YES, folks, it's déjà vu all over again. That charismatic American politician Jimmy Carter II, aka Barack Obama, is carrying all before him – at least in Europe – riding a tsunami of media-driven hysteria. When you are possessed of unlimited reserves of rhetoric, boundless ambition, an increasingly undisciplined ego and – er – not a lot else, the soap-box becomes addictive.
Obama's bid to deliver one of his substance-free orations at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin has infuriated Chancellor Merkel, galvanised the media and provoked thoughtful calculations among the McCain camp. Every Republican knows it cannot be long before Icarus soars too close to the sun. The question is: will he crash and burn before or after the presidential election? Next week's European tour is a possible occasion for the gaffe that will turn the election around.
Since the Obama campaign is predicated on imitation (like Dave's painting by numbers to replicate the Blair crusade of 1994-7), this is the candidate's JFK moment: "Ich bin ein Berliner." To resonate with Middle America, he might have done better to pick a more northerly city: "Ich bin ein Hamburger." What makes the Brandenburg Gate a potentially diminishing venue is the memory of a real US statesman, Ronald Reagan, declaiming there on June 12, 1987: "Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall."
The actual dj vu evoked by Obama is the ill-starred Carter presidency. The parallels are ominous. Carter, the father of the Iranian Revolution, high on an infusion of ethical foreign policy, set about destabilising the Shah, classified in State Department realpolitik as "our bastard" – a foreign policy feature of the time. Carter undermined the Shah, only to see him replaced by the Ayatollah Khomeini and the doctrine that defined the US as "the Great Satan". Nice one, Jimmy.
Khomeini executed more people during his first year in power than the Shah had done in 25 years, including most of the 2,400 Communist prisoners whose alleged ill-treatment had fired up the peanut farmer's indignant intervention. Nothing is more lethal than a deluded liberal. There was an elegant symmetry to the way in which the failed Iranian hostage rescue put the final stamp of abysmal failure on the Carter presidency.
Now Carterpolitik is back. Obama is pledged to sit down unconditionally with Ahmadinejad, Fatty Chavez, Kim Jong-il (and what, pray, is wrong with Osama?) – every looney tune, in Ronald Reagan's phrase, who wants to turn America into an ash-heap. He also proposes to withdraw from Iraq within 16 months. Only Obama could devise a scheme that would demote Dubya's invasion of Iraq to second worst US foreign policy move of the 21st century.
So, the surge continues to succeed, the Iraqi authorities tentatively take over, then the US forces say: "So long, pals, it was great to know you." The calendar on the wall of every al-Qaeda bunker has June 1, 2010, circled in red as the date when the reoccupation of lost territory, the ousting of the fragile Baghdad regime and the mass extermination of the ungodly begin – if President Obama is in the Oval Office.
That would coincide with domestic mayhem. This economic illiterate wants to double capital gains tax, ratchet up social security taxes, return the loathsome death tax to its highest level and ban expansion of oil exploration. Even if the American economy were in good health, such measures would wreck it: in its present ailing condition, Obama's programme is a recipe for a Keynesian Gtterdmmerung.
In compensation for material meltdown, however, this would be a moral, a Christian administration. Having sat at the feet of that precious vessel of the Lord, the Rev Jeremiah Wright ("God damn America!"), Obama recently reported: "I'm on my own faith journey and I'm searching." That pilgrim's progress has so far inspired him to oppose the banning of partial-birth abortion and block a bill in the Illinois State Senate to prevent the killing of babies who had accidentally survived abortion.
Yet now comes the really cynical move. On June 17 the US Senate majority leader introduced a bill on behalf of Obama, its sole sponsor: the Preventing Stillbirth and SUID Act of 2008, a measure to combat sudden infant death, designed to put a pro-life patina on Obama's grisly abortion record as he courts the Christian vote.
Beware of charismatic politicians. Blair was just the most recent example of an egomaniac, self-seeking windbag who badly damaged his own and other countries. A few of us warned against him: the media-brainwashed masses would not listen. Now America may be fated to experience the rule of charlatanry on a scale not previously seen. The global consequences would be profound.