I know the poll numbers haven't moved yet -- if anything they show McCain closing the gap -- but I can't help but think the Grand Tour was a good thing for Obama. Sure, there's a percentage of Americans who will view drawing large crowds in Germany as a sign a candidate isn't American enough, but few of them were planning to vote for Obama anyway, or even thinking about it. The purpose of the trip, from Obama's perspective, was to demonstrate that he could cope abroad with other leaders. Since the U.S. is still the 800-pound gorilla and there's a better than even chance this guy is going to be president, of course folks like Merkel, Sarkozy, Brown, et. al., are going to treat him with respect. They might have to deal with him for the next 4 years, so meeting and greeting and showing respect -- kissing the ring of the Godfather-to-be? -- would be expected.
My wife listens in on Rush Limbaugh while she works, and she says he's been focused on Obama's verbal glitches -- umms, aaah's, inarticulate mumbling during a press conference, etc. To me, that shows recognition of the danger of Obama's trip for the McCain forces. McCain seems unable to do much except look ineffectual and whiny, so Rush will have to take on the mode of the attacker and debunker.
To be sure, the speech in Germany was pretty thin stuff, and what there was of substance was the typically utopian attitudinizing that's the fashion on the left. We're going to tear d0wn racism and bigotry and religious intolerance. Sure. But not by depoliticizing it, which would be the most effective way to marginalize it? Oh, no. These politicians just seem to be unhappy with human beings as they are in their natural state (which is liberty) and keep wanting to tinker with us, to improve our unfortunate shortcomings. Even when put so vaguely, these promises to "remake" the world make me uncomfortable. When will these snake-oil merchants just leave us alone if we don't want to buy their elixirs?