OH, I JUST LOVE THIS – AT 9:05 A.M. ET: One of the most remarkable phenomena in this election is the continued, overwhelming support that Barack Obama gets from Europe, including Britain. The man is contemptuous of Europe, sent the bust of Winston Churchill that had rested in the Oval Office back to the Brits when he took office, shows almost no respect for European civilization, and refused the French president a lunch date when he condescended to visit France.
And yet they love him. In a great piece in London's Telegraph, Ed West explains why, and I think he's got it right. It's called, "Note to European liberals – no one in America gives a damn what you think about the US election." Love it, love it:
There are two great mysteries about US politics as far as I’m concerned. Why do Europeans love Barack Obama so much? And why do European Obama-supporters think anyone in the United States remotely cares what they think?
Two recent polls show how much more popular Obama is around the world compared to his rival. If Britain was the real 51st state, according to a GlobeScan/PIPA survey published on the BBC website, it would easily hand Obama its 100 electoral college votes, Britons favouring Obama by 65 per cent to Mitt Romney's 7. And Britain is considerably less Obamaist than France, where the ratio is 72-1.
Then there’s the Gallup poll that has Obama on 81 per cent around the world, and polling at 96 per cent or more in Iceland, Netherlands, Portugal, Germany, Ireland and Denmark. Which means that Germans are more pro-Obama than African-Americans, and far more so than Kenyans, who seem to have a soft spot for Mitt despite the Obama connection.
And West explains it:
...support for Obama has more to do with European distaste for Middle America, characterised by “angry” Tea Party activists, guns, racism, climate-change denial and creationism. (We all like a laugh at creationists, but the main difference between the sort of unscientific beliefs espoused by religious Republicans and the secular bunkum believed by the Democrats is that you can get fired for questioning the latter’s PC doctrines.)
It’s this arrogance and snobbery that drives European thinking about the US. A case in point is the Guardian’s unwittingly comic 2004 Operation Clark County, where they got various yellow-toothed Brits to condescendingly tell our colonial cousins how parochial and frightful they all were.
Obama represents opposition to this Jesusland version of the US, and, according to the media narrative, is representative of another sort of America, as well as the country’s journey from slavery to equality (something I guess has little resonance with the Chinese). Europeans like Obama because of how he makes them feel about themselves; by contrast, for many Americans he seems like something of an empty shell, weak, bored, condescending and driving the country further into debt.
Luckily for them it’s up to Americans to decide the next election, and the views of Europe’s liberal opinion-formers don’t amount to a hill of beans. I just hope that, come the early hours of November 7, the BBC has plenty of counselors on standby.
COMMENT: Very well said. Let me add a point. I discussed this same issue a few days ago with a distinguished British barrister, and she told me that Europeans want Americans to be weak, and that they believe that Obama has made America weaker, thus their support of him. That makes sense, too. Europeans only want a strong America when they sense a military threat, which is almost never. (Proof: I give you the late 1930s.) Then they welcome the American G.I. But otherwise they feel we're not quite up to their standards in living casual, civilized lives.
Sorry, Europe. As Ed West says, we make our political decisions ourselves.
October 25, 2012