Good Reads: World reaction to Obama's jobs speech
For Britain's Guardian and Economist, Obama's jobs speech was all about partisan politics. For France's Le Monde, it was about the use of rhetoric and statecraft in guiding a powerful nation through difficult times. For the China Daily, it was all about Joe Biden.
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In the end, the Economist writes, “Mr Obama's a dead man walking unless the economy turns around or he finds a way to somehow pin the still-flailing economy on the Republicans. Mr Obama's bill is a not-so-plausible way to achieve substantial growth, but, together with his speech, it's a savvy first stab at winning re-election by out-manoeuvring the right.”Skip to next paragraph
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The Monitor’s own Brad Knickerbocker lays out the proposals and the politics of Obama’s jobs-bill speech here. While Obama is usually a restrained public speaker, Mr. Knickerbocker writes, this speech was “his "Give 'em hell, Harry!" moment, reminiscent of Harry Truman's come-from-behind re-election in 1948.”
For those who speak French, it’s worth reading the piece by Le Monde’s Washington correspondent Corine Lesnes, who captures much of the pomp and theater that somehow escapes the attention of other writers.
Perhaps the strangest foreign reaction to Obama’s jobs plan is the non-reaction of China’s main English language newspaper, the China Daily. In today’s edition, dated Sept. 9, 2011, it leads with a piece by Xinhua News Agency that quotes liberally from an opinion piece written by Vice President Joe Biden in Thursday’s edition of The New York Times. Headlined, “Biden says China makes US more prosperous.”
Surely the intention of Biden’s op-ed was neither to upstage his boss nor to imply that China would do the lion’s share of work in uplifting the American economy, but rather to remind Americans that trade with China is often more mutually beneficial than Americans are led to believe.
Perhaps the China Daily's front page is a case of cultural projection, an assumption that it is the speeches of leaders and not the choices of voters that set grand policies in motion. In any case, the China Daily story highlights those quotes from Biden’s opinion piece that would play well in Beijing.
"I remain convinced that a successful China can make our country more prosperous, not less. As trade and investment bind us together, we have a stake in each other's success."