Thursday, 2 October 2008

Folksy tales from the brave new world

I know it doesn’t matter – and you know it doesn’t matter – but if he didn’t quote The Tempest with quite such a simpering smile I wouldn't find myself wondering whether he can bowl as well as Obama.

But Joe Biden did. And while he does, and being of the old Wilde school of not attributing his sources, Palin’s modesty to misattribute her quotes is all the more notable. Those given to Anglo-American comparison should note that it was with something more subtle than the way our own Chameleon Cameron crowbarred a Thatcher salute into an otherwise rather progressive season of political party conferences, Sarah Palin's shining city on a hill was calculated to give the illusion that she’d quoted Ronald Reagan twice, and almost made you think that she’s read more Reagan than Winthrop. This illusion meant that she could court the Reaganites of the grand old party faithful without outraging the moderates, a reconciliation whose Tory counterpart Chameleon Cameron has still to fathom.

Unlike Cameron’s speech, in which they were both crammed uncomfortably into his one person, the 2008 United States vice-presidential debate saw accommodation and partisanship healthily apportioned between the two candidates, but at times with equally comic results: the beautiful and (genuinely) moving family-guy Biden emotion was sadly undermined by his repeated claim to “love” Sen. John McCain.

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