Debate Season


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It’s a weird time for elections, no? New Zealand is entering election mode. Here in Canada, we are knee deep in an election most people don’t care about. And the big show, the US elections, has as its main event, not the heavy weight match between Obama and McCain (part 2!) but the freak show that is Palin/Biden, scheduled for this evening.

Canadian Federal Debate

But before we get there, believe it or not there was a federal debate in Canada last night. A lot of people don’t realize this because it was in French. It was a weird, surreal exchange, with the leaders of all five recognized federal parties meeting in a civilized manner around a bizarre egg-shaped table, sort of like one of those European talk shows no one watches. (Well, except for me.)

Like a lot of Anglophones, my French is halting. I understand best when another Anglophone is speaking French, and least when a native speaker is waxing profundity. Hence, I fully expect the majority of the country to rate the performances of Stephane Dion and Gilles Duceppe poorly –unfairly so. But frankly, this debate was for Quebec ears and eyes; the rest of us were incidental.

Here’s my take on what happened last night: Duceppe was in his element and clearly showed what a magnificent speaker and politician he is. It’s a shame he has no interest in being Prime Minister or even in advocating for the interests of all Canadians. (For my non-Canadian readers, Duceppe is leader of the Bloc Quebecois, essentially a party whose only mandate is to advocate for the needs of the people of Quebec, ultimately toward secession!)

Jack Layton, who was otherwise on the ball, really screwed up by delving into health care. See, in Canada health is a provincial matter, though guidelines are set by federal law. In Quebec in particular, any suggestion of federal meddling in provincial matters is a grave sin.

Elizabeth May, the Green Party leader, was embarrassing. But I enjoyed her French the most because it’s closest to my own: barely out of high school.

Dion, the only hope for we Harper-haters, was abysmal to my ears. I’m told that in French he came off as quite eloquent. But his body language was overly eager and a bit desperate. I don’t think he made much headway last night.

The big winner, as much as it pains me to say, was the blue-eyed devil child Stephen Harper. He appeared so convinced of his divine right of rule that he was relaxed and kingly. The fact that the other “debaters” spent almost all their time focusing their bile against him and him alone actually strengthened his position as the strongest person in the room. We are doomed.

Now, as for the spectacle tonight…

The Upcoming US VP Debate

Well, well, well. Will this not be the most entertaining spectacle of the whole year? After disastrous performances during interviews with lightweight interviewers like Sean Hannity and Katie Couric, Sarah Palin was whisked into hiding by her handlers. Think about this for a second, will you? If she’s afraid to face a bunch of preening, overpaid TV journalists, how will she ever face a real political beast, like Vladimir Putin?

In the face of these media catastrophes, even some prominent conservatives are calling for Palin to step down.

(For some hilarity, check out the automatic Sarah Palin Interview Generator.)

As many others have said, what we may see here is an example of the worst kind of sexism. America doesn’t like to see its “girls” beat up on. Meanwhile, they expect full competency from their “boys”. If Biden rips Palin’s throat out on live TV, it is he who will come across poorly, not her. Because of this, I fully expect Biden to be soft and accommodating. I also expect him to phrase all his comments with respect to John McCain, and not Sarah Palin. His job is to attack McCain on behalf of Obama, not to further expose a laughably idiotic minor politician from state few Americans ever think about.

And before we Obama/Biden supporters get too cocky, let’s remember that Joe Biden isn’t all cherry trees and boy scout badges, either. This article lists his sins. In particular, he’s of the Hillary school of excuses for the Iraq War. You know what I’m talking about. He regrets his decision to support the war, but claims that he and “everyone else” thought that Saddam really had WMDs there.

I call/called/continue to call bullshit! No thinking person was ever convinced that there were WMDs in Iraq. The data were clearly shallow, especially when weapons inspectors Scott Ritter and Hans Blix failed to give the hawks the rationale they needed. So Joe Biden, either you’re lying or you’re an idiot. Either way, you don’t get a pass from me.

Don’t forget to take the poll on the right. Tell us who you think will win the US election. As for the Canadian election, it’s a done deal. Harper’s conservatives will win. The question is: minority or majority?

In Other News

Australian students have no language skills? Crikey.

Want to see something freaky? Here’s a crab riding a jelly fish!

In a similar vein, here’s a shrimp running on a treadmill:

And while we’re on the topic of youtube hilarity, check out the Ninja Cat (courtesy of Katie):