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The WORLD Hopes for its first President

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The world hopes for its first president

Fascinating article from Newsweek. I'll paste the first page here and you can go here for the rest.


The world has never watched any vote, in any nation, so closely. In country after country, polls show record-high fascination with the outcome of the U.S. elections this Tuesday.


In Japan, according to one poll, there's more interest in the election than there is in the United States. The Voice of America, which broadcasts in 45 languages to a worldwide audience of 134 million, is seeing "unprecedented interest." In Pakistan there was so much interest in the first presidential debate, the VOA changed its initial plans and broadcast the next two as well.


Indonesians and Kenyans, are of course fascinated and somewhat astonished by the fact that Barack Obama, a man with ties to both places, should be the front runner, and in Vietnam, there is much discussion over John McCain, a man who returned home from Hanoi in 1973 a wounded man and spent the rest of his life in dedicated service to the United States.


Europe is thrilled by the prospect that whatever happens this week it will mean the end of George W. Bush, and enraptured by the sheer spectacle of it all. James Dickmeyer, the director of the Foreign Press Centers, which helps international press cover U.S. political campaigns, says foreign journalists swarmed not only the Iowa caucuses but even the Iowa State Fair's Straw Poll, which they had never covered before.


Bob Worcester, the American-born founder of the London-based polling and research firm Mori, has worked in more than 40 countries, and says he has "never ever seen any election in which so many people in so many places have been so interested."


It's very clear who they are interested in: Barack Obama. John McCain and Sarah Palin are by all accounts still in the race, but McCain has become a political cipher in a world that has of late tuned into Obama 24/7. (Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, is an afterthought to the international audience).


Obama went into Election Day with a steady lead in U.S. polls, averaging about 50 percent to 44 percent for McCain, but he was headed for a landslide around the world, topping polls in virtually every nation often by strong margins: 70 percent in Germany, 75 percent in China and so on. Somewhere along the road to the White House, Obama became the world's candidate-a reminder that for all the talk of America's decline, for all the visceral hatred of Bush, the rest of the world still looks upon the United States as a land of hope and opportunity. "The Obama adventure is what makes America magical," French State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights Rama Yade, a Senegalese immigrant who is the only black member of Nicolas Sarkozy's government, recently told Le Parisien.



By the final days, it was as if the world and America were talking about two different elections. In the United States, the pundits framed campaign '08 much as they framed the last election, and the one before. It was a small, almost local obsession with the horse race, with battleground states-not just Ohio but southern Ohio-voter-registration drives, fundraising, ad buys and, of course, that hardy American provincial staple, negative campaigning.


Even the discussion of the "race card" echoed, despite the fact that Obama's race changes everything. Republican attempts to play the card against Obama drew comparisons with the Republicans' 1988 attempt to link Michael Dukakis to a black convict. To a large degree, Obama had become just another Democratic candidate, in the chain linking Dukakis to Clinton to Gore to Kerry.


Outside of the United States, the election played large and transformational: a 21st-century man with whom the whole world can identify versus an old cold-warrior out of synch with the complex political and economic crises of our age. The election, it seemed, had morphed into a meta-election.


If at home, especially as the election neared its end, Obama seemed to be playing down his blackness, his intellect, his eliteness and his progressive ideas, these were the qualities that more and more drew the rest of the world to him. The world loved the idea that a man named Barack Hussein Obama could become America's 44th president after a 200-year string of white guys named Washington and Jefferson, Clinton and Bush. Asia was trying to claim Obama for his Indonesian childhood, Africa for his Kenyan father, and the Middle East for his middle name, says Ahmed Benchemsi, who edits both of Morocco's leading newsweeklies, one in French, one in Arabic.


Once upon a time, McCain, too, was seen as part of the post-Bush American reformation. He was the worldly wise maverick ex-POW with a reputation abroad for hurling bricks at the Republican Party establishment. He was a fixture at European foreign-policy talking shops, and all the more appealing for asserting in 2000, when he ran for president for the first time, that he wouldn't "pander" to the "agents of intolerance" of the religious right, whose grip on U.S. politics has long perplexed and worried outsiders. When in late August McCain chose Palin to be his running mate in a bid for support from conservative evangelicals, his global luster quickly faded.



You think health care is expensive now?
Wait until it's free.
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View PostI always thought the McCain campaign missed an opportunity to go to North Korea and Iran and other terrorist states and run clandestine polls to see who they supported in our race.




Newsweek......Clandestine polls......cwm31.gif


Your Fear is Delicious.....wink.gif

You think health care is expensive now?
Wait until it's free.
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