It's been fun to watch the American press covering how foreigners react to Barack Obama. First we heard how nominee Obama was inspiring the black working class in Europe, along with fashionistas. Then president-elect Obama became the toast of the global intelligentsia, for his expected foreign policy changes. But now some little feuds are opening up across the Atlantic that will allow U.S. newspapers to give readers what they crave: A chance to laugh at sad, bickering Euros. Based on what the Times of London is saying, we foresee some front-page coverage!
International tensions erupted after Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi joked that Obama had an admirable suntan. Ha... ha?
Then the French first lady, Carla Bruni, went after Berlusconi. She used to be Italian and was frankly embarrassed:
When I hear Silvio Berlusconi ... joke about the fact that Obama is ’always tanned’, that makes me feel funny,” she told le Journal du Dimanche newspaper. “That will be put down to humour. But often, I am very happy that I have become French,” she said.
This makes Bruni's husband Nicolas Sarkozy uncomfortable, because he wants Berlusconi to go along with his European economic bailout plan.
But also Bruni is getting all mouthy, backing a French affirmative action measure and talking about how the French are horrible racists.
The petition, titled “Yes We Can” - Mr Obama’s campaign slogan - said that his “election illustrated by a cruel contrast the failings of the French Republic.” It added: “By neglecting its own diversity, France has driven to despair a whole swathe of its youth and has prevented it from being proud of its country.”
Embarrassing! OK Germans, now it's your turn to get all wrapped up in this mess. We promise to pay attention, for once, to whatever you say, since we want to revel in your inevitable regret, at least until our current president also says something awful and we remember the last eight years and just hide until the end of January.