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E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)
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Jane's Blogosphere: blogtrack for Natalie Solent.
( 'Nother Solent is this blog's good twin. Same words, searchable archives, RSS feed. Provided by a benefactor, to whom thanks.
I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)
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Friday, October 29, 2004
The spirit of September 12. Sorry for the lack of posts. I've been helping my sister move house. Deprived of my computer, I missed important developments like another column in the Times by Peter Briffa, blogger made good. Don't campaign, Briffa says to Michael Howard, and the people will love you for it. It's a thought. The US election campaign is in me like a virus, and it's not even our election. It was a minor torture to endure a whole 48 hours without a shot of Real Clear Politics.
When it comes to the timing of elections the British system is superior. The fact that no one, not even the Prime Minister, knows the exact date of the election very far in advance means that campaigns are shorter and cost less.
Don't mistake my dislike of long, intense campaigns for indifference as to the outcome. True, I am fairly indifferent to the outcome of the coming British election. On one side we have the Prime Minister. Useless on every issue bar one, splendid on that one. On the other we have Michael Howard. I originally wrote John Howard, and that says it all.
But, oh boy, I'm riveted by the US election. Consider me a September 12 gal.
On September 12 2001 there was no downside for those planning the next terrorist spectacular. You too can humble the Great Satan and win undying glory!
Now there is a downside.
And I thank God - literally thank God - that the guy in the White House who started work on making that downside on September 12 2001 was a sunny-tempered frat boy who is President, at least in part, because his Daddy was. Peter Briffa's column said that professional politicians irritate. That's only half the problem. The other half is that they are all a particular type of person. Bush is close enough to that type to function but doesn't really belong. I am aware that he can be a ruthless political operator. (He can pick 'em, too, a useful skill.) But in important respects his values are more normal than is normal in his milieu.
I will go further. I thank God that Bush is a believing Christian who takes seriously the obligation to love his enemies. He didn't limit himself to making a downside for terrorism, necessary though that was. (Not that most of his opponents would have done it.) Instead he did what idealists claim to want: he set out to tackle the injustice and oppression that are the root causes of terrorism.