Europe’s Obamaphilia says more about its own weakness than the US president

Gary Younge writes:

In his book Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama described himself as a Rorschach test – the famous psychological experiment where people are shown a series of ink blots and asked to identify what they see in them. There is no right answer. But each response in its own way, is thought to reveal the patient’s obsessions and anxieties.

So it is with Obama. In the last week he has been disparaged as the “most successful food stamp president in history” by Newt Gingrich and a spineless “black mascot” of Wall Street by the prominent black academic Cornel West.

“I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views,” he said. “As such I am bound to disappoint some if not all of them.”

But one of the most curious things about those who support him most is not their disappointments – given their high hopes for him, that’s to be expected – but their enduring devotion in the face of those disappointments. It’s as though each single disillusionment is consumed as its own discrete letdown. String them together and you have not a narrative of failing to deliver on promises, but a litany of isolated, separate chapters – each with its own caveats, exceptions and explanations.

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1 thought on “Europe’s Obamaphilia says more about its own weakness than the US president

  1. Christopher Hoare

    Obama is destined to go down in history as another Othello—sacrificed by a powerful establishment for its own purposes. In that way, his presidency has been a disaster for all those in Europe, America, and around the world who wanted the world turned on a different course but were unwilling to sacrifice anything of themselves to achieve it. His failures are primarily their failures.

    The US presidency, by design, is no organ of change. From the inception of the constitution, the power has been spread among all the interest groups that have sufficiant financial clout to make their wants attended to. Today, the contrast between these entities and the greater public is more extreme than it has ever been. As Chris Hedges says, there is no constitutional way to rectify that.

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