Obama may be no messiah but second coming is still desirable
Yet neither Obama nor Mitt Romney, his wax dummy of a challenger, has allowed himself to mention climate change on the campaign trail. Astonishingly, the topic did not come up once in the televised debates. The pressing demands of immediate political expediency look set to overpower any trivial need to prevent our grandchildren from living their lives in a wetter version of Mad Max 2. Yes, we can? Tell that to the New Jersey residents currently placing their shoreside houses on stilts.
So, the message of this left- leaning column is that Obama is useless? He’s George W Bush with a hipper iPod. He’s a better class of empty suit.
Let’s not get carried away. The battle against the current version of US Republicanism is still worth fighting. True, Romney has shown an extraordinary ability to shift position at the spin of a headline. The fire-breathing brownshirt of the primaries has been replaced by the sort of inclusive conservative Clint Eastwood would happily invite around for tea. But he stands in front of a party that harbours a truly eye-watering collection of sexist, fundamentalist, science- hating, bible-bashing loons.
On October 23rd Richard Mourdock, Republican candidate for the Senate in Indiana, defended his opposition to abortion in the case of rape by arguing that such a pregnancy would be “something that God intended to happen”. Romney refused to withdraw his endorsement. In late September, Paul Broun, a Republican congressman from Georgia, was recorded arguing that embryology, evolution and the Big Bang theory are all “lies straight from the pit of hell”. Astonishingly, Broun serves on the House science committee.
Observing this clutch of ghouls lumbering menacingly behind Romney, the need to return Obama becomes ever more pressing.
He is not the risen Lord. He will not cause the rivers to flow with champagne. But he is a decent, articulate politician with a greater than average interest in protecting the less fortunate and forwarding progressive economic policies. Freed from concerns about re-election during a second term, he may shake off caution and take on some of those more fearsome challenges.
Let us not, however, expect too much of him. Few men have lived happily after being hailed as the new messiah. Indeed, they tend to get crucified.