Monday, November 06, 2006

The day before the big day

The U.S. mid-term election will finally be over on Tuesday and I think I'll be a little bit relieved. Although this is American politics, so really, you get about a one year break before the serious ramping up for the 2008 presidential election begins.

I have friends in the U.S. who are eagerly looking forward to the election. Mostly because they hate the Republicans. I'm not sure they like the Democrats all that much, but I know they really, really hate Republicans. And that works, I guess. I certainly dislike far more Republicans than like them at this point.

I've always been fond of what John Rogers has written about American politics. I like this one, which is a follow-up to one he wrote last year. I also miss sensible Republicans. The ones who wanted lower taxes, less government and were very prudent on how money was spent. I don't always agree with everything that philosophy entails, but I can understand it. I can even have some appreciation for it. They're not bad ideas in the right circumstances.

But most American Republicans are far too religious and intolerant for my liking. It's...disheartening, really.

The reason for all of this is that we've been getting to watch quite the few political commercials the last few months. I think the first one we saw was for Dick DeVos back in February. But with the election only days away, the intensity has been growing pretty fast.

Most of our American channels come from Michigan, so it's been their gubernatorial race, senatorial race and some other minor contests that we've been subjected to. I think this is probably the first time I've watched quite this much mid-term election material. Part of it is most of the candidates can only afford limited amounts of commercial time during prime time television so they spend most of their money in the wasteland that is daytime tv. When we're home for lunch, we flick on the tv and get the full bombardment.

It's also interesting trying to get a feel for an election where you know nothing except what the ads tell you. That means reading no newspapers or websites, and not watching any of the television news about the local races. Why would you? It certainly doesn't impact us way up here in Nunavut. So, it gives you a very skewed version of reality.

Devos, for example, is the Republican candidate for governor. He also clearly has a ton of money. There are plenty of different ads, that run frequently and are quite slick. Apparently Governor Jennifer Granholm is just the worst thing that's ever happen to Michigan if you believe the ads. He's also been running them for a long time.

Granholm's ads have not been as slick, her attacks have been clumsy in comparison to DeVos and she hasn't been running as many ads. But it was interesting when myself and Cathy were watching some of the ads and she said "He's said she sucks, and he's brilliant, but he hasn't said what he would actually do."

Apparently others have noticed that as well. When curiosity finally got the better of me and I checked, Granholm has about an 11 point on DeVos, depending on which poll you believe (if you can believe any of them). So much for money in that case.

Then there is the senate race. Debbie Stabanow clearly had more money and her ads are slicker. However, she is currently kicking the ass of her Republican challenger. So I guess money and ads are a mixed bag. This year, it's just not good to be a Republican.

Although the ads in Michigan have been vicious, which is to be expected, I haven't see any of the really crazy ads that have been running elsewhere. The Daily Show ran a selection last week. They're enough to make you question American democracy sometimes. By the way, both sides are guilty of the crazy ads, although once again the Republicans seem to be producing them in greater numbers.

Anyway, it'll be all over tomorrow. Here's hoping the crazy people lose, regardless of political party. Because really, America is a great country. I'm as guilty of America bashing as the next Canadian from time to time. But now that I think about it, I think I'm crazy people bashing. I like American. I like most Americans I meet. It's just that I don't like really crazy people.

And I really don't like it when the crazy people are in charge. Or are president of the place.


colette said...

I'm a masochist. For some reason, I love watching election returns, party leadership votes--you name it. And I'm still trying to figure out parts of the American electoral system particularly the whole idea of registering "as a Republican" or "as a Democrat". When I see what the ballots look like with many choices for this Proposition and that one running for Sheriff and another one running for the Michigan Supreme Court, all on just one ballot, I can understand the complete confusion that can cause at the polls.

Anyway, got the popcorn ready to see if the Democrats can pull off a sweep.....and goshdarnit, that Saddam verdict was just a leetle too conveeeeeeniently timed wasn't it?

Way Way Up said...

I know I'll be surfing the net tonight as the results come in. Many countries other than the good ole USA have a stake in this election. It will be interesting to see how FOX News aka Republican Propaganda Channel spins things should the Democrats take control in both Houses.