Obama – the anti-American’s American?

Everyone is now aware that if the rest of the Western world’s electorates had votes in Tuesday’s US election, Barack Obama would be shoe-in. Why? Because that world is still anti-American and it is myth-making to say that Obama has changed that.

Charles Moore, in today’s Daily Telegraph, gives us a very interesting reading of the two opposing cultures represented in next week’s American election. In it he observes how badly a myopic and delusional European media establishment has misread it all in their fascination and adulation of the Obama presidency of the past four years. They do not see that Mr. Obama is not in fact what he appears to be.

In Britain and, even more, in continental Europe, the people who bring their fellow citizens the news do not really see this. To them, Mr Obama’s combination of historically persecuted ethnicity and posh seminar tone is just perfect. It satisfies their mildly Left-wing consciences and fits in with their cultural assumptions. The chief of these is that the excesses of the West, especially of America, are the biggest problem in the world. Mr Obama comes as near to saying this as anyone trying to win American votes ever could. His “apology tour” to the Middle East early in his presidency remains, for the European elites, the best thing he has ever done. He is the anti-Americans’ American.
Mitt Romney is not. Although he is a moderate Republican, it is fascinating how profoundly he clashes culturally with Obama, and, a fortiori, with the European media and political classes.

Read more here.

It’s not about “cold fish” or “wet fish” – it’s about people’s lives, stupid

What a breath of fresh air this sober analysis is after the rantings of Paul Krugman  and utterly blinkered wishful thinking of Lara Marlow in the Irish Times and her other platforms.

Liberalism’s Glass Jaw by ROSS DOUTHAT in today’s New York Times calmly and coolly exposes the bubbly substance of everything that Obama stands for and shows us that the real problem with all this is not Obama himself but the fragile ideology he stands on. We can only hope that while he has been able to fool a majority of the people to get  one term in office he will not be able to fool enough of them to get a second.

As Doubthat reads it, all of Obama’s signature accomplishments have tended to have the same weakness in common: They have been weighed down by interest-group payoffs and compromised by concessions to powerful insiders, from big pharma (which stands to profit handsomely from the health care bill) to the biggest banks (which were mostly protected by the Dodd-Frank financial reform).

It may have been an empty rhetorical gesture, but the fact that Romney could actually out-populist the president on “too big to fail” during the last debate speaks to the Obama-era tendency for liberalism to blur into a kind of corporatism, in which big government intertwines with big business rather than restraining it.

Doubthat does not mention his social policy “evolutions” and the concessions he has risked making to the gay lobby on marriage, the ease with which he has slipped into assuming that Christian consciences on sexual morality issues can be tossed around the ring like so many rag dolls. But he might have done. These were the cotton wool compassionate gestures which Obama has allowed to distract him from really grappling with the more difficult challenges of getting the country back on its feet.

One hopes that the American electorate will get well beyond the preoccupation which some in the media have tried to focus on – whether it is Romney as a “cold fish”, or Obama as a “wet fish” – and look at the real issues of substance which Doubthat summarizes here.

Do we really deserve this?

The “silly season” seemed to start early this summer – not even waiting for our revered political assemblies to take their well –earned breaks. A month ago the newspapers were already scraping the bottoms of their troughs of choice. Time spent on them in the morning got shorter and shorter as the weeks moved on. America excepted. While the political battle being engaged in there over the next few months is not promising to be very inspiring, it is, however, offering some food for the politically curious among us.

This, from an interesting piece in today’s Washington Post by Anne Applebaum, makes an astute but somewhat dark observation on the prospect ahead of us there – and like it or not, it is a prospect in which we all have a stake.

“You know the stereotypes already. Both Obamas come from what might loosely be called the intellectual/academic meritocracy, the “liberal elite,” the post-WASP Ivy League, easily caricatured as the world of free-trade coffee, organic arugula, smug opinions and Martha’s Vineyard. The Romneys, by contrast, belong to the financial oligarchy, the “global elite,” the post-financial-deregulation world that is just as easily caricatured as one of iced champagne, offshore bank accounts, dressage trainers and private islands.

“The two groups have some important overlaps. Although Romney got some attention for holding a fundraiser in the Hamptons last week, Obama has raised more money in the Hamptons overall (the president scored particularly well in Sagaponack, by one account, where the median home price is $4.4 million)….

“They also have some important differences. The financial oligarchy, as we learned from the Barclays scandal in London last week, is happiest when it operates in deep secrecy, where it can manipulate interest rates, package derivatives, hide its profits and shelter its taxes as it sees fit. The liberal meritocracy prefers to operate in the glare of publicity, where it can give lectures, write books, make documentaries and generally promulgate its own views as loudly as possible. Aged 34, Obama wrote his autobiography. Aged 37, Romney founded Bain Capital.

“But while you might think one or the other group more preferable or more offensive for reasons of politics, culture or taste, you certainly cannot argue that either of them is in close touch with “average” or “ordinary” or even “middle-class” people, however those terms might be defined. And although they and their supporters may shout about “radical left-wing professors” on the one hand or “Gordon Gekko” on the other, neither Obama nor Romney can plausibly claim to leading a populist revolution against the “elites” who are allegedly destroying America.

“Which is just as well, because the political success of both Obama and Romney proves that radical populism in the United States has failed spectacularly. For all of the attention they got, neither Occupy Wall Street nor the tea party has a candidate in this race. Neither found a way to channel inchoate, ill-defined public anger — at the deficit, at the banks — into electoral politics or clear alternatives. Whoever wins in November, we’ll therefore get the elite we deserve.”

Did the Irish electorate deserve the “elite” it has been landed with for the next several years – with not another prospect in sight for at least a decade? One wonders what cataclysm we will have endure before we can escape from the politically correct mediocrity we are now crippled with.

Waterloo looming?

So it looks like it is all over and Republicans are going to unite behind Romney as their best hope of beating Obama. It may be a very close run thing.
Mitt Romney scored a sweeping victory in Nevada today with a broad coalition of voters that included groups that he has struggled to win in previous contests, including very conservative voters, strong Tea Party supporters and evangelicals.The victory extends the momentum Mr. Romney received from his commanding victory in Florida last Tuesday, and pushes forward his march toward the Republican nomination.

Mr. Romney’s rivals largely conceded the state before the results were known, with some leaving Nevada to campaign in Colorado and Minnesota. Mr. Romney, who won Nevada in 2008, had never given up the lead in polls here.