Archive for the ‘Race’ Category

Al-Qaeda Message Condemns Obama; al-Zawahri Uses Racial Epithet

November 19, 2008

The second-in-command of Islamic militant network al-Qaeda has condemned US President-elect Barack Obama in an audio message.

Ayman al-Zawahri said Mr Obama was not an “honourable black American” but a “house negro” – a demeaning term implying that he serves white people.

BBC

Ayman al-Zawahiri (archive image)
Zawahiri is deputy to Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden

Mr Obama’s plan to shift US troops to Afghanistan would fail, Zawahri said.

If genuine, the message would be the first acknowledgement by al-Qaeda of the president-elect’s victory.

The audio message appeared on militant websites.

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By MAAMOUN YOUSSEF and LEE KEATH, Associated Press Writers

CAIRO, Egypt – Al-Qaida‘s No. 2 leader used a racial epithet to insult Barack Obama in a message posted Wednesday, describing the president-elect in demeaning terms that imply he does the bidding of whites.

The message appeared chiefly aimed at persuading Muslims and Arabs that Obama does not represent a change in U.S. policies. Ayman al-Zawahri said in the message, which appeared on militant Web sites, that Obama is “the direct opposite of honorable black Americans” like Malcolm X, the 1960s African-American rights leader.

In al-Qaida’s first response to Obama’s victory, al-Zawahri also called the president-elect — along with secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice — “house negroes.”

Speaking in Arabic, al-Zawahri uses the term “abeed al-beit,” which literally translates as “house slaves.” But al-Qaida supplied English subtitles of his speech that included the translation as “house negroes.”

The message also includes old footage of speeches by Malcolm X in which he explains the term, saying black slaves who worked in their white masters’ house were more servile than those who worked in the fields. Malcolm X used the term to criticize black leaders he accused of not standing up to whites.

The 11-minute 23-second video features the audio message by al-Zawahri, who appears only in a still image, along with other images, including one of Obama wearing a Jewish skullcap as he meets with Jewish leaders. In his speech, al-Zawahri refers to a Nov. 5 U.S. airstrike attack in Afghanistan, meaning the video was made after that date.

Read the rest and see the video:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081119/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_al_qaida_
obama;_ylt=ArrIlGzIzlvMEBU7.5QzEMqs0NUE

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“American Press has Turned Into a Joke” Comparing Obama To FDR, Lincoln

November 19, 2008

“Barack Obama is just like Lincoln,” a youthful and eager fan reported to me.

And I thought: except for the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, the preservation of the Union and his record as President of the United States.

Bill Sammon of the Washington Examiner said, “The American press has turned into a joke by comparing Barack Obama to FDR and Abraham Lincoln.  They do him no favor by raising expectations to a level that is not achievable.”

Barack Obama, the first ever black man elected to America’s highest office, should be honored for sure; but we should also put our regard for him in proper perspective and watch how the next four years transpire.

Barack Obama is still, to me, a potential agent of manifest change: and not yet a historically overpowering figure we honor for his many accomplishments.

Oh I agree with others that the election of a Black American is historic and memorable; but while it says a lot about our new President-elect it says more to me about the American people.

The notion that Barack Obama is, in many ways, “Linconesque,” is at least premature and could seem a tad bizarre, especially to historians seeking meaning, accomplishments and proven character.

Obama has not yet managed through his Cuban Missile Crisis, his Vietnam War, his Great Depression or whatever real crises we can anticipate — and even whatever nobody could ever anticipate like George W. Bush’s “Nine Eleven.”

Yet both Lincoln and Obama certainly share Illinois and a place in history.  Lincoln’s place in history is “writ large.”  We do not yet know if Barack Obama is a chapter or two of history; or just a paragraph or two. 

President-elect Barack Obama answers a journalist's question ... 
President-elect Barack Obama answers a journalist’s question during his first press conference following his election victory in Chicago, November 7, 2008.(John Gress/Reuters)

Barack Obama grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia. He graduated from  Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was president of the Harvard Law Review.

Obama is an “indoorsman,” who wrote two books about himself and arguably became addicted to his BlackBerry.

Lincoln was an outdoorsman who grew up in a log cabin in the rough “west” of the United States in his time, including Kentucky and Illinois.

Wikipedia says “Lincoln struck out on his own, canoeing down the Sangamon River to the village of New Salem in Sangamon County. Later that year, hired by New Salem businessman Denton Offutt and accompanied by friends, he took goods from New Salem to New Orleans via flatboat on the Sangamon, Illinois and Mississippi rivers.”

Lincoln’s formal education consisted of about 18 months of schooling, but he was largely self-educated and an avid reader. He was also a talented local wrestler and skilled with an axe.

Barack Obama is skilled with a computer keyboard, a teleprompter, and as a very eloquent public speaker and, though I myself have been moved by the style of many Obama speeches, the next day I have found something sometimes lacking. Yet like some of Mister Lincoln’s orations and remarks, Mr. Obama’s speeches are filled with “hope” and “change.”

Obama's speech earned him praise from politicians on the left and right. But not everyone was impressed.

Above: Barack Obama before a crowd in Germany. Photo: Getty Images
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Lincoln participated in the most studied and recalled political debates ever held in America.

Barack Obama’s debates with John McCain will be recalled for one thing only: Obama became the elected president.

“I don’t think we need any big media-run productions, no processed questions from reporters, no spin rooms, just two Americans running for the highest office in the greatest nation on earth responding to the concerns of the people who’s trust that we must earn,” John McCain said well before the debates with Barack Obama.

Famously, McCain said he wanted ten “Lincoln-Douglas” style debates with Barack Obama.

The nation ended up with far fewer than ten debates and not one came close to resembling the famed and historic Lincoln-Douglas debates.

But the world is a different place now and our national attention span and will to concentrate is short for good reasons, even though we are multitasking…

Creators Syndicate

Oprah Already Has Dress For Obama's Inauguration
WireImage
Access Hollywood

Barack Obama and his wife Michelle are pretty much comfortable everywhere — from public speaking in Germany to Bill Ayers house and onward to Oprah’s TV show and to Hollywood.

Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd, which many historians believe was at least “on the edge” and probably crazy, were famously uncomfortable in most settings.  Many Hollywood and TV people today say that Lincoln’s looks would probably make him unelectable today.

Lincoln mourned the loss of one of his own children: and he watched in horror as Civil War casualties bled the nation white.  He even took the time to pen a letter to a grieving mother who lost five sons in “Lincoln’s war.”

Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln’s most famous oration, the Gettysburg Address, took just two minutes to deliver.  For more than a century, American school children memorized this magnificent piece of writing and oration, one of the finest speeches ever given in America, some say, and all in less than 280 words.

On the day of that address, Lincoln was not the featured speaker, who droned on for some time.  But nobody without a deep history education can even recall the man who delivered his remarks before Lincoln on Thursday, November 19, 1863, at the cemetery in Gettysburg.


Soldiers National Cemetery, Gettysburg

Lincoln freed the slaves and preserved the Union.  So far, Obama freed the media and the electorate of the feeling and belief that racism kept good men of color from key posts.

Lincoln was unafraid of firing his top generals — and then while U.S. Grant was gaining ground and winning battles and his staff said the man was a drunk, Lincoln issued an order to send Grant a case of his favorite spirits, or so the story is told.


Lincoln in the field during the Civil War

Lincoln had to sneak into Washington DC for his inauguration.  Obama will be greeted by a throng of millions.

Lincoln assembled a cabinet that was a train wreck of disagreement to the point of dysfunction.  Some in the media today say that Obama is emulating Lincoln’s ability to be “inclusive” in his cabinet selections.

But Lincoln did famously “reach out” to all great leaders who could help him including the Catholic Archbishop of New York, “Dagger” John Hughes.

Linoln also gave a seemingly open door to the White House to Abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who pushed President Lincoln to create and issue the Emancipation Proclamation — against the advice of many including his top military commanders.


Above: Frederick Douglass, in about 1879.

Above:  Lincoln met with his cabinet on July 22, 1862 for the first reading of a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Barack Obama’s challenges have yet to unfold.

Lincoln’s challenges were manifest.

History has judged Lincoln.  Obama’s first full chapter, now, at least in part, well chronicled by eager contemporary media scribes, is mostly still a way off for historians to evaluate.

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia
November 19, 2008

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The Topeka Capitol Journal began an article on November 9, 2008 with, “Plans are being made to promote a national holiday for Barack Obama, who will become the nation’s 44th president when he takes the oath of office Jan. 20.”

My Vietnamese American relatives say, “We seem to have the Easter before the Palm….”

Lincoln’s Day, once celebrated on his birthday, is now largely forgotten and squeezed out by the celebration of other great Americans like Martin Luther King.  Frederick Douglass has no day at all. It might be prudent to hold off on the “Barack Obama Day” just a tad….

Related:
Barack Obama Needs To Know: Lincoln’s Dysfuncional Cabinet Was Not Your Mother’s A-Team
.
 Frederick Douglass: Turning Points
.
“Most Famous” Lincoln Letter of Civil War Found?

Obama Election Sparks Discussion of Race, Leaders Other Lands

November 12, 2008
A Tehran news weekly was shut down by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week after featuring President-elect Barack Obama on its front cover and asking the question, “Why doesn’t Iran have an Obama?”
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Fox News
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The news magazine Shahrvand-e Emrouz [Today’s Citizen] went too far for the hardline president, who quickly had Iran’s Press Supervisory Board ban the publication, the Times of London reported.

The closure of the propular reformist weekly suggests that Ahmadinejad is determined to silence his critics as he prepares for elections next June that could hand him a second-four year term.

The Iranian media has blamed numerous problems in recent weeks on Ahmadinejad. His expansionary budget is blamed for rampant inflation, oil prices have plummeted, aides have admitted that he suffers from strain and exhaustion, and an embarrassing forgery scandal claimed the scalp of his interior minister last week, the Times reported.

This week, however, Ahmadinejad collected support from some newspapers for his message of congratulations to Obama, which several newspaper commentaries on Tuesday presented an important opportunity.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attends an official ...

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi
Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,449945,00.html
 
 Could Britain Have a Black PM?

From the BBC

Now the US has elected its first black president, how long until the UK has a black or Asian prime minister?

 

When Barack Obama claimed that his story could only have happened in America, he might have been looking across the Atlantic for evidence.

The odds of a black or Asian person taking the keys to 10 Downing Street any time soon are slim.

Tony Blair acknowledged as much in 2001, when he suggested the US was ahead of the UK in having people from ethnic minorities occupying some of the top political posts.

Mr Blair was mindful of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice at the heart of the White House, but probably hadn’t even heard of Obama.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7714056.stm

 

 

 

Democrat Says Obama Lacked “Political Courage”

November 3, 2008

You already knew that Barack Obama was a coward.  In the face of a pastor acting like a  raving lunatic and some 8,000 parishoners singing, chanting and applauding in approval, Barack Obama stayed put in a congregation of nutcakes because he was too afraid to say the truth to his bros: Reverend Jeremiah Wright is a man that should not be followed.  “Reverend” Wright, who once said, “God damn America,” should have been condemned himself by any member of the U.S. Senate. 

In this April 28, 2008 file photo, Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., ...
In this April 28, 2008 file photo, Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., pastor of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ and former pastor of Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., addresses a breakfast gathering at the National Press Club in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

U.S. Senators are sometuimes called leaders.  But Obama couldn’t, wouldn’t and didn’t point out that Mr. Wright was “over the top.”   That means Mr. Obama is no leader.  He is a follower and a coward.

Even if he gets elected president — and he probably will — I stand by this remark.  Until Mr. Obama proves otherwise.

Now another Democrat has said what we all know.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler of Manhattan was visiting a synagogue in Boca Raton, Fla., Sunday when he was confronted by Obama critics who wanted to know why Obama hadn’t ended his association earlier with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Obama severed ties with Wright this year after videotapes surfaced showing the pastor making anti-American statements from the pulpit of the Chicago church where Obama worshipped for 20 years.

Nadler said he was guessing that Obama “didn’t have the political courage” to leave the church earlier.

Why did John McCain make Rev. Wright out of bounds?  Because he didn’t want to be attacked as a racist….

See the Associated Press report on Mr. Nadler:
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics/AP/story/754428.html

The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. performed Barack Obama's wedding ceremony and held a largely ceremonial role on a campaign committee.
The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. performed Barack Obama’s wedding ceremony and held a role on an Obama for President campaign committee. (Photo by E. Jason Wambsgans — Chicago Tribune)

Murtha, No Stranger to Trouble, Faces Tough Re-election Bid Tuesday

November 3, 2008

U.S. Rep.  John Murtha, D- Pa., left, addresses  supporters ... 
U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D- Pa., left, addresses supporters with Senator Bob Casey, D-Pa., right, during a campaign rally outside a steel workers union hall in Latrobe, Pa. Saturday, Nov. 1, 2008.(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Rep. John Murtha, scrambling to keep his seat after recently saying his western Pennsylvania home base “is a racist area,” told supporters Saturday he should have started campaigning sooner.

“I was blindsided this time. It was my own fault. I take full responsibility and I’m worried that I waited too long to get people activated,” Murtha, 76, a 17-term member told about 100 campaign volunteers at his campaign headquarters.

Associated Press

In addition to the Johnstown stop, Murtha toured a steel mill and held a smaller rally with steelworkers in Latrobe. He emphasized the jobs and billions of dollars he’s brought home.

“They kick the hell out of me all the time because I’m for earmarks, because I’m for taking care of the people I represent,” said Murtha, who chairs the House defense appropriations subcommittee.

At Murtha’s side at the Saturday stops was Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., who said Murtha was a close ally to his father, the late Gov. Robert P. Casey. On Monday, former President Clinton was scheduled to campaign for Murtha in Johnstown, and for another longtime House Democrat, Paul Kanjorski, in Wilkes-Barre.

Murtha’s being challenged by Republican William Russell, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who moved to Johnstown to run against him. Russell has said the earmarks have created an unhealthy dependence on federal money.

The district has heavy Democratic registration, and Murtha has a long history of handily winning his races by double-digit margins.

Murtha recently told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “There is no question that western Pennsylvania is a racist area.” He later apologized….

Read the rest:
http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2008/nov/
03/rep-john-murtha-fights-to-keep-seat/

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Murtha Called “Fat Little Bastard” By Iraq War Vet

By Alex Roarty, PolitickerPA.com Reporter

NEW STANTON — Republican congressional candidate Bill Russell’s rally on Sunday featured several Iraq war veterans vehemently criticizing U.S. Rep. John Murtha (D-Johnstown), who they say betrayed them when he said troops in Iraq killed innocent civilians in Haditha “in cold blood.”

Those remarks sparked Russell to run against Murtha and have been a theme of his campaign ever since.

During the rally, Shawn Bryan, a former sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps., said Murtha visited his unit in Iraq in 2005. At the time, Murtha told the soldiers “what a great job we did,” Bryan said, only to see him tell his district back home he no longer supported the effort.

Bryan said he didn’t put his life on the line for his country “just so some fat little bastard can come back and run his mouth.”

It was the second time during his speech that Bryan, who flew in from Albuquerque, New Mexico, had called Murtha a “fat little bastard” during his speech. His remarks were not publicly repudiated at the rally.

In an interview after the rally, Russell told PolitickerPA.com Bryan’s comments didn’t reflect his own feelings, but he did the defend the fellow veteran.

The remarks are reflective of the anger many marines, who have lost dozens of fellow soldiers during combat, feel toward Murtha, he said.

“Am I going to throw him under the bus for it?” Russell asked. “No. I understand — he’s going to say what he believes.”

Murtha, who himself served 37 years in the Marine Corps and won a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, said about the 2005 shootings of Iraq civilians in Haditha: “Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood.”

Charges have been dropped against…

Read the rest:
http://www.politickerpa.com/alexroarty/2481/marine
-vet-russell-rally-murtha-fat-little-bastard

Dirty Tricks That Confound Voters

November 3, 2008

In the hours before Election Day, as inevitable as winter, comes an onslaught of dirty tricks — confusing e-mails, disturbing phone calls and insinuating fliers left on doorsteps during the night.

By Deborah Hastings
Associated Press

The intent, almost always, is to keep folks from voting or to confuse them, usually through intimidation or misinformation. But in this presidential race, in which a black man leads most polls, some of the deceit has a decidedly racist bent.

Complaints have surfaced in predominantly African-American neighborhoods of Philadelphia where fliers have circulated, warning voters they could be arrested at the polls if they had unpaid parking tickets or if they had criminal convictions.
Over the weekend in Virginia, bogus fliers with an authentic-looking commonwealth seal said fears of high voter turnout had prompted election officials to hold two elections — one on Tuesday for Republicans and another on Wednesday for Democrats.
In New Mexico, two Hispanic women filed a lawsuit last week claiming they were harassed by a private investigator working for a Republican lawyer who came to their homes and threatened to call immigration authorities, even though they are U.S. citizens.
“He was questioning her status, saying that he needed to see her papers and documents to show that she was a U.S. citizen and was a legitimate voter,” said Guadalupe Bojorquez, speaking on behalf of her mother, Dora Escobedo, a 67-year-old Albuquerque resident who speaks only Spanish. “He totally, totally scared the heck out of her.”

Read the rest:
http://news.aol.com/elections/article/some-voters-hit-with-
dirty-tricks/235328?icid=100214839x1212694777x1200806876

Election’s Last Two Days: 4 Big Questions

November 2, 2008
Who wins, and where, will give clues about the nation’s feelings on race, the role of government and the hold of partisanship.
By Peter Wallsten and Janet Hook
The Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Washington — Iowa gave the first sign that the American political landscape had changed.

Democrats in an overwhelmingly white state, many from small towns and farms, said an African American man from Chicago was the best choice for president — and by a convincing margin.

Barack Obama went on to build a broader coalition than any previous black candidate, winning the Democratic nomination on an agenda of “change.” John McCain emerged as the GOP nominee, despite a history of breaking from Republican beliefs. He too promised “change” from the nation’s current course.

On Tuesday, as results from the presidential election roll in, so will clues to what kind of change the nation wants, and to how much it has changed in the last four years.

Who wins, and where, will shed light on the nation’s feelings on race, the role of government and the hold of partisanship on the public dialogue. Here are four big questions arising from the 2008 presidential campaign:

Has America’s racial divide narrowed?

Barack Obama, Pueblo, Colorado, presidential campaign

Joe Raedle / Getty Images
Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama stands with his wife Michelle, daughters Sasha, center left, and Malia, center right, during a campaign rally in Pueblo, Colorado.

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-
questions2-2008nov02,0,3848411.story

Obama: ‘The race will tighten’

October 20, 2008

By Andy Barr
Politico

Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally
Reuters – Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally in Fayetteville, North …

Barack Obama warned supporters Monday that despite favorable numbers in recent polls the presidential campaign is far from over.

During an interview on NBC’s “Today Show,” Obama said there is “no doubt” that “the race will tighten.”

“That’s what happens at the end of campaigns,” the Illinois Democrat said. “Even when there are substantial leads. And in each of these battleground states, you’ve got a lot of close races. One of the messages that I’ve had to my team is that we don’t let up. We do not let up.”

“You know, you remember we had those big leads. We had gotten 11 wins in a row against Senator Clinton. I think there was this sense of, ‘OK, things are kind of working out,’ and thought that we could just ride momentum. And we ended up getting our head handed to us.”

Obama added that he would “love to have” former Secretary of State Colin Powell hit the campaign trail following his endorsement Sunday, but doesn’t expect Powell will make an appearance on the stump.

“I think that, you know, this is an example of why General Powell is admired,” Obama said. “He said, ‘Look, I’m not a politician. And I don’t want to go out there and hit the stump. That’s just not what I do. I think it’s best for you and John McCain to duke it out.’”

The Illinois Democrat also seemed to question Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s credentials to be vice president, though backed off some after a follow up question from host Matt Lauer.

“Frankly, I just don’t know enough about Sarah Palin. I haven’t heard a long discussion about foreign policy,” Obama said. “Look, I’m running against McCain-Palin. Anything that I say about Governor Palin will be seen through that lens. I don’t need to add to people’s assessments.”

 

Could race determine next U.S. president?

October 20, 2008

Sheldon Alberts, Canwest News Service

Published: Monday, October 20, 2008

SELMA, Ala. – The day the streets of Selma ran red with the blood of civil rights marchers, James Perkins Jr. was a 12-year-old boy who could barely imagine a time when African-Americans might vote without fear of violence, let alone vote for a black man to become president of the United States.

But that day has come.

Forty-three years after Alabama state troopers beat and tear-gassed 600 voting rights activists during this city’s infamous “Bloody Sunday” march of March 7, 1965, Perkins is set to cast his presidential ballot for Barack Obama.
Everything the lifelong Selma resident sees and hears tells him that Obama should win the Nov. 4 election.

And yet, a troubling question continues to gnaw at Perkins — will racism deny the Illinois senator the White House?

“Race matters in America, and anyone who refuses to acknowledge that is nothing short of an ostrich with their head in the sand,” Perkins says in an interview.

“When it is time to pull that lever, are we going to be prepared to do something that we have never done before — vote for a person of colour to be the president of the United States? That’s a massive change in the way Americans think, and the way we behave.”

More than most Americans — even most black Americans — Perkins knows how issues of race complicate the nation’s politics.

In 2000, he was elected the first black mayor of Selma, defeating the white incumbent, a former segregationist who had held office during the height of racial strife here in the 1960s.

Perkins’s victory in Selma came despite a sustained effort by his opponent to play on old racial fears in the U.S. South. There were ominous warnings that white businesses would flee Selma if he won, and open declarations that a black mayor couldn’t run the city budget.

On election night, Perkins told supporters the campaign had been “about faith and fear,” and that “faith won.”

The worry for Obama, to paraphrase Martin Luther King Jr., is that voters may yet judge him by the colour of his skin, and not the content of his character.

Read the rest:
http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/news/story.htm
l?id=85ca86ca-f9ba-488d-bdc5-2de7a8a12794&k=81261

Will a funny thing happen on the way to the White House?

October 20, 2008

A funny thing has happened to a sure date at the White House before….

By Edward Luce
Financial Times, London

At what was the first – and probably last – humorous occasion of this dyspeptic campaign, John McCain and Barack Obama gave comic speeches on Thursday at the annual dinner in memory of Al Smith, the great Catholic-American.

Both revealed a side they have kept well concealed in recent months. “Contrary to popular opinion, I was not born in a manger,” said Mr Obama. “I just call him ‘That One’”, said Mr McCain of his opponent. “He doesn’t mind at all: He even has a pet name for me: George Bush.”
In the best humorous tradition, the funniest line was the one that cut closest to the bone. “We all know that Senator Obama is ready for any contingency – even the possibility of a sudden and dramatic market rebound,” said Mr McCain. “I’m told that at the first sign of recovery he will suspend his campaign and fly immediately to Washington to address this crisis.”

With barely two weeks left before polling day, the media, the Democratic party and the rest of the world (the safest Democratic state of the lot) have virtually called a halt to the election. Barack Obama will be the winner. His momentum is now unstoppable. And for that he has the financial meltdown to thank.

All of which is probably true. To judge by some, although by no means all, of the recent polls, Mr Obama may even pull off a 1980-style Ronald Reagan landslide. Parts of America, such as North Carolina and Virginia, which last elected a Democrat when Mr Obama was in diapers, show him in the lead by ground-shifting margins.

Then there is the money. No candidate has ever raised anything like Mr Obama’s tally, which could exceed $600m (£350m, €450m) if the recent escalation in donations is any guide. By my estimate, Mr Obama’s remaining war chest could fund at least two back-to-back British general elections. Mr McCain, meanwhile, might be able to finance a creditable shot at the New Jersey governorship.

Nor, in spite of the acuity of Mr McCain’s punchline, would a dramatic stock market recovery be likely to dent Mr Obama’s fortunes. It would come too late to restore the American public’s badly shaken confidence in their financial system and in the free-trade economy that Mr McCain so gallantly defends.

Besides, no resurgence in the Dow Jones could reflate a property market that has been the chief source of household spending since the Bush administration took office. Mr Obama can rest easy: Joe Public – and even Joe Plumber – will be feeling the pain for many months to come.

Yet conventional wisdom is often wrong. For a start, as any property analyst can attest, it tends to be self-affirming. The media has leapt on recent polls that show Mr Obama with double-digit margins. But until Friday, when the conservative Drudge Report led on the much narrower two-point lead that Gallup gave Mr Obama, those polls that have not hinted at a landslide have been downplayed. And there have been quite a few.

The RealClear Politics website’s average of polls, which gives Mr Obama a lead of 6.8 per cent over Mr McCain, offers a better guide to the situation. It compares to John Kerry’s lead just a few weeks before he lost the 2004 election to Mr Bush. It is also slightly lower than Mr Obama’s lead over Hillary Clinton shortly before she bested him – and the media – in the New Hampshire primary at the start of the year.
WhiteHouseSouthFacade.JPG

Read the rest:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1a46682a-9c73-
11dd-a42e-000077b07658.html