The View from Europe (Well, Sweden…)


A few pearls of wisdom from the news and editorial pages of the Swedish media:

foreign correspondent Wolfgang Hansson repeats the conventional wisdom, arguing that Obama would beat Romney in a national election. And then claims, because we are a nation of horrible racists, that "the US is more ready for a female president than a black president…Romney loses big in opinion polls when running against Obama and Clinton." Apparently, though, we still hate Mormons more. There is also considerable worry that the Mormon candidate will privatize the Swedish booze industry. Under the headline "Presidential Candidate Could Become Vodka King," Aftonbladet reports that "American presidential candidate Mitt Romney wants to buy the state-owned alcohol company Vin & Spirit. He is a part owner of Bain Capital, a company that recently placed a bid for the company." Scary stuff.

Headline of the day, also from the left-wing tabloid Aftonbladet: "Hillary's Secret Weapon: Tears Could Give Her Another Victory."

Over at Svenska Dagbladet, the country's largest conservative daily, opinion page editor PJ Anders Linder offers an endorsment: "If I were two people in California tonight—one red and one blue—I would cast my vote for John McCain and Barack Obama. As a Swede, I would switch out Obama for Clinton." More evidence in support of Alvaro Vargas Llosa's contention that the European right is "more enthusiastic about Obama" than the left.

Dagens Nyheter (DN), the country's largest broadsheet, reports objectively on conservative opposition to McCain: "'McCain will destroy the Republican party,' thundered the aggressive radio host Rush Limbaugh…James Dobson, one of the Christian right's trendsetting leaders, says that he can't support McCain as the Republican presidential candidate, and Ann Coulter, the poisonous, Clinton-hating conservative commentator, went so far as to promise to vote for Hillary Clinton if McCain wins the nomination. According to Coulter, Clinton is the more conservative of the two." Also from DN, a Swedish political scientist ponies up this brilliant bit of analysis: "Since he is new and fresh, there is something a little JFK about him—but a black version."

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  1. the US is more ready for a female president than a black president

    that is the conventional european and left wisdom. Average american joe is a racist. actually, being from iowa I can say we don’t discriminate against skin color, we discriminate against stupid cultures. I think that goes for most of the midwest at least.

  2. … nation of horrible racists

    The Swedes apparently hate all inferior races equally as their ghettos are multi-ethnic.

    see: Ethnic segregation and Educational Attainment in Sweden
    Martin Nordin November 1,2006

  3. Then again Sweden did have a state eugenics program until the seventies, but I’m splitting hairs now.

  4. I guess it’s a lot easier to manage handouts when nobody’s retarded.

  5. The thing people have to remember about Dobson, Coulter, Limbaugh, and the rest of the gang is that they have the president they want right now. If Reagan showed up today, they’d still want GWB.

    The thing that makes them increasingly irrelevant is that the rest of the nation (even a good number of Republicans in private moments) don’t seem to think agree.

  6. Obama is black? Hmm. I didn’t even notice.

  7. God, you just reminded me how glad I am not to be in Europe. I’ve spent a lot of time there and am quite familiar with the skewed way they cover us in their media.

    Unfortunately, the “Americans are horrible racists” trope is common all over the world (including in the country on our northern border, and in our own liberal metropoles).

  8. I maintain that “America” is much much more at ease with a man as president, regardless of race, than with a woman, even if she is white.

  9. Well, Aftonbladet is well known in Sweden for being a retarded newpaper. Think Fox News for the left, but more smug about it.
    DN is also the newspaper that wrote that “Bush won’t go up for re-election since he feels he can’t win it”. You know, instead of the fact that he’s not allowed another term.

    The coverage of USA from Sweden is always dumb and ignorant, and have a whole lot a smug rightousness, I can’t read the crap anymore.

  10. The views of foreigners (especially those uppity Europeans) are often regarded in the states as based on ignorance.

    This is natural enough: when they don’t accord with what the person who considers them has already pre-determined uncritically as their own views, comments from ‘outsiders’ are easy to reject. They are also often rejected because of prejudice and a sense of pride- how can these stupid people be right when they don’t choose to be the same as us and think the same as us, and don’t see us as we see ourselves. We are important and special and of course people who see us in any other way must be wrong.

    When the view from abroad resonates with our own view of the world, however, they re-affirm that person’s own views. The latter seems to happen less often than the former these days.

    What is rarest of all is for an American to actually listen to someone from outside his world with respect, think about what is being said and change their view of the world as a result.

    In this case, I agree that the views of the Swedish press on a US election are irrelevant to its outcome. But gaps in understanding are things which should concern people rather than amuse them. What has happened to America and her place in the world that possibly the only thing her friends in Europe seem to have in common with each other in the eyes of Americans is a mutual incomprehension of the United States?

  11. Humble scholar:

    The comment about Bush not running for a third term because he doesn’t think he can win strikes me as beyond dumb in a national newspaper, so I cannot discount the dumb factor in the Swedish media.

    Second, the Sedish academic who compared Obama to JFK, only black, strikes me as having received a Ph.D. in Blindingly Obvious studies.

  12. Knee jerk anti-americanism.

  13. “Since he is new and fresh, there is something a little JFK about him-but a black version.”


    also, i can’t stand McCain, and neither can the GOP base, probably for different reasons, but still i would be happier if they nominated Romney over McCain or Huckabee. McCain is too hawkish on the war(100 years?), and I don’t trust our economy in Huckabee’s hands.

    I thought about voting for Obama until i watched the last Democratic debate, spend spend spend tax tax tax, mandatory health ins and universal(mandatory?) pre-k, no thank you.

  14. I maintain that “America” is much much more at ease with a man as president, regardless of race, than with a woman, even if she is white.

    Gloria Steinem recently asserted that in a NYT piece that was wonderfully untouched by references. A quick poll of Fortune 500 CEOs illustrates the badongness of this argument.

    Fortune 500 CEOs
    white women: 10
    blacks, all: 4

  15. Some sense – I agree about the third term howler.

    The Ph.d. who came up with the blindingly obvious comment is refreshing (though he could have been quoted out of context). Isn’t it the case sometimes that the blindingly obvious gets ignored when we are all trying to find something clever to say?

  16. Haha, Timbro spreading lies as usual. This time to Americans. =D

  17. I’m sure if Sweden HAD any black people, they’d have had many black presidents by now.

  18. It seems to me that foreign papers first duty ought to be to promote the most positive view of the US. Why are we letting them exist if they don’t?

    We always portray them in a positive light. Don’t we?

  19. Can we finally put the notion to bed that Eurpoeans know more about Americans than we do about them?

    As the child of a European immigrant, I can assure you that Europeans are highly ignorant of America.

  20. Paul, it’s relative. We, as libertarians see America as approaching an over-regulated police/nanny-state that is hindering business from moving forward. My German friends say they thought America was very pro-business with little to prevent commerce. We’re both right from our own perspectives.

    Americans wouldn’t put up with the government regulation of business in Germany any more than the Germans would put up with the government regulation of sex and alcohol in America.

  21. “I’m sure if Sweden HAD any black people, they’d have had many black presidents by now.”

    Sweden does have black people due to its generous refugee acceptance policies.

    They largely live in suburban public housing projects, similar to the French ones, isolated from mainstream Swedish life and subsisting on public assistance.

    Look for the subject of race to become a bigger and bigger issue in Swedish society as the criminality of the “immigrant” suburbs spills over into the larger community and native Swedish workers increasingly resent the level of taxation necessary to maintain benefits there.

  22. And for unselfconscious racism on a level that would horrify most Americans, it is hard to beat the Danes.

  23. The Swedish Nobel Winner may be right, but I don’t think she knows America well. Hillary may be smart, but she is ruthless, conniving, and power-hungry. I guess the Eurocentric, racist attitude that she is projecting has a fear that a black man will become President. If black slaves can build America, then a black has a right to seek and get elected to the highest office in the land. Its now really in the hands of powerful, spiritual forces, not DEM superdelegates.

    Obama should never play second fiddle to Hillary. What the uninformed Swede does not know is that the American population does not want Hillary. She cannot win swing states like Missouri. And, she is a witch, liar, and pulls too many stunts to try to be the nominee.

    Evidently, Obama is willing to make that sacrifice, and he will be protected by a higher force. That force can move mountains, streams, valleys, and lakes.

    I would never vote for Hillary. She is too polarizing and divisive figure.

  24. Someone needs to take a closer look at DN. In spite of the writing you quoted they have been strangly partisan in their reporting of the democratic race, describing Obama as “inferior” after Super Tuesday. Of course every paper has its biases, but I found this unusual for Swedish media, and I hope that people start talking about it.

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