America is a country of mad people governed by buffoons. That’s the way a lot of Europeans are content to see it, no matter how much they love the US in other ways. A country of mad people because they are so religious, violent, overweight and in denial about things that look obvious from here but which the flag-wavers over there refuse to get. Governed by buffoons because, for the past half-century, from Lyndon Johnson to George W Bush, no US president was truly respected in much of this continent. Not even Reagan on the right or Clinton on the left. All of them, in various ways, were laughable.
That changed in 2008. With one mighty bound, the nation of mad people became a nation of visionaries, electing not a buffoon but an incredibly cool, incredibly smart, incredibly articulate leader who was so progressive and sensitive that, guess what, he might almost have been one of us. Except that, inconveniently, he wasn’t. But that didn’t matter. We gave him the Nobel peace prize when he’d only been in office for five minutes and drooled whenever he looked in our direction.
Now, with 15 months to go before the next US presidential election, a spectre is haunting Europe. The spectre is the possibility Barack Obama might not be re-elected. In fact it’s more than that. It’s the sense, among a lot of Europeans and a lot of progressives – US ones too – that Obama wasn’t as great as he seemed and that, as a result, he has allowed the mad people to get their act together again and prepare to elect another buffoon next November. Prejudices confirmed. Comfort zone resumed.
(Excerpt) Read more at guardian.co.uk …