Is Obama's honeymoon with Europe over already?
Der Tagesspiegel, Germany
Barack Obama Must
'Take a Stand'
"In the end, a disappointment
is a deceit Ö The facade of the wise, eloquent and charming golden boy has
begun to crumble. There is a second - other Obama. And he's about to be
discovered: unscrupulous, selfish, and overambitious."
In the end, a
disappointment is a deceit. So it's best that we cast a serous German glance in
the direction of the American Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama.
He has called for the death penalty for child rapists, defends the right to
possess firearms and is the first candidate since the Watergate scandal to
reject public financing of his election campaign in favor of private, unlimited
contributions. "Hey," some on this side of the Atlantic now ask,
"we thought he was one of us?" Far from it. Obama isnít running to be
president in Europe, but in the United States.
Since it's clear
that he - and not Hillary Clinton - is the one in the running, a new phase in
the U.S. election campaign has begun. Obama is the candidate of the left, but
the people are in the center. So he must move as swiftly and as unnoticeably as
possible, to avoid being stung by the accusation of being short on principles.
This is a process that began long ago. Where once he said that he would
completely renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, he now calls
his toughest remarks on the subject "overheated." Where once he said
that he would meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without
preconditions, his team now stresses that arranging such a meeting would of
course require some preparation. Where once he said that he would debate his
Republican opponent McCain "anytime and anywhere," his spokesperson
has now strictly limited the number meetings to two. The facade of the wise,
eloquent and charming golden boy has begun to crumble. There is a second -
other Obama. And he's about to be discovered: unscrupulous, selfish, and
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For the way he is
perceived in Europe will not be without consequences. Euphoria can easily
become frustration which in turn can become rage. And since enthusiasm for him
was in part fuelled by reverse-racism - after all, as the first Black candidate
he must be noble, helpful and good - disillusionment could be expressed with
arguments of similar vehemence. He has been revered as a symbol - not as a
politician with substance. And the mood the he so often generates is beginning
to wear thin. "You are the change you've been waiting for," Obama
calls out to his supporters. They respond with "Yes, we can." What
first sounded like stirring pathos, today sounds simply pathetic.†
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
But the onset of
disappointment with Obama also betrays the long-held European illusion of the
last eight years - which is this: "We aren't against America, but against
George W. Bush. Now that left-leaning Senator Obama has removed his mask to
become a president-in-waiting, many in Europe are beginning to realize that the
negative aspects they eagerly attributed to Bush are in fact deeply embedded in
the country itself: the death penalty, possession of firearms, religious
rhetoric, multi-million dollar donations, moral conservatism, security before
freedom, and a justice system more bound to dogma than to a sense of justice.
Who is the real
Obama? Nobody knows for sure. For now because of his vagueness, it's still
possible to project various expectations onto him, in USA as well as in Europe.
But here and there the impatience is growing: Obama, perhaps the first Black
President, must not only be flexible, he has to take a stand.
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