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European Politicians Are Watching the Obama 2012 "Machine"

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, February 24 2012

The general secretary of the left-wing German Social Democratic Party (SPD) is visiting the Obama Campaign Headquarters today, according to a text message interview she conducted with her party.

Andrea Nahles has been on a U.S. trip to Washington D.C. and Chicago for the past few days to discuss political communication with politicians, journalists and bloggers ahead of the American election. In the interview, she says her impression is that the Democrats are nervous, even though conditions are beginning to improve in a way that would benefit President Barack Obama.

Her final stop today is the Obama Campaign Headquarters, "or as some here call it, the machine."

Her visit is another indicator that the U.S. elections and role of technology in politics in the U.S. are being watched closely overseas. The home page of the SPD includes a link to a blog section titled "Race for the White House 2012", in English, written by a pseudonymous user from a "progressive East Coast perspective." The SPD has also been strongly embracing the rhetoric of the Occupy Movement with the motto "We are many" and targeting the power of banks. That section of the site includes articles and videos about Occupy protesters in Germany.

Just the other week, Thomas Jarzombek, a member of parliament from the conservative CDU party, tweeted that he was on a U.S. visit with other members of the parliament's subcommittee on new media — a visit that included visits to Twitter, Apple, Google and Wikpedia. He also tweeted that a meeting with Congressman Tom Marino (R-Penn.) indicated that SOPA was not dead, and discussed political participation online with Macon Phillips, White House director of new media, including hashtag campaigns like #40dollars and #visitUs.