Der Spiegel, a leading German daily, ran an op-ed titled “Obama’s Election Debacle: A Settling of Accounts with Mr. Perfect” that minced few words, accusing Obama of failing to take advantage of opportunities or to convey empathy to Americans. The writer called the Democrat defeat a (negative) referendum on Obama’s presidency:
The debacle, the largest loss of seats for the president's party in more than half a century, isn't just a warning for Obama. It is a demolition. For two years, Obama was allowed to hope that he had managed to capture the heads of American voters in addition to their hearts. In fact, however, he only managed to find his way to their hearts, and only for a short time.
Der Spiegel’s news coverage of the midterms, which called it the “election of rage,” also framed the Republican victories as a referendum on Obama: “a protest against the escalating national debt and the mega-billion rescue package for the economy.” It highlighted, in a tone that seemed concerned and a little bewildered, the anger of the American electorate that brought the Tea Party into Congress:
Only two years after Barack Obama's hopeful victory, the nation is demoralized, divided and angry. Now the angriest have cried out loud and have wrangled themselves a place at the table of power. The congressional election of 2010 will go down in history as the election of rage. ...
The night belonged to the Tea Party. Still ridiculed, scorned and unappreciated only a year ago, the loose movement had more than 130 candidates in the running. Dozens have now managed the leap into Congress. These dissidents have turned out to be more powerful than even the Republicans had expected. Above all, this election proves that the Tea Party is more than a conspiracy of madmen, clowns, racists, gun nuts and homophobes.