By far the longest reply came from an American who laid out at considerable length his comments on some of the arguments I had made in my column (as well as on several I did not make). To excerpt several: he was adamant that the "US political system is not broken, nor is it a charade, nor is it better or worse than that of Canada. ... It is fair to say that the US and the Canadian political systems are cousins, but it is not fair to say that one is better or worse than the other. In simple terms there are actually more checks and balances in the US system than in the Canadian system."
He went on to argue that the US political system " is not dysfunctional ....To infer that this is any different than in Canada, or for that matter any other democracy, is to ignore the inherent principles of what a democratic process is. ... The demagoguery around the TEA Party is just a convenient way for the liberal faction (which includes most of the media) to point blame onto someone else."
He concluded that "I think it can be strongly argued that it is Obama who is looking at this "Through The Looking Glass" of the 2012 elections not the Republicans or the TEA Partiers -- remember that these TEA party candidates were elected in 2010 so they do not need to concern themselves with electioneering until 2014." [Note from the editor: in fact these so-called 'TEA Party' (Republican) House of Representative members elected in 2010 must stand for re-election in 2012 not 2014, i.e., after a 2 year term, as do all 435 members of the US House.]
Most of the responses to my column on this subject from American readers did not register disagreement. One American living in the south emailed to say that I was "on target as usual. The self-delusion in our population is breathtaking and frightening."
A correspondent from the U.S. northeast reacted to the column by declaring that "I expect nothing less than brilliance from you. With this message you have exceeded even my highest expectations."
He continued: "One thing I believe all the plastic pundits have missed thus far is that the so-called Debt Reduction Bill passed and signed last week in fact contains significant tax increases.To the extent that income, services, or reimbursements for food, medical care, housing and education are cut for our neediest citizens, if they can they will have to somehow make up for those losses -- in effect diverting whatever meager income and assets they may have to make up for their losses. A tax increase by any other name is a tax increase."
I also heard from Canadians on the subject of the US debt crisis. A Canadian travelling in Ireland emailed me "thanks for your great piece on this recent disgraceful conduct by the elected crazies in Washington. Thanks also for the non-partisan source to support what I was recently informing some Yanks about at a pub in Dublin. Talk about self-serving when it comes to tax increases."
Another Canadian, also travelling, emailed that I "spent the last week insulated from the world of news ... your blog on the self-made crisis and the dysfunctional U.S. political scene was excellent."
That's a sample of reader reaction to my "Through the looking glass" column.
by Alastair Rickard
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