Hello from Europe – The Candidate causes quite a stir

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Hello Everybody. We have two news items over here today. One is “The Arrest” and the second is unsurprisingly “The Candidate”. Radovan Karadzic‘s arrest has caused quite a stir in Europe, he was on the run for nigh on 13 years after all. He is one of the great war criminals of the end of the 20th century and will now, I hope, get his trial and his just sentence.

The other topic is, of course, Barack Obama who will soon be visiting Europe and is eagerly anticipated by those politicians who count on a little bit of popularity rubbing off on them, because they need it. But alas, neither Sarkozy, who is far from popular at home right now, nor Gordon Brown, who would shake hands with just about anybody if he had a chance to bask a little in the glow of his guest’s aura, will get the lion’s share of Obama’s attention. The highly respected and very popular German chancellor Angela Merkel and her foreign secretary Steinmeier, he himself very popular, too, are on Obama’s shortlist, never mind she resisted his plans to speak from the Brandenburg Gate. Brown and Sarkozy are far from pleased says Der Spiegel:

One-on-one meetings for Obama have now been confirmed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. But so far he is only including time in his stops in Paris and London for French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. A decision still hasn’t been made on whether the Democratic candidate will meet with the foreign ministers of those countries. (read more)

But then Germans are the ultimate Obamamaniacs, not the only ones, but securely in the candidate’s pocket. Some 70% would vote for him, if they were qualified for voting in the US presidential election.

Obama is the hope of a Western world filled with concerns. A recession looms as does high inflation sparked by exploding demand for commodities and natural resources. Furthermore, no one has yet come up with a convincing response to global warming. No one knows how to bring peace to the Middle East, Afghanistan or Iraq. And no one has a promising strategy for dealing with Islamist terrorism.(read more)

Barack Obama is very popular in Britain, too, of course. The Guardian is covering a lot of reporting and commenting on Obama’s behalf. Michael Tomasky, feels that Maliki’s support of Obama’s withdrawal plan is the single big story of this year’s Presidential campaign.

Boy would I have liked to have been tapping the phone lines between Washington and Baghdad on Saturday afternoon.

I would love to know exactly what people in the Bush White House were saying to one another, and more importantly what they were saying to Baghdad, after Der Spiegel published its now-famous interview with the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, in which he in essence endorsed Barack Obama’s withdrawal timetable. Bush officials acknowledged on Sunday that they did indeed call the Maliki government for, ah, clarification. I bet they did. (read more)

But, apart from Obama’s obvious political prowess, there is another truth. Almost everybody sees a different Barack Obama, according to one’s own beliefs. My personal view of Obama? He is a highly energetic, intelligent and competent person, who is more pragmatic than dogmatic and quite conservative in his personal beliefs and ethics. He is an excellent manager and able to think through complex issues to the end, so he comes across as far sighted, while he is only very thorough in his thought processes.

“This is not Barack Obama, she hasn’t understood a single thing he said, or hasn’t been listening properly.” Is that your reaction to my view of the candidate ? Ok, read this:

These contradictions are arguably true of all politicians, but they seem truer of Obama than most. He must be the only “radical Islamist” whose biggest scandal to date has arisen from membership of the Trinity United Church of Christ. Depending on what Kool-Aid you have been drinking, when it comes to Obama your glass is either half full, half empty or overflowing, or you’ve smashed it lest anybody else imbibes its poison.

This is a blessing and a curse for Barack Obama. It offers the screen where you can project all your hopes and expectations and see them displayed for you, which will help getting him elected. But, obviously, it carries the seed of disappointment. The Times enters this inevitable and in my opinion vitally important sobering up process into the larger context of Anti Americanism:

It amuses me that some of those who criticise the present US Administration for its Manichaeism – its division of the world into good and evil – themselves allocate all past badness to Bush and all prospective goodness to Obama. As the ever-improving myth has it, on the morning of September 12, 2001, George W. and America enjoyed the sympathy of the world. This comradeship was destroyed, in a uniquely cavalier (or should we say cowboyish) fashion, through the belligerence, the carelessness, the ideological fixity and the rapacity of that amorphous and useful category of American flawed thinker, the neoconservative. They just threw it away. (read more)

There were several instances, where I seriously doubted that the Democrats were planning on winning the coming elections at all. I called it “The Cliff Barnes Syndrome” of the Democrats in discussions with friends. But The Economist sees it differently:

For the base, the “enthusiasm gap” may genuinely be about the personal appeal of Barack Obama or specific qualms regarding John McCain. But among the writers and the think-tank wonks, there seems to be a widespread sense that the Republican Party, and perhaps the conservative movement more generally, is due for an overhaul. And many of the folks who’d like to do the overhauling seem to think that the shock therapy of a clear defeat, and the space for introspection and reinvention that a few years out of power would provide, are needed to make it happen.

This would explain, to me at least, why they are going on with John McCain, despite all his shortcomings. I am still afraid, however, that they may spring a different candidate on you at the convention where McCain will step back for health reasons. But that is neither here nor there and only my personal nightmare.

You all have a good, healthy and successful day!

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9 thoughts on “Hello from Europe – The Candidate causes quite a stir

  1. I would love to know exactly what people in the Bush White House were saying to one another, and more importantly what they were saying to Baghdad, after Der Spiegel published its now-famous interview with the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, in which he in essence endorsed Barack Obama’s withdrawal timetable. Bush officials acknowledged on Sunday that they did indeed call the Maliki government for, ah, clarification. I bet they did. (read more)


    Yeah, I’ll betcha there was a shitload of FUs going back and forth!!!

  2. Oh yes, I would have loved to be a fly on the wall, when Cheney heard about it. I guess Bush was still asleep then.

  3. Honorable people would have said “Oh well.” These idiots had to think up lies really quickly though. They can never allow the truth to rear its ugly head.

  4. I agree with your assessment of Obama completely. I think that’s why some people easily become disenfranchised with him when he doesn’t believe exactly as they do. And while I don’t always agree with his stands I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt for knowing what he’s doing.

    It’s easy after Reagan and Bushes to think every president is stupid and intent on evil. While Bill Clinton was intelligent his weak will stood in the way of all he could have accomplished. I blame him in part for Al Gore not getting a landslide vote so that the election couldn’t be stolen. While I don’t have a problem with his indiscretions personally it was something for the low information voters to latch on to and that wasn’t good for any of us.

    It would be so nice to not have to worry that our President is on the verge of doing something really dangerous every day.

  5. Good Morning Shayne!

    It would be so nice to not have to worry that our President is on the verge of doing something really dangerous every day.

    Oh yes, but really this means we do not expect a lot anymore from politicians. Leaders, they call themselves, ridiculous, dabblers in politics most of them are. And McCain is one of the worst. he has not the slightest idea what he is talking about anymore. Maybe age, maybe some illness, but he definitely is not fit to be a President anymore. He would be a welcome figurehead for some, however, so beware.

  6. It’s just my opinion but I think McCain started off stupid and has just gotten dumber with age. He’s gotten away with a lot of things that would have brought others down because of connections and money.

    He has gotten away acting like he was a general in Viet Nam commanding all the troops. If he was a Democrat how long do you think he would have gotten away with that. And when he says, “I know how to win wars.” nobody every asks him how? What has he done that has taught him how to win a war?

  7. I think McCain is similar to Bush in that he’s always relied on the rich boy image and connections to get by — except that McCain has his horrific POW experience to bolster up his image.

    As we’ve seen with Bush, and now McCain, thye don’t get away with that the way they used to. The CM isn’t paying attention, but the blogs are, and we’re getting the word out about him.

    I too think that McCain will be forced to bow out at the last minute, and the Rs will put in Romney or some other “pretty boy.” The way Romney left his campaign was highly suspicious to me.

  8. “He is a highly energetic, intelligent and competent person, who is more pragmatic than dogmatic and quite conservative in his personal beliefs and ethics. He is an excellent manager and able to think through complex issues to the end, so he comes across as far sighted, while he is only very thorough in his thought processes.”

    Sounds about right to me, EV.

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