Sunday Thoughts

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I was in Canada last week, and I got the chance to read some Canadian newspapers and watch some Canadian TV. Some thoughts:
  • The two major parties are the Conservatives and the Liberals, and they are, by our standards, roughly the Republicans and Democrats, respectively. The New Democrats (DNP) are the leftists who are too left for the Liberals. Then there's the Greens. National polls show a roughly 30-30-15-5 split between them. The Bloc Québécois is the fifth major party, getting about 10 percent nationally, but about 50 percent in Québec.

  • None of the candidates listed on TV or on any other ads had position names attached to them, just party names, sometimes with the district they intend to represent. Joe Smith, Liberal, Saskatchewan. I presume it's because there's only one position anyone is running for?

  • I enjoyed watching what appeared to be the Canadian version of C-SPAN, CPAC. They had cameras following candidates around to diners and such.

  • I watched some French language CBC, and happened to catch an interview with Michael Moore (it was captioned in French). He said Canadians should vote Liberal, because if they allowed the Conservative party to win -- as it looks like they are going to -- that would "set a bad example for (their) neighbor to the south." That's right, not only do Canadians want a loudmouthed American telling them who to vote for, but Americans want to follow the example set by Canada. What's he thinking?

  • From what little I know, and what little more I learned last week, I am pulling for the Conservatives. But that doesn't mean I like a system whereby such a small minority can win by virtue of a multi-party system. I like a winner-take-all system like we have in America, I just wish more parties would be allowed to participate (though that's another subject). The country is clearly far more left than right (four of the five parties I mentioned are on America's left wing), and yet the right is poised to take power, because the left is so fractured. It's a shame, I think. But I am speaking more about how I would feel if we had that system in the States: if the Canadians like it, then that's great.


I couldn't really care less about his book. I have no problem with it. I just prefer books that I can learn something interesting or important from, and I figure if Clinton does say anything important in the book, I'll hear about it. I was there, I don't need to read a thousand pages to jog my memory.

It's an interesting question of whether Clinton will help Kerry or not. It's clear he could help Democrat voters come to the polls, but will he also help Republican voters come to the polls? I think here the Democrats stand to gain more, because the Republican voters seem to be plenty energized already. Further, I think Clinton appeals a lot more to the swing voters than Kerry does: many of them see Kerry as a liberal, and Clinton as a moderate.

And while on the face of it, it appears Clinton's saying that he agrees with Bush's decision to go to war (apart from the timing) helps Bush, one most quickly remember that Kerry voted to approve the war, too. That statement could really help bring more of the left out to vote for Kerry, who might otherwise have refused on the grounds of this one Kerry vote.

Iraq and 9/11

There's nothing to see here. The few times the Bush administration has spoken directly to the question of Iraq's involvement with 9/11, they said there was no evidence of it; they merely assert that Iraq and al Qaeda had connections, not that they collborated on this attack. The 9/11 Commission says there was no evidence of Iraqi involvement in 9/11, and add that there is plenty of evidence that there were connections between Iraq and al Qaeda.

The 9/11 Commission just said what the administration had been saying and what they themselves had already been saying. There's no controversy here, and no news.

So why are people making a big deal out of it? Because the Bush administration did not do much to dispel people of the notion that Iraq was not involved with 9/11, even if they never asserted it, because if people believe that, it means they are more likely to believe the war was justified, and therefore more likely to vote for Bush and Republicans.

The Bush-haters say Bush created this perception, even though he never stated it. He should stand up and denounce it to the world, they say. The problem is, he did do just that; but people still believe it anyway. It's hard to fault him for a belief people have that he not only never stated, but specifically renounced. Well, unless you just hate Bush, and then it's easy. I suppose he could get up every day and deny what he has already denied in categorical terms, but at some point, maybe you should blame the media just a wee little bit.

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