July 30th, 2008

The times they have a’changed: Obama on state visits abroad

Here’s Barack Obama a while back on the subject of state visits:

“When Sen. Clinton brags, ‘I’ve met leaders from eighty countries—I know what those trips are like! I’ve been on them. You go from the airport to the embassy. There’s a group of children who do native dance. You meet with the CIA station chief and the embassy and they give you a briefing. You go take a tour of a plant that [with] the assistance of USAID has started something. And then—you go.

“You do that in eighty countries–you don’t know those eighty countries,” he said. “So when I speak about having lived in Indonesia for four years, having family that is impoverished in small villages in Africa—knowing the leaders is not important—what I know is the people. . I traveled to Pakistan when I was in college—I knew what Sunni and Shia was [sic] before I joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. .

Ah, but photo-ops are different. That’s where the real learning occurs:

But as every junior political operative knows, it’s all about the photos, which means that the real value of Mr. Obama’s trip was the visual reinforcement of too-good-to-be-true images he accumulated along the way. Many American voters read about his policy and political achievements in print. But a much larger audience saw footage of the Democratic nominee meeting with Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan, and Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki; taking a helicopter ride with Gen. David Petraeus; and sinking a three-point shot on a basketball court on a United States military installation in Kuwait.

As for what Obama learned on his trip: it confirmed his already-existing beliefs. What a surprise! John Dickerson writes:

But Obama still holds the same policy views he did more than a year and a half ago, even though a lot has changed since then in Iraq, and a lot of those events appear to contradict his earlier views. We know that Obama hasn’t moved, but we don’t know, really, why that’s so.

I submit that we do know why it’s so. Obama seems incapable of admitting he was wrong about something so basic. I’m not sure whether this incapacity includes the fact that he can’t admit it to himself, or if it’s just a calculation that it would be politically counterproductive to admit it to the public.

If the latter, I disagree. He looks more foolish denying it than he would admitting he was wrong. The latter would at least make him seem less overwhelmingly arrogant than he’s been appearing lately.

5 Responses to “The times they have a’changed: Obama on state visits abroad”

  1. stumbley Says:

    The guys at Power Line (http://www.powerlineblog.com/) have an interesting quote from a “highly placed official with responsibility for Afghanistan” who’s decidedly not impressed with Obama; in fact, he ends his small essay with these words:

    “but it’s safe to say that Obama has no earthly idea what he is talking about. Even a cursory briefing on Afghanistan would help him. This man is truly dangerous. (Emphasis mine.)

    Anyone who is not absolutely petrified by the prospect of this loon becoming President is not thinking clearly.

  2. SteveH Says:

    Sounds to me like hes getting advice from each and every one of his 300 foreign advisers. And it shows.

  3. expat Says:

    HotAir has one of his gaffes that will resonate with the blue collar voters who may not be following Afghanistan carefully. He says that by inflating our tire we could save as much fuel as we would get through offshore drillling. I don’t see how anyone could trust his judgement after that.

  4. camojack Says:

    I think somebody’s on some kind of trip… ;-)

  5. Sergey Says:

    For everybody to change one’s views and admitting errors is not an easy thing to do, but those completely incapable to do so are neurotics at best. It means they will never learn anything important.

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