I’m measuring my words carefully. Harry Smith has raised the possibility that Barack Obama’s life could be in danger…
When you tell a man with Ted Kennedy’s family history that "you well know" about politicians becoming "targets," the implication is unmistakable.
This time, Kennedy [to his credit I would say] chose to ignore Smith’s suggestion, giving another bland answer about Obama being a candidate for change.
What could possibly have possessed Smith to raise this specter?
I find myself worried by the figures with whom Mr Obama is compared. Martin Luther King obviously, John F. Kennedy, but also Abraham Lincoln and even Mahatma Gandhi. All four were charismatic figures who claimed to lead their nations in a new and idealistic way. What they also had in common is that they were assassinated. Such men attract the hatred of those who fear and resent their influence. When General Colin Powell was offered the Republican nomination in 1996, his wife persuaded him to reject it, on the grounds that he would be exposed to the assassination threat. Mrs Powell may have been right. The role of the first black president of the United States will be a dangerous one.
And Lord Rees-Mogg has a long memory, unlike so many of us on this side of the pond for whom the "long term" is after lunch.