Tuesday, November 4. 2008
Denis Boyles argues in the National Review that while the vast majority of Europeans are hoping Obama will be elected President of the United States today, he would not have a chance of success were he running to lead any European country. Boyles offers five reasons why:
1. “His tax policies are frightening,” in that they are too far left for Europe.
2. “His views on abortion are way too extreme for Europeans.”
3. “His lack of experience means trouble.”
4. “He’s in love with failed ideas.” Boyles calls Obama a “socialist romantic”, compares his policies to the EU Constitution, and then argues that the dream of Obama and all liberals is to have kids raised by the state – the first argument makes no sense and the second argument is simply not true.
5. “His name, incidentally, is Barack Hussein Obama. Sorry to save this for last, but the sad fact is a politician with Obama’s racial and ethnic background wouldn’t stand a chance in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, or anywhere else in the European Union no matter how charming his speeches were.”
Based on my experience living in Brussels this year, I definitely agree with point five, at least for Belgium – however, Belgium also ranks as one of the most xenophobic and racist countries in the West based on several reports, including one discussed at Portfolio.com. Nonetheless, it is unlikely there will be any European heads of state from an ethnic minority in the near future, unless you believe Turkey is a European country. A breakdown of the number of minority lawmakers there are in Britain, France and Germany is provided by MSNBC (HT: David):
French National Assembly: 1 of 577 seats
British Parliament: 15 of 646 seats
German Bundestag: 10 of 612 seats
Does Boyle overstate Obama’s socialist leaning by arguing that Obama’s economic policies would be too far left for most European countries?
While Obama’s tax plan will lead the United States to have one of the highest top marginal tax rates of industrialized nations (according to the conservative Heritage Foundation), his plan also aims to decrease taxes for the majority of Americans (80% is the number Obama cites). Raising taxes on the richest is hardly a radical idea in American politics, but rather a standard center-left Democrat platform. According to recent Gallup polls, 58% of Americans say wealth should be more evenly distributed in America, and 46% say the government should redistribute wealth by “heavy taxes on the rich”; 75% of Democrats agree the government should redistribute wealth through “heavy taxes on the rich”.
If Obama is a radical socialist, then it would appear that half of America is as well.
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Marie Claude - #1 - 2008-11-04 19:45 -
5- we are not too far to vote for an Obama, we got already a few magrebin ministers, and they are more french than the french socio-democrates 1- Mitterand did rise taxes and created administration jobs for his supporters that we are still paying for nowadays 2- I didn't see that abortion was so contested in EU, OK, I saw the spanish queen Sofia speaking against it last week 3- his lack of experience would be the most difficult point, cause the elephants wouldn't let him access to the first places of a party 4- most likely his ideas would be taken for obsolete nowadays
Pat Patterson - #1.1 - 2008-11-05 04:00 -
If Obama had run as a Republican in the 13th State Senate District of Illinois not only would he not have won but he wouldn't even have a been a trivia question. That district is 66% black, the poverty rate is 18% and it probably hasn't elected a Republican since the Civil War. So blaming the "elephants" seems misplaced. He picked the only route to political success and that was through the Daley machine and racial politics. I just hope that if the current election trends hold that he will turn out better than expected and the rest of us don't have to suffer while he figures out where the bathrooms are.
David - #1.1.1 - 2008-11-05 05:18 -
Pat, tonight is a massive repudiation of your hero and your party. The Republican Party is now just a regional party of undereducated white resentment. You need to really do some rethinking. In New England, we sent the LAST Republican congressman packing - Chris Shays. This is indeed a historic night.
Pat Patterson - #220.127.116.11 - 2008-11-05 12:10 -
That's probably been burning in your soul for months and the best you can come up with is "massive repudiation." I'm not sure what exactly you are referring to but I was responding to Marie Claude in regards to "elephants" but I do like the comment about undereducated which basically signals to me that the Democrats have simply given up on being a populist party anytime in the near and far future. And like Clinton and Carter before it remains to be seen how soon the Left in the US turns against Obama for representing all Americans and not just those annointed by delusions of superiority and grandeur. My prediction is that when Pres. Obama decides to not spend any political capital on Card Check the feelings of buyers remorse will start. But I do congratulate our new president, both for winning and representing the possibility that, unlike the fervent belief some have of a racist America, all men truly are created equal and that the US can live up to its founding principles.
Tom - #18.104.22.168 - 2008-11-11 23:06 -
Marie Claude - #1.1.2 - 2008-11-05 13:02 -
for Obama you have to consider Alinsky and Bill Ayers organisations, while our elephants are in both main parties, the conservatives and socialists, they design their candidate, except for Segolene who started her campain earlier as an outsider, but she was doomed by the pink elephants at the end, difficult to reach the presidency goal when you don't follow the rules of a party
Don S - #2 - 2008-11-04 21:34 -
Boyles overstates his case. Point 1 is simply not true for Europe, point 2 is true in some parts of Europe and not of others. Point 5 is certainly true for most of Europe, and I think point 3 is true for most of it. I'm not sure about point 4. I think Boyles is arguing in part from fears of what Obama would do if he could, but it's not always well established what his views are. If they are as bad as feared there is a question whether his views would prevail. Should worse come to worse, I suspect the economy will fail to improve much over four years and the GOP would be returned to power. This election is not a permanent decision for the US, not some kind of Central American coup. It is an election by free voters, partly sin two years and completely reversable in four. As for Europe? I don't think Europe's views are of more than slight importance in electing a President. It's nice if Europe approves of the next president, but that approval can and does change in a flash - can't be relied upon in a pinch.
Zyme - #3 - 2008-11-05 00:19 -
There might be another reason why minority representation in our political class is no issue for the electorate here in contrast to America. It has to do with the amount of trust in the political class. When the people believe that politicians worry primarily about their personal concerns no matter what colour they have, then it is not exactly important to have a black politician in charge worrying about himself instead of a white one.
David - #4 - 2008-11-05 05:13 -
Barack Obama will be the 44th president of the United States. Congratulations to American people for rejecting fear and division and embracing change and inclusion. Tonight we have reaffirmed our basic principles. Amerika ist wieder da!
Zyme - #4.1 - 2008-11-05 08:06 -
It will be very interesting to witness the developments when a person operating with such an amount of symbolism and emotions will meet the pragmatic technocrats in Brussels or Beijing. In fact I can hardly think of any country in the First World in which this kind of election campaign leads to victory. I guess we will all have the opportunity to watch a sobered President Obama after his ideals have been battered.
Kevin Sampson - #4.1.1 - 2008-11-05 14:34 -
Wait till he runs into Vlad Putin. 'Bambi Meets Godzilla' comes to mind.
Pamela - #4.1.2 - 2008-11-08 10:24 -
Well, Zyme, it didn't take long. Watching him Thursday afternoon at his press conference was painful. He looks like unmitigated hell. It hasn't even been a week and already I'm feeling sorry for the schmuck. And as usual, he said nothing - but he used a lot of words.
Zyme - #22.214.171.124 - 2008-11-08 11:40 -
Is he now going to attend the G20 summit on the world economy in Washington on Nov 15th? Surely if he does, he would have to present his idea about the united European perception that more regulation and transparency are needed in our financial systems. Btw - Did anybody read what Berlusconi said about Obama's victory? ;)
John in Michigan, USA - #126.96.36.199 - 2008-11-08 11:42 -
Nah, unmitigated hell is way over the top. He looked tired and perhaps a bit hung over, he had a slight rough start, but he warmed to it reasonably well, at least in the 19 minutes that I watched. He does some skillful banter - asking one journalist what happened to her arm...she says she fell down while running to his acceptance speech in the park...Obama takes that chance to joke that she was probably the only incident in that huge gathering...a skillful contrast with quite bloody crashes by the far left in that very park in decades past. The Nancy Reagan seances line seemed like an ad-lib that backfired horribly. But I do think it represents something we will see from this new figure: occasional wry, pop-culture references and phrases. This could be charming, but American pop culture currently has a lot of cynicism and sardonic irony, so it could become irritating at some point.
katie - #188.8.131.52.1 - 2008-11-08 17:08 -
if he is going to make a joke he should know what he is talking about. it was Hillary that said she talked to dead people. Obama was on the phone saying sorry to nancy reag
John in Michigan, USA - #184.108.40.206 - 2008-11-08 11:45 -
And of course, Obama's worst moment in his first presser (press conference) beats a typical moment from a typical Bush presser.
Joe Noory - #4.2 - 2008-11-11 16:27 -
Having spent the day on Friday at the Stasi Museum, I can actually wrap my brain around your statement - because it's just as chillingly misguided to assume that some sort of singular man, political party, or world view will somehow redeem the feelings of the adherents and those they force it upon. The tome of your "statement of faith" in an ideology, as opposed to promoting a line of policy has a ring to it no different than the banners humg by DDR authorities: the impression of the meaning is not the same as the actual concepts presented, not the actual policy concepts. Get a grip. The people who seem to anticipate the most out of the "change" part of "hope and change" don't realize that all of it involves the process of pairing away some control of their lives and thee fruit of their work, and could, if "European enough" be the beginning of a salami method style of limiting the basic pricipals behind the way the majority of Americans see their own society: as a place of peaceful cooperation and participation between free people acting out of free will, not one based entirely on using inducements to give back some of what's taxed and punishments to get people to be good citizens.
katie - #5 - 2008-11-05 10:21 -
michael moore did say americans are the dumbest people in the world.
quo vadis - #6 - 2008-11-05 11:14 -
What, is the honeymoon over already? Oh my, those stupid amis have screwed up again. It seems we're just not sophisticated enough to produce a leader with the qualities of a Putin.
John in Michigan, USA - #7 - 2008-11-06 00:36 -
Obama has made history. He is now my President. I am delighted it wasn't close, so that at least we can wait for the smoke to clear before having to debate ACORN. McCain's concession speech was graceful and sincere. Some of his supporters in that crowd don't deserve him, but most accepted defeat with equal grace. Obama's victory speech was not the Philadelphia-style soaring rhetoric I expected and (as a fan of the art of speech-making) was looking forward to. Instead it had more of the sober feel of his acceptance speech in Denver, which upon reflection I think was the right note to strike. Obama was generous in victory, which is more than can be said for a certain poster on this forum.
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