This writer has never taken particularly seriously the suggestion of Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his surrealist running-mate Sarah Palin that Democrat Barack Obama seeks to roll a political Trojan Horse full of socialist ideas and radical friends into the Oval Office.
In fact, as someone who met Obama a dozen years ago and has interviewed the man and written about him with some frequency, I have failed to detect the tell-tale signs of the secret socialist.
But… you never know.
Maybe Obama has pulled one over on all of us — a Manchurian candidate move on the most monumental order.
What could settle the question?
What sign? What signal?
Gee, I don’t know, how about a “wholeheartedly” enthusiastic endorsement of the Democratic nominee for president by the journal of monied elites who prefer not to be lied to: The Economist.
Here’s what the magazine (London-based but U.S. circulation: 700,000) says today with regard to Tuesday’s election in an issue that features a cover photo of Obama and the words “It’s Time”:
HEADLINE: America Should Take a Chance and Make Barack Obama the Next Leader of the Free World
TEXT: IT IS impossible to forecast how important any presidency will be. Back in 2000 America stood tall as the undisputed superpower, at peace with a generally admiring world. The main argument was over what to do with the federal government’s huge budget surplus. Nobody foresaw the seismic events of the next eight years. When Americans go to the polls next week the mood will be very different. The United States is unhappy, divided and foundering both at home and abroad. Its self-belief and values are under attack.
For all the shortcomings of the campaign, both John McCain and Barack Obama offer hope of national redemption. Now America has to choose between them. The Economist does not have a vote, but if it did, it would cast it for Mr. Obama. We do so wholeheartedly: the Democratic candidate has clearly shown that he offers the better chance of restoring America’s self-confidence. But we acknowledge it is a gamble. Given Mr. Obama’s inexperience, the lack of clarity about some of his beliefs and the prospect of a stridently Democratic Congress, voting for him is a risk. Yet it is one America should take, given the steep road ahead.
Thinking About 2009 and 2017
The immediate focus, which has dominated the campaign, looks daunting enough: repairing America’s economy and its international reputation. The financial crisis is far from finished. The United States is at the start of a painful recession. Some form of further fiscal stimulus is needed, though estimates of the budget deficit next year already spiral above $1 trillion. Some 50m Americans have negligible health-care cover. Abroad, even though troops are dying in two countries, the cack-handed way in which George Bush has prosecuted his war on terror has left America less feared by its enemies and less admired by its friends than it once was.