America's Dilemma; Obama, Huckabee and Paul.

The picture is Raphael's Three Graces, if you are curious; I also like Canova's sculptured version but oddly was never taken by the Rubens one, even if Rubens' womanly figures are lovely. The apples they hold are the gifts of the Hesperides, the far off Western lands beyond the bath of Europe's stars.

Last year, I pointed out that the only candidates I liked in the American primary races (mad Jose Biden apart) were Obama, Huckabee and Paul. You, my loyal single silver foil hatted reader, will be aware that there is and has been at all material times an electoral competition ongoing in the American republic. What has it shown and what has happened to the three?

There is a candidate who is about to win in the primaries who in any other year would be near unelectable. That candidate was born in a foreign country. He was censured by Congress for his role in a major scandal, though I should stress he was minimally involved. His campaign is skirting the financing rules very very dangerously. He has heartily hated by half his party. He has embraced, several times, one of the most hateful anti-catholic bigots in America, because that person has thousands upon hundreds of thousands of followers. That candidate is surrounded by credible stories of his emotional instability.

What is surprising about John McCain is how stable he is given the tortures he endured. I once shocked a panel of Oxford professors by pointing out that the other side in the Indochina wars were linked to torture, the destruction of human beings, and the ever present threat of a nuclear assault beginning in Berlin. Apparently, they hadn't heard it on the BBC or read it in the Guardian so it couldn't be true.

I can blog about that; McCain lived all that at the hands of his capturers in the Hanoi Hilton, but is given to anger. I admire him when he can't raise his arms to wave because they were broken so many times for his country. I worry about what the experience of that does to a person's judgment, and it inevitably makes me aware of all the stories people tell me who know him of how angry he gets. He has very honourably opposed torture in the years since, which may be more a measure of the man, and has admitted that it worked on him.

John McCain. How long will the Republicans tolerate him? I haven't used his slip of the tongue yesterday when he called himself a 'liberal republican', but it is interesting that the right of his party have and are furiously associating him with it.

At least the insane idea of starting a Persian war that would nearly destroy Europe has been dismissed as a joke by Mr McCain. That joke consisted of singing 'bomb bomb Iran' to the tune of 'Barbara Ann' of course. What a sense of humour. He couldn't have meant that could he reader?

McCain's opponent, Mike Huckabee, is an economic populist, born to the working class, who would be fully qualified but for an article of his faith, which is irrelevant to anybody else, concerned with the theory of evolution. Of course, I write having taken those who opposed Huckabee at their word. The Huckabee campaign is, frankly, burning but with aplomb.

The only consistent, anti-imperialist, pro-stable money Republican, Ron Paul, has of course been completely sidelined and is, but for his pesky electoral delegates, out of the race. It has been shocking how the monocultural supertanker of the American media has ignored him. He had a piece of my heart when he got an airship. Dick Cheney, after all, has numerous underground secret bases including one under a mountain but they just ain't cool unless they are underwater and linked by a pole to a penthouse, like the one my sinister Napoleonetta fiancee operates from.

On the Democrat side, the candidate with the biggest special interest contributions, backed by almost all the military producers, insulated for nearly thirty years from real life, who has lost eleven electoral competitions in succession, and who is incapable of sticking to one line, is still in the race. That candidate is currently attempting to reprise a Walter Mondale line used against Gary Hart to disastrous effect in 1984.

And Obama? Well, in a fit of Freudian projection, all the fears and half-glimpsed insights into their blackened souls that the members of the campaigns above have glimpsed in those mirrors the corners of their eyes can't avoid have been balled into abuse and thrown at him.

I have no clue what he is really like, but you judge a man by what he does and what he achieves. Obama has run a disciplined, brilliantly effective, vote-gathering campaign and consistently behaved with no little dignity. He appears to have policies on things, despite the spin, especially the critical issue of the budget and the national debt. For now, he lifts up rather than tearing down. Frauds and nasties hate him. And he gave up years of his life and a lucrative legal career to represent the poor in Chicago.

If I had a vote, that man would have it.

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