Alexandra Colen, a Vlaams Belang member of the Belgian pariiament (who happens also to be a dear friend of mine), sees through the near-universal ecstasy over Barack Obama across Belgium's political spectrum (Vlaams Belang excepted) to its appalling but irrefutable logic: America is becoming Belgian.
Last Tuesday, the Americans voted like Belgians. Obama is even more popular here than in the US. Last week, a poll among the students of the renowned University of Leuven (Louvain), the oldest in the Netherlands, showed that 98% of them preferred Obama as US president. For the past six years the university has been regularly polling its students on political issues. “The result has never been as unanimous as now,” Prof. Marc Hooghe said.
Obama is equally popular among the country’s politicians. On Monday, the party leaders of all the Belgian political parties were asked whether they would vote Obama or McCain. They almost unanimously chose Obama. Only Bruno Valkeniers, the leader of the Vlaams Belang party, which opposes Islamization and strives for the independence of Flanders, opted for McCain.
Amazingly, even the right-wing populist Jean-Marie Dedecker is a fan of Obama. Mr. De Decker calls Obama a knight in shining armor, a “Black Lancelot,” a “Black Don Quixote,” an “underdog who went from zero to hero,” the man who will defeat “cowboy capitalism” and who “will make America a modern nation.” Mr. Dedecker sees only one stain on Obama’s reputation: “his groveling to Israel, the Jewish lobby and Iranmania.”
Many of my colleagues in the Belgian Parliament have become members of “Belgium for Obama,” a Belgian Obama fan club. Among its members are not only members of parliament but also seven government ministers, including Vice Prime Minister Joelle Milquet, a Christian-Democrat.
The honorary president of “Belgium for Obama” is Elio Di Rupo, leader of the powerful Parti Socialiste, one of Belgium’s governing parties despite its appalling corruption record. According to Mr. Di Rupo, the past eight years in America have been marked by “economic egotism and regression.” Obama, he says, has given Americans hope for a better future.
A future of an America that resembles Belgium?