Here in Canada, American politics is a spectator sport; and this year our southern neighbors are putting on a terrific show. The Washington machinations get further and further into you-couldn’t-make-this-up territory. My favorite this week: apparently Republican supremo Ken Mehlman did sleazemeister Jack Abramoff a favor by getting a government lawyer fired for labor-policy reform efforts that were bothering Abramoff’s clients. Now, while this is an outstandingly clear instance of corruption and evil in action at the highest levels, it’s really nothing new; humanity is prone to corruption, large organizations (both public and private sector) are where it’s most profitable, and there will always be a certain amount going on. What pushed my weirdness-meter into overload on this one is that while the quid pro quo was mostly at a strategic level around large-scale campaign funding, in this particular case Abramoff also scored Mehlman a couple of U2 concert tickets. There’s just something about U2 tickets being used to bribe officials to resist labor-law reform that resonates in all the wrong places. And, for those who like to watch the show, I’m happy to report that Andy Tanenbaum’s Electoral Vote Predictor is back; its cheerily obsessive tracking of every credible poll in every state of the union will add some entertainment value to your daily feed scans.



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From: DeWitt Clinton (Oct 16 2006, at 14:08)

I *loved* that site during the run up to the 2004 election. I checked it almost obsessively, mostly because it was such a reliable source of good news.

How good? Read this:

http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2004/pred/index.html

That was his prediction in 2004: Kerry 281 Bush 257.

Actual vote? Kerry 251 Bush 286.

So while I am tickled by the predictions this time around, too, I will take it with a bit more salt...

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From: Norman Walsh (Oct 16 2006, at 16:13)

On this side of the border, "amused" is not the first word that comes to mind.

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From: Pierre Phaneuf (Oct 17 2006, at 01:22)

As a spectator sport, it's mostly one of the depressing kind, a bit like watching two "contestants" kick themselves in the nether regions in turns...

Since I moved from Montréal to Toulouse, now that's spectator sport! I was finding Canadian politics soporific and the US politics too depressing to watch, but here, it's a constant roller-coaster of madness! Politicians insulting each others, public excuses, all sorts of political maneuvering, non-marginal political parties so extreme that make the NDP look like neo-fascists and the Conservatives look liberal and open-minded.

They have a live Internet video feeds of a bunch of things, as well as transcripts (which include *everything* being said, such as unkind comments made by listening representatives).

It's a riot, I tell you!

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