I would make a modest prediction that in 2012, after four years of the man who was supposed to heal America’s relations with a world sick of all that swaggering cowboy unilateralism, those relations will be much worse. From Canada to India, the implications of the Obama ascendancy are becoming painfully clear. The other week Der Spiegel ran a piece called “Why Obamania Isn’t The Answer,” which might more usefully have been published before the Obamessiah held his big Berlin rally. Written by some big shot with the German Council on Foreign Relations and illustrated by the old four-color hopey-changey posters all scratched up and worn out, the essay conceded that Europe had embraced Obama as a “European American.” Very true. The president is the most European American ever to sit in the Oval Office. And, because of that, he doesn’t need any actual European Europeans getting in the way — just as, at his big victory night rally in Chicago, the first megastar president didn’t need any megastar megastars from Hollywood clogging up the joint: Movie stars who wanted to fly in were told by his minders that he didn’t want any other celebrities deflecting attention from him. Same with world leaders. If it’s any consolation to Gordon Brown, he’s just not that into any of you.
— Mark Steyn, “Global meltdown no sweat for Obama,” Jewish World Review, March 9, 2009, about a month and a half after Mr. Obama took office.
President Obama has reached that unhappy moment in which his best defenders are the cynics.
The world-weary porters of low expectations for political courage and reform are rousing themselves to the president’s defense, telling his detractors left and right to demand less of Obama.
Obama has always had his defenders against the impossibly high expectations he encouraged during his 2008 candidacy for the hopes and dreams of a frustrated electorate. Each broken promise wasn’t necessarily a failure, they argued, but rather a president of limited experience learning the ways of the world – conforming himself to Washington and political reality.
In Europe, the 2008 vision of Obama — as Michael Knox Beran dubbed it “hero worship of a charismatic shaman” — has been slow to die.
The idol of 2008, a healer of the Age of Oprah, dissolved faster in the eyes of the American people. The man who promised that we could “be the change” we wanted if we only could “believe,” had been mostly replaced by 2010 with a guy who often explained that things were much worse than he thought and that we could only “be the change” if Republicans stopped being so Republican-y.
In Europe, where the idea of a non-white president still sounds impossibly remote, the image of Obama as shaman was still somewhat intact. Until this week, that is.
— “Obama Backers Mount Glum Case for Low Expectations,” Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, July 2nd, 2013.