Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Monday, November 06, 2006

You're stuck with me

On this U.S. election eve, it looks as if the Democrats will be taking over at least the House, if probably not the Senate as well. And blogger Altavistagoogle asks whether this means that dissatisfied Americans who move to Canada will suddenly want to return, since it will mean Democrats being in charge in the U.S. while Conservatives are in charge in Canada. Now, I can't speak for the primary protagonist in that post (though she can certainly speak for herself), but in my case it's a resounding no. Why? Let me count the ways.

1. Altavistagoogle's characterization of Stephen Harper being "firmly in control of Canada" defies reality rather handily. Harper is the leader of the weakest minority government Canada has ever seen, and he has to put up with things like meddling social democrats in order to keep that government alive. Furthermore, far from receiving a post-election bounce during his so-called "honeymoon period," his polling numbers have consistently shown his government's inability to do any better than they did in the election. Canada may elect a Conservative government, but they'll never completely fall for one. This delights me.

2. Further, Altavistagoogle's characterization of Michael Ignatieff as the leading Liberal candidate, while technically correct, ignores some of the facts (can we say "Anybody But Ignatieff movement?" can we say "almost no second- or third-place delegate support"?). And the characterization of him as the "next Canadian Prime Minister" in the post's addendum seems...unlikely, to put it kindly. Even if he does manage to pull off the win within his own party.

3. Next, Altavistagoogle's summary of the situation in the U.S. also leaves much to be desired. While I'd love to see the voters defy the polls on this one, the numbers certainly don't show that the Democrats will "probably take back both houses." The peace movement becoming cool? Among peace activists, maybe, but not among those in charge. And the anti-gay aren't "coming out of the closet," they're being forced out by the other side of a radically polarized electorate (right-wingers vs. centrists, natch). Meanwhile in Canada, we have polls that reveal just how unpopular even a minority Conservative government can be, people marching in the streets to protest a war that hasn't even come close to being as screwed up as the one in Iraq, and a Liberal leadership candidate who posed nude to raise money for charity whose homosexuality is a mere afterthought in the news story.

4. And finally, even if the U.S. does manage by some miracle to take back both Houses, the people in charge of Congress will be...the Democrats. I don't know about L-girl, but in my case they convinced me of the need to get the hell out of Dodge far more than the Republicans ever could have. Because of the U.S.'s hopeless two-party system, when the Democrats are in charge, lefty Americans are forced to look around and see the centre-right policies they implement and know that things can never get any better than that. The Democratic frontrunner for the 2008 presidential race, Hillary Clinton, is to the right of Stephen Harper on almost every issue. Think about that. I for one would be thrilled to see the Democrats take both Houses, but only because the resulting subpoena power would make for some fine schadenfreude, not because they offer a leftist alternative.

Yeah, not so much with the going back, thanks.


James Redekop said...

The Democratic frontrunner for the 2008 presidential race, Hillary Clinton, is to the right of Stephen Harper on almost every issue.

One of the things that's hardest to communicate to some of the US friends I talk politics with is the fact that what a lot of them consider "radical left" would be unremarkable up here.

West End Bob said...


Glad you're not going back - We would miss you when we finally get up there!

You are absolutely correct regarding the US two party system. Those of us still stuck in the US awaiting the "Welcome Aboard" papers from CIC could benefit from a viable third party. At least some original policy discourse could hopefully begin . . . .

laura k said...

Nice post. And thanks for the vote of confidence. :-)

I don't know about L-girl, but for me they finally convinced me of the need to get the hell out of Dodge far more than the Republicans ever could have.

As I always say, with friends like the Democrats, who needs Republicans.

It's best not to pay too much attention to Mr Altavistagoogle. He leaves harassing (and highly ignorant) comments on my blog every once in a while, which I quickly delete. He likes to say I left the US "to escape Bush", I think because he believes it riles me up. Yawn.

Anonymous said...

"...(yes, it's true) I'm so happy to be stuck with you..."

Can't help it. It's been decades since I heard the song, but it went through my head as I read your post.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Thanks guys. But Deanna, THAT SONG IS IN MY HEAD NOW. Gah! *grin*

Altavistagoogle said...

L-Girl, I didn't know you could be Jewish an Atheist. I wouldn't consider that "highly ignorant" by Canadian standards.

I don't see the usefulness of defaming me just because you occasionally disagree with me. And I really don't appreciate being called a "wing nut".

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


It's certainly possible to be both Jewish and an atheist, but I don't know what that has to do with this post. For that matter, I don't see where L-girl called you a "wing nut," and if she did, it wasn't over here.

Altavistagoogle said...

From the comment section from L-Girl's blog post about my blog:
"The wingnuts have always treated this blog as way more famous and important than it is."

I don't think I qualify as a "wingnut", but then again I'm so "highly ignorant" I didn't even know that Jews could be Atheist.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


I'm still not understanding what any of this has to do with this post, but, hey, if you like conversational non sequiturs that much, it's fine with me.

Anonymous said...

I was going to say something about your post, but it's already been said, so I'll throw myself into the atheism fray, just for the fun of it... The term atheist can also mean someone who is opposed to a God or gods, though it would likely be more apt to call such a person an antitheist (even though that term has the same definition as atheist). So, therefore, if one were an atheist in the antitheist sense, then it would follow logically that one would have to first believe in a God or gods to put themselves into opposition against them, and it would make perfect sense to have a Jewish atheist.

Ok, sorry for that, but I couldn't resist. ^_^;

laura k said...

For the record, my comment about Altavistagoogle's ignorance had nothing to do with his not understanding how one can be both Jewish and atheist!


All my nemeses are out today. Must be the full moon.

Altavistagoogle said...

So L-Girl, why _did_ you call be "highly ignorant"? Seriously, I want to know. I might be ignorant, (what the heck is non sequiturs), but "highly ignorant"?

Altavistagoogle said...

Idealistic Pragmatist, will you be moving back to the USA if, as predicted, the Republicans win both houses and Ignatieff wins the Liberal leadership?

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


I'm puzzled about how you could ask a question like that after reading my post. To reiterate: the Democrats (especially the kind of Democrats who were just elected, incidentally) are simply not a leftist alternative in the United States. And even if they were, the fundamental problem that prompted me to leave--that of the rigid two-party system--would still exist.

So no, I'd rather live in a country that has a party I can actually support, rather than one where I have to hold my nose every time I vote. I'm happy that the Democrats will now have subpoena power, but that's about it. I mean, I left the U.S. in 1997, for cripes' sake, back when there was still a Democrat in the White House. A few more Democrats in Congress are hardly a temptation.

Anonymous said...

When I saw the artistic nude of Scott Brison in the paper, I was thinking "Is that the guy who...". The article clarified that he was a Liberal leadership candidate, but made no mention of his sexual orientation.