The economic problems of the US are substantial. The recovery is staggering along with occasional bursts of energy, but by now it was supposed to be on a steady upwards trajectory and that is not happening. Unemployment is more than 7 per cent and hits mostly blacks and other minorities in unskilled jobs, exacerbating the racial divide. House sales are down again and lower GDP has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The only thing that President Obama can do about it is barnstorm the nation with what he calls his latest plan for recovery, which is probably good for politics as it keeps alive what little is left of the flame of hope that was lit in 2008, but next to useless when it comes to stimulating economic activity. Meanwhile, his administration refuses to stop the spend, borrow and tax mania which everyone knows is the root of the economic malaise gripping the country. Even the bankruptcy of Detroit has not had the salutary effect that was expected.
In these circumstances, it is surprising that so much of the national energy here goes into side issues. First, there is a new season of sex scandals to accompany the election primary season. It is hard to believe, but two of the main miscreants have now returned to the fray and are seeking public office again, despite having made fools of themselves when their peccadillos and other parts of their anatomy were exposed. The main offender is the hilariously and eponymously named Anthony Weiner, the congressman who resigned in 2011 when he was exposed for sending revealing photos of himself to six women on Twitter. This not so gay Lothario has now leapt back onto the national stage by running for endorsement as the Democrat candidate for mayor of New York. If this were a race for stallions, rather than mares, he would win easily, for although almost impossible to believe, it appears he has done it again, but after he resigned and promised to reform. More of his private parts have been revealed in a series of intimate photographs obligingly released by one of his paramours who was motivated, she claims, by her civic duty to reveal Weiner’s wiener to the Twitterverse. The long-suffering Mrs Weiner has been forced to repeat her increasingly unpersuasive declaration in support of her husband that ‘I am standing right beside Anthony’, which is probably the safest place to be if you are within range of Mr Weiner’s wandering… gaze. Weiner’s co-offender is Eliot Spitzer, former governor of New York who also resigned after being sprung for multiple liaisons with prostitutes; and he, also, is running for office again in New York. You might wonder how they could have the chutzpah to do it, and that they must surely be doomed to fare almost as badly as Craig Thomson will in Dobell in a few weeks.
But this is America and recent research shows that a sex scandal does not necessarily mean the end of a political career, but can be the beginning of a new one. The reason is that the activist church is now heavily into confession, forgiveness and redemption and it loves sinners like Weiner and Spitzer (I know, they sound like a firm of kosher butchers), whom they can take under their wing and use as a prop in the salvation stakes. But the flesh is weak, even in New York and my guess is that before the campaign season is over, Weiner and Spitzer will eventually feel the need to spend more time with their families.
Likewise, opinion leaders can never leave abortion alone. The intelligentsia are still on their relentless search for new categories of unborn children to abort, are now well beyond detecting a heartbeat as the determining factor and are up to many months of pregnancy within which abortion is an automatic right. They are urged on by reformist federal judges who regularly overturn state laws limiting abortion, even when passed by a referendum. In the onward progressive march there is no greater trophy than a democratic law overturned by an unelected judge or a self-appointed commissar who knows better than the people themselves what is good for them.
Same sex marriage is forging ahead and has reached another milestone. In Minneapolis, where I was for a few days, the pastor of the Lutheran Church has found the magic formula to replace: ‘I now pronounce you man and wife.’ Apparently, he will declare: ‘I now pronounce you partners for life.’ But the mayor of that delightful city has gone one step further, has found two likely lads who are tying the knot and in an outburst of civic splendour has declared a city-wide holiday in their name.
Now is there any relief from the carping environmental campaigns of celebrities and others; even going out for a sandwich has its peril. Woe betide the office worker who dares buy a tuna sandwich unless the wrapper is stamped ‘Pole-caught tuna’. No evil nets or long-line fishing for our tuna, thank you; we catch ours on poles to give them a fighting chance, before we kill them.
But at least the monarchy is safe in the great republic. The royal birth has swamped the media and private conversation, but always with pleasure and joy. I think a constitutional monarchy symbolises for Americans something much better than they have.
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