I fear Barack as president more than I fear Sarah. Both will have learned advisers at their side. And, one hopes, some voices of common sense.
By contrast with Sarah, one theme ties together everything Barack and Michelle Obama have long been about: They often diss America implicitly and explicitly. They used to hang out with people who diss America. They want to change the America they are not proud of into a different sort of nation: a European social democracy. They admire European health care, tax policy, and micro-regulation. They share Europe’s cultivated dissing of business, enterprise, initiative, and hard work.
Their own dissing of America is what drew them to Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, who to this day think that ugly America needs their kind of revolution. As recently as 2006, Ayers dissed his own country openly on a visit to Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, urged joint efforts in fighting for revolution through the schools, and then dissed America in particular as in need of revolutionary upheaval.
It is not so much the terrorism of Ayers and Dohrn that inspires contempt. It is their unrelenting dissing of America. The same urge to diss fires the “goddamning” of America by pastor Jeremiah Wright — which, over 20 years, did not make Barack Obama uncomfortable. At least, not until he was criticized for it once he went out to seek the presidency of the United States.
European citizens reciprocate the dissing of America they hear from candidate Obama (not least, in his apologizing for America in Berlin). Europeans tell pollsters they prefer a President Obama over the American hero, John McCain, by over 70 percent to some 25 percent. Obama they regard as one of themselves.
I prefer American democratic capitalism to Euro-social democracy. For one thing, the U.S. has much lower unemployment, and a lot more economic dynamism among small businesses.
These are the choices we Americans will be facing, next Tuesday. Barack Obama is calling us toward Europe; Sarah Palin is calling us back, to what’s best in our own American tradition.