Lackluster GOP delivers U.S. to collectivists

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Republicans' inept defense of liberty and market-based capitalism allows U.S. traditions to fall

With mere days to go and their candidate still not gaining any sizable traction in the polls, conservative columnists are reeling between alarm, disbelief and disconsolation.

Dick Morris mocks the national polls, all of which show Barack Obama ahead, arguing that "the question is not so much how large [Mr. Obama's] lead is over the Republican, but whether or not he is topping 50 percent. As long as the polling leaves him below that mark, he is vulnerable and could well lose."

Still, for the first time, the New York Post columnist – among the staunchest McCain advocates in the pundit-sphere – does hedge his bets. "Don't write Mr. Obama off," the columnist grants. "His candidacy strikes such enthusiasm among young and minority voters that there is still a chance that a massive turnout will deliver the race to the Democrats."

Several conservatives are marshalling their most impassioned closing arguments against Mr. Obama as they express incredulity over his standing. ("Wake up, America," Cal Thomas exhorts in his Tribune Media Services column, "and stop flirting with this guy, because you are flirting with potential disaster.")

Tony Blankley's antenna picks up an ongoing national debate over "which Obama" the country will get: a "sensible centrist" or one "who sought out the company of radicals, black racists, faculty-lounge Marxists and studied the methods of Saul Alinsky."

The Washington Times columnist warns: "As the campaign clock ticks down to its last days and hours, prudent people have to consider the possibility that beneath that easy manner and calming voice is the pulsating heart of a genuine man of the radical left."

Daniel Henninger sees the election as a "philosophical tipping point" that puts "the American economic philosophy of the past 200 years" in peril.

"The goal of Sen. Obama and the modern, 'progressive' Democratic party is to move the U.S. in the direction of Western Europe, the so-called German model and its 'social market economy," the Wall Street Journal columnist writes. "... This would be a historic shift, one post-Vietnam Democrats have been trying to achieve since their failed fight with Ronald Reagan's 'Cowboy Capitalism.' ...

"Now comes Barack Obama, ... his right hand rising to say: 'Mothers, don't let your babies grow up to be for-profit cowboys. It's time to spread the wealth around.' "

Allowing that the Republican ticket "still has a chance to win," Rich Lowry grieves that Mr. McCain's appealing "gadfly" nature also made him the GOP candidate least suited "to the task of running a presidential race."

Reflecting on the "lackluster" campaign, the New York Post columnist laments: "If Mr. McCain weren't running for president, and it were some other Republican who had attacked Mr. Obama for his associations and picked Sarah Palin as his running mate, surely Mr. McCain himself would be on some Sunday show clucking his disapproval."

- Nancy Kruh is a freelance writer in Dallas


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