He’ll be our president, too: the person who gets himself (or, herself) elected, south of the border. For the U.S. president has at least as much power to influence the destiny of every Canadian as any prime minister we elect.
Both for those who do, and for those who don’t still think of Canada as a western country, that president is at least the captain of an alliance—formalized in NATO, but informally knitted together with a million historical strings. We can’t vote in U.S. elections, but we reserve the right to comment.
And I haven’t been commenting, much, only because I’ve been too horrified. There was not a single candidate, in the starting lists of either major U.S. party, whom I did not devoutly wish not to see in power. Mr. Giuliani of New York was my first Republican choice, by a process of default. Mr. McCain of Arizona is now my first choice, by further default. (I supported George W. Bush in 2000, because the alternative was John McCain.) Mrs. Clinton of Mars is my preference for the Democrat party, given the alternative is Mr. Obama of Venus. My faithful readers will grasp that when I, along with Ann Coulter, begin speaking favourably about Mrs. Clinton, the end is near. Ms. Coulter has finally gone over the top, however, and in a McCain-Clinton final, I’ll hold my nose for McCain.
One is reminded of the gubernatorial race in Louisiana, back in 1991, when Edwin Edwards, the notoriously corrupt three-term governor, was running against David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klansman. Edwards supporters brought out signs that read, “Vote for the crook. It’s important.”
In this case, it’s vote for the man who’ll support America’s troops, even if he gets everything else wrong. For Mr. McCain’s track record on the domestic and moral issues makes him indistinguishable from the wettest Democrat—a damp tissue of plausible sound-bites with no clear view of cause and effect. He will tax and he will spend.
The most I can hope is that the next U.S. president will not cut and run from Iraq, or from America’s role in any other foreign conflict.
To anyone who thinks a “kinder, gentler” America would be good for the world, I can only reply, get your head examined. For as I’ve argued endlessly, the alternatives to the American hyperpower—the powers that advance when America retreats—are uniformly unspeakable.
It is in this sense that a vote for Obama is a vote for Osama.
This has nothing to do with Barack Obama’s race, creed, or ideology. I do not doubt for a moment that Mr. Obama is a sincere Christian and patriotic American, and that he truly believes himself the New Man for the New Age.
I fear him rather on two accounts. The first is that he has no policies. He offers vague “feel good” on every domestic issue, and magic in foreign policy. Simply by his being Obama, and not Bush, the conflicts will go away. He will withdraw from Iraq. He will ignore Iran. And he will invade Pakistan (to get at Osama). People who say things like this, whether or not in a dream-like trance, are not eligible to be commander-in-chief. Or rather, should not be.
For the second problem with Mr. Obama is that he is eminently electable. Republicans do not seem to realize just how electable. For while Barack Hussein Obama does not entirely resemble the late Pierre Elliott Trudeau (who had his policy wonk side, and more native malice), he has that mystical androgynous quality that comes across hypnotically on TV.
It was the women who put Trudeau in power, and kept him there: the women’s vote in English Canada, plus the Liberal fiefdom in Quebec. It is the ditzier range of women in the borderline Red States that could elect President Obama: lonely women, and to some extent, their weak, “sensitive” men.
The ditz vote will never go gooey for Hillary Rodham Clinton: for a nasty woman puts women on their guard. But my gut, and innumerable female correspondents, tell me Obama is the man. The very sort of women who sustained Trudeau, up here, think he has some Philosophy, or something. They think he is speaking to their Inner Selves. They think he Wants them, he Needs them, Secretly. They think, He’s Not Like Other Men.