"Euphoria in politics is an invitation for disappointment," Eckart von Klaeden — a German parliamentarian and foreign policy expert in Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union — said with reference to Herr Obama's imminent visit to the Fatherland:
"One reason Obama is so popular here is that people expect him to break radically with the politics of Bush, without any understanding of what this would involve," said Eckart von Klaeden …
He likened the huge crowds Obama is expected to draw in Europe to those that cheered on former Chancellor Helmut Kohl during the build-up to German unification. Kohl's fans turned against him when his promises of "flourishing landscapes" in eastern Germany failed to materialize.
Benedetto schmoozes down under with youthful pilgrims from the four corners of the earth.
Back on this side of the pond, "Moving abruptly to the center, as Mr. Obama has been doing, may be a smart overall political strategy," notes the WSJ, "But it clearly comes at some cost to his standing among his most idealistic supporters."
ABC's George Stephanopoulos says enthusiasm for the Democratic candidate among young voters "has been dampened" and "all of the questions in recent weeks on whether or not Barack Obama is shifting positions, becoming 'a typical politician,' is turning some of them off."
Thank God. He may not be the anti-Christ, but Obama's line is as old and tired as the hills, his recently astronomical poll numbers the wages of history-free public education and wishful thinking. 'Wonder how much overlap there is between the youngsters who look to the Lord, through Benedetto, for their help and those who look to Barack Obama for their personal salvation? Enough about the unspeakably narcissistic Democratic presidential candidate and the sheeple who bleat to his call. Let's move on to the Vicar of Christ.
"Before the Pope and the crowds arrived, Sydney tried hard to be cynical about the whole affair," says Time, succumbing to the glory of it all in spite of itself:
People asked why the government was spending $80 million on World Youth Day, a Catholics-only event. They grumbled that streets would be closed and traffic disrupted.
Then the pilgrims came. The winter weather turned heavenly — one blue day after another. And the crowds of youths weren't quite the kind party-mad "Sinny" is used to. They were happy, patient, peaceable. They sang hymns and waved flags. When protesters threw condoms at them, they shouted, "Jesus loves you, too."
Throughout the week, attendees filled Sydney’s streets, in groups clearly identifiable by their bright backpacks and occasionally breaking into song. For many, part of the joy had been being with like-minded people, what the organizer of World Youth Day, Bishop Anthony Fisher, called “the ability to say ‘God’ in public, not having to hide it away in church for an hour each week.”
Then there was the NYT, whose "despite" tells everything about the editors' anti-Catholic mindset:
"Despite the presence of hundreds of thousands of young visitors, 125,000 of them from overseas, there was almost no trouble," the New York Times reported.
The police reported only one arrest, of a young Australian Catholic who punched a demonstrator who was throwing condoms into a crowd of pilgrims to protest the church’s stand on birth control and its opposition to the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
"The world needs this renewal," Benedict said. "In so many of our societies, side by side with material prosperity, a spiritual desert is spreading; an interior emptiness, an unnamed fear, a quiet sense of despair."
'Guess the Times didn't have the time to notice the body language of "happy, patient, peaceable" youngsters feeling the joy. It wasn't "despite" their presence but BECAUSE OF their presence that there was "almost no trouble." As Benedetto said, “Our world has grown weary of greed, exploitation and division … of the tedium of false idols and piecemeal responses, and the pain of false promises.” Obama who?
"From the forlorn child in a Darfur camp, or a troubled teenager, or an anxious parent in any suburb, or perhaps even now from the depth of your own heart, there emerges the same human cry for recognition, for belonging, for unity," he told a gathering of 180,000 pilgrims during an evening vigil on the eve of his final Sunday mass.
“A new age in which hope liberates us from the shallowness, apathy and self-absorption which deaden our souls and poison our relationships. Dear young friends, the Lord is asking you to be prophets of this new age, messengers of his love, drawing people to the Father and building a future of hope for all humanity.”
That "human cry for recognition, for belonging, for unity" struck a cord here, where the importance of being noticed is our ur-theme, from the suicidal monsters who terrorized London to the astronauts who flew to "the stars." As we've said before, it's all about whom you choose as your peers.
Update: A chorus of human cries for recognition at Dr. Sanity's Carnival of the Insanities.