The Europeans, it seems, are at a loss to understand the American electorate:
In much of Europe, where President Obama remains quite popular, the saving grace after Tuesday’s vote is that at least the president and his Democratic allies retained the US Senate.
Beyond that, however, this year’s midterm election that delivered a stinging rebuke to the Obama agenda has many Europeans at a loss over why Americans are not as smitten with Mr. Obama, who is seen here as cool, articulate, and almost European, as they are.
There’s the first problem – Americans don’t want an “almost European” President.
“The Europeans and the French are sad to see what could be the rise of a weakened America, a unilateralist America, the America of George W. Bush that they were so allergic to,” says Dominique Moisi, a founder and senior adviser at the French Institute for International Relations. “So there is concern and sadness about the election outcome.”
Indeed, the post-US election tone on the Continent is a long way from the ebullience that greeted Obama’s victory two years ago, when he was heralded as “president of the world.” Now, there’s concern in Europe that the popular president may become a one-term office-holder.“The coverage was more than I’ve ever seen in a midterm,” says political scientist Nicole Bacharan at the Paris-based Sciences Po, a leading academic institution in France. “We want to see if it is again the Bush America, the tea party, the very conservative, the intolerant. Is that America still there and powerful and maybe not what we thought?”
Oh, brother. This has nothing to do with Americans desiring a return to the Bush era, but there is a clue the Europeans seem to be missing:
To be sure, Europeans have serious differences with the Obama administration on many fronts. The White House is widely viewed as not putting Europe on a high priority list. US-European solutions for global economic recovery differed sharply this spring with Obama backing stimulus at the G-20 Toronto summit, while Europe touted austerity.
Austerity – where we reduce deficit spending… That’s what drove Americans to the GOP, Europe. Not that the French would understand American capitalism.