Friday, July 18, 2008

The rock star goes on tour

The media is breathlessly anticipating Obama’s trip to Europe, Jordan, and Israel.  Rumor has it that he may add Iraq and Afghanistan to the tour, I’ve seen itineraries both with and without stops to the two greatest foreign policy challenges to the next president.

I think it’s good that he goes overseas and meets the neighbors and allies.  It’s important for a candidate to have a working knowledge of foreign policy stakeholders and challenges.  It’s something the GW should have done more often before, during, and after his candidacy.

And once again, I think the media kind of has it wrong.  It’s not news that Obama is travelling abroad.  The story is that it IS news…  I mean, when the other guy travels abroad, it warrants some mention, but it’s not THE story, it’s just a story.  And that’s probably how it should be, considering the international standing of the US under the watch of the current office holder.  It should be “the candidate is going overseas and the sun rose in the east”.  Nothing stunning, nothing shocking, and certainly not warranting the doting of so damn many anchors you wonder how the boats will ever stay put again.

So, all in all, I don’t think Obama has much to lose on this trip.  Best case, he does something stunningly clever.  Worst case, he does something stupid and laughs it off as “now I made the gaffe everyone was expecting, I guess the RNC will have a field day with this one!”  Most likely case will be that he shows up well prepared and knows everyone’s name and can discuss important issues facing that country and the US.  Nothing spectacular, but that would be spectacular in and of itself.

And again, that’s a little sad, that the criteria for an awesome showing (and big campaign win) is not screwing the whole thing up.

Welcome the “Trent Dilfer” condel to Europe, Israel, and Jordan.


And, of course, by the time the media lap dogs are done creaming their shorts over their guy’s trip abroad, we’ll all expect him to be able to just walk back across the Atlantic.


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