Viewing the United States through the eyes of a foreign national is one thing. And viewing the United States through the eyes of foreign media professionals is another thing.
So as we close-out 2008, and begin a new year with the soon-to-be President Obama, the view from the “foreign news desk” may shed some light on some of the ways in which the world misunderstands both our country, and our President-elect.
I don’t have any “McCain scandal” to tell. No tabloid-style inside scoop about John McCain and Sarah Palin squabbling behind the scenes on election night, or Palin’s daughter’s boyfriend’s mom doing drugs, or “marital tension” boiling-over between celebrity Sarah and jealous husband Todd.
But on November 4, I was at McCain-Palin headquarters in John McCain’s hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. The headquarters were set-up at the luxurious Arizona Biltmore Hotel and Resort, a facility where Mr. McCain has spent election day for every one of his previous Senate campaigns, relaxing and watching the returns being reported.
I was hunkered-down in the “central media center,“ which was, essentially, a very large banquet facility packed with electronic equipment, and journalists and technicians from, literally, all over the world.
By 1pm Mountain Time, having watched multiple reports on the Fox Newschannel and CNN about “exit interviews” at polling centers on the east coast, there was a bit of a “lull in the action.” That’s when Ian, a reporter from Dublin, Ireland seated at the work station next to me, asked me to join him for lunch. And after some shop talk over food and beverages, the conversation got really interesting.
“You realize Europe wants Obama to win this thing, don’t you?” he asked.
“I know that’s a widely-held perception” I replied.
“You don’t think the polls are accurate?” he asked.
“I’m skeptical of them."
“The problem with McCain,” Ian explained, “is that he is perceived as being another war monger, jus like Bush, and Europe is fed-up with Bush.”
“Yes, that is another widely-held perception” I told him. “But I’m even skeptical of this supposed hatred of Bush.”
“What’s to be skeptical about?” he asked.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.