Though this article was written in English, some translations need to be made. Via MSNBC’s World Blog:
LONDON – Before he was elected to the White House, Barack Obama drew 200,000 ecstatic fans during a 2008 visit to Berlin. Analysts predicted he would have easily been elected France’s president if he had been a candidate there. And the day after Obama’s election triumph, practically every U.K. newspaper splashed his picture across their front pages.
Europe had fallen in love.
Two years later, Obama is struggling at home. With the midterms looming, the president’s approval rating is at just 47 percent and most indicators suggest that the Democrats will take a hit on Tuesday.
Many Europeans don’t get it.
“They’re very confused as to how [Americans] could vote for Obama and then two years later turn around and vote for a completely different set of policies,” Sarah Oates, professor of political communication the University of Glasgow, told msnbc.com.
When viewed from abroad, Obama’s campaign promises of “hope” and “change” left Europeans expecting a fundamental shift in American politics.
“[People here] are just dismayed,” Oates added. “There’s a real feeling of … disappointment that it didn’t signal the change they thought it would.”
Oh wait, we do … and that’s why an increasing number of Americans are so turned off by his big-government policies. <----- Editorial comment.
But Europe’s love affair with Obama – and interest in his plummeting fortunes – mean that midterms seem to be getting more coverage than usual in the U.K. and across the continent. In the wake of financial crisis, Europeans also wonder how the vote in America will affect the global economy.
But with the economic crisis and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan casting a shadow over his presidency, Obama’s reputation has also suffered abroad.
“He is no longer seen as an icon, but as a politician who is doing his very best,” said Christian Malard, senior foreign analyst on France 3 TV. “He is paying the price for the crisis. He’s not Mr Miracle, he’s not a prophet.”
Translation: Bbbbbut we went along with and aggressively promoted that image of him during the 2008 campaign season.
However, Obama remains broadly well-liked and many Europeans think the disenchantment that many American voters have been expressing is unfair.
“What he inherited was so enormous that no American president could have fixed it,” Manfred Gortemaker, professor of modern history at Germany’s University of Potsdam, told msnbc.com.
Translation: It’s BUSH’S fault!
Meanwhile, those who got caught up in the “Yes, we can” fever of 2008 simply want to know what will happen to their star.
“Obama is like a movie character,” said Nicole Bacharan, a historian, political analyst and associate researcher at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris. “There is something very romantic about him and his fate is something that people want to know. Why is this young, attractive, very smart president struggling?”
Translation: He was President of the Harvard Law Review, AND he’s hip and cute. We need to give him more time to inject this magical “change” he promised in 2008.
Obama’s more liberal policies also resonated with many Europeans. With polls suggesting the Democrats could lose control of the House, Professor Oates said the idea that many of his plans could potentially never come into effect baffles some people.
“It’s hard for them to understand the frailty of the American presidency,” she said.
Translation: It’s hard for them to understand that the voting public in America has a right to change their minds based on a president’s performance and policies (and that also includes his party’s performance and policies) – unless we’re talking about how they changed their minds about President Bush and Republicans in 2006.
I think that about covers it.