It was the glare that got him. Maybe the glare has been the problem the whole second term:
As to the substance of the speech, I suppose if we were still bothering to call these things by names, it’d be the “Peace With Justice” speech. That was the refrain, at least— a sort of attempt to analogize the triumph of freedom’s forces over the most brutal oppressive regimes of the 20th century through a combination of sheer human spirit, great leadership, and concerted military might with “investments” like Cash for Clunkers.
In 1953, the citizens of East Germany chose freedom. But their uprising failed. It failed because it was repressed by superior power—by armed force, by military might. If you were a 30-year old who sought freedom in 1953, your dream of living in freedom wasn’t fulfilled until you were 66. And it was fulfilled in large part because of Western military strength, and in particular Reagan’s military build-up.
So it’s not enough for citizens to “choose” freedom or justice. Freedom needs to be backed by strength. Otherwise it loses. Otherwise we see what Leo Strauss called “the sorry spectacle of justice without a sword or of justice unable to use the sword.” Contra Obama, the lesson of 1953—and of the Weimar Republic, to which Strauss was referring—is that merely wishing for justice, and seeking freedom, is not enough.
It would pay greater honor to the brave men and women of 1953 to acknowledge this fact.
The president was sweating profusely – you could see the outlines of his undershirt. There were ghostly reflections off the protective glass in front of him. And instead of heaving throngs of admirers, Obama addressed 6,000 or so invited guests.
And something was wrong with TOTUS!
Obama was peering down at his script instead of using his trusty teleprompter. We’re not accustomed anymore to seeing our leaders glance toward the lectern to read, so the president came off looking as if he couldn’t remember his lines and kept having the check.
Keith also puts 2008’s Obama speech in Berlin next to this one for comparison. It was less sweaty.