OPINION

Obama vs McCain

I came back from a brief trip to the United States and everyone asked me who the next US president will be. The best answer I heard came from an expert, a veteran of American politics, who predicted that Barack Obama will either win by a large margin or lose by an equally large one. As simplistic as this may sound, it does reflect reality. Right now, the Democratic candidate is enjoying huge momentum, the tide is flowing his way and a huge pool of disappointment toward President George W. Bush and his administration is open to him. Therefore, in many ways, Obama can lose only if he makes a mistake himself. Senator John McCain will try to strike Obama on two fronts. In his official campaign he will try to take the contest onto the playing field of foreign affairs, reminding the Americans repeatedly of his own record in Vietnam and contrasting it with his younger opponent’s lack of such a track record. In the campaign that takes place behind the scenes, he will spread rumors and whispers about Obama’s past, about the fact that his real name is Barack Hussein Obama and the likelihood that he is probably a Muslim at heart. I find it hard to believe that the electorate may be influenced by such arguments and rumors. It doesn’t make sense. But America, naive and vulnerable to all sorts of scares, thinks and votes in a manner that is hard for the European mind to grasp. The following is a conversation between two Greek Americans I happened to overhear, which made an impression on me: «Will you vote for the black guy?» one asked the other. «Are you crazy! Have a closet Muslim with his hand on the nuclear button? No way!» America is a different world to Europe and our logic will not determine the outcome in November.