Yes, I know. You must all be shocked. Because the media is shocked. I hasten to add that this is not a story about any British or European party leaders but the peculiar way the media on this side of the Pond reports the American presidential election.
There is a definite suggestion that the Republicans are going beyond the pale by challenging Obama for the presidency. The American Constitution may have proscribed presidential elections every four years but surely that was just because the Founding Fathers could not envisage a true embodiment of perfection taking that position. That, actually, is true: they could not envisage any human being, let alone a politician as an embodiment of true perfection and understood the need for a constitution that would or should control all of them. That is something President Obama and his supporters find hard to understand.
At this stage the outcome is unclear. The two candidates seem close and much depends on a few swing states as well as what the economic news might be in the next couple of months.
However, it seems certain that Mitt Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan is someone the GOP can be very pleased with, not least because he is a genuinely inspiring speaker, apparently without the constant aid of the teleprompter. His speech to the Republican National Convention caused ructions on both the right and the left, the first pleasurable, the second somewhat annoyed.
The reaction to it on this side of the Pond was muted, possibly because it was not clearly understood or because our hacks are embarrassed by a politician of apparent conviction. Gregor Peter Schmits of Der Spiegel
had no doubts: he hated
Ryan's speech and everything about Ryan. The man is more dangerous than Sarah Palin, still a highly influential lady, ever was. Really? Why?
Four years ago, Sarah Palin energized the Republicans with her convention speech. This year, it is Paul Ryan who has found a common cause with the party's grassroots. His stark brand of conservatism is bad news for the socially weak.
Well, Heavens to Murgatroyd, as the great Snagglepuss used to say. Imagine that: a party leader or second to him who makes common cause with the party's grassroots. I am shocked, I tell you, shocked. As for the Romney-Ryan policy being bad for the socially weak, it comes as news to me that an economy in which unemployment is growing while the number of businesses is decreasing would be good for the socially weak.
I have been told by people who actually read the Times
that Ryan's speech was reported as wanting to slash government spending and to leave people without a safety net to the vagaries of the free market, which is not exactly true. It is true that Ryan talked about cutting government spending and encouraging people to build their own businesses and make their own money without government intervention. Whether that is what will happen if Romney wins in November is irrelevant. The point is that a supposedly conservative paper like the Times
that even the very suggestion of self-reliance as opposed to reliance on the government is a bad thing and Ryan by articulating such thoughts of those who are likely to support the Republicans is clearly no better than King Herod.
Meanwhile, the Evening Standard
, the freebie paper handed out at tube stations and street corners in London, has added its own little screed of hatred
for the Republican nominees. It seems that not only Paul Ryan but Mitt Romney himself is also pandering to his party, which has become completely unelectable. It's not clear whether that is because Romney is pandering to it or the other way round. Then again, I recall the then American correspondent of the Standard, James Fenton assuring all and sundry that the Republicans were a joke and Obama had regained whatever popularity he may have lost about a week before the mid-term elections that gave the GOP the biggest landslide in history.
One thing we must be grateful for: there is no chance of any party leader in Britain or on the Continent of falling into the heinous error of listening to the members. .