While Republican claims that Obama is a European-style socialist are exaggerated, Europeans certainly see him as being closer to one of their own. Given the massive economic crisis facing Europe, which has inevitably arisen as the result of unsustainable social welfare programs and demographic decline, Americans are right to ask whether our European friends are really the best judges of economic management.
The generous European social welfare states so beloved by American liberals, moreover, have in large part been funded by the US, either directly through the Marshall Plan, indirectly via the American-funded defense umbrella (which obviated the need for Europeans to spend on their own militaries), or more holistically by the global economic growth driven by our free market, entrepreneurship-driven economy.
Finally, much European support for Obama owes itself to the import of his African-American heritage, which can be seen in the praise that America has shown “progress” by electing a black man President. This is a fine sentiment, and one shared by most Americans, regardless of party. But it is somewhat patronizing coming from people who will almost certainly not elect a racial minority president anytime in the near future. Not a Turk in Germany, not an Algerian in France, and not a Moroccan in Spain will become president or prime minister in the next 50 years.