For Obama, this is no summer of '08
Remember the summer of 2008? Remember then-senator Obama getting a fanatical reception from some Europeans? It was embarassing to watch adults treat a man they didn't know a thing about like someone who had an answer for every problem in the world.
They called the speech "historic," but who remembers a word he said? The Guardian did express some concern about the reaction:
For the man who has brought rock-star charisma to electoral politics, today saw the campaign rally as pop festival, a summer gathering of peace, love -- and loathing of George Bush.
Taking what he calls his "improbable journey" to the heart of Europe, Barack Obama succeeded in closing down one of Berlin's main thoroughfares tonight, luring the city's young in their tens of thousands to stand in the evening sunshine and hear him spin his dreams of hope, not for America this time, but for the whole world.
The young and the pierced, some with guitars slung over their shoulders, others barefoot, jammed up against each other to cheer on a man who in less than a year has become the world's most popular serving politician, even if, as yet, he has been elected to no office grander than the junior Senate seat for Illinois.
They are not cheering today. In Germany, thousands marched against free trade deals and carried posters that reminded us of the ones about Bush. In Saudi Arabia, he was greeted by the governor of a state or province rather than a high-level delegation. In London, he got into trouble every time he opened his mouth.
In 2008, we heard about his brilliance. Today, we read about his arrogance:
Obama’s election in 2008 inspired the world. But after eight years, it’s hard not to blame his abrasive style of politics for the rise of anti-politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Americans are rebelling against the emergence of an imperial presidency. As Barack Obama offers his hand to the Queen this week, and lectures the British on their place in the world, voters here might feel somewhat resentful, too.
From brilliance to arrogance and now failure.
President Obama has failed to project U.S. power the way his predecessors did. In 2008, thousands longed for a U.S. president who didn't project power but rather led with words that told them what they wanted to hear.
The Europeans and most of our allies have seen the consequences of that soft style and can't wait for America to be America again – the superpower that protected them all of those years. They will never say it, but they long for Bush or a leader of the free world again.
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