Supporters of the American Tea Party like to wrap themselves in the American flag. I mean literally wear the flag as a shawl or a throw blanket. That’s a little tacky and irksome. The Tea Party is a disillusioned group of conservative voters who draw on emotive symbols of patriotism to promote their opposition to big government, high deficits and tax increases.

Flags belong on flag poles, not hanging off someone’s hat, made into a T-shirt or as beach towels.

The American Taliban, as I call the far right conservative movement, and I do mean far right, seem preoccupied with the big three - Guns, Gays and God. They want more Guns to fight off the Gays, with God’s help...

Tea Party members have allied themselves with the UK ultra-nationalist franchise, the ‘English Defense League’. The EDL sounds like a very imposing and righteous organization. I’m not sure who they are defending us against, or why.

I wasn’t around in the 1930s when Hitler’s Brown Shirts were strutting through Munich beer halls. They were initially a laughable bunch and few took them seriously. That was a big mistake.

Nationalists come in all different flavours - Left-Wing, expansionist, ethnocentric, territorial and so on. There is a lot of them. They do have one common feature, they don’t tolerate outsiders well. Xenophobic, with extremist values contradictory to the standards or the customary norms of political behavior. Republican Southern electoral strategy to make bigoted racial comments is a strategy going back to the Barry Goldwater 1964 election campaign. Alienating the black southern voters and northern latino population guarantees this minority will not vote for them. Who cares! They are a minority.

The key word of course is ‘minority’ and the rationale is that white, middle class like-minded voters will adhere to the party who think like they do. It’s a very effective, proven political strategy.

Minorities are of course by definition, a minor voting bloc so Republicans lose very little. It’s a classic win-win situation.

Senate candidate Joe Miller (R) in Alaska suggested we adopt an East German Wall type of border security. It didn’t occur to this genius that the East Germany Wall was to keep citizens in, not out. If the Republicans gain power we may need a wall on our southern border to keep US citizens from moving to Mexico.

A lot of Americans breathed a sigh of relief when the White House door closed behind President Bush. I’m sure a few staffers counted the silverware after he was gone. Leaving office with a less than 30% approval rating won’t be on Mr Bush’s resume.

President Obama rates a 9/10 on the accomplishment scale. Not the most popular of Presidents, but charismatic leaders seldom are. Leaders have to make difficult decisions, not popular ones. Generals Patton, McArthur and Prime Minister Winston Churchill were all at one time immensely unpopular. Winston Churchill in the 1930’s ranked bottom in the public opinion. Churchill went on to not only save Great Britain, but the rest of the free world from the road to hell.

I’m not comparing Obama to these great men, I leave that up to history. The point being that great men have to make hard decisions which affects our lives. I don’t trust any politician who follows the polls and bends to public opinion accordingly. A nation needs leaders, not political chameleons.

Across the Pond