Certain jobs favour the dim but enthusiastic applicant. Looking at George Bush’s two consecutive terms over the past eight years, you can’t help but feel the American presidency has sometimes been one of them.

James Bryce, the 19th century historian and politician, once pointed out that “Europeans often ask, and Americans do not always explain, how it happens that this great office is not more frequently filled by great and striking men”.

Bryce penned his thought in 1888, which in a way is reassuring; America’s electoral distate for the intellectual is nothing new.

If Barack Obama wins on Tuesday, he will have notched up a double victory. The US’s first black President, he will also have won a campaign that has made careful use of his intelligence. McCain’s jittery response to the deepening financial crisis and his vacillation between high mindedness and dirty campaigning have contrasted with Obama’s composure and his focus on a simple, core message.

Meanwhile, on a Sarah Palin theme, if you don’t mind wincing every few seconds this radio clip of her taking a call from ‘Nicolas Sarkozy’ is hilarious.

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