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Over the weekend Telegraph columnist Nile Gardiner had two interesting posts on Barack Obama’s chances for re-election.

‘Why Barack Obama may be heading for electoral disaster in 2012’ and ‘After 29 months … the American superpower is heading for the economic abyss’ made interesting reading over morning coffee.  Debate in the comments was lively and no less impassioned than it was three years ago.

We are familiar with the saying that we get the leaders we deserve.  A moral people will vote in moral candidates.  That said, no one is perfect, but some politicians are better than others.

It says something about the West that many of us have preferred left-of-centre policies and/or candidates. Then we moan about money and morals going down the drain. I theorise this is because we have given too many people a pass for things we should have criticised instead.  Even growing up, I remember not only friends but adults saying of certain people guilty of transgressions (regardless of age): ‘He didn’t mean it’.  Well, once we get started on the road to moral equivocation and making excuses for other people, that’s it.  And it’s been that way as long as I’ve been alive.

We deplore the state of our churches and our clergy, the rise in cheats at university level, the exponential increases in children born out of wedlock, the number of people on benefits or  newcomers who — no matter how accommodating we are — always want more awareness programmes or government money.

And now Americans have a chance to put that right next year.  But it won’t come without a lot of soul-searching and a return to a moral life.  When things are wrong, we must say so and not make excuses for the wrongdoer.  We must also ensure, though, that we hold fast to that which is good and exemplify truth and honesty in what we say and do.

How did the West get where it is today?  By accepting dubious morals and duplicitous excuses of all kinds.  These have occurred in our own homes, our houses of worship, our governments and society in general.  I’m not saying we should be inflexible, but we do need to be more discerning in sorting out right from wrong.

Some people are very good at deception and swaying popular opinion.  They bank (sometimes literally!) on their ability to deceive us.  A closer examination on our part will help to expose such people.

Back to the original topic.  Watch for astroturfing on American political fora over the next 15 months. Obama’s political contributors — knowingly or otherwise — heavily financed these efforts in social media in 2008.  Some of these kids — generally university students — were better than others.  Nonetheless, they completely swamped comments on various sites and drowned out individuals who preferred John McCain.  The astroturfers never debated the issues or brought up facts but resorted to name-calling, e.g. ‘stupid’, ‘moronic’, ‘deluded’ — those were just the milder terms used.  Getting pounded like that is bound to drive the opposition away, and — as many of us will recall — these underhanded Alinsky tactics succeeded.  Once again, only Hillary Clinton’s supporters — because they were from the somewhat-defecting left-wing side of the spectrum — could see through them and try to explain to Republicans what was happening.

Forewarned is forearmed.  That said, Republicans also need to get credible candidates for the primaries, none of whom I see on the horizon yet.

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