It started the moment the election was called. Looking flushed, Charlie Rose turned for proof of our assured global redemption after the horrors of the Bush years to that grande French talking tête, Bernard-Henri Lévy. The Parisian in the open white dress shirt, made to order casual from London without half the buttons sewn on, loved right back.To be fair, Kaminski's next para continues: "Even with Obama at the White House, they won't really like us any more than before."
News from overseas fed the excitement. The birthplace of Obama Père, Kenya, declared a national holiday. Western Europeans, the Chinese and Russians (the people if not their rulers), even that fabled Arab Street, all seemed to rejoice. So many of us have heard from family and friends overseas awed--as Bill Clinton once said--by the "mystery of American renewal." A black man, the son of a foreigner, a virtual unknown a mere four years ago, rose to the highest office on the planet. Only in America, they say, What a country! They mean it, and they're right.
Of course, Andrew Sullivan told us it would be so on the cover of last December's Atlantic--and subsequently told us, repeatedly, that he'd told us that "Obama matters" because the world will see us differently. He has plenty of company in the commentariat and among (admittedly) Democratic politicians. All together, they channel Gidget: "You like me, right now, you like me!" I imagine Sally Field (of 1985 Oscar ceremony fame) partakes fully in the Obama-as-America's-salvation-overseas mania, though I haven't bothered to ask.