Local Obamas Face Problems With Voters

When Barack Obama swept into office on a platform of hope and change, foreign politicians rushed to christen themselves successors to his "Yes We Can!" mantra. Now, many "local Obamas" are suffering spectacular falls. The most recent example: the ousting of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Granted, the notion of Rudd as "Australia's Obama" was always pretty ridiculous. Obama is an epic orator and trailblazer. Rudd had the charisma of a dentist. Yet both came to power riding a wave of young-voter enthusiasm. Rudd's support soured when he decided to postpone his signature issue, a scheme to curb greenhouse-gas emissions (the equivalent would have been Obama packing it in before passing health care). It's a lesson in voter disappointment that "Britain's Obama," Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, may soon learn. During the election, Clegg made Brits swoon with his personable air and Obama-esque riffs. But now that he's endorsed austerity measures under Prime Minister David Cameron, polls show that his base feels betrayed.

Then there's "the Obama of Chile," Marco-Enriquez Ominami, whose presidential bid briefly soared this year. A prodigious Twitter user, the 37-year-old was eliminated with 20 percent of the vote. And let's not forget Joachim Crima, an African migrant who won fame as "Volgograd's Obama" when he ran for office on a far-flung Russian council. A billboard showed Crima overlooking a river, suit jacket slung casually across his shoulder. He could almost have been mistaken for the real thing—if you ignored the Cyrillic lettering and the fact that he lost.