Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Presidential Litmus Test

I 'ave become an Anglophile. It all started with the cable channel BBC America, and the gardening show "Ground Force", particularly during the time that Alan Titchmarsh served as host. After I watched it for a few months, I became so charmed by the English, the hosts on the show, and the guests, who seemed like such civilized, polite, humble, unassuming, intelligent, swell people. Sure, the accent and the English style guffaw could occasionally make me check to be sure I wasn't watching a Monty Python skit. But basically, I fell in love with those damn nice English people.

And BBC America has other great programming too, which I still keep my eye on. "The Office" was a hilarious, smart, well done show. And of course, one can watch just about as many actual sessions of Parliament as one can handle.

Watching Parliament in action is fascinating. It is so completely different than our Congress. Talk about feeling like you are watching Monty Python, with all the grumbling and tittering. But the way the English play politics seems so up front. Parliament is generally characterized by a very brisk debate, polite, ( I strongly disagree with the kind gentleman from Worchestershire!) and yet, replete with angry and witty remarks, even personal digs.

Watching Parliament yesteday, I realized that one cannot be a dope to run with those dogs. When Prime Minister Tony Blair rises from his chair like a shot out of a cannon to answer some accusation by a member of Parliament, his words are well chosen, concise, and powerful. After watching for a time, my wife Marie stated...."can you see Bush in that role?". Sadly, I would have to say.....not really. The banter and the rate of questions in the belly of Parliament would be, I think, a bit much for Mr. Bush. I am not particularly fond of Mr. Bush's politics, but I do not hate him. I think he is a man with a good heart. Just not particularly bright. Doesn't have the stuff one needs to stand up in Parliament. It's all too quick and in your face. I am afraid, if he were to be put to the test, say, made Prime Minister for a day, it would be a disaster. If a member accused him of pandering to the right on some issue, he would rise from his chair, give that giggly smirk, and look like he was trying to think of something to say.....and then, very slowly, and saying plenty of "long sound" participles in order to sound more eloquent, like "ay" for "a", and "thee" for "the", try to refute his detractor. But alas, the glaze in his eyes would reveal that he had actually forgotten the question. Oh man. I want a president who could stand the heat in the kitchen of Parliament!

George Bush Sr? No. Bill Clinton? Yes. Hillary......argh,......Hillary would speak so slowly and shout her speech as she does, in her usual obsequious monotone. Al Gore? Maybe. He is smart enough, but is he quick witted enough? John Edwards? Probably.

Name your politician. Watch a bit of Parliament. If you think you could plug your man or woman into the role of Prime Minister, if he or she is smart enough and quick enough to be able to handle the debate in Parliament, then that person would likely be a good candidate for President of the United States.

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