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JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY CLIVE CROOK IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES

 

As one whose job for years involved making (economic) forecasts, I can truly testify it is a humbling enterprise.

However, humans seem built psychologically to crave them nevertheless.

I do think the Greeks had the definitive story on this, as on so many things.

Cassandra was given the gift to tell the future accurately, accompanied by the curse that no one would believe her.

After two victories by the most incompetent and emotionally repellant president in America’s history, it is difficult to offer any rational thought on the functioning of American politics.

There have been several polls showing Obama with a significant lead, on the order of eight points, but there are also polls showing more or less a tie.

My gut feeling tells me Obama is going to win by a surprisingly large margin.
He is an attractive and highly articulate candidate. John McCain, much less so.

I think the words that instantly come to mind in making a comparison are “fresh” versus “tired.”

Obama beat an opponent who had great name-recognition, someone every American knows over the last fifteen years. That remains a stunning achievement.

John McCain has a number of serious weaknesses, chief among them a truly ugly temper. I can’t see him getting through the difficult months ahead without a couple of big blow-ups.

The economy is full of threatening signals, and there may be more yet, and the man in the White House now has a deservedly low approval rating.

The one really big unknown is Israel’s possible action against Iran. I believe Bush and Co. have quietly resigned themselves to not bombing Iran, but Israel may, stretching its resources to the limit, be able to carry off what it threatens daily.

If they decide to do so foolish a thing, it would likely come before Bush is gone.

The fall-out, from even a failed attempt could be immense. Of course, instantly, oil prices will skyrocket. And at least one strike back with Iranian missiles seems a certainty, being an entirely legitimate response.

Would American voters then look to the nasty old military man ready to spend a hundred years in Iraq – a war that was largely about Israel’s situation – or turn to the thoughtful intelligence of Obame?

It has the potential for being a real turning point in America’s relationship with Israel if Israel insists on dragging America into another war.

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