Thoughts on culture, education, and having been a Canadian in the US
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The debate I’ll be watching tonight

I’ll be watching the Canadian leaders debate tonight, after watching the two-hour French debate last night (imagine if leaders in the US had to debate in Spanish as well as English…). I’m sure, thought, I’ll be tempted at many points to watch the vice-presidential debate, which will probably be more riveting and potentially surprising than the one occurring north of the border.

Last night’s debate was fascinating at times, frustrating at others. A poll immediately afterwards by the La Presse newspaper in Quebec showed Duceppe and Dion getting the most favourable reactions from the viewers they questioned, while Harper’s performance was ranked as favourable by only 18% of those responding. It will be very interesting to see how all this plays out in English tonight.

The interviews Couric did with Palin and Biden say a lot about the southern matchup tonight. I don’t think this will be an easy debate for Biden in any way, but I don’t see how anyone could watch the clip above and think that they’d prefer to have Palin potentially in charge of picking Supreme Court justices. What frightens me, though, is that although these interviews are being widely discussed in the media, none of the students in one of my classes had even heard anything about the Couric interview, nor did they really know anything about Palin other than she was McCain’s running mate. Only two of these students had even watched the Obama/McCain debate the other night. And yet, most of them seemed set to vote in the upcoming election.

This leads me to wonder, and this connects to both elections, do debates and media coverage really even make that much of a difference? How many people in either country are really paying attention to the campaigns? I saw a headline today about how Obama is up in the polls. When I read it more closely, though, Obama only had 48% compared to McCain’s 42%. The last time I checked, 48% is still less than half. That’s scary. I mean, in Canada, Harper could win a majority with only about 35% of Canadians voting for his party, but that’s because there are four other major parties running candidates against him. If you think about it, that’s not bad at all. On the other hand, if there are only two parties and you’re at 48%, you have to be worried. What will it take, really, for anyone to break that seemingly automatic Republican/Democrat deadlock in the US?

October 2, 2008   1 Comment