...surely even critics of the US could scarcely deny that there have been real causes for American pride in the past 25 years: the fall of the Berlin Wall; the victory in the first Gulf War in 1991; the nation's unity in grief and resolve after September 11. Heck, I suspect most Americans got a small buzz of patriotic pride this week when they heard that one of their multimillion-dollar missiles had shot a dead but dangerous satellite travelling at 17,000 miles per hour out of the sky so that it fell harmlessly to Earth.An excellent question, indeed.
But not, apparently, Michelle Obama, wife of the man who is now the putative Democratic candidate for US president, and at this point favourite to succeed to that job. In what might be the most revealing statement made by any political figure so far in this campaign season, Mrs Obama caused a stir this week. She said that the success of her husband Barack's campaign had marked the first time in her adult life that she had felt pride in her country.
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...it reveals much about what the Obama family really thinks about the kind of nation that America is. Mrs Obama is surely not alone in thinking not very much about what America has been or done in the past quarter century or more. In fact, it is a trope of the left wing of the Democratic party that America has been a pretty wretched sort of place.
There is a caste of left-wing Americans who wish essentially and in all honesty that their country was much more like France. They wish it had much higher levels of taxation and government intervention, that it had much higher levels of welfare, that it did not have such a “militaristic” approach to foreign policy. Above all, that its national goals were dictated, not by the dreadful halfwits who inhabit godforsaken places like Kansas and Mississippi, but by the counsels of the United Nations.
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He plans large increases in government spending on health and education. He wants to tax the rich more to pay for it. He is against companies using the opportunities of free markets to restructure their operations in the US. He is vehemently protectionist. He continues to insist, despite the growing evidence that this left-wing nostrum would be lunacy, that the US must pull its troops out of Iraq with the utmost dispatch.
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That a new era in American politics is beginning is not in doubt. But are Americans really ready to leap all the way across in one go to embrace a European-style Left?
Friday, February 22, 2008
Times of London: Is America ready for 'dangerous left-winger' Obama?
Amazing that it takes a British columnist to ask the question that, so far at least, American columnists have largely failed to ask.