From the Guardian's Johnathan Freedland, this commenton his predicted reaction of the world if Obama fails in November. There will be a predictable number of comments from right-wing Americans excoriating him for daring to suggest the great US voting population is less than perfect. Or that the opinions of Europe, or of the world count for aught...(after all, didn't the US save the effete Europeans twice in the last century?) But what does it say of us that Obama's demonstrated appeal outside the US actually hurts him here?
For a country, and a party that is constantly saber-rattling its way around the world, this is a remarkably short-sighted attitude. The US will not for ever be able to march into countries and invade them at no risk to itself; it will be able to ignore world opinion only so long. Or so I feel. And Freedland agrees:
The feeling is familiar. I had it four years ago and four years before that: a sinking feeling in the stomach. It's a kind of physical pessimism which says: "It's happening again. The Democrats are about to lose an election they should win - and it could not matter more."
In my head, I'm not as anxious for Barack Obama's chances as I was for John Kerry's in 2004 or Al Gore's in 2000. He is a better candidate than both put together, and all the empirical evidence says this year favours Democrats more than any since 1976. But still, I can't shake off the gloom.
...If Sarah Palin defies the conventional wisdom that says elections are determined by the top of the ticket, and somehow wins this for McCain, what will be the reaction? Yes, blue-state America will go into mourning once again, feeling estranged in its own country. A generation of young Americans - who back Obama in big numbers - will turn cynical, concluding that politics doesn't work after all. And, most depressing, many African-Americans will decide that if even Barack Obama - with all his conspicuous gifts - could not win, then no black man can ever be elected president.
But what of the rest of the world? This is the reaction I fear most. For Obama has stirred an excitement around the globe unmatched by any American politician in living memory. Polling in Germany, France, Britain and Russia shows that Obama would win by whopping majorities, with the pattern repeated in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. If November 4 were a global ballot, Obama would win it handsomely. If the free world could choose its leader, it would be Barack Obama.
....Let's not forget, McCain's campaign manager boasts that this election is "not about the issues."
Of course I know that even to mention Obama's support around the world is to hurt him. Incredibly, that large Berlin crowd damaged Obama at home, branding him the "candidate of Europe" and making him seem less of a patriotic American. But what does that say about today's America, that the world's esteem is now unwanted? If Americans reject Obama, they will be sending the clearest possible message to the rest of us - and, make no mistake, we shall hear it.