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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

An excerpt from a Letter from America as Published on Tuesday, September 21, 2004 by the Sydney Morning Herald / Australia by Christopher Selth

Dear Margo,

The biggest thing expected of the President by certain Americans is to deliver a simpler world.

So there seems little debate. It's just about shouting slogans. Bush declares that he is strong and that America is richer and safer with virtually no reference to supporting evidence. These claims are paraded around as fact. A vote for Kerry is going backward, but backward on what? Bush presents policies with no reference to his track record. Scrutiny is minimal. Pigs can fly.

The Kerry camp has been caught flat footed. They have been naive enough to hope that facts mattered, facts such as the exploding budget deficit, the widening gap of rich and poor, the collapse of America's international reputation, global warming, and the quagmire of Iraq.

Instead now they are also driven to populism. Equally those of my friends from more professional backgrounds don't understand how an election can have so little to do with reality. There is a real sense of fear in this group, and I repeat they are both Democrat and Republican voters, that the new politics is one where informed debate is dead, and facts don't matter.

Of course, maybe it was always so. A great politician,and now even my Republican friends speak admiringly of Bill Clinton as such a creature, can present complex ideas simply, whilst still retaining nuance. In the absence of such leaders we are seeing politics move into a terrifying place of empty platitudes where facts are too scary to be permitted.

Is this the new politics?

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