Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Poor planning or Conservative conspiracy?

I've just realised that the English language debate between the five main Canadian party leaders is going to clash with the US Vice Presidential debate. Damnit! I originally thought the clash was with the French language debate.

What's an effectively unilingual, voteless but interested, Canadian resident to do? I really want to see what my next prime minister has to say for himself. But on the other hand I really really want to see Biden make Palin break down into incoherent babbling on live TV. Hmmm.

Well, since we only have one TV, I guess it comes down to how badly Mr E Man wants to see the Canadian debate. He already knows who he's voting for, so hopefully I can persuade him to watch the Palin train wreck and either record the Canadian debate or just watch all the analysis shows afterwards.

If I didn't know any better I'd say Stephen Harper had deliberately called the election at a time when it was bound to be overshadowed by media coverage of the American Presidential race. But surely he wouldn't do such a thing...



  1. Yeah, yeah, like, you are not in the least waiting for someone to suggest that you can watch one of the two on your shining iPhone...

  2. But on the other hand I really really want to see Biden make Palin break down into incoherent babbling on live TV.

    I want to see Biden do that too. But two things worry me. First George Bush. Any half competent person could wipe the floor with him in a debate, yet he survived quite a few. The other is that if Biden doesn't tread carefully he could be seen as bullying her and might come off very badly in the eyes of voters who already know she is inexperienced and appear to be forgiving a degree of that.

    My vote would be for either John Humphreys or Jeremy Paxman to be given a free ranging interview with her. Then Biden and the democrats are above the ensuing carnage - Paxman's interview with William Hague really destroyed his chances at the polls in 2001.

    But it should be tremendous television, so I will be going with the VP debate. Besides no vote for me in the Canadian election.

  3. Paxman vs. Palin? Poor Paxo - I think he might be reduced to incoherent babbling by the end.

    You might as well not bother with the Canadian debate, you can watch it now. Just find teh last Aussie election debate on YouTube.

  4. haha, Bob took the words out of my mouth. On my way to work this morning, listening to NPR, they reported about Harper's speech that was a repeat of the Australian PM's speech two days earlier. On the war in Iraq....

    Ah well, what would the debate be about in regards to the English language? Or do you mean that this is the debate where they speak English and the next one is in French? (sounds weird in one sense since I'm not sure all the candidates speak both English and French?) Oh how the mighty have fallens since that class in poli sci Canadian 101.... ;)

  5. Okham, streaming debate on the internet, hmmm, will have to look into that, although I'd probably use the nice wide screen monitor on the main computer instead.

    Dr J, those are really really good points. Maybe Biden's best tactic would be just barely concealed amusement... or would that come off as condescending? It's a fine line to tread... and doesn't it suck not having a vote?

    Bob and Chall, I see the speech writer took the fall for Stephen Harper (who surely should be more worried about Newcastle's defensive record than some election). Too funny... I hope the opposition parties give him hell tonight and tomorrow. You'd think he'd have been watching the Aussie debate and so would have recognised the speech, right?!

    Chall, they do indeed have one debate in each official language. It is basically impossible to get to that level in Canadian politics (and some other careers) without being bilingual enough to do this sort of thing. It's quite impressive really!

  6. Oh, and apparently Mr E Man is no longer sure of who he's voting for, he's considering the Green party. So it looks like we're watching the Canadian debate and taping the Palin fiasco.

  7. he's considering the Green party

    I see... he really wants a conservative majority eh ? ;-)

  8. It is highly unlikely to make a difference in our riding... see my previous post about Conservative shenanigans and seriously pissed off constituents! Anyway he is only thinking about it, much depends on May's performance tomorrow night.

    I just read an article on the BBC website about how Palin has historically done well in debates, because she hides any lack of knowledge of the issues behind folksy stories and anecdotes.

    A quote from one former Alaskan opponent: '"There were many times the third candidate and I would walk off stage and shake our heads," Mr Halcro said. "It wasn't policy it was populism."'

    BUT it is possible that this approach won't translate well to the larger stage, especially given the mood of the voters following the economic crisis. Here's hoping...

  9. I totally think that Harper planned it that way. I hope someone can get in lines about him screwing canada over!
    No No NO to the Green Party. Their economic policy makes NO sense and it just splits the left vote.

  10. Amen, Scientistmother... if you only knew how many arguments I have had over the past few weeks with people in my own riding who keep saying "I don't want a Tory majority but, but, but ... the Liberals are arrogant, so I am voting NDP...".
    In my riding, that means voting for the Tories -- sadly, for the time being it's either going to be them or the Liberals. And I am sorry but, to me there is a difference.

  11. Okham - I really don't understand why people dislike the liberals. I understand that they made some heavy cut 10 years ago, when Canada was where the USA is today. It was hard but necessary. What vision do the Tories have for Canada? The NDP makes no economic sense either, plus we lost out on some really good programs because they pulled the plug on the Paul Martin Government, why to gain more seats. URG!

  12. Scientistmother -- I do not dislike the liberals, but would never vote for them if the electoral system were different and (in my view) fairer (I wrote about it before and can almost see Cath rolling her eyes and going "Gawd, NOT AGAIN", so I'll stop here)

    I have to say I disagree on your assessment of the NDP's plan. I think it makes as much "sense" as that of the other parties, it is just a matter of priorities. I am personally tired of hearing right-wing, pro-market candidates running on a platform of "fiscal responsibility" -- I don't think recent history in the western world supports that contention. Plus, we are not voting to elect the government, but the House. I still believe that the two are separate entities.

    In any case, this is largely a non-issue for most of us. In three quarters of the ridings, it's a choice between the Tory candidate or the Grit. It sucks, but that's the way it. And I have to go with the Grits.

  13. Addendum -- Scientistmother: as for the NDP having made a terrible choice and almost committed political suicide by pulling the plug on Paul Martin's government: I completely agree, and I think that the political leader responsible for that choice placed his own personal ambition ahead of the good of the nation.
    For that, he should one day be held accountable and pay a political price. I actually hope that that day is near. The NDP badly needs a change of leadership.

  14. Woo hoo, lots of comments on a politics thread! And not just from Okham! Never thought I'd see the day...

    I can see the reasons for the original backlash against the Liberals. Power breeds corruption; 13 years of power breeds an awful lot of corruption. The same thing happened in the UK, the last Conservative government were in power for what seemed like forever, horribly corrupt and getting worse, paving the way for Blair's original landslide victory. But of course his party have now been in office for too long (since 2007) and are now corrupt too. Sometimes you need a change of government just to restart the cycle at a lower level of corruption. Cynical? Hell yeah. But that's the system... and the Canadian system is based on that of the UK. But yeah, I originally thought the anti-Liberal backlash was just a "let's teach them a lesson" thing, not a long term mandate for the Tories.

    Personally I wouldn't vote for the Liberals as first choice because I am a fair way to the left of them (although not as far as Okham apparently!). When I get a vote I will be torn between the NDP and Greens, although if I was in a marginal seat at risk of turning Conservative I would vote for whoever I needed to, including the Liberals.

    Also, people often vote for the person, not the party, if they have represented the area well in the past or seem as if they will in the future. Our Liberal candidate came door to door last year so I got to meet her - she was very personable, intelligent and articulate. Even when I told her that I'm not a citizen and won't be able to vote for a few more years, she stayed to chat for a few more minutes (we talked about the Liberals' environmental policies) and she wished me luck in my citizenship application. Things like that go a long way - neither of the other candidates has done the rounds yet. I kinda hope this Liberal candidate gets the chance to show what she can do.

  15. Gaah I meant 1997, not 2007. D'oh!

    BTW did you guys catch Rick Mercer and This Hour last night? Good stuff... I especially liked the kids playing the party leaders. The little guy with the Layton moustache was hysterical - "IT'S NOT FAIR! IT'S MY TURN!!!"

  16. I'm sure within hours the Internets will be full of videos of the best sound bytes from Palin!

    I solve such TV dilemmas with my DVR-- I can record two shows at once.

  17. Yes, and I can't wait for SNL next week!

    Recorder is set for the US debate.

  18. ok. A tip from me to you. Have a LARGE drink before and during the watching of the debate.

    Dear god in heaven. I am sooooo happy that I havent seen more than 45 mins since this was a painful event.

    Biden shines sometimes but her teeth shines more (sorry, not really on the target)... and please take a Bingo plate and see how many mins it takes you to fill the first one up....

    Im going to go to bed now. After fusing just a bit and being happy that I dont have t vote since I cant...

  19. Credit where credit's due, she did much better than I thought she would. Gosh darn it! Say it aint so, Joe!

    The McCain-Palin platform still terrifies me though.

    I was impressed with Biden, having not really seen much of him before. He trod that fine line pretty well, it was a smart move to go after McCain rather than Palin.

    We ended up taping the Canadian debate (I got home first and made an executive decision, haha), but instead of watching it after the US debate we accidentally watched Survivor and the Office instead. Oh well, we'll watch it over the weekend.

  20. Mermaid just sent me a link to a live blog of the US debate - definitely worth checking out!

  21. Honestly: let's watch this six months from now and I think we'll agree that she was embarrassing.

    Okham (Blogger acting up, won't let me sign in)

  22. I didn't say she was good, just that she was better than I expected! (I expected something more like the Tina Fey version).


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