Barack Obama seems to be the more personable candidate in this election-in the United States as well as abroad. His view of change and making a difference is deeply affecting and has obviously won over Europeans even more so than Americans. After reading the “Vive la Obama Difference! Why the French Love Barack Obama,” article I was amazed by how supportive the French were of him. Though I am sure there are many great leaders in the world, I don’t believe I have ever followed one from another country; where I have been so inspired by a person overseas that I looked at them as one of my own leaders who would make a difference for my country.
In the article, Samuel Solvit, a strong Obama supporter states,
“I’m not an American … It’s your election first…But I am a world citizen, and what you do will affect us … If we see that the U.S. is changing, it’s good for all of us.” He continues to say, “Everything is moving. He [Obama] is a symbol of this new evolution.”
This abundance of support for Obama also came as somewhat of a shock because as someone mentioned in class, the French have a pretty conservative leader. However, it shows despite those views, Obama is inspirational enough that he is capable of swaying people from more conservative backgrounds.
With that said, it struck me as odd when in an article titled “McCain Campaign’s Double-Talk on Obama’s Patriotism Largely Ignored by Press,” that I found on the Real Clear Politics website attacked Obama’s patriotism because of his widespread support overseas. Not only did the article talk about the attacks but also how McCain’s camp was contradicting because Obama’s patriotism was supposedly not to be discussed by them. One instance where the article exploits this is when it touches on a statement by Charlie Black (McCain adviser) saying, “We don’t want to talk about his patriotism and character… We concede that he’s a patriot and person of good character.” But then, the article expresses how the campaign completely contradicts this statement.
McCain surrogates as well as people like Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney attack Obama’s patriotism because things such as his suggestion that parents make their children bi-lingual. Giuliani felt that “Obama was successfully ‘capturing’ an ‘anti-American feeling’ that exists in Europe.” I think this is a ridiculous accusation and there are many countries where children are taught to be bilingual-not to distance themselves from their own country, but to relate and gain knowledge from others. I don’t see how this is a bad thing to be encouraged.
Joe Lieberman pours salt on the wound using Obama’s patriotism or lack there of, as ammo by first off stating “Obama hasn’t always put his country first,” and going on to say the election is “between one candidate, John McCain, who has always put the country first, worked across party lines to get things done, and one candidate who has not.” Yet another statement about Obama’s patriotism that was endorsed by the McCain campaign after it was not to be discussed. I believe that if the McCain camp chooses to bring up Obama’s patriotism, they should be consistent. After all, the only way McCain can get more support is by bashing Obama and putting some sort of fear into the people. However, this is only going to work if the McCain camp is in sync with one another.
I think either way questioning a candidate’s patriotism at all is strange. If Obama did not love his country, I doubt that he would have run for President in the first place. I also think that the amount of support he has overseas can only be a good thing for our country. America has been put down on the popularity scale since the Bush administration, and it would only make sense that our country would want more support and regain support from other countries.