Obamania: What Europeans Are Saying About American Democracy

The outcome of the US presidential election will affect the lives of millions of people around the world. So it’s probably not surprising that many Europeans are resentful that only Americans will have a say in it. European media are saturated with election coverage that is heavily biased in favor of the Democrats. And, as in past elections, European elites are also demanding the right to help choose the next occupant of the White House. What follows is a brief survey of what some Europeans are saying about the American way of democracy.

An editorial in the Brussels-based, center-right De Standaard articulates a view shared by many Europeans: “American presidential elections are not ‘home affairs’. American decisions have repercussions all over the globe…. Hence, the world should be given the right to vote.”

This view is echoed by Simon Heffer in the London-based, conservative-leaning Daily Telegraph. A column titled ‘If Only We Could Vote for the Next US President’ argues that “Many Britons will feel it would be rather nice to have a vote, too. Well, maybe not a whole vote: I would settle for one worth 50 per cent of those cast by American citizens. After all, since we are a strategic colony of the US, it would be nice to have even a marginal say in how the empire chooses to dispose our goodwill and our blood and treasure.”

What European elites really seem to want is the right to “help” Americans choose the “correct” candidate. And if newspaper headlines are any indication, that person is, overwhelmingly, Illinois Senator Barack Obama. Indeed, across the continent, European elites are infatuated with Obama, who is now a cult figure.


In Germany, the center-right Berliner Morgenpost proclaims that Obama is ‘The New Kennedy’ while the centrist tabloid Bild says that ‘This Black American Has Become the New Kennedy!’ The left-wing Frankfurter Rundschau compares Obama not only to Kennedy, but also to Presidents Lincoln and Roosevelt.

The Hamburg-based, leftwing Der Spiegel asserts that: “Obama is the candidate of the idealists […]. Obama also happens to be the candidate of choice for the foreign press […]. Many in Europe would like nothing more than a ‘European’ America.”

In the Netherlands, the left-leaning De Volkskrant reports that the US primaries are giving the Dutch “goose bumps […]. Obama has the authenticity that the Dutch electorate craves.”

In France, the center-left Libération says the new leader of the French Socialist Party should be someone with Obama’s profile: “The French Left seeks a charismatic leader, age 46, of mixed race, to deliver a message of hope and unity. At a time when American Democrats are discovering their new hero, it would be a good time for the Socialist Party and their friends to find a Barack Obama to end their internal quarrels.”

Meanwhile, in an online poll at the center-left Le Nouvel Observateur, Obama has an overwhelming 60 percent of the 2,680 votes cast, double Clinton’s 30 percent. The late President Kennedy is lagging behind, with only 4 percent of the votes.

In Britain, the centrist Times of London confirms that the Tories are suffering an identity crisis by reporting that “Tories and Labour both hope for a sprinkling of Barack Obama’s stardust. Ripples of excitement from the campaign of the presidential contender have crossed the Atlantic, and British politicians are agog.”

After months of glorifying Obama, European media have tried to portray his losses to New York Senator Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire and Nevada as part of an elaborate conspiracy to keep a black man from becoming the 44th president of the United States. After Clinton won the New Hampshire primary, for example, the Milan-based, center-right Il Giornale reported that Obama was the victim of vote-rigging.

In Germany, the Financial Times Deutschland opines that “there is something narcissistic at the heart of the idea that Clinton was breaking down at the thought that America might be recklessly throwing away the chance to be governed by her. Chronic egocentrism, narcissism, self-pity—these are exactly the qualities that to this day make Bill Clinton so hated by his enemies.”

The state-sponsored Deutsche Welle argues that although Clinton’s victory in New Hampshire is being put down to her display of ‘genuine’ emotion, it is actually a further example of “US politics descending into self-parody.”

France, meanwhile, dispatched its ambassador to keep an eye on campaign events in New Hampshire. “There’s a lot of interest in France in this election. […] The administration in Paris wants regular reports,” says France’s ambassador to the United States.

In an essay titled ‘The End of the Obama Revolution’, Der Spiegel laments that: “All of those people who’ve been dreaming of America’s first black president now have to slowly wake up. It’ll happen one day, hopefully, but not in this election.”

The Times of London says that: “For all his talk of changing America’s face to the world and rebuilding old alliances, Mr Obama has been notably reluctant to engage, particularly with Europe. As British and European leaders ponder the meaning and consequences of Mr Obama’s sudden rise, perhaps they should be asking instead how much they really matter to him.” Good point.

Indeed, another Times of London story frets that: “Obama has made only one brief official visit to London—and none elsewhere in Western Europe.”

In an 800-word rant titled ‘American Primary System Fails to Impress Europeans’, Deutsche Welle implies that if Germans cannot help Americans vote Obama into office, then the US political system itself must be flawed. DW asserts that American democracy is “atavistic. It’s outdated. It doesn’t really reflect democracy in a modern sense.” The story goes on to say that America would be better off if it adopted a parliamentary system, just like the one in (surprise, surprise) Germany.

Some Europeans are beginning to wake up to the reality that a Democrat in the White House might not be in their best interests.

The Hamburg-based, conservative-leaning Die Welt offers the most forthright analysis of the implications for Europe of a Clinton victory. “For Germany, it greatly matters who finally wins the presidential race. The Clintons are not naive admirers of Germany and/or Europe. As heirs to an unpopular war in Iraq, the Clintons, after returning to the White House, would demand military coalition troop support from Europe. Indeed, as early as 2004, Gerhard Schroeder was warned that the worst possible outcome of his anti-Iraq war stance would have been a John Kerry victory. Because then the German chancellor would have had a friendly, but pushy partner in the White House who would have quickly put an end to Berlin’s anti-American politicking by asking for assistance in Baghdad.”

According to the London-based Economist, “Nor is European enthusiasm for either candidate likely to survive the election of Mrs Clinton, Mr Obama, or whoever else becomes president. The person who gets voters' nod will rule as an American, promoting American interests around the world—and no doubt disappointing many watchers from abroad. For Europeans to imagine anything else would be naive indeed.”

In Spain, El Diario Exterior argues that an Obama victory could be especially counter-productive for the European Left, because it will show that America is not the racist state that European elites say it is: “The [European] Left, which likes to attribute to the United States an imperialist foreign policy and discrimination against blacks and Hispanics, is not as happy about the rise of Obama as one would expect. On sending the message that they are ready to elect an African American, a part of American society is exhibiting an attitude much less prejudiced than is commonly attributed to this country.” The article goes on to remind readers that Europe’s multicultural Socialist utopia has failed to beget its own Obama.


After seeing American democracy in high gear, European publics are fretting about the relative lack of democracy at home. As the Paris-based International Herald Tribune points out in a column titled ‘Don’t Look for Democracy in the EU Presidency’, “unlike America’s presidential primary elections, the start of Europe’s presidential selection process foretells very little to do with revivifying democracy.” It continues: “The choice of the European president is true to the EU’s historical character. Rather than a popular vote, the selection process will belong to the council of chiefs of state and government….”
Finally, London’s leftwing Guardian concedes that America is doing something right for a change. In a rare case of introspection and self-criticism, the paper admonishes Britons that “reflecting on the wide-open campaign of 2008, it’s obvious that British critics — and European critics generally — are guilty of smug superiority and ignorance in writing off the strengths of the American system. […] Instead of dismissing American democracy in our snooty way, we need to ask what we can learn.” Now that’s a thought!

This piece was originally published at the American Thinker website on January 29, 2008 .


Bush's policy of letting illegal aliens come in for cheap labor stinks. It would probably set up a heck of a rift with Mexico if we tried to deport them all. That might not be such a good idea.

However, I do not want any more illegal aliens in this country. And, Obama is even worse than Bush in this regard. He favors giving illegals driver's licenses and all benefits accorded to residents. And he wants to give the families of immigrants preference when bringing in new immigrants. My fear is that Obama is one of those "population replacement" politicians who wants to bring in more immigrants to get votes.

This idea needs a lot more thought

I realize that this discussion is probably over, but I'm going to comment anyway because the idea that outsiders should have the right to elect our president here in the U.S., because of the influence of the U.S. on so many outsiders, seems to be growing. If people to the right of center in Europe are saying this sort of thing, then it is only a matter of time before we will be pressured into doing it.

And maybe we should. However, consider some similar situations. (1) The media has a huge effect on those who aren't part of it. Here in America, the NY Times has a very large effect on the populace. The Times tends to control what international news gets reported by other media outlets, and even in domestic news lesser media organs will look to the Times to see what to cover. Shouldn't we the general public be thus allowed to help make decisions about how the NY Times is run? Shouldn't we be allowed to vote on who is going to run it and how?

(2) Academia also has a large effect on our society, larger than might be expected. "Studies" are constantly flowing out of academia that can have a large impact on our lives. Shouldn't we then be allowed some sort of say in how academia is run? Of course, we do have a very modest say already, via Congress. But likewise, Europeans have a say in what the U.S. does to the rest of the world via the U.N. It doesn't seem like enough.

Also, certain academic institutions, like Harvard and Oxford, have a great impact within academia. Shouldn't those of us in academia, especially unemployed academics like me, get some sort of say in how they are run and especially who they hire?

I could think of lots more examples, but I mention these two because I suspect that this idea originated with leftist members of academia and the media, and I suspect that they will reject my call for outsiders to have a say in how both those institutions are run, despite the impact they have on us.


The Euro-Elites are jealous and resent not having the power once used to claim half the world. Instead of tending to their own countries and peoples, they seek, like alcoholics, one more sip of intoxicating power.

The European elites did not do a great job of empire. The rest of the world has no desire to replace American “hegemony” with European “hegemony”.

Since the United States is a federation of states, the election of the President is by the people of the 50 states done in 50 simultaneous elections through the electoral college. The electoral college is a scheme to balance the interests of the small and large states.

American citizens resident in Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and the other US territories can not vote. Only states vote for President.

By our own corporate stupidity

"If a Democrat (or certain Republicans) win the White House in 08, we
may very well be joining you on that path to national suicide."


This is certainly true, but at the least, it should be by our own corporate stupidity, without any help from Europe. We can make our own mistakes quite well, thank you!

(Actually, we seem to be heading in that direction now, it is just that we are not going quite as fast. Let us not rush matters.) 

How totally arrogant !

As a naturalized american of european origins, I find it totally arrogant that the european intelligentia want the right to choose the american President while at the same time making every effort to insure that the people of europe will not have the right to choose their own leaders !

Before they demand a participation in the american election, they ought to give the people of each and every country of the union the right to vote in referendums on the "Treaty of Lisbon".  But there again, the people (their own people) might not vote for the outcome they want and therefore the people must be denied.

Vote for POTUS .

I , as a Brit have enough trouble voting for the idiots who govern my country without bothering who is the US President . I will leave it to you Yanks to choose your own " best of a bad bunch" , after all you have to live with her .

How patently absurd!

How patently absurd! You do not hear Americans insisting that we have a right to join you in your rush to national suicide in the EU, do you?

Please, try to mind your national business while you still have nations to mind, and let America mind its business. Your presumption is staggering! 

"How patently absurd! You do

"How patently absurd! You do not hear Americans insisting that we have a right to join you in your rush to national suicide in the EU, do you?"

If a Democrat (or certain Republicans) win the White House in 08, we may very well be joining you on that path to national suicide.
The leading Democrats are in favor of many of the EU's disastrous policies, not to mention their ties to dubious Israel-hating Arab/Muslim lobbyists.

got it MAKhan!

compelling arguments.. liberal's job is to feel and love, not think...~communists do the thinking

Fighting Islamofascism must be the priority..

Fighting Islamofascism must be the priority of whoever become the next US president. Obama certainly is not the condidate, who will stand for the opposite cause.

Voters must grasp the threat Islam poses to their society and way of life and vote accordingly. Here's how one western liberal articulates the Islamofascist threat: First Things Next: Why a Liberal Opposes Islamofascism