Lincoln * Institute

Dr. Paul Kengor

Dr. Paul Kengor

Executive Director
Center for Vision & Values
at Grove City College


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Kengor's Corner

Mr. Obama, Go To That Wall!

by Paul Kengor

In my previous commentary for American Radio Journal, I commended the

profound historical event that was fall of the Berlin Wall, the 20th

anniversary of which took place on November 9. The fall of the wall is a

vivid triumph for human freedom. It symbolized the end of the Cold War,

and liberation of hundreds of millions.

Joining that commemoration were people and leaders from all over the

world, many of which gathered in Berlin, Germany-a post-Cold War,

unified Germany-for a moving celebration on November 9, headed by German

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the great leader of the Polish Solidarity

movement, Lech Walesa, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking of Nobel Peace Prize winners, one leader conspicuously absent

from the November 9 festivities in Berlin was the American president,

Barack Obama. Maybe you haven't heard about that. Obama's absence was

not widely reported by America's mainstream media. Outside of FoxNews,

talk-radio, and some conservative websites, Obama's rejection of

Chancellor Merkel's invitation got little coverage in the United States.

Of course, it got plenty of coverage in Germany: "Barack Is Too Busy,"

read the headline in a thoroughly annoyed Der Spiegel, one of the top

publications in Germany.

And, indeed, that was the reason for Obama declining the invitation.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs explained, "Obviously we have a

lot to work on here and we have commitments for an upcoming Asia trip."

Gibbs noted that America would instead send a "very senior delegation"

of U.S. officials.

In essence, what the Obama administration said is that Obama had a

schedule conflict. The president simply did not have time to go to the

Brandenburg Gate.

Let me apologize for being cynical, but I find this explanation hard to


As anyone with a TV knows, Barack Obama is a force of nature, a man of

incredible energy, constantly flying all over the world for a multitude

of reasons. His face is everywhere. He is not one to avoid attention.

This man found time to write two memoirs about himself even before he

was president.

He is no stranger to Europe. He recently managed to shoot over to

Copenhagen to lobby the Olympic Committee to schedule the 2016 Summer

Olympics in Chicago. And he certainly is not skirting his plans to jet

to Oslo to accept his Nobel Peace Prize.

Yes, this "too busy" argument simply does not seem to fit the Obama


In short, there's no good excuse for Obama "snubbing"-that's word that

Europeans have used-the invitation from Germany, even as Obama's

disciples in America grasp for one.

Of course, this is what we ought to expect from a president whose mentor

was Frank Marshall Davis and who, in the 1980s, when President Reagan

was seeking to breach the Berlin Wall, was being educated by and chose

to "hang with"-as he put it in his memoirs-"Marxist professors." Obama

was raised, nurtured, and educated by what Whittaker Chambers-and Ronald

Reagan quoting Chambers-dubbed "the wrong side of history." By not going

to Berlin, for whatever reason, Barack Obama chose the wrong side of


For some added insight, I'd like to quote Dinesh D'Souza: "I'm glad

Obama is not going," wrote D'Souza. "Of course it's a stupid move for

him politically.... If Obama were wily like Bill Clinton, he would go to

the Berlin Wall and make a lot of pompous statements. ... Obama probably

thinks he has more important things to do than to go to Berlin. What he

doesn't realize is that his mask is coming off ... giving way to the

partisan ideologue that appears to be the real Obama. If Obama went to

Berlin, he would have a chance to put his mask back on. Perhaps it's

best that he stay home."

Well, that he did. Obama stayed home. Merkel did not. Walesa did not.

Of course, neither did Ronald Reagan. Reagan went to the Wall, and

demanded that Mikhail Gorbachev go as well. Perhaps if Reagan were alive

today, he would amend his famous exhortation at the wall, maybe saying

something like, "Mr. Obama, Go to that Wall!"

Alas, Obama did not. And that's really too bad.