Marc Ambinder predicts that the European press “will climax, repeatedly” over Barack Obama’s visit later this month. Ambinder sees the benefit of foreign adulation outweighing the potential political risks, but admits:
There are potential drawbacks: gaffes will be magnified through the lens of a voracious, excited press corps. His trip has to be flawless, message-wise, tone-wise and in its execution. If Obama appears presumptuous and arrogant and not humble, there’s a good bet that we’ll see that reflected in the coverage back home.
One could argue — indeed, I already have argued — that the mere fact of Team Obama scheduling this trip less than 120 days before Election Day is “presumptuous and arrogant.” When even such an enthusiastic Obamaphile as Andrew Sullivan is warning of hubris, it’s hard not to suspect that some sort of serious gaffe will occur during this European excursion. Combined with Obama’s condescending sneer about Americans’ lack of multilingualism, this courting of foreign favor could easily add to the perception of the Democrat as a Kerryesque snob.