Obama Dazzles Old Europe: McCain Cries “No Mas!”

Barack Obama proved yesterday why November’s presidential election will end in a 50-state sweep. John McCain has no chance. It’s like George Bush climbing into the ring with Mike Tyson: one thundering left hook and the Crawford Caligula would be sprawled across the canvas in a pool of his own blood. “No mas”! The same fate awaits the crabby senator from Arizona. The polls are skewed to look like there’s a political horse-race going on. There isn’t. It’s a complete rout. There’s one well-toned thoroughbred striding from venue to venue electrifying the ever-increasing throngs, and one doddering, old mare limping towards the glue-factory. Someone should put a stop to it before McCain gets hurt.

Yesterday, at the Victory Column in Berlin’s Tiergarten, Obama extracted Old Glory from the burn-pile and gave Brand America a desperately needed shot of adrenaline. 200,000 ecstatic Germans jammed the streets in what turned out to be the political shindig of the year. Many of them were waving American flags and chanting “Obama, Obama, Obama.” It was like Jack Kennedy had risen from his moldy sepulcher and made his way across the pond for one last rousing ovation. Obama has the very same affect on crowds. It’s a gift and he knows how to use it to great advantage.

“People of Berlin, people of the world, this is our moment, this is our time,” Obama boomed. “I know my country has not perfected itself, we’ve made our share of mistakes and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions. But the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another.”

What can we say about Obama’s oratory skills that hasn’t already been said? He is one of those unique characters who knows how to tap into the collective psyche and put them under his spell. He is the closest thing to a Pied Piper we’ve seen in the last half century. Whatever one thinks of his politics, his speeches are a welcome reprieve from the simian blabbering of President Dimwit.

“I speak to you not as a candidate for president, but as a citizen; a proud citizen of the United States and a fellow citizen of the world.” (Roaring applause)

John McCain: Maverick or Freak?

Have you taken a look at the crowds at a McCain event lately? Usually, there aren’t any. Typically, there are more journalists and cameramen then people, and even they look bored. It’s the truth. He generates no enthusiasm at all. None. He may be the most uninspiring, tedious, pure-vanilla candidate of all time; a complete dud. I challenge anyone to recite from memory anything John McCain has ever said in his 40 years in office. Time’s up! When McCain begins to talk, it’s a signal for women to pull out the nail files and for men to figure out how they’re going to get out of cutting the lawn this week. Really. No one listens.

And the people that do manage to drag themselves to his speeches out of a sense of obligation are (you guessed it) scowling white guys with baseball caps pulled tightly over their ears or nearly ambulatory Korean War-era vets who think the United Nations is a communist front group that’s planning to air-drop blue helmets into Duluth to take over the United States. Tinfoil hats anyone?

Popularity and charisma are greatly overrated, but how does one survive in politics with neither. That’s the question, and it may be the biggest mystery of McCain’s candidacy. He’s just not a likable guy. No one ever talks about hanging out and having a beer with John McCain because they know that he might go “Jackie Chan” and start busting the place up. He’s nuts. And he’s utterly impossible to listen to. His high-pitched squeaky voice is about two octaves higher than a dog whistle and twice as annoying. So how is he going to beat Obama. It’s a total mismatch.

McCain is the perfect candidate for a party that has completely collapsed. He’s like the “Jolly Roger” on the front of an iodine bottle: Brand X. In 2000, the Republican Party boasted it was the “party of ideas.” What ideas? The Republican Party has never had ideas because the corporate mandarins and blue-blooded kleptocrats that run the party are suspicious of ideas, ideology, doctrine, philosophy or anything else that veers from their primary objectives of crushing the poor, despoiling the environment, carpet bombing brown people wherever they may be, and enriching themselves. That’s all they care about. The task of the right-wing think-tanks is to treat “war and tax cuts” like they’re ideas. They’re not. But war and tax cuts ARE the two foundation blocks of the Republican Party. There’s nothing else; there never has been. Don’t look for ideas; there aren’t any.

I have no dog in this fight. I’m not voting for Obama because I don’t think he’ll withdraw the troops from Iraq or Afghanistan, repeal the Military Commissions Act, restore habeas corpus, negotiate a fair settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, or hold Bush and his gangster buddies accountable for the crimes they’ve committed during their time in office. But, just because I’m not voting for Obama, doesn’t mean I’ve lost my marbles. I can still see the affect he has on people. He’s not a candidate, he’s a phenomenon. Obama is an explosive, vital, charismatic politician. When he speaks people feel better about themselves and their country. And, they’re more hopeful about the future, too. That’s what makes him unbeatable.

McCain, on the other hand, is the perfect embodiment of his party; a rusty, broken-down hulk that’s been stripped of its engine, its fenders and all its moving parts. Even the steering wheel is gone. It’s a dead-loss; nothing is salvageable.

McCain is in way over his head. This election is going to be a real embarrassment for him. It’s too bad. He should be back at the Phoenix Rest Home shooing kids off the front lawn instead of waiting for the ax to fall in November. It’s a rotten way to end a career.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com. Read other articles by Mike.

18 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Donald Hawkins said on July 28th, 2008 at 11:51am #

    You went and did it this time Mike. We have to be realistic as it means the survival of human civilization you know 99 to 1 chance that if we don’t make some very hard choices now in 100 years human’s no longer on the planet well maybe a few if you are lucky enough to live by a nuclear power plant under ground with water and food. Let’s hope Obama is just not words and has gut’s to make very hard choices and have some very smart minds he talk’s with. Cool smart minds. The last time I checked we all have about 7 years to have some plans in place or the tipping point is passed and that will be a very bad day for humans the planet will get by. Now is that 100 year thing true? Well there are a lot of people I read and let’s just pick two Steven Hawking and James Hansen. I guess we could go to the other side Rush or Inhofe. Do you read DV Obama?

  2. bozhidar balkas said on July 28th, 2008 at 2:56pm #

    oh, how strong the hate is! oh, how strong the greed is! and if it is armed w. thousands of warships, nukes, fighter jets, multimillion army, huge spy/terrorist agency and afraid of globalwarming, which may render half of the planet uninhabitable, s’mthing’s got to give.
    so, who’s next? syria, i think; maybe lebanon.

  3. Bob said on July 28th, 2008 at 4:08pm #

    Hey Mike if your making book on the election, I’ll take some of that action!
    A 200,000 strong rally in Germany was impressive, but then I discovered that the rally was really a free concert, and of course free beer was to be had(great concessions make for great events). A fully staged event with a reggae(spelling) and a rock band, in fact the German rally would have made Leni Riefenstahl proud!

    The only thing missing was sieg heil, and death to the Jews!!!
    But then Senator Obama keeps his antisemitism rather quiet.

    And about Senator Obama’s oratory skills, he imitates many southern black preachers, speaking some words and singing others. He has a wonderful baritone voice, and knows how and when to crescendo to create dramatic effect. I wonder if he were white and sounded like Pee Wee Herman would we have ever heard his name? If he were white he wouldn’t be in the position he is today. He wouldn’t have won several states with large black populations, the black vote in those states would have been more evenly split between the candidates, and Hillary Clinton would be the nominee.

    Your voting for Obama because he make you feel good. How quaint, I surely hope most grown men and a large number of grown women, can see through the shallow rhetoric, and elect a man whom has spent his entire adult life preparing himself for the presidency. John Mccain.
    Thanks, Bob.

  4. Donald Hawkins said on July 28th, 2008 at 5:01pm #

    Morpheus: I know *exactly* what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?
    Neo: The Matrix.
    Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is?
    Neo: Yes.
    Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
    Neo: What truth?
    Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.

    Morpheus: I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.

    Morpheus: Free your mind.
    [Morpheus jumps from one building to another a long distance away]
    Neo: Whoa.

    Neo: Why do my eyes hurt?
    Morpheus: You’ve never used them before.

    Morpheus: Neo, sooner or later you’re going to realize just as I did that there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.

    Morpheus: Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?

    Morpheus: Welcome to the real world.

  5. Donald Hawkins said on July 28th, 2008 at 5:32pm #

    A long-running drought in Australia’s main food-growing region, the Murray-Darling river basin, has worsened, a new report says.
    Three months of dry weather and the driest June on record have plunged the area back into drought, the Murray-Darling Basin Commission says.
    Crossing much of south-east Australia, the Murray-Darling is the country’s most important river system.
    The basin produces 40% of Australia’s fruit, vegetables and grain.
    Australia is facing its worst drought in a century

    Experts fear millions of people could become homeless.
    That’s India and by 2030 or before millions of people will

    Only 27 fires in California as of now.

    China flooding and drought ongoing and in the coming years will

    Storms forming earlier to the East.

    The current pattern of sea ice retreat is noticeably different than last summer, with some areas showing less ice and others showing more. For example, in mid-July 2007, a large area of the southern Beaufort Sea north of Alaska still had ice; this year, it is already ice-free (see Figure 1). in 2007, large areas along the Siberian coast had melted out by mid-July; as of July 16, 2008, the Siberian sector remained largely ice-covered. Although the Siberian area still shows ice, satellite data reveals that the ice is low concentration and thus prone to melting. NISDC

    Another Sign of Global Warming: Antarctic Ice Shelf Melts in Dead of Winter
    Antarctica is melting even in the dead of winter.

    And scientists blame climate change global warming, to be exact.

    Earlier this month, they reported that a huge ice shelf the Wilkins Ice Shelf had melted so much that it was close to breaking away completely from islands off the Antarctic Peninsula.

    (The Peninsula is the part of the Antarctic continent that juts out into the seas south of South America.)

    The scientists have known about the melting of the Wilkins Ice Shelf for a while now.

    But the reason they find the current situation so disturbing is that July is wintertime down in Antarctica the equivalent of January here in the Northern Hemisphere.

    Yet according to the scientists, the Wilkins Ice Shelf continues to melt, even in the dead of winter.

    “We can see large icebergs forming,” said glaciologist Neal Young of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre in Hobart, Australia. Young was interviewed by reporter Simon Santow of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

    (A glaciologist is someone who studies glaciers and other ice formations in nature.)

    Right now, scientists say a relatively thin strip of ice still connects the Wilkins Ice Shelf to solid land.

    But as the melting continues, the shelf is expected to break away.

    “It certainly looks (irreversible),” Young told Santow.

    Most of the Wilkins Ice Shelf floats on top of the sea off the Antarctic coast.

    Experts say that seawater is getting warmer and warmer.

    Between that and warmer air temperatures, the ice shelf doesn’t stand a chance.

    “It’s really fundamentally, at the most basic level, a response to warmer temperatures,” said research scientist Walt Meier of the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, in an interview with Santow.

    The reason for the warmer temperatures?

    Scientists say carbon dioxide from car exhaust, factory smoke and other human activities has increased to the point that it can’t all be absorbed by nature the way it used to be.

    (It’s sort of like a glass that can only hold a certain amount of water. If you pour too much water in the glass, it overflows, and the excess water spills out and floats around.)

    So instead of being absorbed by trees or the oceans, for example, excess carbon dioxide is now just floating around the Earth’s atmosphere.

    According to scientists, those excess gases trap heat in the atmosphere, and keep it from escaping into space.

    The result: rising temperatures here on Earth.

    Why should we be concerned?

    Rising temperatures cause more ice to melt.

    Melted ice is expected to make the sea level rise.

    And that means within the next century, some cities and towns along the seashore could get flooded, completely or partially.

    Experts say the melting of the Wilkins Ice Shelf will not increase the sea level, because it already sits on top of the sea.

    But around the world, glaciers that currently sit on land continue to melt.

    And experts say that melted ice does wind up increasing the sea level.

    Back in the 1990s, David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey predicted that the Wilkins Ice Shelf would be gone within 30 years.

    Now, he thinks he was wrong.

    “The truth is it is going more quickly than we guessed,” he said, in a statement issued by the European Space Agency.
    “The truth is it is going more quickly than we guessed.

    And it is the result of rising temperatures here on Earth. Third Planet from that star called the Sun.

    Welcome to the real World.

  6. Hue Longer said on July 28th, 2008 at 6:30pm #

    I love Bob
    I love Wendy
    Bob, where’s Wendy?

    Mike said he WASN’T voting for Obama…Those who can’t see other than black and white have trouble hearing simple nuance such as complimenting someone they’d never vote for as opposed to fellating John McCain

  7. AaronG said on July 28th, 2008 at 7:56pm #

    “He should be back at the Phoenix Rest Home shooing kids off the front lawn instead of waiting for the ax to fall in November.” That’s the funniest one-liner I’ve read for a while, Mike. Nice one. Politics bores me to tears, but the article was readable with humour to keep me going.

    Donald, I live an hour’s drive from the (once Mighty) Murray River mouth in South Australia. Went on a kayaking/camping trip there last year and wasn’t quite prepared for the shock of pulling my kayak through several hundred metres of ankle-deep water. It was sad and the river system reminded me of a once proud sporting hero who had played on for one too many seasons – past it’s prime…………

  8. Donald Hawkins said on July 28th, 2008 at 8:21pm #

    Thanks Aaron so it is real and on the election the people that McCain has around him just isn’t going to get it. The next President cannot solve this by himself not even close. To be just a politician a policy maker in the next four years isn’t going to get it. Thinking outside the box in a big way and that is with the help of those cool smart minds. Today Obama did that with some good people on the economy but the big one will take a few different people I hope.

  9. David Short said on July 28th, 2008 at 10:16pm #

    This is a horrible, childish article, full of argumentum ad hominem rather than real points.

    The language used is full of attempts at cuteness rather than meaning and substance. Why “No Mas!”? That has no meaning in English, and in Spanish it is “¡No Más!”.

    The Republican Party is a broken-down hulk? It’s the ruling party. After Obama serves his term, they will be back in again. They are powerful. Even when temporarily out of power they set the political agenda.

  10. Deadbeat said on July 28th, 2008 at 11:15pm #

    I found M. Whitney’s article entertaining. What it deeply reflects however is the lack of real alternatives coming from the left and the void now being filled by Obama due to the left’s own self denials, betrayals, contradictions and duplicities.

    If Obama makes no goofs or gaffes I think he’s a shoe-in. The Left really needs to spend more time on self-assessments rather than bashing Democrats which we know it can do till the cows come home.

  11. Sam said on July 29th, 2008 at 1:46am #

    Unless I missed it, I don’t see anyone here even mentioning the easily-hackable electronic voting machines which are used all over the nation now (such as Diebold, Sequioa, ES&S, Hart Intercivic and other brands). They are owned by the Repugs and have been encouraged by the Dems since 2000.

    It’s as if everyone here and on other sites is pretending that we have fair, honest and legitimate elections in this nation, when that is hardly the case with these damnable machines in place.

    The last two presidential “elections” were stolen by the Bush Crime Family and the complicit Dead Democratic Party. So why on Earth would anyone think that 2008 would be in differently when those who do vote will be voting on the SAME voting systems as in 2000 and 2004? Nothing has changed about that.

    I can’t believe that the Bush Crime Family would steal two presidential “elections” just to willingly turn their dictatorship over to “Walk on Water Obama” unless Obama has more than assured the Establish that he will continue their neocon PNAC agenda, as he moves farther and farther to the “right. ”

    Even if Obama is allowed to take the White House, the Repugs will still be in control, as they always are regardless of their numbers. They get their shit through congress whether they are in the minority OR majority, unlike the useless and worthless Dems (and their pathetic apologist supporters).

    If there is an “election” in November it will most likely be another so-called “close election” (remember 2000 and 2004?) with the results MADE TO LOOK very, very close—whether they are or not—with McCain declared the so-called “winner.”

    I’ve said this before, but honestly I wouldn’t bet on Bush/Cheney going anywhere in January 2009. There’s their Directive 51, which they didn’t cook up just for the hell of it I’m sure. It has a reason and a purpose. If they do leave, I’ll be surprised. But even if they do physically leave in January, their agenda will continue with McCain or Obama.

  12. Sam said on July 29th, 2008 at 2:02am #

    Mike Whitney wrote:

    “When he speaks people feel better about themselves and their country. And, they’re more hopeful about the future, too. That’s what makes him unbeatable.”

    Well, that first sentence is what the shallow sheep said about Ronald Reagan while he was in the process of doing what damage he could to the country. All this feel-good shit. Sigh.

    Personally, I don’t listen to speeches since most politicians are scum and will say anything in a speech and they tailor their speech to the group they are speaking to. I look at Obama’s voting record and things he says outside of prepared speeches (like attacking Iran and Pakistan, for example). His voting record has helped Bush and Cheney accomplish some of their goals (yes on war appropriations, yes on FISA to gut the Fourth Amendment to name just two things), which is why I have no intention of voting for him.

  13. Donald Hawkins said on July 29th, 2008 at 5:30am #

    Elana Schor in Washington
    guardian.co.uk,
    Tuesday July 29 2008
    Article history
    Amid intensifying scrutiny of its failure to act on climate change, the US environmental protection agency (EPA) has ordered employees not to talk to internal auditors, Congress or the media, according to a leaked email released yesterday by green campaigners.
    The EPA has refused repeated requests from Congress to explain its December denial of California’s request to regulate greenhouse gas emissions – a move that overruled the agency’s own career scientists.
    Three Democratic senators have scheduled a press conference today to discuss the controversy.
    On June 16, after an email from the campaign group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Peer), the EPA told its enforcement officials not to answer questions on the issue – even those from the agency’s in-house auditors.
    “If you are contacted directly by the [auditors'] office or [congressional investigators] requesting information of any kind … please do not respond to questions or make any statements,” the email said.
    Enforcement officials were told to refer all questions to specific EPA representatives.
    The issue is whether White House officials, including aides to vice-president Dick Cheney, improperly influenced the process by pressuring the EPA to reject California’s bid to regulate emissions.

    “The clear intention behind this move is to chill the cubicles by suppressing any uncontrolled release of information.”

    “The clear intention behind this move is to chill the cubicles by suppressing any uncontrolled release of information.”

    That word suppressing when used with information is depressing. Anyway three Democratic senators have scheduled a press conference today to discuss the controversy, cool and these EPA employees told not to talk well here’s where this part comes in.

    Morpheus: I know *exactly* what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?
    Neo: The Matrix.
    Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is?
    Neo: Yes.
    Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
    Neo: What truth?
    Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.

    Teardown those walls

  14. Michael Kenny said on July 29th, 2008 at 7:07am #

    “Dazzle” is a good word. Obama did not come here to win the hearts and minds of Europe. He came to dazzle us long enough to generate footage which, when packaged for US television news, would appear to show him winning the hearts and minds of Europe. And of course, he succeeded!

    Of course, he started with a huge advantage. Europe hates Republicans and it loaths Dubya even more than it loathed Reagan (and that’s saying something!). Europe would have cheered Hillary just as wildly. Indeed, it would have cheered a sheep that went “bah” if it was the Deomcratic candidate! All people want here is to be shut of the Republicans for at least four years (or better yet, 24, or maybe forever, if the US collapses before 2012!).

    Now that people have actually read what he said in Berlin, criticism is starting to appear. In fact, if you read his text, he said nothing. He bullshitted us! It’s still the same old Israel Lobby line of a subjugated Europe hogtied to an America hogtied to Israel. It’s just that, instead of bawling into our faces, neocon style, he poured Hollywood saccharine over our heads. Europeans laugh at Hollywood saccharine, one of the many points about the speech where he demonstrated that he is as ignorant of Europe as most other Americans.

    If he ends BOTH wars ASAP, makes peace with Iran, allows NATO to go dormant and reins in the American NGOs that are trying to undermine the EU and Russia’s democracy, he will be Europe’s hero. The inherent contradictions of American society will probably prevent him from doing more than ending the wars. I would guess that he will be the American Gorbachev. He believes in the system and will genuinely try to fix it, but in so doing, he will bring the whole house of cards crashing down.

  15. bozhidar balkas said on July 29th, 2008 at 11:47am #

    michael kenney,
    of all empires, which one has the most bases on foreign soil? which empire has the most warships/submarines cruising the oceans?
    which empire has the best armaments?
    which empire is feared the most even by mighty empires like russia and china?
    who possesses best surveillance of the planet from space?
    which land wages two or more wars at the same time?
    which empire is strongest econo-diplomatic-militarily?
    it’s not israel.
    yet to some people (i’m not sure that u r not saying it) aver israel controls US and tacitly also europe and all world plutos.
    i cannot accept that. thank u

  16. Bob said on July 29th, 2008 at 3:43pm #

    Hue, I keep telling you I’m not Wendy! She’s presumably a girl, and I’m a boy.

    Hue if your so nuanced, how did you miss the prediction of an Obama victory?
    By the way: Nuanced is just another way of saying befuddled.

    I appreciate your attempts Hue but you missed again.
    Bob

  17. Max Shields said on July 29th, 2008 at 6:50pm #

    You know hard as they try the media can’t get Obama’s poll numbers up.

    Makes you wonder who all Obama is “making feel good”.

    McCain has a gun pointed at his foot 24/7 and still he’s not doing bad given all the push for Obamaism.

    Somehow McCain won the Repug primary and he looked completely dead a few months prior to that. So, let’s not count the old chickens.

    Not that it matters, but if I vote it will be for either Nader or McKinney.

  18. Donald Hawkins said on July 30th, 2008 at 11:41am #

    “The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.”

    Money does not represent such a value as men have placed upon it. All my money has been invested into experiments with which I have made new discoveries enabling mankind to have a little easier life.
    Nikola Tesla
    Who is this Tesla person? History Channel just did a good thing on this person. One smart dude and he worked for Edison and Edison was smart and greedy, Edison was suppose to pay Tesla $50,000 for some very good ideas and Edison told Tesla this is business and Tesla told Edison you are not a very nice person and I love you man but got to run and then had to dig ditches for a few years but did go on to leave Edison in the dust. Enabling mankind to have a little easier life and this time forget easier life but to survive.