One might have thought that the humiliating defeat of
Hillary Clinton would suggest that a campaign against Barack Obama should not
be based on ridiculous and ridiculously false accusations. Apparently,
this is not the lesson John McCain has taken from her loss. In fact, almost as
soon as it was apparent that Obama would be anointed in
What McCain so grimly suggested was that Hamas had actually endorsed Obama as its presidential choice. Now, one could, with much greater justification, have claimed that the Ayatollah Khomeini preferred Ronald Reagan to Jimmy Carter. In any case, the intent of McCain’s attack was perfectly clear: He was scavenging for Jewish votes.
Judging by the latest Gallup Poll, the rewards for McCain’s efforts will be slim. In a one-on-one race, Obama outperforms McCain among Jewish voters 61 percent to 32 percent--a margin that has grown by six percent over the past month. Once Jews hear more from Obama, I predict this margin will grow at a brisk clip.
Last Thursday, Barack Obama and I had a longish telephone conversation. We spoke about the collapse of the social contract that underwrites democratic capitalism, an arrangement that is certainly eroding. We also talked about national security and the neglect of high science for which the country will pay deep into the future. What shall I say? I did not disagree with him on anything, although--here and there--our emphases were different. Obama will be addressing these broader themes in the coming weeks and months. He was actually frustrated by the icky-picky character of the debates which channeled the candidates into differences akin to those that would be considered in meetings of a congressional conference committee resolving differences about legislation between the Senate and the House.
Last on our agenda--but longest--was
Ahmed Yousef was the Hamas leader who confessed to liking
Obama: "We hope he will win the election." Yousef's illusory hopes
clash with some of Obama's putative friends. Rashid Khalidi, for example, heir
to Edward Said's intellectually run down turf at
As if there were no differences among
This is not, however, the core problem, as Obama
clearly grasps. He said to me on Thursday (as he said
Jeffrey Goldberg has
made a big contribution to our understanding of Obama's thoughts and
Martin Peretz is the editor-in-chief of The
By Martin Peretz