Americans are not the only ones following the race for the Republican presidential ticket. In a column earlier this week, Fidel Casto, former leader of Cuba, called the Republican primary the "greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that has ever been." Others outside the U.S are interested as well.
Germany – “Those who follow this race daily may have long since lost perspective on how absurd it is,” writes Marc Pitzke in the Hamburg-based Der Spiegel. Commenting on CNN's debate in Florida earlier this week, Pitzke writes,
“For 120 minutes they "debated" the "hot topics," producing sound bites but offering no insight into how these men would cope with the enormous challenges facing the U.S. The most important topic for voters, the economy, wasn't addressed at all.”
Turkey – “Mr. Gingrich is the ultimate tough politician,” writes Mustafa Akyol in the Istanbul-based Hurriyet Daily News. Besides Obama, Akyol says, Gingrich “seems to have two main enemies: 'socialism' (which would be called the welfare state in this part of the world) and secularism.”
“The latter is an especially big theme in Gingrich’s campaign, as he routinely condemns the “anti-religious bigotry” of the “American elite,” which he sees as the root of all evils. … I must say, at least some of Gingrich’s criticisms against secularism make sense to me."
Canada – “If anyone can talk his way into the White House it should be Newt Gingrich,” says an editorial in the Toronto-based Globe and Mail. Yet, Romney remains the one to beat:
“While Mitt Romney is, of course, not perfect, and has sought to accommodate his policies to the Tea Party and other radicals in his party, he stands out as a plausible candidate.”
China – “The candidates bidding to be the leader of the world's only superpower should shoulder their responsibilities and consider their words with care,” says an editorial in China Daily.
“To a large extent, the ongoing presidential primary elections and caucuses in the United States have been dominated by talk about the country's economic travails and the stubbornly high unemployment, with the candidates all too often pointing the finger of blame at China as the cause of the country's domestic distress.”
New Zealand – “The Republicans have no answer to Obama, period,” writes Paul Holmes in the Auckland-based New Zealand Herald.
“Mitt Romney looks like Ken Doll turned 60 and appears to have the usual rich man's tax greed. The blowhard Newt Gingrich once begged a former wife for an open marriage and has a record of stuffing up all political power he's ever had.”
United Arab Emirates – “Attacking a Democratic president as weak on national security is de rigueur for Republicans, just as trash-talking China and promising to love Israel more and better than the incumbent has become a campaign standard for candidates of both parties,” writes Tony Karon in the Abu Dhabi-based National.
"So when [foreign policy is] discussed at all on the campaign trail, the candidates default to crowd-pleasing posturing, always casting themselves as tougher and more principled than the incumbent - which, of course, they are, until they find themselves shackled to the realities of power."
Australia – "It is messy but it is arguably a more direct, open and robust system than Australia's," says an editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald.
“As the candidates noisily criss-cross the nation, debating and pouring scorn on one another, voters get the opportunity to judge them close up, warts and all. Few come through the ordeal unscathed. Many waste huge sums of money in the process.”