Not even a woman can win it for McCain

J ohn McCain made a brilliant move in choosing Sarah Palin, the 44-year-old governor of Alaska, to be his running-mate. This appointment ought to make up for all his own deficiencies. Palin is young. She’s female. She’s attractive; she’s got some celebrity, having been the runner-up in a Miss Alaska beauty pageant.

She also wins our sympathy: she has one son off to war in Iraq; her youngest, born this year, has Down’s syndrome. So I wasn’t surprised to hear from English friends that they believe John McCain now has the election sewn up.

They think that Barack Obama will never overcome the prejudice of people who don’t live on the East Coast; that the blue-collar voters just won’t go for a 47-year-old black guy who speaks like a rock star but is thin on experience. But there is going to be an Obama landslide in November – and I don’t think that because I’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid rhetoric of the Democratic convention.

Unless you are American or, like me, you have lived here for a long time, it is almost impossible to describe the disenchantment about the Bush era. He and his cronies have brought us to our knees, not just economically but spiritually.

I don’t think any Republican stands a chance in November. Palin or no Palin, this is Obama’s moment. Before 9/11 Americans did not fear in the way we fear now: we fear for our economy, for our safety, we worry about whom we can trust.

In 1997 America was a country, in which, as Joe Biden put it last week, people believed if they worked hard enough they could achieve anything. But I have felt the change in the air of late, and never felt so disappointed. I’ve watched the bewilderment as we learn we invaded the wrong country and see that Bin Laden is still alive. When Obama says he stands for hope, many people do not hear this as political rhetoric but something real.

What isn’t real is John McCain’s beauty pageant appointment of Sarah Palin. And I don’t think it’s going to work. Because, as Obama has pointed out, it wasn’t so much his achievements that took him to the Democratic candidacy, but the American voters, who are ready for a change. And with Hillary Clinton now out of contention, there’s 18 million more of them.V

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