Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dan Carpenter Has No Sense Of History

Star columnist Dan Carpenter uses his column space today to fawn all over Sen. Barack Obama's rock star appearance before a large German crowd, which had actually assembled to hear one of Germany's most popular rock bands, when Obama stopped by and took the stage. Carpenter's complete lack of history shines through as he compares Obama's speech to speeches given by two former presidents (and I emphasize the word "president"), John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Carpenter says:

What's most interesting, in comparing Obama's moment with Kennedy's, Ronald Reagan's and Bill Clinton's before him, is the perspective.

Their clarion calls for freedom came from a standpoint of national superiority, even bellicosity in the Kennedy and Reagan cases. No less obviously than Obama, they were singing to the choir back home. The difference, I would suggest, is that Obama wasn't settling for only that audience; nor was he letting any audience settle for smug self-righteousness. His keeper quote, if you will, is the sort of moral challenge I had given up hearing from anyone who might reach the Oval Office: "The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes, natives and immigrants, Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down."

So Carpenter thinks Kennedy's and Reagan's speeches were all about war-mongering and national superiority. Does he have no sense of what the old Soviet Union empire represented to the world and, more importantly, the European continent? Fortunately, there are still learned Americans who haven't forgotten already. Victor David Hanson puts it into perspective as he reacts to Obama's equating the United States to the tyrannical Soviet Union (on foreign soil I might add). “The two superpowers that faced each other across the wall of this city came too close too often to destroying all we have built and all that we love,” Obama said. Hanson retorts:

I would beg to differ again, and suggest instead that a mass-murdering Soviet tyranny came close to destroying the European continent (as it had, in fact, wiped out millions of its own people) and much beyond as well — and was checked only by an often lone and caricatured US superpower and its nuclear deterrence. When the Soviet Union collapsed, there was no danger to the world from American nuclear weapons “destroying all we have built” — while the inverse would not have been true, had nuclear and totalitarian communism prevailed. We sleep too lightly tonight not because democratic Israel has obtained nuclear weapons, but because a frightening Iran just might.

Kennedy and Reagan weren't speaking on behalf of the American people alone as Carpenter and Obama would have us believe. They spoke on behalf of freedom-loving people in Europe and elsewhere around the world who feared Soviet dominance would crush freedom in their country just like it had throughout Eastern Europe. Does Carpenter forget how many millions of Jews were killed at the hands of the Soviet dictators? I'm not surprised that Obama has no sense of American history, but I would expect better of Carpenter. And this is not an issue of liberal versus conservative.


Kurt Luidhardt said...

Well said. Too bad your words need to be said.

artfuggins said...

You keep insisting that the crowd came to hear an unknown rock band. How do you explain that they remained and listened to the speech of the next president of the U.S. They easily could have left after the band finished if that were really the reason they came.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The band may be unknown to you, but it is a widely popular band in Germany. They are capable of drawing crowds this size. Those people didn't come to hear Obama. There were posters advertising the rock concert which didn't even mention Obama's name.

Anonymous said...

Did you watch the concert? Why were the "fans" of the alleged popular rock band chanting "Obama" and "Yes we can" while waiving American flags. Again, I watched the concert, like I posted earlier, and you have it completely wrong.

Shofar said...


You really need to get out more. Here is the Wiki on Reamonn ( one of the two concert acts that lead off for BO. The other was reggae artist Patrice. FYI, since you are not up on what is popular on the music scene in Europe, Reamonn was nominated for Best Live Act, 2007, the equivalent of a US Grammy.

One of my concerns with BO's stop in Bundesrepublik Deutschland is how his rise and story is similar to another politician from that country.

In his 1987 book, Winter novelist Len Deighton writes the following dialogue.

“You don’t know this guy. Don’t imagine he has any kind of written manifesto that you can challenge him on. He’s all things to all men. He trades on emotions, not facts. . . This guy is dynamite. . . . I’ve heard him speaking at his meetings. He holds people spellbound. . . . There is nothing constructive in what he says: just threats of what he’ll do to the sort of people he blames for the troubles.”
“All politicians are negative,” said his father. “A promise to punish the fortunate and soak the rich is always good for a few votes.”
“But . . . too many people are ready to believe in the quick and easy solution.” Page 211

“But [he] is just as cunning a politician as the other. He knows how to handle a crowd and tell them the things they want to hear. Once in power he’ll do what all politicians do once they’ve achieved their ambition: he’ll drop all these nonsensical points.” Page 278

Excerpts from Winter A Novel of a Berlin Famil by Len Deighton, ©1987, paperback edition.

The politician being discussed? Adolph Hitler. Now before you go all apoleptic on me, I am not saying that BO is the next Hitler, I am saying that I have great concern when the cult of personality over shadows substance.

Fred Ramos said...

That's it ... I'm no longer visiting this site. You've people here comparing Obama to Hitler. Bye!

artfuggins said...

shofar....your ignorance of history and your bias is overwhelming. Now you are comparing Obama to Hitler. Please visit your physician and get on some meds.

Shofar said...


Either you did not read everything I wrote, refused to read the entire comment or can't read. I did not compare BO to Hitler. I quoted from a novel written in 1987 that addressed the cult of personality prevailing over substance.

Hitler's rise to power was brought on by the personality of Hitler. All der F├╝hrer knew how to do was to bring the masses into a heated throng, and then use that heat to push forward his agenda.

When personality trumps all things; when there is the arrogance of having a seat on the campaign plane marked "Obama '08/President"; where women are "swooning" at his sight, sound and smell; when reporters are talking about having a "thrill going up my leg" when hearing him speak; then I think we as voters need to step back and take a long hard look at the cult of personality that is taking shape around the man.

Perhaps you have become too deeply entrenched in your support of your candidate, and cannot look around and see what is going on.

Any negative discussion of BO is met with anger, vitriol, cries of racism and attempts to silence the speaker.

I think it ironic, that after 8 years of left wing attacks on G.W. Bush, Cheney, and all the others in the cadre of 43, starting with Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 (which by the way was debunked by Dick Morris' Fahrenhype 9/11, all the way to Keith Olbermann's rant and demand that the President of the United States of America "shut the hell up", that the left cannot take even the slightest jab, question, or chiding of its anointed one.

Again, I say to you sir, it is this cult of personality that troubles me deeply. The apologists for BO crank up their propaganda machine, scream and cry "racist" and do any and everything they can to denigrate anyone who dares speak out against BO.

Anonymous said...

Shofar....Winter: A Novel of a Berlin Family by Len Deighton??? Did you actually just cite a fictional book in favor of your position against a presidential candidate? Maybe its time we bring up the Manchurian Candidate when we discuss McCain.

straight up said...

I'm not worried about BO. His candidacy will flame out well before November and this style without substance nonsense will be shown to be just that, a mere footnote in political history. The only thing BO will impact upon history will of course being the 1st black candidate who had a serious chance of winning the presidency.

Sorry BO fans. Any shrill, earnest protestations to the contrary wont change that inevitability.

Mike Kole said...

I'd say the replies to shofar show some proof of the cult of personality. To oppose is to be excommunicated with. Not reasoned with. Excommunicated.


Concerned Taxpayer said...

One thing about liberals...they never let the truth get in their way!

"Winter: A Novel of a Berlin Family by Len Deighton??? Did you actually just cite a fictional book in favor of your position against a presidential candidate?"

No, actually, it's a REAL book:


Shofar said...

Thank you Straight Up and Mike Kole! I am glad to see that someone has an understanding of what I am trying to point out.

As to the other comments made regarding my alleged paralleling of BO and Hitler, I point to the speech BO made on July 2 in Colorado Springs. ( At about 16:50 or so he states "We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."

I am keenly aware of history, and this idea mirrors the concept of the Hitler Jugen. Watch the video and see for yourself. If this plan were to be implemented, watch your rights go out the window. If you think the Patriot Act violates civil rights, how are you going to feel about a federal civil national security force? We have a civil national security force, and it is called the POLICE!

BO's call for a civil national security force is his way around the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. The military cannot act on US soil against US citizens, but a civil force could. Think about it!

Anonymous said...

Concerned thing about conservatives, they always distort the truth. I know the book exists, the point was it is a fiction book, a novel. While it has some facts intertwined throughout the book, its is not a "true" story. Hence the word "Novel" and why you were able to find it on "" I do not understand why someone would cite a fictional story to support anything. I think his citation to a novel negates his entire position.

Concerned Taxpayer said... sorry, tar. You said "Did you actually just cite a fictional book in favor of your position against a presidential candidate?"

I read that as a "fictional" book as in "not really a book."

I didn't know you meant "a book based on fiction."

I'm so sorry.