Barack Obama is now in the second week of his second overseas tour in less than a year. Not content with being the President of the United States, it seems, the chosen one has seen fit to share his oratorical munificence with the rest of humanity. Right before his last trip across the pond, where he oddly sought American votes, he famously said: "It's embarrassing when Europeans come over here, they all speak English, they speak French, they speak German. And then we go over to Europe and all we can say is 'merci beaucoup.'"
Well, some of us think it's embarrassing when our president makes gaffe after gaffe in his alleged native tongue and continues to be trumpeted as one of the world's greatest orators. Unlike his predecessor, whose every misspoken word was grist for derision, the media is willfully ignoring the fact that Obama's greatest ability seems to lie in reading speeches rather than making them.
Consider this gushing report from the TimesOnline: "Yesterday he showed how to dazzle Europe as no President has done since John F. Kennedy. A young student insisted on kissing him as he moved through the streets of Strasbourg. He later led his audience through a faltering rendition of the revolutionary 'Liberté! Egalité! Fraternité'!" Faltering? After uttering the word egalité, he froze like a deer in the headlights -- no doubt due to a faulty teleprompter -- before stuttering embarrassingly to the finish.
And while the crowd of German and French students robotically cheered in all the right places, to watch the video is to look on the face of utter boredom. But don't take my word for it; blogging for the UK's Telegraph, Iain Martin cites Obama's mastery of "cadences," and asks, "But beyond that, am I alone in finding him increasingly to be something of a bore?"
Not only a bore, but a man who can err in ways never dreamed of by Dan Quayle, such as the invention of the "Austrian" language. Now, there are those on the left who will accuse us of being petty, of trying to demean their hero by focusing on his insignificant gaffes, much as they did to George Bush for eight long years. But the difference is that no conservative ever tried to sell the idea that Bush was a great orator. And he himself certainly never lectured his countrymen on the embarrassment he felt at their ignorance of foreign languages.
But it's not just his delivery that is so disconcerting to many here at home; even those who are convinced that his message is full of soaring rhetoric should concede that some of his overseas words and actions are just a bit creepy. Take his bowing to Saudi King Abdullah. Not just a curt lowering of the head, but a full-waist bow that I've only seen done by Catholics in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Now many think that Obama bowing to a foreign potentate was an expression of his willingness to show humility and respect for other nations, although this charity of motive was not extended to President Bush when he kissed the Saudi prince last year in Texas.
But it's funny how the liberal mind works. Americans of European descent -- especially Christians -- are never allowed to forget the crimes of their forefathers, ancient or recent. Indeed, in Turkey on Monday, Obama was glad to point out: "I say this as the president of a country that not too long ago made it hard for someone who looks like me to vote."
Yet, he also had no problem saying, "We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world -- including in my own country." Now, this is a statement that is true; Islam has shaped the world. It's just that it rolled back centuries of civilization and progress and reduced most of those forced to live under its law of Sharia to lives of crushing poverty and despair.
But perhaps the president's most infamous remark on foreign shores has been his contention that America has been guilty of "arrogance." Now, my dictionary defines arrogance as "offensively exaggerating one's own importance." Sounds like a pretty fair description of one -- whose experience in running things is virtually nonexistent -- who not only seeks to rule this country but also, it seems, the world.
Merci beaucoup, mon President!