When the FT circulates the list of best-read articles on the internet around the building, the top one or two articles often have a tell-tale word in brackets, after them (Drudge). For, as any web-editor knows, the surest way to get a surge in internet hits is to have your article picked up by the Drudge Report – an idiosyncratic mix of high politics, economics, celebrity news and climate-change scepticism – which has a huge following in the US, particularly amongst “conservatives”.

For a journalist being Drudged is a mixed blessing. Initially, you feel terribly popular and successful as you soar up the “most read” table. And then the e-mails start coming in. Here are a few that arrived today, in response to my Tuesday column on Obama. I think they give a fairly alarming insight into the mental state of parts of Middle America.

Somebody called Bob Clymer writes: “From your writings you are clearly in the Marxist/Socialist camp. Keep your stinking European nose out of America.” And here are the musings of one Bill Smith: “when are you idiotic British Marxist ass-kissers ever going to see reality? Obama is a dead man walking….he’s too stupid to realize it yet….The Mossad will cap his big brown head and make it look like some Muslim hot-head did it….This halfbreed idiot is a ruination not only to the USA but to free men everywhere….something you lazy bastards in Europe gave up like 65 years ago….” What kind of a mental state do you have to be in, that you want your own president to be assassinated by a foreign country?

And here are a couple more for good measure. I’m afraid I find this kind of stuff strangely fascinating:

You know what is really killing off the “hopey, changey” drunkeness under BHO? Common folk, the seemingly lobotomized independents and moderates who voted for the man w/absolutely no accomplishments in his entire life, are figuring out that w/obamacare, “The One” and his obamunists have no intention of improving the healthcare system, they are simply on a quest for power. He’s half a man, and all crypto-marxist, and as more and more folks figure it out, the faster he’ll be out of power. That’s why I have a Palin 2009 bumper sticker on my car.

But, I have to acknowledge, that not every e-mail that has come my way via Drudge has been insane. I liked this one from Andrew Ballard: “In reference to Gideon Rachman’s column today, I think Barack Obama probably has a picture of a different Ali fight on his office wall now. A friend in the US recently described his presidency as the “rope-a-dope” presidency, a reference to Ali’s contest against the physically stronger – but far less subtle – George Foreman. Ali had to absorb the blows of his opponent for seven rounds before he came out swinging.
 What the president needs to remember, however, is that Ali took the fight to Foreman in the eighth round of the fifteen – he knew he couldn’t lose another round or he wouldn’t be able to win on points. It’s an interesting strategy to let rightwing activists, Iranian generals, Taliban guerrillas and large swathes of American special interests try to punch themselves out on your ribcage, but at some point you’ve got to fight back. It remains to be seen whether Obama has the punch to finish off his opponents or if he’ll crumple under their blows.”

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