A Tale of Two Elections

Posted October 11, 2008 on 2:42 am | In the category Canada, Election 2008, McCain, Obama, U.S. Domestic Policy, Uncategorized | by Mackenzie Brothers

The Canadian election was called 6 weeks before the vote on Oct. 14. the day after Thanksgiving, and has provided journalists and media types with plenty of largely vacuous material to keep them employed for the period. Among the specialties of the Canadian six-weeks are the two debates among the now 5 major party leaders, one of whose parties has never had anyone elected, first in French and one night later in English. The spectacle of 3 native English-speakers attempting to use their various levels of high-school French (from pretty primitive to B plus) to outargue two very smart native French speakers provides a certain amount of sadistic humour, but wears thin after 15 grueling minutes. And then vice versa on the next evening, since amazingly none of these five leaders is as bilingual as thousands of kids attending French schools in Vancouver, not to mention many scores of thousand bilingual Chinese speakers. In the long run, it seems clear that this election, despite all its energy and windbag rhetoric, will not change the makeup of parliament very much at all, and there will be another minority government.

The US election with a set date, on the other hand, has gone on seemingly forever and cost scores (hundreds?) of millions of dollars, something which does not seem to have been mentioned in the current financial crisis, where that money might have been used for something more useful, like hiring more inspectors and controllers of financial institutions. But for all its own brand of windbagging rhetoric, a huckstering media performance, and sideshow shenanigans like a vice-presidential debate, the US system does allow the main candidates to give some indication of what they are really made of, something hard to argue for the Canadian system. It is an exhausting process and a youngster like Obama should have a real advantage over an old warrior like McCain, but the old soldier seems to be hanging in there quite admirably and ultimately the vote should come down to which of the two convinces more people of the superiority of their view of the world, assuming they put functioning ballot boxes in states like Ohio and Florida, and that the Palin fiasco doesn’t lead to comicall voting patterns. You’d have to be gambler to bet against Obama but at least the game seems to have been played on a level field.

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  1. Ahh yes – here in the U.S. of A. the playing field is level – a bit muddy perhaps – but level – somewhere below sea level.

    We down here do not have bilingual debates – in fact our debates are in some arcane language which has no rules of grammar, spelling or pronunciation. And I believe that we are much better at working up crowds to threaten the lives of the opponents while blithely ignoring the realities of the world. 27 days may be too short but i am convinced that 2 years is too long.

    Comment by jeff — October 14, 2008 #

  2. Just FYI Mackenzierna, Obama received 150 million *this month.* Mind-boggling. The Republicans seem to be fleeing McCain like rats off a sinking ship–Buckley’s son and Colin Powell are the latest defectors. Dare one hope that the Democrats will not, as usual, grasp defeat from the jaws of victory?!

    Comment by Marilyn — October 19, 2008 #

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