How they see us: America chooses hope and change


It’s been a long time since America inspired us, said David Barroux in France’s Les Echos. But with the elevation of Barack Obama to front-runner status for the Democratic presidential nomination, U.S. voters have managed to rekindle the world’s waning faith in them. Combining “the physique of Tiger Woods and the eloquence of John F. Kennedy,” Obama had but one flaw in the eyes of Americans—“he smoked.” But he renounced that bad habit at the start of his presidential campaign, and his popularity has been soaring. With his rhetoric of hope and change, Obama, born in Honolulu to a Kenyan father and a white American mother, could well be the “symbol of national reconciliation in a post-racial America.” Nobody who hears Obama speak can fail to be impressed. Whether or not he ultimately captures the Democratic nomination, Obama is pursuing a destiny “that could well prove legendary.”

Americans want their country to change just as badly as we do, said Reymer Klüver in Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung. The U.S., as we have, “has had enough of George W. Bush” and his policies of war, secrecy, and divisiveness. If Americans give Obama the chance to lead the nation, they will have “proved to the world that their country can still exert moral power.” Even the Republican pick in the Iowa caucus gives Europeans hope, said Markus Günther in Germany’s Stuttgarter Nachrichten. At first glance, Mike Huckabee would seem to be the antithesis of Obama. Obama is a “liberal urbanite, intellectual and multicultural,” while Huckabee is “an avuncular Baptist conservative from the sticks,” so anti-intellectual that he rejects the idea of evolution. But the two also have “an astonishing amount in common.” Both are outsiders from their party establishment, idealists who exude sincerity. “At the end of the turbulent Bush era” with all its humiliations and betrayals, Americans of all political persuasions “have a wish, indeed a longing for a truly new beginning.”

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us