Yes, of course the Hitler comparisons are absurd, but I'd really like to know which genius on the Obama campaign thought it would be a good idea to have their candidate conduct a major campaign rally in Europe with three months to go till the election and their candidate, despite an incredibly favorable climate and a fumbling opponent, still clinging to a 2-4 point lead in the polls? Overall, the overseas tour has been good to Obama, both for the obvious reasons and because making joint appearances with foreign leaders is a solid-enough way to build up his credibility as a potential Commander-in-Chief. But photo ops are one thing, Beatlemania-style rallies are quite another - and having your candidate appear in front of tens of thousands of adoring European fans when your campaign's biggest problem, as John Judis puts it today, is that "Obama remains the 'mysterious stranger' rather than the 'American Adam' to too many voters who are put off rather than attracted by his race and exotic background" strikes me as the height of political folly. The Berlin rally probably won't hurt Obama - voters aren't really paying attention to anything election-related right about now, and it'll be forgotten by the time the fall campaign begins in earnest. But it could do some minor damage, and it certainly won't help him. (If he's counting on the expat vote to put him over the top, then he's in more trouble than anyone thinks.) Is it too late to call the whole thing off?
Ross Douthat is a contributing editor at The Atlantic.