Iain Duncan Smith last night declared that the “the demonisation” of Mitt Romney by the UK press had been “appalling” and, whether or not one agrees with the Work and Pensions Secretary, it’s striking that not a single British title has endorsed the Republican candidate.
While it’s unsurprising that left-leaning papers like the Guardian and the Independent have cast their imaginary ballots for Barack Obama (as the New Statesman did), it’s notable that the Times, the Financial Times and the Economist (all of which endorsed the Conservatives at the last election) have also urged US voters to re-elect the President. Even those titles that might have been expected to endorse Romney, such as the Spectator and the Daily Telegraph, have avoided explicitly doing so, preferring to criticise Obama and praise the wider US right.
Whatever the outcome of tomorrow’s election (and the swing state polls point to a near-certain victory for Obama), on Fleet Street, at least, it’s a landslide for Obama.
Mr Obama stands in a noble liberal tradition that supports an active state as a precondition for individual flourishing. His opponent, by contrast, stands for a shrivelled public realm in which the market rules all and the poor are treated with contempt. In order that the former vision may triumph, Mr Obama must be returned as president on 6 November and Mr Romney decisively rejected.
Mr Obama’s first term has not been an unbridled success by any means but his response to Hurricane Sandy has shown that Mr Obama has the bearing and mettle of a president.
Mr Obama still commands great goodwill in the world and can stand on his economic record, given a very difficult inheritance. He deserves a second term.
For all his shortcomings, Mr Obama has dragged America’s economy back from the brink of disaster, and has made a decent fist of foreign policy. So this newspaper would stick with the devil it knows, and re-elect him.
This is America’s election, not ours, and some Americans think the rest of us have no right to an opinion. But our part of the world is clear that it prefers Mr Obama to have four more years in the White House and on Tuesday we hope that Americans will use their votes to ensure that he does.
The candidate best equipped for the challenging period ahead is Barack Obama. While his campaign has hardly been inspiring, he remains a thoughtful figure who has taken his responsibilities with a seriousness absent from the Bush years.
Obama has shown that purposeful government can be part of the solution rather than the problem. Four years on from the financial crisis, with extreme inequality an affront to the American dream, there remains a need for intelligent, reformist governance. Mr Obama, his presidency defined by the economic crisis, looks the better choice.
Yes, we hope that Barack Obama is re-elected to the world’s most powerful position. He is the cooler head and the safer pair of hands. But, if we wish his success, it is not only because his financial policies are more beneficial for the international economy as a whole, and his judgement on foreign ventures more sound. It is also because we still harbour the hope that he could yet change the world for the better.
As for Mr Obama, the naive emotion of the “hopey, changey thing” should give way to a clear-eyed yet enthusiastic endorsement. It would be in the interest of the US and the world if American voters re-elected their President.
For the US right
The Tea Party movement may be rough around the edges, but within it is an authentically American protest at the encroachment of big government on individual liberty. Whatever happens on Tuesday, the future of the American right looks bright.
Whatever else it is, America remains the most diverse, the most free, the most entrepreneurial and the most successful nation in history. Whether it is Mitt Romney or Barack Obama who ends up in the White House, only a fool would bet against the country he leads.
A troubled world still looks to America for leadership, both in terms of economics and on issues of peace and war. What a shame, then, that this election has been fought more on matters of class and character than on policy and principle.