Did Black Africans Really Admire the U.S. More in the 1950s Than Today?

James Taranto (Best of the Web) makes an excellent point. In the debate, Sen. Obama said:

Well, let me just make a closing point. You know, my father came from Kenya. That's where I get my name.

And in the '60s, he wrote letter after letter to come to college here in the United States because the notion was that there was no other country on Earth where you could make it if you tried. The ideals and the values of the United States inspired the entire world.

I don't think any of us can say that our standing in the world now, the way children around the world look at the United States, is the same....

Taranto points out that the senior Obama's attempts to come to the U.S. must have happened in the late 1950s (since he actually arrived in 1959), and that Sen. Obama is suggesting that the standing in the world is lower now than back then. But can that really be right? As James Taranto points out, "In 2008, Obama fils has an excellent chance of becoming the next president. In 1959, there were large portions of the country where Obama père would have been treated as a second-class citizen." If our standing in the world — especially in places like Kenya — is lower now than it was in 1959 (a pretty big "if") I'd say that says more about the world than it says about us.

Thanks to Manny Klausner for the pointer.