BBC BLOGS - Justin Webb's America
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'Events dear boy, events!'

Justin Webb | 19:34 UK time, Sunday, 31 August 2008

Life comes at you fast - as an advertisement for something or other (insurance I think?) tells Americans every day. Or to put it more elegantly - as did a British prime minister when asked about the greatest threats a statesman could face - "events, dear boy, events!" This was noted during the summer over Georgia (not great for Obama) and will be noted hugely this week in St Paul (not good for McCain).

Plainly the backdrop of images of destruction reminding Americans of Katrina will be horrible for the Republicans. So will the focus of the 24-hour news shows on the event in New Orleans (or wherever) rather than in St Paul. These events must all be in jeopardy. Which is sad for a city desperate to come out of the shadows.

But a convention without George Bush and Dick Cheney is an improved event, politically speaking. And if John McCain can sound the right note when he speaks it need not be a disaster.

As for Sarah Palin! Her creationist views are bound to become an issue (can you really have a president who denies basic truths about the world?). But far more politically explosive will be her views on abortion, apparently against it in ALL circumstances.

I must say I have some sympathy for this column's support of the philosophical underpinnings of that view, but it will be uncomfortable not only for supporters of abortion rights but also for many opponents who cannot bring themselves to be quite so clear-cut in their opposition. My prediction: she will be a brilliant candidate or blow up and take the whole party down with her. Not sure which.


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