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Obamamania Across The Pond

Via Ben Smith in Politico, I see that a new poll from the Telegraph in London shows Barack Obama trouncing John McCain among voters in five European countries. But lest TNR readers doubt the poll's veracity, I can confirm this finding with some real, live, first-hand reporting. (That's why they pay me the big bucks!)

As it happens, I was in Europe for the last two weeks. And I, too, saw signs of Obama's popularity there. The first came in Paris, along the banks of the Seine, as I was walking along with my family. A merchant recognized us as Americans--it could have been any number of giveaways, but I'm guessing it was my eight-year-old son's Red Sox garb--and began chanting "O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma" as we passed.

The second hint came in Amsterdam, at a lovely cafe called Restaurant De Eettuin. When the bartender served us, my wife noticed an Obama button on his apron.

His name is Robert Doets. It turns out that he, like a lot of the Dutch, follows American politics quite closely--with a particular focus on the Democratic primary race. By his reckoning, while most of his countrymen preferred Hillary Clinton early on, they've become swept up in Obamamania, too. They particularly like his appeals to unity and bipartisan cooperation, since there's a strong streak of mutual cooperation in Dutch political culture.

Will any of this help Obama politically? Of course not. Europeans don't vote in American elections. And I'm sure a right-wing blogger somewhere is already busy writing about how the poll proves Obama is not a fully authentic American.

But I'm not a campaign operative. I'm just a journalist trying to pass along some facts--and justify a meal expense.

--Jonathan Cohn