The Political Junkie offers an outside-looking- in view of the US. Each day, we will highlight news and opinion pieces from around the world that are focused on US politics and policy. Agree or disagree with the opinions you will read but take a few minutes to see yourselves as others see you.
International edition NYT: The bully becomes the bullied
The International Herald Tribune
Obama’s (Perceived) Transformation
“the most divisive, nasty, negative campaigner that this country’s ever
seen,” the head of the Republican National Committee claimed, and the
party’s presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney, assured his followers that Obama was “going to do everything in his power to make this the lowest, meanest negative campaign in history.”
For those of us who remember the attacks on Obama in 2008, this is a
notable shift. Four years ago the book on Obama was not that he would
fight dirty but that he would not fight at all. Before Obama became the
Great Deceiver of Men, he was a pinot-noir-sipping weakling who was a horrible bowler, marveled at arugula
and otherwise failed at manhood. The gospel among Republicans, and even
many Democrats, held that Obama was yet another espouser of effete liberalism, a tradition allegedly pioneered by Adlai Stevenson, elevated by Jimmy Carter, apotheosized by Michael Dukakis, and admirably upheld by a windsurfing John Kerry.
But a funny thing happened on the way to 2012. As it turns out, the
ingesting of arugula in no way interferes with one’s ability to have
Osama bin Laden shot. Mitt Romney may attack Obama for “apologizing for
America” overseas. But the audience for that charge is thin. In polls,
Obama consistently beats Romney on national security. A recent Ipsos/Reuters poll found Obama leading Romney on the issue 47 to 38 percent and the campaign against terrorism 50 to 35 percent.
Among the ranks of bullies, the only fair fight is the one that ends
with them laughing and kicking sand. And so, no longer able to portray
Obama as weak, the authors of Willie Horton, swift-boating and modern
day poll-taxing have been reduced to other tactics — among them wildly
yelping, “Please, Mr. President, nothing to the face.”