I like international polls. They present so much better a picture of how the world sees America than the assertions of the right wing about how disrespected we are because of President Obama. There was a poll during the second Bush/Cheney term that ranked the most dangerous men in the world. George W. Bush beat out Osama bin Laden for the top slot.
As you are probably aware (since all of our readers are educated, intelligent and well-informed people) the whole world has suffered along with us in The Great Recession. Contrary to the bleating on the right, it was not rampant socialism that took down Europe, but the same rampant, uncontrolled financial services industry that wiped out our housing markets and drove the stock market into a ditch. China was the last to feel the effects, but their recent GDP numbers show a dramatic and worrying slowing of their economy. Most European countries are in double dip recessions or full depressions.
So, an international poll asked business executives around the world what they thought would happen after our election. The specific question was “will the world’s economy prosper better if incumbent President Barack Obama wins the next election than if his Republican challenger Mitt Romney does. Of the 1,700 respondents, 42.7% thought the world would be better off with the President, 20.5% thought it would do better with businessman Romney and 36.8% thought neither would impact the world’s economy. Europeans understand that the crisis in the Eurozone is not something that the United States can measurably impact. Americans, on the other hand, don’t seem to understand that the crisis in the Eurozone is slowing our recovery.
I leave American election polls to smarter people than me, specifically to Nate Silver who is just plain brilliant at it. International polls are another matter. Republicans love to say things like “President Clinton has embarrassed us around the world,” when in truth most of the world thought it was the Republican Congress that was being ridiculous. We Americans are juvenile amateurs at sex scandals. And now they are saying that our President has “bowed to our enemies” and “apologized for our country,” and is diminishing us in the eyes of the world. That’s bull. The American presidents in the last half-century most admired by the rest of the world are Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, because they treated the rest of the world with respect and did not believe respect was a consequence of fear.
Europeans in particular are less than impressed with Romney because his ideas are not just the ones that created this morass, but they are the same ones being used to cope with the Eurozone crisis, the ones that have failed miserably and caused the double dips and the depressions. Which just makes it all the funnier to have Romney say that if we follow the path the President prefers, we will end up like Greece.