I am Canadian, and last night there were 2 debates going on that were directly relevant to mine and my families interest. The leader debate between Harper (PC), Gilles Ducepe (Block) , Jack Layton (NDP), Stephan Dion (LIB) here in Canada and the US VP debate between Sen. Joe Biden and Gov Sara Pailn. You would think that I would have watched the debates of the leadership here in Canada however I didn’t specifically because I believe that currently the leadership in the US has more sway over my quality of life issues. With a population of roughly 10% of that of the States its hard to argue the dramatic effects that the US economy shifts have on the average Canadian. I like many Canadians are now seeing our retirement savings erode as our resource heavy TSX plummets from speculation of reduced resource needs from the Global economy.
Getting back to my watching of the VP debates. I was intrigued but what I might see given the events since Palin was added to the Republican ticket. And though there was no major stumbling, from an outsider view I felt that the performance was less then stellar. There were many times that I found myself arguing with the television screen that the point had not been answered.
To me it seemed that Gov Palin has rehearsed several talking points that she knew well but little other substance. When asked questions when it came to the average person or even a simple one of her short comings she would not answer the actual question and go back to ‘Safe’ statements. For me I think this debate was won by Sen. Biden more so because I felt that he demonstrated that Sen. McCain was not different, and did not represent change. It was also interesting to watch on CNN (HD) because of the little +/- indicators that were displayed. Every single observer (there were 6) except for 1 indicated Biden as the leader given the point spread, the exception was for Rollins (Republican Supported) who gave Palin the lead and not only by a few points but I believe by the end of the night it was something like 48-22 clearly skewed given the lack of valid answers to the actual questions.
Another thing that bothers me is the look into the camera and talk to the people letting them know that your are the same as them. Honestly I want to hope that my politicians are better then me. I manage my business, and my family the impact of my decisions is localized. The leadership of a country has millions (as in the case of Canada), even hundreds of Millions of individuals that their decisions effect. We should expect more from our electorate then we expect from ourselves they are given a great responsibility and should be respectful of that responsibility.
I have watched many of the debates, and town halls over the weeks and what still resonates with me as the individuals that are asked of their opinion on how little understanding that the decisions that are made in the States effects ‘Joe Six Pack’ and ‘Hockey Moms’ in the rest of the world. The bottom line for me is just because a politician is ‘small town USA’ or their leader ship qualities were sharpened as a Mayor of a town of 7000 does not mean in any way they are ready to lead a nation of more then 300 million ethnically, religiously, economically diverse peoples with needs and requirements that are complex and valid.
One of the other points I wanted to make was about an question I have about the tax cuts that each platform is promoting. Where Sen. Obama is promoting a bottom up cut and Sen. McCain is promoting a top down cut. I honestly believe there is need for both at different times. I believe here in Canada that tax system needs to be reviewed as well.
Gov. Palin noted that raising taxes on income earners over 250,000.00 would cause small businesses to shutdown, but I think that the answer given is too much of a simplification. First that tax is on income paid out to an individual not revenue brought in by the business. If the business is successful then would it not be possible to expand, bring new employees in and grow. I cannot see how a personal income tax cut for under 250,000. or an increase for more then 250,000.00 would directly lead to job losses. But I might be missing the point on this one.
With Canadian politics I am really only looking at a leader that with not negatively effect our economy and use the populous as testing ground for unproven policies. We as a people need to weather the storm like the rest of the world and that means making practical , prudent measures until things are righted. Lets hope were are headed in the right direction.