Ich bin eine Katastrophe
Unlike the Brandenburg speeches of presidents John F Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, this one was largely ignored - by both Berliners and the wider media. Kennedy attracted an estimated 450,000 in 1963; Reagan was mocked for managing only a tenth of that - an estimated 45,000 - in 1987. But Barack Obama managed barely a tenth of that in 2013.
Yes, an awe-inspiring 4,500 flocked to the Brandenburg Gate to hear this President say what he had to say, which wasn't very much at all.
There was no coherence and nothing memorable. Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" and Reagan's "Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" resonate down the ages: they were cries for freedom against oppression; for liberty against tyranny. It was geopolitical meat in an age of absolute moral conviction, when good was good and evil empires were manifestly evil, and in this Manichaean struggled the leader of the free world preached a gospel of healing and hope; of liberty to the captives.
But President Obama spouted milk: his pious platitudes of globalist relativism told us nothing and called for nothing. Actually, that's unfair: what we basically had was "Chancellor Merkel, stop burning fossil fuels!", for we are all citizens of the world and global warming will be the end of us. There was a bit of nuclear waffle and a bit of war waffle and a splattering of Guantanamo waffle, but Obama's vision of Utopia offered no practical solutions to any of the world's most pressing needs (...not a word about Islamism or the 'cleansing' of Christians from the Middle East).
And here in the UK it was all overshadowed by Jeffery-gate (or Geoffrey-gate) - reports that President Obama called George Osborne 'Jeffrey' (or Geoffrey) throughout the G8 summit, and how embarrassing it was for Osborne that he was completely unknown to the President of the United States.
It's funny, isn't it, how this sort of gaffe by Obama is turned by the media to reflect badly on the injured party; how the Conservative Chancellor becomes the butt of jokes against the essential infallibility of the Democrat President.
If this had been George W. Bush calling Gordon Brown 'Jeffery', the media would have surely mocked the President's premature Alzheimer's. Dubya's bloopers are ubiquitous:
- Must-see hilarious George Bush bloopers
- President Bush makes fun of himself (really)
- George Bush idiot
- Raw Video: Iraqi journalist throws shoe at Bush
- Is Bush an "idiot"?
- George W Bush tries to answer a very simple question ...
- Embarrassing Bush Moment 01
- Behind the Bushisms
- Bush gives the finger...
- Bush caught saying "shit" to Tony Blair
But Barack Obama can get it wrong, too:
- "Special Olympics"
- Obama's Blockbuster Gift to Gordon Brown
- Obama's Nancy Reagan Problem
- Obama's Socialist Secret?
- Obama's "Muslim" Mishap
- Obama's Presumptuous Presidential Seal
- Obama's "Bitter" Bungle
- Obama's Word Game
- Obama's Popularity Problem
- Obama Plays Dumb
The reality is that Barack Obama has been a colossal disappointment - at home and abroad. His Grace cannot improve on the final observation of Nile Gardiner at the Telegraph:
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.Obama is no JFK; he is no Ronald Reagan. He doesn't even hold a candle to George W. Bush. The Chancellor of the Exchequer should wear 'Jeffrey' with pride: it told us more about Obama than his entire Brandenburg speech: "Jeffrey, tear down this euro!"