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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 February 2008, 18:35 GMT
New York Missive...
Jon Sopel
Churchill was surely right when he said the opposition is in front of you - the enemy is behind you

The funny thing about travelling in the US is that although your mind is able to read the clock and tell you what the time is, your body is ignoring it.

So you find yourself up at the strangest hour watching and listening to the oddest bits of radio and television.

I've caught snippets of programmes about dog grooming, marvelled at the TV evangelists who really can belt out the gospel and been bemused by the endless advertisements in this still puritanical country for ED (the tablets are called ED because to say what ED stands for would mean saying erectile dysfunction - true).

One of my successes during this trip to cover Super Tuesday is that, having watched the Superbowl, I think I finally now understand American Football - ok, not quite the same as cracking quantum physics, but a small step.

I have also listened in - along with millions of others - to some of the famous talk radio hosts.

They're not quite cut from the same cloth as a Peter Allen, say, from 5 Live or John Humphrys from Today.

In fact some of them make John look like a mild-mannered pussycat.

Grumpy? - they're miserable beyond belief.

And why?

Because the most notable are die-hard Republicans who are just appalled at the idea of a McCain presidency.

I know I don't need to tell you this, but John McCain is not a Democrat - he is the Republican frontrunner.

There are right-wing xenophobes who don't like his stance on illegal immigration, the Christian right whom he has branded 'intolerant' can't tolerate him (sort of making the point really) and there are a whole bunch of others who just dislike him.

So the airwaves and blogs have been full of attacks on McCain for his failure to be snow-white republican pure.

All of which must have the Democrats licking their lips.

Because you only have to think of the British example of what happens when politicians go pure.

Labour were pretty pure in 1983 with their promise of widespread nationalisation, increased taxation and unilateral nuclear disarmament.

They lost, and the explanation of the uber-purists was that the manifesto simply hadn't been socialist enough.

And then there were the Conservative purists of the mid 90s who would have no truck with Brussels - or with John Major's attempts to steer a path through that policy minefield - and we all know what happened there.

John McCain talks frequently about reaching "across the aisle" to his Democratic opponents - something else which sends his detractors into orbit.

We may not have aisles in the layout of the House of Commons, but Churchill was surely right when he said the opposition is in front of you - the enemy is behind you.

I'm sure John McCain gets the metaphor.

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