13 November 2012

Election Reflection

By Carlo Schneider in Tageblatt, Luxembourg's largest daily
I waited a few days to write this as I sorted out the various viewpoints on what happened in America on November 6.

Immediately, as is usually the case, the blame game began. Conservatives blamed the Republicans. Whites blamed anybody who isn’t. Christians blamed one another. Donald Trump labelled the election a travesty and called for a march on Washington.

An interesting Christian-demographic breakdown has been provided by author and blogger Joel Rosenberg. He leads with this statistic: “25 million self-described evangelicals voted for Obama.” That’s just devastating.

The European press, almost unanimously cheerleading for Obama’s re-election, has had some interesting responses. Presseurop a news aggregator of European media, led its 8 November editorial with the headline: “‘Obama 2.0’ Urged Not to Disappoint.” The lead editorial is titled “Obama, a Lackluster Ally,” stating that “it is a known fact that Barack Obama symbolises a turning point in an America that no longer has affinities with the Old Continent.”

Yet, not unlike their American counterparts, the European media did at least give two cheers at the election result. Again, they were wary, however. As presseurop stated it, “Reflecting a public opinion largely favourable to Barack Obama, the European press heaves a sigh of relief after his re-election. But the illusions of 2008 about his commitment to Europe have vanished.”

Here in the Czech Republic, although Obama was certainly favored over candidate Romney, it seems as though the love affair is over. The response of President Vaclav Klaus was lukewarm, at best. Although  recognizing that at least there would be continuity in the relations between Czech Republic and the U.S., Klaus stated, "Though it is known that my heart is beating on the right side rather than the left, I would like to congratulate President Obama.”

Maybe the Europeans are beginning to understand some things that the American electorate missed. Obama has not kept his promises to anybody. Maybe it would be good if Obama read some of the European press instead of the press release bureaus that pass for journalism in America these days. It might be sobering reading. It might help.



  1. Is it your sense that Europe naively believes that a world without "super powers" (read "American Exceptionalism) is actually possible/desirable? Have they actually forgotten 1938-1945? What do they think of China?

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  3. Gary, I think this quote from an Italian paper (before the election) indicates that there is till hope, at least in parts of Europe, that the US is the big uncle with deep pockets and a desire to remain in good relationship with the old continent.

    Direct investments from the United States into Europe and vice versa are much higher than the figures from China and Japan put together. In 2011 cross-Atlantic trade jumped 14 percent to reach $636 billion, or 500 billion euros, and it employs 15 million people. Research and development in the two trading blocs account for 65 percent of the global total, while the transatlantic economy makes up 54 percent of world production and 40 percent of purchasing power. If we knocked down half of the trade barriers, trade could increase by $200 billion. Not to mention the strength of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation [NATO], one of the largest alliances in history.