apologize if you did write a piece mocking McCain's trip as well. If so, please post the link. I would love to read it.

Natalie said...

Wow, you guys are really keeping me on my toes. I LOVE it. Maybe I should share my opinion more often.

Jo-Ann: Thanks for the link to the story on McCain's trip. I had not remembered he took a similar trip, probably b/c no one was paying attention to anything except the Democratic primary.

However, the article pointed out the key difference btwn that trip and Obama's trip: He was with a Congressional delegation that included members of the Senate Armed Services committee. The delegation included Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-CT.

As McCain stated, he has been a senior member of that committee for many years and, as such, travels quite frequently overseas in that capacity.

So the difference was that it wasn't a campaign trip. He was overseas being a Senator and doing his job. Were there a few photo-ops that probably didn't hurt his cause? More than likely, although most of us don't remember them.

I just don't see it in the same light as Obama's trip.

But in the spirit of equal time, I promise to do a piece on how I feel McCain's campaign strategy is awful. I promise to be as equally as brutal and try my best to put the McCain supporters on the defense. Look for it in the coming days.

Natalie :)

Anonymous said...

"The delegation included Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-CT."

Huh? It wasn't a campaign trip? Both Graham and Lieberman are McCain's biggest supporters and members of his campaign. The election press corp followed McCain on his trip just like Obama. Just because they called it a Congressional trip didn't make it any less about Presidential politics. The only reason Obama's trip seems so offensive to you is because you're not an Obama supporter, plus the fact that there's far more international enthusiasm for Obama than McCain. Images of hundreds of thousands of Europeans coming out to hear Obama make conservatives uneasy. We feel much safer when Europeans hate our leaders.

Jeff

Anonymous said...

As a former Republican who likely will vote for Obama, I agree with McCain that Obama should acknowledge the relative success of the "surge." However, I also think McCain should acknowledge that the fundamental decision to invade Iraq was a disasterous mistake on almost every level. I like McCain and could easily vote for him in any other election, but his insistence on defending the original decision to go to war is far more disturbing to me than Obama's refusal to acknowledge the success of the surge. At the end of the day, troop levels are the military's business. Decisions to wage war require Presidential (and Congresssional) wisdom. It's true that Obama is untested, but I'm confident that he has the right temperment and intelligence to be Commander-in-Chief. McCain, on the other hand, would be a great choice for Secretary of Defense.

That's just one among many other reasons why this conservative-leaning Democrat is voting for Obama.

Anonymous said...

Signed Above,
Jeff

Natalie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Natalie said...

Jeff,

1. You have no idea if I'm an Obama supporter or not. I actually sat up and took great notice of the guy 8 years ago at the Democratic convention and was blown away by the speech he made. Just b/c I throw criticism his way shouldn't automatically dictate my political leanings. If you're really a thinker you should be able to point out the pros and cons of any candidate you support. None of them are perfect.

2. If you think I'm crazy for thinking that McCain did his trip partly as congressional business, then I think you are equally as crazy for buying Obama's line that he was in Berlin "not as a presidential candidate but as a citizen of the world." Especially since he was on his campaign's dime campaigning...for the people back home.

Listen, he can visit with world leaders and prove he can hang with the big boys. (Although just b/c you can make nice with foreign leaders doesn't necessarily mean you have any foreign policy experience). But that speech in that setting was arrogant and inappropriate for a presumptive candidate and that's probably what's got my goat the most.

3. "the fact that there's far more international enthusiasm for Obama than McCain. Images of hundreds of thousands of Europeans coming out to hear Obama make conservatives uneasy."

Considering there's far more enthusiasm for Obama than McCain in the U.S. should make it no surprise that the Europeans reacted in the same way. His reputation definitely preceeded him.

4. "It's true that Obama is untested, but I'm confident that he has the right temperment and intelligence to be Commander-in-Chief."

Based on what? Your gut? His ability to be welcomed like a rock star around the world? The world is a very volatile place right now and I'm not sure the right temperment is all you need to be the leader of the free world.


5. I think the fact that Obama got little to no bump in the polls out of his trip says volumes. If the trip was for our benefit, then he just spent a lot of money and time for basically a draw or even a little bit of a loss.

Jo-Ann said...

Natalie:
Thanks so much for your thoughtful response.

However, I must point out that Senator Obama was also touring with a Congressional delegation very similar to McCain's trip in March. As a matter of fact, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, who was a member of the group alongside Senator Obama, was seen this weekend discussing a leg of the trip on Face the Nation.

So, really there is no "key difference" in the trips that both Obama and McCain took. They were both traveling with Congressional delegations and both took side trips on their own after the delegation separated (as is often the case when Senators are traveling together).

Anonymous said...

1. "You have no idea if I'm an Obama supporter or not."

My apologies. I incorrectly assumed you would not be voting for a candidate you think is arrogant, presumptuous and disingenuous.

2. "If you think I'm crazy for thinking that McCain did his trip partly as congressional business, then I think you are equally as crazy for buying Obama's line that he was in Berlin 'not as a presidential candidate but as a citizen of the world.'

I thought I just said Obama's trip was political, as was McCain's. Of course he was there as a presidential candidate, but he was also there as someone who's a friend to the international community. That line in his speech was addressed to the thousands of Germans who came to hear him. Rule #1 in giving a good speech: know your audience. Should he have given his standard stump speech?

3. "Based on what? Your gut? His ability to be welcomed like a rock star around the world? The world is a very volatile place right now and I'm not sure the right temperment is all you need to be the leader of the free world."

Well sure, a gut feeling has something to do with it, just like every vote I cast. Hopefully it's an informed gut feeling, but no one ever knows for certain how a candidate will handle the thousands of crisis a president may encounter. As I said, I like McCain, but what should I do with his judgment that invading Iraq was the right decision? If I think he's wrong, should I still credit him with being the better foreign policy candidate just because he has more experience in the Senate? Bush had less foreign policy experience than Obama. Why was he qualified to be President? For me, it's not about who has a longer resume but rather who has the judgment and intelligence to make wise choices.

We can never know for sure, but I think Obama can meet the foreign policy challenges. He's an effective communicator. He appears to be disciplined and measured in his temperment and analysis of problems. He has run a very tight and effective campaign. He articulates American values in a way that resonates with me. He has experience working with members of the other party on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He strikes me as an extremely thoughtful man who knows what questions to ask and can process complex problems. But I guess that's just a gut feeling.

5. "I think the fact that Obama got little to no bump in the polls out of his trip says volumes. If the trip was for our benefit, then he just spent a lot of money and time for basically a draw or even a little bit of a loss."

I guess it depends which polls you're looking at: http://www.gallup.com/poll/109102/Gallup-Daily-Obama-49-McCain-40.aspx

Emily said...

There was an interesting article relating to all this in the NYT today. It seems both candidates jump the gun on playing President. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25880385/

Anonymous said...

McCain tells Obama he should visit South America just like he did...

http://www.reuters.com/article/featuredCrisis/idUSN14328397

...and then everyone can complain about how arrogant, presumptuous and disingenuous Obama is when the South American people give him a rock star reception.

Anonymous said...

McCain tells Obama he should visit South America just like he did...

http://www.reuters.com/article/featuredCrisis/idUSN14328397

...and then everyone can complain about how arrogant, presumptuous and disingenuous Obama is when the South American people give him a rock star reception.

Natalie said...

Oh for the love of Pete, you guys are wearing me out.

Jo-Ann: Thanks for the link. Yes, they were both on congressional trips. I stand corrected.

Anonymous who I think may be the Jeff who always forgets to sign his name:

Here's my bottom line...
1. You know what they say about assumptions...

2. I was thrilled Obama went to Iraq. The rest was just fluff. And the speech in Germany was suppose to be the cherry on top, but I think it would've tasted better if it was given AFTER he became President.

3. I'm going to need more than your gut or my gut to make a decision on who to vote for. Sometimes I like to use facts too. And the fact is that Obama is a junior senator with very little experience. But is that enough to make him a great president that's right for these times? That's the question every American is going to have to answer in November.

4. The Gallup poll numbers you cited (Obama +9) were from yesterday. Today's Gallup poll had Obama at +8. I'll bet you a bag of red popcorn that by the weekend the margin is cut down to 4.

Emily: Thanks for the link.

Anonymous #2 who I don't think is Anonymous Jeff:

Hey, if Obama wants to go to Columbia or Chile or Turkey or Russia or the Arctic, he should go. I just don't want to see him gathering crowds of people in the town square and giving speeches as a citizen of the world.

Anonymous said...

Natalie,

1. This is what happens when you express an opinion, which I wish you would do more often.

2. Your focus on Obama's foreign policy experience is, if you will indulge me, disingenuous. Am I right or wrong that you were very interested in (and perhaps a supporter of) the Huckabee campaign? And what was his foreign policy experience? Now, suddenly, foreign policy experience is such a critical requirement. If I'm wrong about the Huckabee thing, my apologies; although several of the posters here who are now ridiculing Obama's foreign policy experience were Huckabee enthusists. Regardless, picking a good president is not necessarily about picking the person with the most experience (i.e., compare Lincoln v. Buchanan). How many great presidents would we have missed if we only concerned ourselves with experience? I'm not saying it's not a factor, but it's definitely not something for which Obama should be dismissed as simply a sixth grader's infatuation with Miley Cyrus.

3. I'll take that red popcorn bet.

Jeff

Natalie said...

Jeff,

1. If I offer many more opinions I may never get the time to put another meal on the table or finish my laundry.

2. There you go making assumptions again, I was never a supporter of Huckabee's.

As for experience, are you saying that *anyone* who is a nice person, intelligent, has good judgment but no foreign policy experience should be considered?

So if he has no experience, we have to look at other factors. One of the factors you mentioned was good judgment. I still can't imagine what kind of good judgment he used in taking Rev. Wright as his spiritual advisor for the last 20 years. His associations are shakey at best...and they all speak to his judgment.

3. Bet based on next Sunday's poll numbers.

Hands-Free Heart said...

First of all, I would have been more in on these conversations if I could skip cooking dinner and laundry!

I just want to chime in on the questions of Obama's experience. I'm no political expert, but I would think that no Jr. Senator would have extensive foreign policy experience. However, according to the official Senate website, 3/4 of the committees on which Obama sits deal somehow with foreign policy: Foreign Relations, Veteran's Affairs, and Homeland Security.

Furthermore, check out this interesting article, which looks at the legislation Obama has worked on. It was written in 2006, before Obama's campaign began, and it points to the under-the-media-radar work he's done, not for attention but to solve real problems that are important but not so glamorous.

Anonymous said...

Natalie,
On the foreign policy experience scale Obama probably falls in the middle--between governors (who typically have no experience) and seasoned Senators and Vice Presidents (who naturally have more experience). Obama is in good company with former presidents with limited foreign policy experience.

As far as considering *anyone* who is a nice person, intelligent and has good judgement, if the person is running for president then, yes, that person may be capable of being a good foreign policy president. I also think it helps to be a good communicator and someone who can navigate cultural issues well. President Bush's good 'ol boy demeaner may work fine in the U.S. but I doubt most world leaders are impressed by it, especially when dealing with delicate international relations issues.

Regarding the Rev. Wright, if decide that you can't vote for Obama because you don't like his choice of pastor, then I don't know what to say. You've been to black churches before and know that they're often irreverent and firery. Wright comes from an older generation that still carries the bitter scars of segregation, understandably. His church is a prominent, well-respected church in Chicago that does a lot for the community. I imagine Obama loves Rev. Wright in the same way that you love a quirky relative. You respect them but take everything they say with a grain of salt and in the context of their life experiences. I would be careful to judge the man based solely on a few clips chosen by the media for their sensationalism. As Huckabee said,

"As easy as it is for those of us who are white to look back and say 'That's a terrible statement!' ... I grew up in a very segregated South. And I think that you have to cut some slack -- and I'm gonna be probably the only conservative in America who's gonna say something like this, but I'm just tellin' you -- we've gotta cut some slack to people who grew up being called names..."

Anonymous said...

One last thing on the foreign policy experience thing and then I promise I'll shut up. You probably couldn't get more experienced than the Bush administration with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, etc. Obviously, experience didn't help them. In fact, sometimes experience can be a hinderence to the extent it prevents you from recognizing changed realities. There are times in history when the torch should be passed to the next generation of leaders.

Lawyer Mama said...

I'm sorry, Natalie, but this post (and your comments) don't come across as non-partisan. We *should* be concerned about how the world perceives us and our next president, whether Obama or McCain. Frankly, the rest of the world views all of US as "arrogant, presumptious and disingenious" (Although I think you meant presumptuous and disingenuous.) This certainly doesn't help keep our families safe.

I'll look for your upcoming criticism of McCain....

Melissa said...

Lawyer Mama-

"I've been working on this post forever trying to bring an objective tone so you can all make your own assumptions and opinions on Sen. Obama's world tour this week, but I can't do it. I am fired up!"

Natalie very clearly warned everyone in the beginning of this post that this was more of her opinion and not an attempt to be non-partisan.

Just because she expressed her opinion on a single doesn't mean this blog is no longer presenting valid and non-biased information. When it gets right down to it she is a lot less skewed in her writing then 90% of the mainstream media.

Natalie - thanks for not pretending that trip was a sincere idea by a humble man just so you could remain "objective". And, I trust that if McCain does something equally ridiculous we'll hear all about it at P4M.

Stefania/CityMama said...

How does this post fit into a site that claims it does not endorse candidates, parties, or ideology even WITH a disclaimer? A quick read through your front page and I see lots of anti-Obama bias.

Where is the followup pro-Obama post about his recent trip? Shouldnt you want to present a balanced view?

As one of the founders of MOMocrats, we don't hide the fact at all that we are progressive Democratic mothers. It's in our name. Readers know what they are getting when they come to our site. Here it seems you have a very pointed hidden agenda.

Personally, I am delighted that Obama went on the trip and was so positively received by the heads of state he met with. What is wrong with wanting the leaders of the world to meet a prospective presidential candidate? One of the reasons why I support Obama is that I feel he is someone who will restore America's standing with the world--not continue a policy of isolationism and antagonism.

Stefania Pomponi Butler

The Gang's All Here! said...

The post is labeled clearly as an opinion of the auther - see the large red and blue "As I see it" banner at the opening.

 

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