This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Hug him tight, Mr. Brown

"Go on, reach out and hug."

Obamamania is about to reach our shores.

This week, the Senator from Illinois and Democrat candidate for the Presidency will visit Europe and the Middle East. He is expected to reach London next Saturday where he will have his photo taken with our Prime Minister outside Downing Street.

It is the first time I can think of that a candidate has taken time off from a busy campaign schedule to go abroad.

It is a high stakes strategy but if it works it will cement Obama's reputation as a truly revolutionary candidate.

Instead of concentrating on domestic concerns like the economy and job losses, Obama is hoping that his ten day trip - taking in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Jordan, Germany, France and the UK - will beef up his foreign policy credentials (where he currently lags behind McCain) and show the American public that he is the right man to have his finger on the button.

It is also clever politics.
His staff must hope that the huge crowds who will inevitably greet Obama when he visits Berlin, Paris and London will provide a brilliant photo opportunity and visual image for the folks back home. It should help hammer home to the American public that Obama offers real change from the Bush years. Only he can enhance America's reputation abroad.

For ten days, Obama will dominate the news cycle. It is the kind of event that has the potential to be hugely exciting, with every anchorman and journalist following the candidate's every move. This could also be dangerous. Obama can not put a foot wrong.

If I was Gordon Brown, I would try and hug him close.

There is already some competition between Brown and Cameron about who is Obama's rightful heir. In terms of politics, principle and instinct it is clearly Brown but Cameron's youthful charisma, star appeal and message of change makes him look dangerously like an Obama clone. Brown needs to tread carefully and maintain his impartiality, but he should start wrapping himself in Obama's cloak now. You never know, some of the magic may rub off.

In the meantime, Obama's visit to Europe will help repair transatlantic relations after the disastrous Bush years and spread his message of change globally.

It is not just the American people who have a stake in this election.

The next President of the United States will face global financial, environmental and security problems that will all need to be addressed. As Barack Obama visits our shores, us Europeans once again look to America to take the lead.

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