I asked Bryna how the Dutch reacted to Obama's win. She gave a reply interesting enough to publish --Rob KallObama won the election months ago in The Netherlands. The media had been following us Democrats around for months, we were interviewed on radio and tv, sat on panels, asked to write articles for news websites, all the while laughing about the fact that the Republicans living here were pretty much being ignored. At a discussion-debate evening last spring, I sat in a Dutch audience that voted overwhelmingly for Obama, with a few votes for Hillary Clinton and a timid show of hands for McCain.
After seven years, Europe had had enough of Bush and his band of thieves and thugs. Journalists here were freer here than in the states to write informative and nuanced articles about McCain’s voting record, his advisors, where his money came from and how relevant his so-called heroism was, so he had few Dutch admirers. Clinton had her supporters until she and Bill started sniping at Obama and suggesting even McCain was a better choice. But all of this was a sideline to the real story, and that was Obama, his incredibly successful grass-roots campaign, his intelligent and sympathetic speeches and his cool, especially his cool!
So the election night parties were attended by more Dutch people than Americans. In Amsterdam alone there were three big events, and at one there were camp beds so that people could catch a nap before the first results started coming in at about 2 a.m. In Groningen, a university city in the east, 1,000 people bought tickets to the party the city threw. An American breakfast was served at all these events, and a lot of people did not go to work Wednesday.
He won, people cried (I mean, we knew he would, but you know, the voting machines, the dirty tricks at the polls) and laughed and congratulated their American friends and neighbors, and then the media started wondering whether a Democratic government is good news for Europe. Will Congress be center-left or center-right, will protectionism be part of the program needed to move the working- and middle-classes up the economic ladder and will that mean trouble for Europe, will Obama really get us out of the hell-holes of Iraq and Afghanistan, and so on. I expect the media will continue to follow American politics with as much excitement, concern and hope as any of your readers.