Rush Limbaugh, in one of his anti-Obama tirades, threw out the line “Now he’s on a trip to Ireland. Who knows for what?” Well I know for what. Rush probably knows too. Because, for all his bombast and irreverence, Limbaugh is still worth listening to for the benefit of his insights. President Obama went to Ireland to reshape his image. It was a campaign stop.
Feelings like these expressed by Dorothy Rabinowitz writing for The Wall Street Journal have taken ground.
[It has become evident that] this president—single-minded, ever-visible, confident in his program for a reformed America saved from darkness by his arrival—was wanting in certain qualities citizens have until now taken for granted in their presidents. Namely, a tone and presence that said: This is the Americans’ leader, a man of them, for them, the nation’s voice and champion.
Those qualities to be expected in a president were never about rhetoric; Mr. Obama had proved himself a dab hand at that on the campaign trail. They were a matter of identification with the nation and to all that binds its people together in pride and allegiance. These are feelings held deep in American hearts, unvoiced mostly, but unmistakably there and not only on the Fourth of July.
A great part of America now understands that this president’s sense of identification lies elsewhere, and is in profound ways unlike theirs. He is hard put to sound convincingly like the leader of the nation, because he is, at heart and by instinct, the voice mainly of his ideological class. He is the alien in the White House, a matter having nothing to do with delusions about his birthplace cherished by the demented fringe.
Such an image does not bode well for re-election. Obama needs to turn attention away from his Kenyan and Muslim roots. He will have the black vote in any event but cannot afford to lose the votes of other proud Americans. If too many voters agree with Rabinowitz or with Pam Geller’s assessment that Barack Obama is The First Post-American President it could cost him the election. The American people love the Irish. A trip to the Emerald Isle is the perfect facelift. It’s also good for a few extra votes from Irish Americans come 2012.