A brief foray into US politics

I spent six great years living in the USA and still have a number of friendships and acquaintenances there (and increasingly relatives – six cousins and a brother and a sister living there).

I have no real political leanings when it comes to the USA but I have said on this blog and elsewhere that I have had some sympathy with George Bush and I have believed that the Canadian press for the most part has been propogating an almost silly caracature of the man almost since his inception as President. The Canadian media focus on his slip ups and linguistic bobbles is particularly interesting, given that our own Jean Cretien was the master of such things and there is clearly (as proven by Jean) no real link between these bobbles and a person’s ability to craft good policy and be a good leader.

However, this latest round of elections in the US has me thinking that Bush and the Republicans are looking more and more like Paul Martin and his Liberals each day. The TV advertising is getting ridiculous – Democrats, apparently are supporting the terrorists and will hasten another 9/11 if elected. I know the Repubs are nervous but saying that anyone is supportive of terrorism is beyond the pale. Reminds me of Harper and his imposition of martial law in Canada the day after his election (I can’t make this stuff up).

I am not a very astute political watcher as my predictions have shown even during the 2+ years history of this blog. However, it does seem to me that there needs to be a shift every once and a while to clean things up. To make the dumped party refocus on what it wants to be and to make the opposition put their money where their mouth has been.

I think getting beat has been good for the Liberal party and I suspect it will utlimately be good for the Republican party in the US.

These are challenging times for the Yanks. It’s hard to fight an enemy you can’t see. The psychological impact of 9/11 went far deeper than the human or even economic impacts.

American-style political advertisments eventually find their way north of the border. The Martin “We’re not making this up” advertisments showing a distorted face of Stephen Harper are about on par with US political ads from a decade ago. I truly hope that 10 years from now we are not forced to watch that whacked out ads the Yanks are watching these days.

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0 Responses to A brief foray into US politics

  1. Anonymous says:

    Yes, politics is not your foray Dave, but in general thats a good thing. The reality around the world is that trade agreements make most of the policy, and there is a reason that in federal politics in both of our countries sees far less voter turnout than provincial politics.

    There is no point drudging up political rhetoric, but Chretien certainly got his share of press making fun of his bungles. However, that’s mostly sideline stuff. Ask a BC lumberman how much he liked Bush’s policies or an Alberta rancher.

    The big secret that nobody wants to talk about is that politics in Canada and the US is virtually identical. As you said, this trip the republicans are copying what the liberals were doing last election. Thats ‘pre’ not ‘post’. The only people that don’t know how cutthroat canadian politics is simply isn’t paying attention. Heck, Paul Martin virtually took over the country in a political coup that forced Chretien to resign, you’d NEVER see that in the states. There are fringe republican groups like “its my party too’ but they stop far short of that.

    But thats part of our ‘culture’, we don’t like to think that our politicians are that nasty, its just that ‘some’ politicians ‘just copy’ the americans.

    Where it IS more cutthroat in the states is at the state and local level, that’s where the turnout is, because that’s where the issues are. That’s because americans are actually voting on policy, not just for representatives.

    So here in Canada most elections are completely boring. You get two parties like Lord and Graham, and Harper and Martin, who essentially only disagree on some aspects of social policy. The only reason it has gotten ‘cutthroat’ is because of the succeeding minority governments.

    So if you want some interesting information, get away from the television. The US absolutely doesn’t want canadians to discuss how much democracy there actually is, or we might want it. You’ll virtually never hear them talking about citizens initiatives or ballot proposals. But check out some Maine publications and read all about the various referenda. I must admit its sort of ironic that Canadians like to make jokes about how ‘dumb’ americans are. Of course they may not know about Canada, but they are educated to be part of the democratic process.

    So take a look at Alabama, a state we typically think of as ‘dumb southerners’. These dumb southerners are going to the polls and voting not only on numerous political representatives, but NINETEEN different referenda questions. In Canada, we are lucky to vote for one or two referenda in our lifetime, but they are doing this every two years. Not only do they need to know about social policy, but budgets, budget policies, monetary policies,etc. I guarantee if you took a mike around to canadians on the street they couldn’t even tell you what the govenrmetn budget is.