BERLIN — On Wednesday, a befuddled President Obama stood before 4,000 ambivalent Germans to speak about nuclear disarmament and the international security state. The crowd—which only five years ago number 200,000 and greeted Mr. Obama with rapturous cries of “Yes We Can”—this time yawned theatrically, rolled their eyes repeatedly, and was heard apathetically chanting, “Maybe You Will.”
“I mean, he’s still kinda cool,” said one attendee, Greta Doerner, who stopped by to hear the leader of the free world speak only because the event happened to be on her way home. “But now his coolness seems kind of stupid and hypocritical—if not suspicious, you know? What right does he have to be so charming and composed this late into his presidency, after everything that has happened—or more importantly, has not happened?”
At points, Mr. Obama paused from calling for a “bold” reduction in US and Russian nuclear arms supplies and defending the NSA’s surveillance program, Prism, to plead with the palpably-unenthusiastic crowd. “Why don’t you like me anymore?” he pleaded. “Is it my hair? I know I’ve gone gray a bit. But I’m still handsome, right? Doesn’t it make me look distinguished?”
The president seemed unaware of the crowd’s actual grievances against him, which one attendee, Jonas Hinze, catalogued while speaking to Newslo. “He’s increased the use of armed drones in the Middle East, he never closed down Guatanamo Bay, and now we find out he sanctioned one of the most invasive spying programs ever. What a dick.”
President Obama’s popularity in Germany—as well as across Europe—has plummeted since his first speech before the Brandenburg Gate five years ago, when most Germans ranked him second only to David Hasslehoff in terms of “awesomeness and likelihood to change the world for the better.” The many scandals that have plagued his administration in 2013 have only worsened this trend; indeed, a recent cover of the influential German magazine Der Spiegel bared the headline “Der verlorene Freund”—The Lost Friend. But despite their obviously-tempered feelings about Obama, the president remains more popular in Germany than in his home country, where, for the first time, less than half of Americans believe he is honest and trustworthy.
President Obama closed his speech with a final, desperate attempt to win back the German nation’s love: “What if I made techno the official music of the United States? I’ll blast it from every street corner—will that help you forgive me?”