So Hurricane Gustav, while bad, was hardly as bad as first feared. That means that the Republican national convention is now back on, as of yesterday, at full force – or at least at as full a force as they can muster while belatedly and unexpectedly putting things back in motion for what is now a three-day assembly. Philippe Remarque is there on the scene in St. Paul, MN for De Volkskrant (a Dutch newspaper, of course; yes, Remarque may have an ultra-French name, but he’s a Dutch reporter), and reports (Republican convention: more whites, less dancing) that the contrast he finds there with last week’s Democratic convention in Denver is like night and day. (more…)
He came out to the podium, he gazed out upon the 80,000 upturned faces aglow – and then last night Senator Barack Obama laid out his vision for his presidential campaign and for the presidency presumably to follow.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying here to push any Republican-inspired “Messiah” or “Moses-parting-the-seas” irony to cast last evening’s events in a disparaging light. Indeed, it was an impressive spectacle – complete with letter-perfect weather! – that itself rightly dominated the news-cycle and to which reactions still dominate that news-cycle this morning.
The same is not quite true in Europe, which has plenty else to talk about today, but Barack Obama’s speech has still gotten plenty of attention even now (i.e. as your EuroSavant writes this), less than 12 hours after it was delivered. Let’s again start with reactions from those who were vouchsafed their own up-close look at the Senator’s speechifying, last July in Berlin, namely the Germans. (more…)
In my troll through the European-press Net today for something interesting in reaction to Hillary Clintons’ speech to the Democratic National Convention of early this morning (CET), I made it through quite a bit of the French and the Danish but didn’t really find any sort of contrary view or interesting perspective to pass on. I guess the key to judging the New York senator’s performance was listening and watching very closely to spot any signs of left-over rancor or half-heartedness in the support for Barack Obama that she was professing for herself and urging all Democrats to share, and no doubt that sort of analysis is always best left to those closely sharing both her American English idiom and cultural background. The coverage I looked at basically swallowed her professions of loyalty hook, line, and sinker – and who knows, maybe she did really mean it – although I did discover the French equivalent of her new tag line “No way, no how, no McCain.” It’s D’aucune façon il ne faut McCain – and for once, my friends (as the presumptive Republican candidate himself would put it), I have to admit that the French language comes up second-best in the hard-hitting slogan department.
(Oh, and why French and Danish today? Just following this weblog’s general modus operandi, i.e. because I felt like it, although I also had a sense of not having discussed anything French or Danish lately and wanted to re-balance things a bit.)
However, I did run across an interesting piece by Johan Vardrup, the reporter sent to Denver by the well-respected Danish daily Berlingske Tidende, entitled Republicans hold happy hour for Hillary. From its very first line in the lede (“What won’t one do to fish for votes?”) you get a clear-cut sense of Vardrup’s attitude here: Damn, these Americans truly play some electoral hardball! (more…)
One of the leading German newsmagazines, Focus, has discovered the reality that apparently much of the US media is loth to acknowledge: that a triumph for Hillary Clinton in the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination is virtually out of the question. As the magazine published on-line in Democrats lose patience with Clinton, Hillary’s continuing claim that she has the better prospects to defeat Republican John McCain for the presidency is still not gaining much traction among the Democratic “party elite.” And, in a section sub-headed “Incorruptible Mathematics,” the magazine puts forward the calculations that, if Obama can continue to win elected delegates at the 53% share he has achieved so far, by the end of the primary process he would only need 80 more to achieve the required 2,025 for nomination. Clinton, by contrast, has to win 65% of the delegates in the remaining ten primaries (including Guam and Puerto Rico) just to pull even with Obama at that point. (more…)
The French-language Belgian newspaper La Libre Belgique (on-line it’s just La Libre) takes a look the US presidential race, Democratic side, in its article The Democrats Think About After 4 March. (Admittedly, it appears that the ultimate source for this report is the French news agency, Agence France-Presse.)
In the view of things propounded here, the situation doesn’t look particularly good for the Democratic Party: “[t]he Democratic claimants to the White House seem to be prepared for a terrible war of attrition beyond 4 March,” whereas on the Republican side John McCain can relax and look forward to Tuesday’s results mathematically making him the official Republican Party candidate. (more…)
John Kerry delivered his acceptance speech last Thursday night to bring the Democratic National Convention to its culmination, and the German press was certainly paying attention. But this should have been no surprise to readers of the Economist (subscription required), which this week reminds us how Germans massively dislike George W. Bush, and so are presumably very interested in the personality and prospects of the alternative candidate who can send him packing to Crawford, Texas. (That Economist article, unfortunately, also dwells on Germans’ current dislike for the US generally – but, like the country or not, they surely cannot be under the delusion that the result of November’s presidential election has no impact on them.)
Unfortunately, most of the articles I surveyed in the German press covering Kerry’s acceptance speech were happy to limit themselves to a mere “translation function,” i.e. explaining to their readers what Kerry said. Most disappointing was such a “translator” article in Die Zeit (Kerry Wants to Restore the USA’s Prestige), from which we ordinarily can expect better – and that article itself was borrowed from the German business newspaper Handelsblatt. EuroSavant readers presumably had plenty of opportunity to read in English what Kerry said, if they didn’t already see the speech on TV live, so such articles are not so useful.
Handelsblatt wisely chose to keep its higher value-added materials for itself, though, as we can see from its editorial on Kerry’s speech (Bridge-Builder Kerry) from correspondent Michael Backfisch. (more…)
Day one of the 2004 Democratic National Convention is now past, and if there is a common theme to coverage in the Danish press, it’s Bill Clinton. Clinton, and to a lesser extent Hillary, continue to command fascination from audiences beyond America’s borders, so the Danish dailies lead their international coverage (although it’s never the top story of the day, sorry to have to disappoint you) with pictures of Clinton and translated quotes about how, for example, “John Kerry is a good man, who knows how to steer a ship through troubled waters” (from Politiken’s Clinton Works for a Kerry Victory).
But that’s generally the same in them all; that’s boring. Let’s turn instead to the more-diverse side-articles, such as crack Berlingske Tidende political writer Paul Høi’s first-hand encounters with security in Boston-town (We’re Off to Boston, My Friend). (more…)
The great and the merely good – around 35,000 people in all – are now assembling for the Democratic National Convention in Boston, and among those who have arrived is the French politician Pierre Moscovici, whose last flight to the United States, on September 11, 2001, actually passed over a smoking New York City on its way to the nearest available airport. Now he has returned under what are obviously rather happier circumstances, with his purpose, as he puts it, “to bring the support of the Socialist Party” for John Kerry. (more…)
Yes, I’ve been “off-line” for a while, as my just-completed US trip went through its final, most-business-intensive phase. But, as of today, I’m back on-station in Amsterdam and prepared to plunge back fully into those national presses over here on this side of the water that I cover.
Remarkably, during the time that I was criss-crossing the US (from 19 January until yesterday) the Democrats have basically come up with their candidate to challenge George W. Bush in the fall for the presidency, demolishing one front-runner (Howard Dean, of course) and elevating another (John Kerry). Scanning the German press for coverage of this, Die Zeit does a particularly good job, all the more because this newspaper’s editors don’t let its status as a weekly get in the way of that coverage; there’s always the web-site, after all, to send an article to when it is timely and ready, even if the printing-presses are not, as with this article (“John Kerry Remains Favorite”), which appeared shortly after the conclusion of last Tuesday’s Democratic Party primaries in seven states. (more…)