Gerald Baker, writing in the London Times Online, explains the reasons why many Americans are not emamored with Obama as they.
One is a simple political-cultural one. This election is a struggle between the followers of American exceptionalism and the supporters of global universalism. Democrats are more eager than ever to align the US with the rest of the Western world, especially Europe. This is true not just in terms of a commitment to multilateral diplomacy that would restore the United Nations to its “rightful” (my quotations) place as arbiter of international justice. It is also reflected in the type of place they’d like America to be – a country with higher taxes, more business regulation, a much larger welfare safety net and universal health insurance. The Republicans, who still believe America should follow the beat of its own drum, are pretty much against all of that.
You can argue the merits of each case. But let me try to explain to my fellow non-Americans why Mr Obama’s problems go well beyond that. Even if you think that Americans should want to turn their country into a European-style system, there is a perfectly good reason that you might have grave doubts about Mr Obama.
The essential problem coming to light is a profound disconnect between the Barack Obama of the candidate’s speeches, and the Barack Obama who has actually been in politics for the past decade or so.
Speechmaker Obama has built his campaign on the promise of reform, the need to change the culture of American political life, to take on the special interests that undermine government’s effectiveness and erode trust in the system itself,
Politician Obama rose through a Chicago machine that is notoriously the most corrupt in the country. As David Freddoso writes in a brilliantly cogent and measured book, The Case Against Barack Obama, the angel of deliverance from the old politics functioned like an old-time Democratic pol in Illinois. He refused repeatedly to side with those lonely voices that sought to challenge the old corrupt ways of the ruling party.
Speechmaker Obama talks about an era of bipartisanship, He speaks powerfully about the destructive politics of red and blue states.
Politician Obama has toed his party’s line more reliably than almost any other Democrat in US politics. He has a near-perfect record of voting with his side. He has the most solidly left-wing voting history in the Senate. His one act of bipartisanship, a transparency bill co-sponsored with a Republican senator, was backed by everybody on both sides of the aisle. He has never challenged his party’s line on any issue of substance.
……Here’s the real problem with Mr Obama: the jarring gap between his promises of change and his status quo performance. There are just too many contradictions between the eloquent poetry of the man’s stirring rhetoric and the dull, familiar prose of his political record.
It’s been remarked that the biggest difference between Americans and Europeans is religion: ignorant Americans cling to faith; enlightened Europeans long ago embraced the liberating power of reason. Yet here’s an odd thing about this election. Europeans are asking Americans to take a leap of faith, to break the chains of empiricism and embrace the possibility of the imagination.
The fact is that a vote for Mr Obama demands uncritical subservience to the irrational, anti-empirical proposition that the past holds no clues about the future, that promise is wholly detached from experience. The second-greatest story ever told, perhaps.
Mr. Baker is not only too kind in his description of Obama’s proclivities, but he doesn’t go far enough.
He might have pointed out that the Europeans aren’t as bothered by Obama’s radical terrorist/racist friends as we are, or that Americans aren’t likely to kowtow to foreign influence.
Placating the enemy with Neville Chamberlain-style diplomacy only feeds the Islamofascist crocodile.
Having said that, Britain needs to deal with the creeping Dhimmification going on within its own territory before it gives lectures to others.