There are lots of things to hate about the U.S. electoral system. However, the Americans do one thing right: they get real characters as candidates. I mean, the Democrats are going to choose a woman or a African-American (er, Halfrican-American?) as their presidential candidate! How cool is that? And the Republican side is full of nutty dudes like Giuliani (who kind of reminds me of Gollum) and Mormon Mitt Romney.
Canadian politics feels so staid by comparison. Hello, Frozen Nation! Which French-Canadian middle-aged white guy will we elect as Custodian in Chief this year? I’m not sure why that is, but I wish our elections had a little more attitude and a lot more diversity.
To learn about the election (and that nutty American electoral system), I’ve started listening to the Slate Political Gabfest podcast. It’s chock full of over-educated liberal elitists, but I’m nearly all those things, so I don’t mind (plus, I’ve developed a bit of a crush on Emily Bazelon).
The Slate podcast is a well-moderated round table conversation among professional writers and pundits. It covers a lot of ground, but it’s fairly compelling and continues to inform my limited knowledge of American politics.
I would, however, like to find an analogous podcast for the Republican side of the election. Ideally, it should be professional, well-moderated and the level of required knowledge should be, at best, intermediate. Similarly, I’d like to find a Canadian political podcast that meets those requirements.
Does anybody have recommendations for equivalents to the Gabfest?
There is an interesting debate among some African-Americans as to what defines one as such. Some may people that having an African parent while being born in America would qualify you as being African-American. However, this is not necessarily the case.
You can read the following articles that address this issue further from an educational perspective and a political one.
‘African-American’ Becomes a Term for Debate (NYTimes from 2004)
Is Obama Black enough? (Time Feb 2007)
Phillip: Indeed, that’s a subject they talk about briefly in a recent Gabfest. I’ll check out those articles.
In Canada, you know about The House, right?
That’s some Peace, Order and Good Government!
James: I’d kind of forgotten about The House. I’ll give it a try.
What, the, heck?
Okay, recent PMs, leadership candidates, and party leaders in Canada have included:
-The battling pepper-eater from Shawinigan
-A world-class intellectual who spent most of his professional career in the US
-A populist candidate who more or less singlehandedly recreated Canadian right-wing politics
-Stockwell Day, who was certainly treated as ridiculously as Mitt Romney
-Pretty much every leader of the NDP and BQ, who seem to range from a little crazy to very crazy (well, I guess Alexa McDonough wasn’t crazy, but she was largely a tactical choice to avoid electing Svend Robinson, who I think we can agree would have been far and away the craziest major-party leader on the continent).
I can’t find any of the current presidential candidates very interesting, though. Mr. Obama’s biography offers so little inspiration (graduated from Harvard! Short legal career followed by elected office!) that I turn to his teenage coke habit for interesting trivia (not that I hold teenage behavior much short of rape or murder against any candidate, as a matter of principle).
Okay, one exception: the Chuck-Norris-Approved Mr. Huckabee:
I love the slate gabfest. I’ve also become a huge fan of Dan Carlin’s Common Sense.
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