Obama: I embarrass myself!

posted at 5:15 pm on July 11, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama’s comment that Americans should teach their children Spanish rather than worry about whether immigrants speak English gave another example of his arrogance and elitist impulses earlier this week.  In a memorable moment, he pronounced himself “embarrassed” by Americans who travel abroad and can’t speak the local language — which called into question why he doesn’t get similarly perturbed by foreigners who move here and can’t speak ours.  Today, Obama tried to “clarify” his comments by wondering aloud why people found them offensive:

“This is an example of some of the problems we get into when somebody attacks you for saying the truth, which is we should want children with more knowledge. We should want our children to have more skills. There’s nothing wrong with that! It’s a good thing,” he said.

While the Obama campaign says that Obama speaks a little bit of Indonesian, Obama himself admits that he isn’t bilingual.

“I know because I don’t speak a foreign language. It’s embarrassing!” he said.

So now Barack Obama has managed the impossible — he’s thrown himself under his own bus!

Obama mischaracterizes both his earlier comments and the response.  No one argued that children should not learn a second language, although we may want to do a better job in teaching them their first language before worrying about adding another.  Obama specifically criticized the push to make English the official language of the US and the end of requirements to produce documents and signs in a multitude of languages to accommodate people who don’t learn English while living here.  Here are the original comments:

I — uh — I don’t understand when people are going worrying about “We need to have English only.”  They want to pass a law — “we just — we want English only”.  Now I agree that immigrants should learn English.  I agree with that.  But — but understand this.  Instead of worrying about whether, uh, immigrants can learn English — they’ll learn English — you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish!  You should be thinking about how your child can become bilingual.  We should have every child speaking more than one language.

You know, it’s embarrassing when Europeans come over here, they all speak English, they speak French, they speak German. And then we go over to Europe and all we can say is merci beaucoup.  Right?

Clearly, he was not talking in the context of education policy. He was attacking people who want to stop pandering to those who refuse to assimilate when they move to the US. “They’ll learn English,” Obama states, but the evidence in every government office shows that we don’t expect them to do so, and many of them don’t. We spend a lot of money printing everything in several different languages — not just Spanish — which is a testament to the fact that we don’t.

And if Obama was speaking about education policy, he’d still be wrong. Most school districts require a second language in high school, although they don’t require it to be Spanish. Spanish wouldn’t help much in France or Germany anyway.

To no one’s great surprise, Obama tried spinning his way out of his elitist, snobby remarks by essentially lying about their context. He then contradicted repeated assertions during the campaign that he spoke Spanish (he did an ad in Spanish during the primaries). He’s flip-flopped on his own bilingual status and called himself an embarrassment as a defense.

What a week!


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Oxegyn? Did you mean: Oxygen?

Typo.

The point is, capitalism is best when free from government or artificial interference. Yes, it’s always been around for centuries. Bartering and supply versus demand are principle components of makes a free market system. What flourishes is success, what fails is left behind. It also defined as value. You see it everyday when you go to the grocery store. Just look at the produce section.

Gee, really? This free market stuff sounds like a good idea. Maybe someone should go and tell the Europeans about it. /sarc

The EU sends billions of Euros in aid to the Third World because they can afford to. Europe isn’t Cuba.

The idea that everyone in Europe is a hard line socialist is a nonsensical but indestructible myth.

Switzerland, to take one example, has enjoyed twelve centuries of capitalism.

Yes disastrous welfare programs were set up after WWII but these same conditions prevail in other countries (Canada).

When it comes time to pay pensions governments (Europe and the US) will not pony up. Thats why I have private health insurance and a non-government pension scheme.

aengus on July 11, 2008 at 9:21 PM

Well dang, who is left now :-)
His wife? I suspect he’s too scared to throw her under the bus.

Or has he already done that? I’ve lost track.

mjk on July 11, 2008 at 6:17 PM

Not until he gets his nuts back from Michell Ma Belle.

onlineanalyst on July 11, 2008 at 9:24 PM

JiangxiDad on July 11, 2008 at 9:10 PM

From your wiki link:

While at Columbia, he lived off campus. He claims to have spent his first night sleeping in an alley near the corner of 109th and Amsterdam Avenue and washing with the homeless next to an open fire hydrant. He eventually moved into a walkup on E. 94th St., in East Harlem, where he would “chat with his Puerto Rican neighbors about…the sound of gunfire at night”.

Barry Obama: Fabulist.

Just for starters, “East Harlem” begins at 96th stree, and it’s more likely he heard steel drums at night from that location.

Buy Danish on July 11, 2008 at 9:26 PM

profitsbeard on July 11, 2008 at 9:08 PM

LOL
He’s also an expert at polishing a cow pie and putting lipstick on a pig.

Beto Ochoa on July 11, 2008 at 9:28 PM

Point taken, bigbeas, but he didn’t say “I’m not bilingual,” he said, “I don’t speak a foreign language.” I highly doubt that. He just doesn’t want to speak in the languages he does know because it will scare the pants off the more jittery type of voter. The Dems are saying we should vote for him because he has traveled the world (Hawaii — which has its own language, Indonesia, Kenya, etc.) and understands foreign cultures through and through, yet he doesn’t speak a word of any of their languages? He’s fibbing at the very least. I like the fib though. It’s like an Irishman telling Irish jokes.

shazbat on July 11, 2008 at 9:28 PM

Just for starters, “East Harlem” begins at 96th stree, and it’s more likely he heard steel drums at night from that location.

Buy Danish on July 11, 2008 at 9:26 PM

Yeah, those streets in the low nineties there are nice. Manhattan Valley, isn’t it? I think Woody Allen lives there.
I was at the same school as Barry at the same time and would routinely go to Amsterdam and 115th, and then down to 112th to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. It wasn’t the greatest neighborhood then, but it wasn’t the “hood” either. Hope I didn’t step on Barry while I was walking :)

JiangxiDad on July 11, 2008 at 9:49 PM

This is like a really bad comedy show.

jencab on July 11, 2008 at 9:53 PM

Switzerland, to take one example, has enjoyed twelve centuries of capitalism.

aengus on July 11, 2008 at 9:21 PM

I’m not sure what you are on about, but obviously the sugar in your Swiss Miss chocolate has got you reading too much into my statement. Which was….

Barry is making a statement that we, Americans, should be embarrassed that we don’t speak another language other than English. Whereas, in Europe, they have too because of their close proximities, i.e. France, Spain, and Germany.

He’s embarrassed, of Americans…., that’s the point.

As for Europe and capitalism…., maybe you should read about the Lisbon Treaty. I know not all of Europe is not socialist leftists, but you cannot deny that most of their government officials are and that’s where policies are made.

Kini on July 11, 2008 at 10:22 PM

Well dang, who is left now :-) His wife? I suspect he’s too scared to throw her under the bus.

mjk on July 11, 2008 at 6:17 PM

Are you kidding? She’s the damned bus driver. :-)

cannonball on July 11, 2008 at 10:32 PM

I personally believe the U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some, uh…people out there in our nation don’t have spanish, and, uh, I believe that our education like such as South Africa and, uh, the Iraq everywhere like, such as and…I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., err, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future for our, us.

Beto Ochoa on July 11, 2008 at 10:40 PM

True, many foreigners come to this country with a working knowledge of English. (Many don’t, but that’s a separate point.) Europe, for example, has state upon state right on top of each other. Go a couple hundred miles in any direction and you can be in any one of dozen separate states: each with its own language, its own culture, its own heritage, and until recently its own money. Do the same journey in the U.S. and all that really changes are the liquor laws. Necessity breeds the need for a common language, and today the common language of the world is English. This is a problem for the Senator?

ss396 on July 11, 2008 at 10:48 PM

Hope and Change?

Hype and Lame!

SouthernGent on July 11, 2008 at 10:54 PM

Barry is making a statement that we, Americans, should be embarrassed that we don’t speak another language other than English. Whereas, in Europe, they have too because of their close proximities, i.e. France, Spain, and Germany.

I’m aware of that. I’ve argued against it on this very thread.

He’s embarrassed, of Americans…., that’s the point.

Which is disgraceful and hes wrong to hold these positions. But he didn’t pick Spanish by accident. His real but unacknowledged motive is to assimilate Americans into the culture of Mexican immigrants.

As for Europe and capitalism…., maybe you should read about the Lisbon Treaty. I know not all of Europe is not socialist leftists, but you cannot deny that most of their government officials are and that’s where policies are made.

The EU is not socialistic but oligarchical.

As for the Lisbon Treaty I have always been a very loud opponent of it in the comments on this blog. You’re either uniformed or being very clever-clever here.

I doubt you have read even a single article of the Treaty or know even one whit of what you’re talking about.

aengus on July 11, 2008 at 10:57 PM

Obama is a “highly educated” individual…he can recite the koran by memory in perfect arabic… course he thinks we should have to learn spanish.

SaintOlaf on July 11, 2008 at 11:11 PM

I — uh — I don’t understand when people are going worrying about “We need to have English only.”

B Husein

I think BHO had better work on his English before he branches out to other languages. “going worrying”? Is that some Harvard-style, psuedo-English he’s using, here?

So … this is the liberal version of a great orator?

progressoverpeace on July 11, 2008 at 11:27 PM

The EU is not socialistic but oligarchical.

Hmmmm, don’t see much of a difference between the two….

I doubt you have read even a single article of the Treaty or know even one whit of what you’re talking about.

aengus on July 11, 2008 at 10:57 PM

Perhaps, but that’s your opinion. Ho hum…
So you hold EU values in high regard…. not quite the point I was talking about… but what the hey… I still stand by my original point.

Kini on July 11, 2008 at 11:36 PM

Ken Kesey is on the way to Denver to deal with the expected overflow…

Shivas Irons on July 11, 2008 at 11:37 PM

He’s either way far to the left, cognitively impaired in some weird way, or both.

Paul-Cincy on July 11, 2008 at 11:52 PM

This guy cannot seriously be president. He just can’t.

Athena on July 12, 2008 at 12:22 AM

What really chaps my hide is that I was watching CNN and the other LameStream Media simmer a long time on what Phil Grahm said regarding the country of “Whiners”, but they give a pass to the Golden Child for saying this… truly tests my patience….

CynicalOptimist on July 12, 2008 at 12:35 AM

So now Barack Obama has managed the impossible — he’s thrown himself under his own bus!

Who’s driving the dang bus?!?!

MB007 on July 12, 2008 at 12:49 AM

Who’s driving the dang bus?!?!

MB007 on July 12, 2008 at 12:49 AM

It must be Karl Rove…and BOOOOOSH! Can’t forget about the Zionist conspiracy! Mwahahaha! It’s good to be a Republican!

gryphon202 on July 12, 2008 at 1:18 AM

Not until he gets his nuts back from Michell Ma Belle.

onlineanalyst on July 11, 2008 at 9:24 PM

I think Jesse Jackson only wanted to cut off his right nut..

Pretty sure that Michelle already has him neutered..

Chakra Hammer on July 12, 2008 at 2:00 AM

This guy cannot seriously be president. He just can’t.

Athena on July 12, 2008 at 12:22 AM

I was a vocal McCain hater, and I still am to some extent. But Obama is making McCain look better every day.

bigbeas on July 12, 2008 at 2:33 AM

Obama would have us all learn the Spanish language so that we can all sing Nuestro Himno in perfect harmony, as we all become one fall under him his spell.

electric-rascal on July 12, 2008 at 3:08 AM

onlineanalyst on July 11, 2008 at 9:10 PM

sorry..I typed it wrong. She wants everyone to call Bush telling him to release oil from the strategic reserve, but said the high prices were his fault.

Rep King wants us to call Pelosi. I plan to. heheh

becki51758 on July 12, 2008 at 4:29 AM

onlineanalyst on July 11, 2008 at 9:10 PM

sorry..I typed it wrong. She wants everyone to call Bush telling him to release oil from the strategic reserve, but said the high prices were his fault.

Rep King wants us to call Pelosi. I plan to. heheh

becki51758 on July 12, 2008 at 4:29 AM

I believe King said her number is 202.225.0100

David in ATL on July 12, 2008 at 8:04 AM

Well, maybe he’s right about learning a second language. We may not have a choice. Just go up to Northern Virginia, around Chantilly and Fairfax. That place is like a foreign country – nobody and I mean nobody speaks English. The Marriot where I stayed once even had “cheat sheets” – cards with Spanish phrases on them so I could communicate with the help. And even the elementary schools in my county are force-feeding kids Spanish. No, the immigrants wont learn English because they dont have to. We on the other hand, in order to get by in our own country will be forced to learn it.
And yes, I’m one of those gun toting Bible hugging folks that think English should be the official language of the USA.

abcurtis on July 12, 2008 at 8:16 AM

David in ATL on July 12, 2008 at 8:04 AM

Her office opens at 8:30 am. I hope she’s bogged down with calls. *evil grin*

becki51758 on July 12, 2008 at 8:21 AM

It’s always refreshing to have one of our candidates for POTUS throw all of us, The American People under the bus at the same time…

sabbott on July 12, 2008 at 9:21 AM

Scio me nihil scire.
I know that I know nothing.

Obamarx ’08

maverick muse on July 12, 2008 at 9:45 AM

Has this man have no shame…or Pride?

right2bright on July 12, 2008 at 11:40 AM

ELITIST WHINER!!! Veta a la chingala!!!

DfDeportation on July 12, 2008 at 12:26 PM

¡Bese mi burro, Hussein Obama!

DannoJyd on July 12, 2008 at 12:27 PM

The Dali Bama’s daughters need to visit the Illegal Alien chunte Day Laborer Center of my choice weekly!!! Along with Feinstein’s grandaughter. I’m sure there won’t be any problems…ha ha ha

DfDeportation on July 12, 2008 at 12:29 PM

The Dali Bama = pinche perdido…

DfDeportation on July 12, 2008 at 12:30 PM

Has this man have no shame…or Pride?

right2bright on July 12, 2008 at 11:40 AM

None at all! He hasn’t many core beliefs that are beneficial to regular hard-working Americans…

DfDeportation on July 12, 2008 at 12:32 PM

…and marcy buckets to you, Mr. Elitist Phony. Will you know how to speak Spanish when you come down to S. Cal where the bilingual ed. has failed miserably?
(That’s the clean version.)

Christine on July 12, 2008 at 3:07 PM

Si se puto.

Christine on July 12, 2008 at 3:08 PM

That’s not the Barack HUSSEIN Obama I knew…

Dale in Atlanta on July 12, 2008 at 3:28 PM

So you hold EU values in high regard

Me?! No of course not. I hold the values of European Civillisation in high regard and detest EU “values”.
Its easy for me to separate the two in my mind but I shouldn’t bother picking arguments on this topic because it just appears to be hair-splitting.

The EU is an unrepresentative oligrachy. If this is what you meant by “European model” then you’re right. But I only meant the traditions of capitalism – the actual wealth creation that pays for all this and the upkeep of many third world nations besides long predates it and will be around when the EU superstructure is dead and buried.

aengus on July 12, 2008 at 3:33 PM

Obama: I embarrass myself!

No Barry, that’s your problem. America isn’t just about YOU. Maybe you can quit embarrassing the U.S. Constitution, and provide us with a legal, certified, embossed stamped copy of your birth certificate. As of date, you’re NOT a legitimate contender for the presidency! Because, the birth certificate posted on your web site, has been analysed to be a FORGERY!

byteshredder on July 12, 2008 at 3:37 PM

How many languages and dialects does the LA Unified school district have to support these days? 900? Can’t imagine how they went bankrupt.

Might be a saving grace.

noblejones on July 12, 2008 at 11:34 PM

Three hundred million people in the US and this is the best we can do for a president. We are so screwed.

UnEasyRider on July 13, 2008 at 10:38 AM

As I said in the original item, what kills me is that he argues against having a official language by citing countries that all have official languages.

Kafir on July 14, 2008 at 9:19 AM

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