A Euro Perspective on American Election 2012 Folly
Let’s get this straight, America. Most Europeans like President Obama. I mean, most of us Europeans seriously like President Obama. In fact, we like him so much that the Norwegians gave him the Nobel Peace Prize for basically winning the U.S. election. That’s some really serious amore right there.
So, in the minds of many across the ‘old’ continent, it is somewhat unfathomable as to why Obama’s re-election is even in question; he should, to use an American parlance, be ‘slam dunkin’ his way into his second term.
For us Europeans, Obama is the very embodiement of über cool. Even the French would invite him for a dinner party (considering Nicolas Sarkozy would be told a firm ‘non’ at the door, this is quite an achievement). Obama was the perfect antidote to the Bush era, when America was the source of mockery and anger in terms of the policies enacted and the way key decisions made.
Admittedly, Europeans do not have a stellar record in choosing politicians that are as universally well-liked as Obama. Indeed, Italy gave us Bunga-Bunga Berlusconi; Russia ‘chose’ Putin; France elected Napoleon Bonaparte’s alter ego; and Austria gave the world Adolf Hitler. Not exactly smacking of good sense are they?
Yet, with all this cumulated trial-by-error experience and with much history of dealing with U.S. presidents, Europe is well-positioned to judge the Republican field of Obama’s potential successors.
It’s not good news for Messrs R-S-G.
Mitt Romney looks about as real as the Ken Doll for the Barbie set; the fact that he frequently changes policies and accuses Obama of wanting to enact ‘European Socialism’ is absurd. We ask why a man who does not drink alcohol and could not tell a Burgundy from a Bordeaux wine, can possibly in be a position to critique ‘European Socialism’?
Rick Santorum has religious views that for many of us that harken back to the days of the Spanish Inquisition. Europeans are now mostly a secular people, believing in religion but acknowledging it must be separate from the state. Men such as Santorum exist in Europe, but they're mainly found in a small one-square-mile called ‘The Vatican.’ Also, how many Europeans do you know that wear a sweater-vest in public today? None.
As for Newt Gingrich, Europeans think he’s categorically mad (when they've heard of him at all). In most European countries, the State would take it upon itself to send him in for psychiatric evaluation; or in less clement European times, he would be put into stocks and pelted with rotten fruit until he was quiet.
Indeed, when faced with this charade of a pre-election line-up, is it any wonder that most Europeans prefer Obama? Would they really not favor the cool, polished, intellectual, driven, and talented President over his scabbling Republican rivals? I think the answer is “Yes, Oui, Ja, Da, Kyllä, Ano, & Tak.”
At the end of the day, does it even matter whom Europeans prefer as the U.S. president? After all, you the great American people ultimately decide. If you want to elect a man in a sweater-vest with a penchant for vomiting at JFK speeches then be our guest. It’s your constitutionally enshrined right.
We’ll watch from the sidelines, sipping a glass of fine wine and thinking “Here they go again.” Until then Obama is our man for 2012. Cheers!
Photo Credit: Mathias Winkelmann