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The power of unreason

Obama has been winning the debates and is striding ahead in the polls—which is why he now has more to fear than ever before

By Susan Jacoby   October 2008

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If any “teachable moment” exists in politics, it should surely be the economic crisis that has overtaken the American presidential campaign. During the second presidential debate on Tuesday, it prompted occasional glimmers of lucidity, such as the moment when Barack Obama, instead of promising Americans that we can somehow drill ourselves enough oil to sustain our gluttonous ways, talked of the urgent need for “each and every American to think about how we can save energy.”

Yet at this time of high political drama, the debate—constrained by a one-minute…

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