Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bush was the Problem - Right?

I’m not sure how I feel about this opinion piece in El Pais. On the one hand I think that many Europeans have a natural antipathy toward the U.S. (like the article says) and no matter what the Americans do - they won't like it. Having Bush in there just let all those feelings come rushing to the surface. A perfect poster boy for the evil empire. So it is logical that even with Obama as President many Europeans will try to hang the same "Bush-like" label on him. Hence the "Bushification" of Obama.

On the other hand if they don't "Bushify" Obama and they love what he is doing then they are a bunch of hypocrites. After all, Obama will continue many of the same policies as President Bush. He kept Bush's defense minister, he will increase troops in Afghanistan, he will continue CIA renditions in foreign countries, his support for Israel won't waiver, he is a Christian and will continue with Bush's "faith-based" community support programs, and he is against gay marriage, etc. Sure he is going to close Guantanamo (eventually) just like McCain was going to do, but seeing that Obama really will act like Bush in many ways (i.e., like an American president) isn’t it hypocritical of Europe NOT to treat him the same way, with the same hate and derision? Or was it all bullshit? I guess they only hated Bush for his silly grin.

I think the bottom line is they are pretty confused - Obama was a curve ball they just didn't see coming.

Update: Obama's position on the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by 3 men who say they were kidnapped by the CIA and tortured is "exactly the same" as the Bush white house's position. Obama says the suit should be dismissed because the act of trying it would threaten national security - just like Bush said. Will there be an outcry?


bilingual blogger said...

There will definitely be some Bushification of Obama. It's inevitable. But it will be harder to pin him down. Obama's style of Aloha-zen doesn't play as easily into the facile stereotypes that Europeans embrace about America (i.e. the Cowboy from Crawford, Texas.) Also, Obama is popular with young Europeans, so the old, gray dogs of European media and politics better tread carefully.

However, it wouldn't be the first time that the old guard in European media and politics were totally out of step with their respective audiences.

That said, I can't wait to see how long it takes for the Euro press/European pols to arrive at a formula that works for them, where they can completely turn on and trash Obama while striving to not seem blatantly hypocritical, self-loathing and condescending. Remember, Obama was supposedly more European than American when he was running for president. What will they make of him when he puts American interests over European ones?

Grab a tub of popcorn, a couple of six packs, sit back and enjoy the show!

P.S. Good to see you back in the blogger's saddle. We missed you!

Carl said...

Thanks Bilingual I really appreciate that. I've been slacking off. That stupid real life keeps getting in the way of blogging.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you guys. Don't underestimate the european press. They'll figure out something to put Obama's ass on fire.