I remember turning on CNN last year or the year before — more than once — and seeing Sully and Hitch discuss this or that (with no one else there except the CNNbot) about American politics. What the fuck? What would these limeys know about American politics? (In fairness, Sully’s take on how Obama operates is dead on, IMHO.)
I mention this because this weekend I met up with an English colleague of mine who a) thought Democrats should nominate Zell Miller or at least make him VP in 2000, b) thought Bush would be a better president than Gore during the 2000 election, and c) thought that Bush would lose by the widest margin in the history of American politics in 2004. Despite this (all of which he now admits was wrong), he continues to predict various silly things — that Republicans will find their “own Obama” in the next presidential election or two, for example. This is someone who is probably a bit to the left of me politically and is undeniably brilliant in many ways.
What’s a bit hard to describe is how eerily similar his analyses are to Hitch and/or Sully. There’s the inexplicable hatred of Hillary Clinton. There’s the fixation with whether or not various candidates are good people. There’s the complete inability to understand how the contemporary Republican party operates (i.e., that it’s run by lunatics who would fuck up any administration, regardless of what a “good man” John McCain is).
So, what gives with all of this? Why do we have so many English people over here commenting on our politics? Why do they understand it so poorly? And why do they think they understand it to begin with? My guess is that the common language creates the illusion of a similar system but that the reality is that there are almost no similarities between our system and theirs.