03 January 2008

Respecting the right

It's hard to come up with a historical era in which right-wing conservatives were really admirable. But the most recent crop have outdone themselves on a global scale. Cheney has turned himself and America with him into something that can be compared to Darth Vadar and the Empire. The world has a healthy respect for his/our power, and a healthy understanding that the Empire itself isn't worth real respect.

(So how much do regular Americans deserve the government we have?)

On the other hand, individual thinkers on the right are certainly worthy of respect. Timothy Garton Ash is on that list. Here he has a thoughtful essay on who should be the most powerful person in the world. Who would it be if you had your druthers? The Dalai Lama? Yourself? An innocent child?

Not too many of us would choose the innocent child, which is his point. He thinks Obama isn't ready.

"I started 2007 as an enthusiastic Obamaite," he writes. "I go into 2008 a sober Clintonian. "I continue to believe that Barack Obama is the only candidate who could change the United States' image overnight. It is now consistently less popular across the globe than at any time since international polling began. Obama personifies those aspects of American society that even some of Washington's fiercest critics admire, and he has some good ideas too. The trouble is, the more I watched him last year, the more convinced I became that he is not yet ready for the job."

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