Dan Hannan MEP is a great man but I just don't get his support for Barack Obama. Read his latest full blog for yourself but see below for a fisk of five of Dan's assertions:
DH: "In defiance of many of my friends, most of the people whose opinions I respect and almost the whole of my natural constituency, I’m for Barack. It’s not a very comfortable position for a Conservative."
Too right you shouldn't feel comfortable Dan! Barack Obama is THE most liberal member of the US Senate. He's to the left of Ted Kennedy. The next US President will almost certainly be elected alongside a Democrat-controlled Senate and House of Representatives. With Obama in the White House they'll move America's judicial system and tax rates in a very unconservative direction.
DH: "At present, America finds herself derided and traduced, often by the countries with most cause to be grateful to her. This dislike is focused on the Iraq war, and personified by George Bush... The fact is that the simplest and most immediate way for America to restore her name is to elect a politician who consistently opposed the invasion."
This argument is superficially attractive but the issue of whether you supported the Iraq war or not is yesteryear's argument. Today's argument is about whether America finishes the job or it pulls out in defiance of the views of General Petraeus and America's commanders on the ground. Much of the world will cheer Barack Obama if he pulls the troops out quickly but those cheers will turn to jeers if the pre-surge chaos resumes. On 10th January 2007 Barack Obama said the surge would worsen the violence in Iraq. He couldn't have been more wrong. John McCain, in contrast, was arguing for a surge from near the beginning of the Iraq war. Rumsfeld and Bush ignored McCain for too long. The idea that Barack Obama will restore America's standing in the world is based on the false premise that the world will respect an America that does what multilateral institutions like the UN and EU recommend. My belief is that the world is more likely to respect an America that is strong and doesn't walk away from its responsibilities. McCain is experienced enough to be Commander-in-Chief. The same can't be said for the first term Senator from Illinois.
DH: "An Obama victory would put the Farrakhans and Sharptons and Wrights out of business, falsifying their narrative of race relations in America."
The idea of a black President is indeed a wonderful prospect and it would send an electric message to Black Americans as well as across the world. I'm not convinced that Obama is the real deal. He's testy when cross-examined and there are some worrying signs that he's not as much of a uniter as his early rhetoric suggested. He's been a member of a church which has been led by an incredibly divisive pastor - as divisive as Sharpton and Farrakhan. This pastor married Barack Obama and baptised his children. He was originally meant to speak at the launch of Obama's presidential bid. Obama also appears out of touch with ordinary American values - the "bittergate" controversy was powerfully exploited by Hillary Clinton and at one stage reignited her doomed campaign. He has also been very partisan in the Senate. Unlike Senator Clinton he has hardly worked with Republicans. Winning support for his presidential race among Democratic superdelegates appears to have weighed most heavily on his mind during his short Senate career. See David Brooks for much, much more.
DH: "Obama feels more of a Brit than his rival. His Kenyan father had a classic Anglosphere outlook. His grandfather served with our forces in Burma. He is a West Ham fan."
There's nothing bankable here Dan although I can envisage a great photo opportunity with President Obama on his first UK tour spending a couple of hours at Upton Park alongside Iain Dale. I don't believe Barack Obama feels strongly about the UK. If he did he might have given Britain one tiny mention in his big foreign policy article for the Foreign Affairs journal. He didn't and please see below for the real worry...
DH: "McCain, whom I like and admire, is, by contrast, quite an extreme Europhile. For me, that’s the clincher."
I don't like McCain's support for the EPP either but do you really think that Barack Obama will be any better? Take the two men's attitude to that other 'great' multilateral organisation - the United Nations. Barack Obama has called for America to rededicate itself to the UN's mission and organisation. He didn't quite say he wanted America to be at the heart of the UN but he might as well have done. John McCain, in stark contrasts, wants to radically challenge the UN by forming a new League of Democracies. McCain may be wrong on the EU but he has better instincts on the dangers of transnational bodies. With a little help from Prime Minister Cameron I think it's more likely that we can make John McCain a Eurosceptic than will be possible with Barack Obama.