Obama’s a Winner — In Europe at Least

Bruce Bawer is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center and the author of “While Europe Slept” and “Surrender.” His book "The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind" is just out from Broadside / Harper Collins.


Chris Matthews isn’t alone.  Gunvor Holm Vibroe, a Danish woman who traveled all the way from her homeland to the state of Ohio to campaign for President Obama, “trembled in her pants” when she met the great man in person, she confided to the Danish newspaper Politiken. “I’m still trembling a little in my pants,” she confessed.

When she told Obama that she was Danish and had traveled to Ohio to help out with his re-election campaign, he was impressed.  “You came all the way from Denmark to work for me?  Wow!” he said.

“He was very moved by that,” Gunvor said.

It’s been widely reported that while the ecstatic European enthusiasm that Obama enjoyed early in his term has long since subsided, he would still receive the overwhelming majority of votes on Tuesday if it were up to European citizens to choose between him and Governor Mitt Romney.  “A survey of seven European nations, including longtime U.S. allies Britain and France, has found that Obama would win more than 90% of the vote if the respondents could cast ballots in Tuesday’s race,” reported the Los Angeles Times last Thursday.  “The poll, which covered Britain, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, found that Romney failed to garner more than 10% support in any of those countries. In Sweden and Denmark, the former Massachusetts governor fared even worse: Only 1 in 20 people named him as their choice.”

Apparently by way of explaining President Obama’s popularity in Europe relative to Romney, the Times sugested that, despite many disappointments with his record, such as his failure to close Guantánamo, “Obama is still seen as an inspirational figure.” But surely a major part of the reason why he’s the big favorite among Europeans is that his political views are far more aligned than Romney’s with those of your average European statist.  Europeans take Obamacare as a sign of the President’s acknowledgment that they’ve got health care right and we’ve got it wrong.  His eagerness to appease Islam, and to gut the First Amendment in order to do so, brings him closer than any previous occupant of the White House to the thinking of European leaders on the subject.  And so on.

European anti-Americanism has a long history, dating all the way back to colonial times.  Over the generations, it’s risen and fallen for various reasons.  During the last days of the Cold War, Ronald Reagan’s strong language about the Berlin Wall antagonized plenty of people in Western Europe who thought that the wall was there to stay, that the best approach to the situation was to make nice with the Russians, and that Reagan’s rhetoric was crude, sentimental cowboy nonsense that could only antagonize the Kremlin and make matters worse.

Europeans have always preferred American presidents who projected weakness and apologized for the U.S. to those who unapologetically asserted American strength, preached American values, and reminded Europeans, in one way or another, of their own dependence on American military defense.  Europeans don’t like U.S. presidents who go on about freedom; they prefer those who criticize capitalism and who seek to redistribute the wealth.  Above all, they’re attracted to a U.S. head of state who projects an air of not really, entirely, completely being American himself – whose own upbringing (in part) in another country sets him apart from his Oval Office predecessors and who delicately intimates, between the lines of his speeches, that he thinks of himself as a citizen of the world.

Europeans are also accustomed to, and most comfortable with, the idea of heads of government who have spent their lives in politics.  Obama’s rise from Chicago community organizer to Illinois congressman to senator to president of the Republic is something they understand.  By contrast, Romney’s background in business is, for them, not a reason to hope that he stands a better chance than the incumbent of rescuing the U.S. (and the world) from the economic mess it’s in but, rather, a cause for serious discomfort.  In their view, after all, one of the most important roles of government is to protect the people from the excesses of private enterprise – to keep corporations in line.  For Europeans, big business, not big government, is the enemy.  They don’t worry, as many Americans do, about entrepreneurs being overtaxed or bureaucratized to death by the state; they worry about the state being unduly influenced by evil capitalists.

Naturally they prefer Obama.

And naturally Obama’s re-election campaign, according to some sources, has solicited and accepted good-sized donations from Europeans who are eager to play a small part in his securing another four years in office – a practice which is, ahem, not quite legal.

Our friend Gunvor’s decision to make her way to Ohio and work for the Obama campaign came suddenly and at the last minute – specifically, Saturday before last.  On the spur of the moment, she decided to book a ticket to the Buckeye State, found somebody to stay with, and got herself a volunteer job at a campaign office, where her job is to phone registered voters or to go door-to-door singing the praises of the Commander- in-Chief.  It was while she was sitting there one day at the campaign office making her phone calls that Obama dropped in.  Gunvor, whose regular job is with DanChurchAid, a charitable organization connected with the Danish National Evangelical Lutheran Church, told Politiken “that the president had warm hands, that he pressed her hand, and asked if she was enjoying the work.  He concluded the forty-five-second-long conversation with ‘Keep up the good work!’”

“It means a lot to me – and also to my children’s future – who will run the U.S. during the coming years,” Gunvor told the newspaper, and added: “I’m still trembling a little in my pants.”

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  • pennylane

    Romney has nothing new to offer, just the same old Bush economics that crashed global finance and foreign policy that started conflics it couldn't solve.

    • Mary Sue

      You don't know what you're talking about. Stop drinking the purple koolaid of whatever talking points spewing organiztion you come from. Did Biden send you?

      Nice to know Europeans are still idiots. Their economies are crashing and it's their own fault and yet they want more of the same kinds of policies that is reducing their governments' ability to spread the wealth around. Do you think Greece is in trouble because of bush or bushlike policies? Oh hell no! They crashed because they kept spending more and more and taking in less and less while taxing the crap out of everyone. That's more unsustainable than clearcut logging!

      • Reno

        Basically, it's the European Mass Medias that are in favour of Obama. 95% of Europeans couldn't care less about who's in charge in the White House.

        • Mary Sue

          Yup. They go on about how Americans couldn't find Budapest on a map, but how many Berliners or Oslovians can find Houston on a map?

      • Lauri from Wisconsin

        They are not idiots, they are brainwashed. Today is sad day for the U.S.A. Heaven forbid people work for a living and pay for their own stuff. I like my stuff too, but I work my ass off for it and always have. No one has ever given me a handout, and I wouldn't take it if they did.

    • NomoreB

      and what did Obama do to improve? Bush"s era seems Golden Age now.

  • pennylane

    And what does Romney have to offer Greece? Cut spending? That's what the Greeks have been doing for the last 2 years, sending their economy into a complete gridlock. The US defecit is higher than that of Greece. So if you want a preview of the US under Romney, take a good look at Greece.

    • Mary Sue

      Greece kept raising taxes. That doesn't work.

      Their economy would be in a gridlock now even if they hadn't cut spending, in fact it would probably have gone gridlock sooner.

      SInce when is running out of money faster a GOOD thing????

    • Mary Sue

      your math doesn't add up, btw.

    • Marilyn

      I like you Mary! I am a norwegian living in Norway but I am for Mitt! I love America. Europians like BO because he is nothing, he is not capable of leading America. Europe community is falling and ailing because of socialism. Thank God Norway is not a member of EC. Go Mitt!

      • Mary Sue

        Hehe thanks. I think this is an echo of why Canadians by and large like Obama, Marilyn. They actually don't really like America that much and they know full well what Obama would do in term 2 and they want to sit back and see USA slip farther and farther, while their own countries pass it by. It's a bit of schadenfreude, they want someone to be in worse shape than they are, and who better than the country they've always envied?

        Of course there's also the segment of the We Love Obama Outside USA that is completely and wholly ignorant of what Obama actually does and just feeds off the platitudes as if they mean anything.

      • NomoreB

        Thank you Marlyn. Obama can be loved by only America haters.

  • Stale Urbye

    As the knowledge about Europe may appear to be dismally low in the American public, it is also the other way round. That is the reason why so many Europeans apparently support Obama. Europeans simply do not know what is actually going on in the US and how the American leadership may affect us all, wherever we live. As I see it, Obama has not delivered. He has not kept his promises given prior to the election in 2008. Logically, he should not be given a second chance. But who cares about logic? That will soon be revealed. (Comment posted from Oslo, Norway).

    • Mary Sue

      Oh yes there is always that. I know there's a ton of Clueless Canadians that support Obama because living in Canada they are mostly shielded from seeing the effects of the US Economy going downhill first hand.

      God Bless Stephen Harper!

  • LindaRivera

    What a pathetic woman!

    Our treasonous leaders have placed Muslim Brotherhood operatives and organizations in positions of great power within our government. The stated goal of the Muslim Brotherhood in America is the DESTRUCTION of civilization and global Islamic conquest. The TRAITORS in our government are eagerly working to make that goal a hideous reality.

    VOTE the dirty TRAITORS out!

  • Marty

    The administration may have an islamized europe in its favor, but, once muslims are safely in power, they will reduce europe to a dark age, wreck its economy, and re-establish slavery and oppression. Anti-American hysteria will become a daily feature with mobs chanting "death to America" and "death to the Jews" in the streets of paris and london. The islamic regimes in paris and london will also have substantial nuclear arsenals at their disposal and will probably aim the weapons at the United States, Israel, and perhaps even one another as rival caliphates emerge and claim to be the real muslims.

  • Ann

    Europe is hoping for the down fall of AMERICA THE LAND OF THE FREE—HOW said is this that people would want to live under tyranny and not under the FLAG OF THE FREE…

    • Mary Sue

      They're just butthurt because America actually knew what it was doing in the 1980s and showed that being a wimp didn't get things done: re: keeping Russia out of their back yards.

  • Ghostwriter

    I don't know how they'll react if Romney wins. I doubt they'll like it.