Daily Archives: October 13, 2009

Gideon Rachman

This post by Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times looks at the reconstruction efforts of the US, UK and other leading members of Afghanistan’s international assistance force. 

Gideon Rachman

When the FT circulates the list of best-read articles on the internet around the building, the top one or two articles often have a tell-tale word in brackets, after them (Drudge). For, as any web-editor knows, the surest way to get a surge in internet hits is to have your article picked up by the Drudge Report – an idiosyncratic mix of high politics, economics, celebrity news and climate-change scepticism – which has a huge following in the US, particularly amongst “conservatives”.

For a journalist being Drudged is a mixed blessing. Initially, you feel terribly popular and successful as you soar up the “most read” table. And then the e-mails start coming in. Here are a few that arrived today, in response to my Tuesday column on Obama. I think they give a fairly alarming insight into the mental state of parts of Middle America.

Somebody called Bob Clymer writes: “From your writings you are clearly in the Marxist/Socialist camp. Keep your stinking European nose out of America.” And here are the musings of one Bill Smith: “when are you idiotic British Marxist ass-kissers ever going to see reality?  Obama is a dead man walking….he’s too stupid to realize it yet….The Mossad will cap his big brown head and make it look like some Muslim hot-head did it….This halfbreed idiot is a ruination not only to the USA but to free men everywhere….something you lazy bastards in Europe gave up like 65 years ago….” What kind of a mental state do you have to be in, that you want your own president to be assassinated by a foreign country? 

Gideon Rachman

Pinn illustration

Just five years ago, Barack Obama was still a local politician in Illinois, preparing for a run for the US Senate. His office wall in Chicago at the time was decorated with the famous picture of Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston, after knocking him out in a heavyweight title fight. Ali famously boasted that he could “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” But now that Mr Obama is president, he seems to float like a butterfly – and sting like one as well.