This article brings out that Obama is a construct in people's imagination. They project onto him what they want to believe he is, not what he is.
If he ran in Germany, Obama would carry the country by a landslide, with 67 percent of the vote. But there is no gold in them thar numbers, only disappointment. By vast margins, Germans and Europeans believe in Obama as the Savior & Redeemer who will deliver them from the last eight years of George W. It's like an exorcist fantasy: Once we can send Bush off into the desert, like the scapegoat of the Israelites, we will be able to love America again.
There are two problems buried in this fantasy. One, Barack Obama is possessed of a pliable identity that oscillates between Barry and Barack, between White and Black, between the Harvard Law Review and the Chicago slums, between a leftish voting record in the Senate and a right-of-center message on the stump. He is neither saint nor softie, but the most consummate power politician to come out of Chicago since Richard Daley the Elder. Following classical electoral ritual in the U.S., Obama has been moving steadily to the right, be it on the death penalty, gun control, or Iraq. Europeans haven't quite processed his pilgrimage to the center, and if they have, they seem not to care.