I'm not sure we even need to have an election. It's pretty evident that Senator Obama is already president, given the wall-to-wall, fawning media coverage he's getting on his triumphal tour of the world. And his staff clearly thinks it's just a formality, as this report from the Politico would indicate.
At a morning background briefing, reporters parried with senior advisers on the characterization of Obama’s speech Thursday in Berlin as a campaign rally. The outdoor speech at the Victory Column could draw thousands of people, similar to the size of Obama events in the United States.
“It is not going to be a political speech,” said a senior foreign policy adviser, who spoke to reporters on background. “When the president of the United States goes and gives a speech, it is not a political speech or a political rally.
“But he is not president of the United States,” a reporter reminded the adviser.
“He is going to talk about the issues as an individual … not as a candidate, but as an individual, as a senator,” the adviser added.
Nice, huh? Look, life's not fair. There are a hell of a lot of people who want to pull this guy across the finish line and while I think there's still a chance to stop him, we stand an excellent chance of having this guy take the oath of office in January. The Republic survived four years of Jimmy Carter, so we would survive 4 or even 8 years of this guy. But I hope McCain roughs him up a bit. Obama needs someone to do that to him, because if he becomes president, he'll face a lot of people on the world stage who won't hesitate to test him. And as this terrific column from David Aaronovitch of the Times of London reminds us, even Obama's European fans will eventually turn on him. Consider this, Obama fans:
Some on the Left are getting their count-me-outs in already, realising that Mr Obama is, after all, a big-game hunter, a full-trousered American candidate. They, I think, are more realistic than those who manage on one day to laud the Democrat as not being a real politician, and on the next to praise him for his sensible left-trimming when seeking the party's nomination and his equally sensible centre-hugging once it was in the bag. I say the antis are more realistic because, eventually, we will hate or ridicule Mr Obama too - provided, of course, that he is elected and serves two full terms.
George W.Bush, of course, represents a particular kind of offence to European sensibilities. He blew out Kyoto, instead of pretending to care about it and then not implementing it, which is what our hypocrisies require. He took no exquisite pains to make us feel consulted. He invaded Iraq in the name of freedom and then somehow allowed torturers to photograph each other in the fallen dictator's house of tortures. He is not going to run Franklin Roosevelt a close race for nomination as the second greatest president of the US.
But even if he had been a half-Chinese ballet-loving Francophone, he would have been hated by some who should have loved him, for there isn't an American president since Eisenhower who hasn't ended up, at some point or other, being depicted by the world's cartoonists as a cowboy astride a phallic missile. It happened to Bill Clinton when he bombed Iraq; it will happen to Mr Obama when his reinforced forces in Afghanistan or Pakistan mistake a meeting of tribal elders for an unwise gathering of Taleban and al-Qaeda. Then the new president (or, if McCain, the old president) will be the target of that mandarin Anglo-French conceit that our superior colonialism somehow gives us the standing to critique the Yank's naive and inferior imperialism.
Often those who express their tiresome anti-Americanism will suggest, as do some of the more disingenuous anti-Zionists with regard to anti-Semitism - that they, of course, are not anti-American, and that no one really is. But, coming as I do from an Anti-American tradition that wasn't afraid to proclaim itself, I think I know where the corpses are interred. For example, the current production of Bernstein's Candide at the English National Opera is a classic of elite anti-Americanism, in which we are invited to laugh at the philistine invocation of “Democracy, the American Way and McDonald's”. The laughter that accompanied this feeble satire showed our proper understanding that we, the audience, had a proper concept of democracy, and would never soil ourselves with an Egg McMuffin.
This is why one of the regnant critiques of Chimpy McHitlerburton has never made much sense - Americans aren't disliked because we elected THE STUPIDEST MAN EVAH (and his minder Evil Dick); Americans are disliked because we are Americans. Currying favor with people who aren't going to like us anyway is a fool's errand, which is what Obama is on right now. In 2011 or so, the contrived goodwill he has been seeking this week won't matter a bit. And as Americans, we need to be clear-eyed about this. Especially a President Obama.