This morning, however, the Paris Marianne website argued the tea party victories weren't a tidal wave of success: “They had predicted Barack Obama would be met with the worst kind of electoral rout … but the Democrats have managed to save their majority at the Senate."
Over the past several months, Europeans, who have been somewhat rapt with the tea party movement, have been trying to find reasons, if not excuses, for why Obama has grown unpopular stateside.
In the German press, a leitmotif has emerged that Obama is getting his comeuppance. “The Election Debacle: A Settling of Accounts with Mr. Perfect,” read a headline in Der Spiegel.
Europeans are using the tenure of President George W. Bush to gauge the direction in which the tea party could move the country. While Peggy Noonan, former Reagan White House speechwriter, described the tea party in a recent Wall Street Journal Op-Ed as moving Republicans beyond Bush, Europeans appear tone deaf to that nuance.
“The coverage was more than I’ve ever seen in a midterm,” says political scientist Nicole Bacharan at the Paris-based Sciences Po, a leading academic institution in France. “We want to see if it is again the Bush America, the tea party, the very conservative, the intolerant. Is that America still there and powerful and maybe not what we thought?”