Oct 10, 2008

The view from abroad

Martin Samuel, in The Times: "Sarah Palin is the queen of misinformation, delivered with faux folksiness as authentic as a three-dollar bill. She is not the pit bull in lipstick of popular myth; she is Deputy Dawg with a forked tongue, engaged in a war against intelligence. By any normal yardstick of political discourse - substance, accuracy, coherence - she is a bust...This (candidacy) shows how far we have come. Intelligence is now viewed as a threat."

Nick Curtis, the Evening Standard: "Armed, glamorous, and possessed of unfashionable opinions, Caribou Barbie briefly seemed an alluring alternative to dishwater politicians. But her flaky pronouncements this week have removed the mote - as her beloved Bible puts it - from our eyes. She's a bonkers, parochial creationist whose more ambition than substance, and her glasses aren't even that nice. What were we thinking?"

The Economist: Mr McCain and Ms Palin are not playing with fire. They are handing out fire to drunken, angry crowds. If someone's house gets burned down they will point to the fire-safety pamphlet that was free for the taking at the entry to their rallies. (Ms Palin: Sure, Mr Obama is not a terrorist but "This election is about the truthfulness and judgment needed in our next president.") Would you accept that as a defence?

David Usborne, The Independent: "Tall and languid as (Obama) is, it was still tough to see his heart. But languid is surely better than tottering....It is even possible that some viewers felt sorry for Mr. McCain. Sorry for a man who couldn't stop fidgeting when his opponent spoke, like a cocktail guest not sure if anyone at the party liked him."

The Daily Telegraph: "There will be many victims of the financial crisis, and one of the most prominent could be John McCain... (who) is finding it increasingly hard to make up ground on Barack Obama. But it was less their policies for dealing with economic calamity than their demeanor that provided the most noticeable difference between the two men during their second televised debate on Tuesday night. Mr. Obama appeared calm and confident; Mr. McCain seemed uncertain, tired, and tetchy. It felt, admittedly from afar, like the modern-day equivalent of the famous clash between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon."

Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian: "The United States has been at war with itself in recent years. They call it the culture war. It has generated more hot air than most wars in history. John McCain has now turned to its red army tactics to rescue himself from impending defeat. (But) the world needs the United States to get over its cultural civil war, and get over it fast. Not that these moral, cultural, and social issues are unimportant... but they are also among the most private things. The central business of government is to provide public goods such as national and personal security, the regulation of markets so that free enterprise can flourish, the international development that is in all our national interests, and a clean environment using diversified, sustainable energy supplies. That's what the United States needs from its new president, and that's what the world needs from the United States."

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