Matthew Dancona

Who should answer the 3am call?

Who should answer the 3am call?
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As the psephologists continue to argue how many caucus members can dance on the head of a pin, political folklore has already settled around the idea that Hillary was saved by the famous “3am ad”. Like the destruction of Michael Dukakis by the Willie Horton ad in 1988, this aimed squarely at Obama’s most vulnerable flank: his inexperience. “It’s 3 a.m., and your children are safe and asleep,” the announcer says. “But there’s a phone in the White House, and it’s ringing — something’s happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call.” To which the implicit answer is: not some glamour-boy from Illinois who’s been a Senator for five minutes. Obama, not unreasonably, countered that judgment matters more than experience when you answer the phone.

I am positive that this attack line will cross the Atlantic and that we shall see some version of the 3am question posed by Gordon Brown’s team – especially given the PM’s early success with the terror attacks, floods and avian flu. “It’s 3am, and the phone rings in Number Ten. Something horrible has happened somewhere scary. Do you really want a member of the Bullingdon Club who used to smoke pot to take that call? Surely you would prefer a man of iron, a son of the manse, a champion of prudence to answer the phone?” To which David Cameron’s campaigners will reply: “Do you really want the man who brought you Northern Rock, a soaring deficit, rising inflation, donation scandals, a schools admissions crisis, disc-gate and the Broken Society to answer the phone? And don’t forget – sometimes Gordon can’t even get into his own office.”

Well? Who do CoffeeHousers want to take that call?