Unlike Obama, Americans reject European model – by Michael Barone | Washington Examiner
Unlike Obama, Americans reject European model
By: MICHAEL BARONE
Senior Political Analyst
October 18, 2009
An interesting paradox. Last year America elected a president who, in attitudes and policies, is closer to the elites of Western Europe than any of his predecessors. Yet in the nine months that he has been in office ordinary Americans have been moving away from those attitudes and policies and have increasingly embraced positions that over the years have made Americans distinctive from those in other advanced Western democracies.
Barack Obama’s European tendencies aren’t in doubt. His policies on government spending, taxation, health care and carbon emissions would all tend to bring America in line with European norms, to a far greater degree than any other president of the last 40 years and probably any president ever.
And what of America’s special place in the world? “I believe in American exceptionalism,” Obama said on one of his trips to Europe, “just as I suspect that Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” In other words, not at all. One cannot imagine Presidents Roosevelt, Truman or Kennedy, Eisenhower or Reagan, uttering such sentiments.