Daniel W. Drezner

Just repeat to yourself, “Obama is not God,” and you will feel much, much better [UPDATED]

I don’t have too many complaints with Barack Obama’s foreign policy to date.  But I’m beginning to wonder about his effect on America’s foreign policy bloggers.  Today, I see that Josh Marshall recommends Juan Cole’s blog as the place to check for updates on Iranian elections.  I don’t always agree with Cole, but Iran is ...

I don’t have too many complaints with Barack Obama’s foreign policy to date.  But I’m beginning to wonder about his effect on America’s foreign policy bloggers. 

Today, I see that Josh Marshall recommends Juan Cole’s blog as the place to check for updates on Iranian elections.  I don’t always agree with Cole, but Iran is right in his wheelhouse, so off I click.

His top post, entitled, "Iran Awaits Ballot Results; Obama Effect Expected," contains this paragraph: 

Howard LaFranchi at CSM asks what the ‘Obama Effect’ will be on the Iranian revolution. Although it was not decisive, scientific polling in Lebanon suggests that Obama did have an effect in the defeat of the Hezbollah coalition, "March 8", in Lebanon, even if it was a slight one.

Hmmm…. there was scientific polling done on this?  Really?  Rats.  Earlier this week I expressed my skepticism about the Obama effect in Lebanon’s election.  Ready to concede that I might have been wrong, I clicked through Cole’s link to find the following: 

Neither [Lebanon nor Iran] has any accurate, independent or publicly available political polling, and no poll has attempted to substantively gauge the effect of Obama’s presidency or his recent Cairo outreach speech to Muslims on either country.

One recent poll done on behalf of two U.S.-based public-interest groups found that few Iranians — only 29 percent — said they have favorable opinions of the United States, and that the view had changed little since Obama’s election.

Both of Cole’s links have quotes from experts claiming that there might have been a mild Obama effect.  There ain’t no scientific polling, however. 

Let’s everyone slowly walk away from the Obama hyperbole, shall we? 

UPDATE:  Cole has corrected his post. 

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the author of Theories of International Politics and Zombies. His latest book is The Toddler in Chief. Twitter: @dandrezner

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