Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Post-Debate Thoughts

  • Did anyone else notice that creepy smile Harper had the whole time? Like, even when it was kind of inappropriate? It's like someone told him to smile more often, but he doesn't know what smiling means or what it's for, so he just twisted up his face and kept it that way.
  • No one seems to want to say that there was a clear 'winner'. People who are mad at the Liberals for the scandal accusations don't want to think too much about what it is they're voting 'for'. Meanwhile, Martin isn't giving people much of anything to remember him by. Remember when we had people like Pierre Trudeau in these things? (OK, saying 'people like..' isn't quite right since he was unmatched as a speaker, but still..) Hell at least Chretien was clever.
  • Harper said Canadians are 'worse off than they were 12 years ago.' Martin kept saying that 'Canada is doing better than any other country.' Both were irritatingly thin with their sources, but it sounds similar to what has happened to the United States through the 90s. The aggregated measures of the economy, like the stock market and real-estate values and raw numbers, all went up. But the gap between the rich and poor also went way up. Inequality has a lot of negative consequences for a society, look at the riots in France for a good example. Or the disasters that happened in New Orleans and Kashechewan when we see that people are left without the extra resources to handle emergencies on their own.
  • Gilles Duceppe's francophone voice is naturally used to speaking in a slightly higher normal range, this is true of a lot of people who grow up speaking French. So when he speaks English a lot of people find it slightly annoying, I think. In French speaking quickly and with a light touch is a good trait, in English it seems to be a sign of insecurity.
  • All of the leaders seem like very hollow people. The US media is incredibly tenacious at getting into people's lives and painting a picture of a politician's past. You also have those idiotic Katie Couric type interviews where they ask a candidate and his wife to talk about their home life. In Canada it seems that we find that sort of thing distasteful, but we seem to go the other extreme where we don't have any insight into a candidate's motivations for doing or saying what they believe in. In the US someone has an entire publicly-known biography of why George W. Bush is an utter scumbag. All we know about our leaders is the vague speeches they make and, if we're lucky, some amount of achievement in the public sphere to track their basic feelings of the role of government in our society.
  • I still think Martin should have raised the issue of Iraq more. He did mention it, but he should have hammered the issue, enough to make the press have no choice to talk about it afterwards. Liberals need to be better at framing, i.e., setting the terms for a discussion.

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