States of misunderstanding? Britain and the US

A US Presidential contest between a buffoon and a superannuated socialist is unthinkable. Isn’t it? And what's with those insane talk show pundits. Brits just don't get America

Brits don't get him
Robin Mitchinson
On 21 January 2016 10:20

No doubt about it; Britain and America exist in an amiable (mostly) state of misunderstanding, especially when it comes to the way we conduct our national affairs.

We do things differently. Politics is a rough trade, but at least Congress appears to conduct itself with a measure of outward decorum. How would the average Congressman cope in the bear garden that is the House of Commons?

Well, we got quite a good idea of this when the affable George Galloway stitched up the Senate like a kipper in 2005 when it tried to interrogate him over breaches of Iraq oil sanctions.

As for Obama at PMQs every Wednesday minus cue-cards and teleprompter, ‘bloodbath’ comes to mind.

We are bemused by election campaigning that is virtually continuous. We get fed up with it after 6 weeks. For Americans it seems interminable. And there is still nearly a year to go before the new POTUS takes office.

Yes, it’s obvious that Hillary is a shoo-in to continue the long US tradition of dynasties, as if compensating for ditching George III all those years before. After all, if you don’t like her principles she has others. There is speculation that, based on recent polls, Bernie Sanders will give her a run for her plentiful money.

The real entertainment is watching the Republicans eat themselves.

The star of this grisly farce is, of course, The Donald. In the UK, Trump would have a problem getting himself elected unopposed for the Parish Council, but over there he has moved from being pure comedy to the frightening prospect of being the RP candidate.

At least his  policies are simple to understand; ban it, bomb it or lock it up!

It may be a mad world, my masters, but a Presidential contest between a buffoon and a superannuated socialist is unthinkable. Isn’t it?

American politics is nastier than British, especially when it comes to media comment. The bias and partiality of American cable news-networks would not be permitted in Britain, Adherence to impartiality is a requirement for TV news, even if the BBC is unaware of this.

A hugely popular radio commentator is Rush Limbaugh. Here are some of his gems:

‘Steinbrenner was a “Cracker Who Made African-Americans Millionaires”.

Obama & Oprah are only successful because they’re black

Gov. Paterson is a “Massa” and  Obama “Uppity”

And here’s one from Glenn Beck:

"I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. ... No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out. Is this wrong? I stopped wearing my What Would Jesus -- band -- Do, and I've lost all sense of right and wrong now. I used to be able to say, 'Yeah, I'd kill Michael Moore,' and then I'd see the little band: What Would Jesus Do? And then I'd realize, 'Oh, you wouldn't kill Michael Moore. Or at least you wouldn't choke him to death.'

But surely the ultimate in outrageous bad taste is one Anne Coulter. These are some of her contributions to the gaiety of the nation:

I have never seen people enjoying their husband's deaths so much." -- on 9/11 widows who have been critical of the Bush administration.

"We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee. That's just a joke, for you in the media."
"Liberals love America like O.J. loved Nicole." "There are a lot of bad republicans; there are no good democrats."
"We need to execute people like (John Walker Lindh) in order to physically intimidate liberals."
"Whether they are defending the Soviet Union or bleating for Saddam Hussein, liberals are always against America. They are either traitors or idiots."

"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity." "Liberals are stalwart defenders of civil liberties -- provided we're only talking about criminals."

But here was an insult too far:

‘How many f*****g Jews do these people think there are in America?’

In Britain, these three would be assisting Inspector Knacker with his enquiries.

But the most interesting personality to emerge in the Republican campaign is Namrata Nikki Randhawa aka Nikki Haley, the two-term Governor of South Carolina. She is of a family of Sikh immigrants who made good in America, big-time. Father is an academic, but the family business is worth millions; a classic American success story.

She is being trailed as a possible Vice Presidential candidate, and her prospects improved considerably when she replied to Obama's State of the Nation valediction (in the course of which she skewered Trump with this:

‘There’s an important lesson in this. In many parts of society today, whether in popular culture, academia, the media, or politics, there’s a tendency to falsely equate noise with results. Some people think that you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference. That is just not true. Often, the best thing we can do is turn down the volume. When the sound is quieter, you can actually hear what someone else is saying. And that can make a world of difference’

She is also extremely attractive, something that can’t be said about the other hopefuls.

The dream ticket for the Republicans would surely be Rubio and Nikki Haley.

An Hispanic POTUS and Sikh Vice? Alas, too good to be true!

Robin Mitchinson is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator. A former barrister, living in the Isle of Man, he is an international public management specialist with almost two decades of experience in institutional development, decentralisation and democratisation processes. He has advised governments and major international institutions across the world

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