After spending two weeks in the United States, I no
longer doubt that President Barack Obama will be re-elected.
Whether he deserves a second term can be debated until
the Tea Party endorses gay marriage, socialized medicine and a 100 percent income
tax on unearned income, but what becomes more obvious by the week is that Obama’s
opponent doesn’t deserve a first one.
Mitt Romney as a campaigner is cloddish and vacillating, devoid of ideas
with electoral appeal, a serial blunderer with all the political savvy of a beached
“So my job is not to worry about those people,” he
told an audience of financial donors in a private meeting back May, the
transcript of which emerged this week.
‘Those people’, it turns out, are the 47 percent of the population of
the United States who don’t work, pay no income tax and depend on the
government for benefits – in other words, the elderly, the disabled, the sick
and the unemployed.
Even right-wing pundits were shocked by the gaffe, and
twice over when Mitt compounded it by explaining that he pretty much meant what
he said except that it ‘didn’t quite come out right’.
Mitt quickly attempted redemption by demonstrating an
incisive grasp of prickly foreign policy issues. Asked about his view of America’s role in the dispute between Israel and its
neighbours, he averred sagely that “this is going to remain an unresolved
problem. And we kick the ball down the
field and hope that ultimately somehow, something will happen”. More than a few of his supporters were now reaching
for the sedative pills.
Republicans are now starting to realize, with the kind
of horror that descended on them midway through the last presidential campaign,
when Sarah Palin in an interview vainly tried to think of a prominent
international newspaper she regularly read, that Mitt may have been a master of
the corporate buyout but is a novice when it comes to the political buy-in.
A president lumbered with a stalled economy and eight
percent unemployment ought to be a pushover, but it’s the challenger who’s