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Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Press Review

From today's edition of NORMAN'S SPECTATOR (where the articles are hotlinked).

Most US papers lead with today’s vote, which is front page news around the world.

In the UK, Tony Blair faces a caucus revolt over gambling, and university students are coming down with the mumps.

The New York Times leads with speculation about the Chief Justice’s health. The editorial board urges readers to vote, and looks at Hawaii and Haiti.

Paul Krugman says Times’ rules don’t allow him to endorse a candidate, but “Above all…I want to see democracy vindicated, and the stain of 2000 eradicated.”

David Brooks plays by the rules and serves up his hopes under both scenarios. Also on the op-ed page, the Times asks bloggers for their assessments of the campaign. Hear, hear.

The Washington Post’s editorial board looks forward to the day after today’s vote.

David Ignatius writes that the absence of a terror attack is the real October surprise.

George Will advises Americans—to use a Canadian expression--to take a Valium. E. J. Dionne Jr. writes about the failed Bush presidency.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board says America is not split. John Fund serves up his hour-by-hour predictions of the television coverage. John Yoo says John Kerry would weaken the fight against terrorism.

The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board offers its condolences to the winner. Robert Scheer thanks the UN. Ben Mathis-Lilley and Ben Wasserstein look back at some of the more memorable lines of the campaign.

At home, the US election gets big play today, and there’s much anticipation about what Chuck Guité will say tomorrow about the sponsorship program.

The Government re-introduced it’s legislation de-criminalizing pot, but the really big news for those of you on expense accounts is En Route’s list of best new restaurants in Canada.

The Globe and Mail fronts the US election, election and election, along with Ontario emergency powers and a vindicated Newfoundland woman. Helpfully, the Globe serves up a couch companion for this evening.

Inside, John Ibbitson is onto pot:

“We shouldn't be legalizing marijuana because we want to feel all right. We should be legalizing and regulating it in recognition of the truth that this soft but potentially dangerous drug has crossed the threshold of respectability in middle-class society.

Let Parliament pass Bill C-17….Then let's get to work on the bigger job of figuring out how to control recreational drug use in a society that has decided there's nothing wrong with occasionally getting stoned.”

Preston Manning says Canadian politicians are hiding behind the courts and he serves up advice on how they can discuss religious and spiritual issues—the kind of thinking, dare I say, that kept him on the opposition side of the Commons.

The Globe has today’s best correction—a journalist correcting a letter writer who chastised him. From Vancouver , Margaret Wente weighs in on the US election:

“I, too, hope Mr. Kerry wins tomorrow, if only because having Teresa in the White House would be extremely entertaining. But I am not sure that other things would change as much as Canadians expect. Iraq is getting worse, and tomorrow's winner faces the unpleasant choice of getting even tougher, or getting out and leaving the unfortunate Iraqi people twisting in the wind.

Multilateral peacekeeping forces? Forget it. No country wants to send its soldiers anywhere near the place. As for Mr. Kerry's dream of working through the United Nations, you can see how well that's going with Darfur . Iran still wants nukes. North Korea 's probably got 'em. Much of Russia 's stockpile of nuclear material has gone missing. The man who is president faces the most dangerous world since Hitler. May you get what you wish for, goes the ancient curse.”

John Doyle reviews the campaign and the coverage and concludes:

“A month ago, the best-selling book in the United States was an attack on John Kerry. Now it's America , written by Jon Stewart and the staff of The Daily Show. It's a book that's an offshoot of a TV show that mocks both American political figures and the American media. It's satisfying an awful lot of people.”

Jeff Simpson says the Americans can organize a mission to Mars but not an election and concludes,

“The world's longest political marathon ends, barring subsequent legal challenges, as it began: with a nation divided following an exhausting, costly and bruising battle, and with most of the world eager to see George W. Bush defeated.”

The editorial board agrees (they must have missed Jean-Pierre Kingsley’s recent comments): “There are many things the United States could learn from the younger democracy to the north where elections are not always satisfying, but are run independently and transparently.”

Another editorialist, turning his attention to Crown Corporation governance, wants to take all the fun out of being prime minister:

“The government should let the Crown boards appoint their own chief executive officers, who will, after all, be accountable to those boards. How can you ensure accountability if you don't even have a say in the hiring and firing of the CEO? Start working on better board appointments. Then let the directors do their job.”

McGill academics have been monitoring Canadian coverage of the US election:

“The Globe gives relatively negative coverage to both sides. Taking an average of all articles, where -1 is negative, +1 is positive, and 0 is neutral, The Globe's net coverage for Mr. Kerry was -.25, and net coverage for Mr. Bush was -.36. The Post's coverage shows more tolerance for Republican than Democratic politics, with Mr. Kerry at -.23 and Mr. Bush at -.07. And the Star, most in line with Canadians' preferences, had Mr. Kerry at +.17 and Mr. Bush at -.51.”

Comparing these conclusions to the group’s analysis of the Canadian campaign in June, it seems our fearless and intrepid journalists are more fearless and intrepid when it comes to covering US than Canadian political leaders—an obvious comparison the authors don’t make.

The Toronto Star fronts the day of decision and what you can expect on the tube this evening, along with a Toronto cop in hot water.

Reporter Tim Harper shows his fearless and intrepid colours. Oakland Ross serves up a more sympathetic portrait of John Kerry. Tom Walkom says Osama is pulling for Bush.

Ray Heard doesn't hear any of the Canadian party leaders speaking for Canada. The editorial board's eye is on the nanny program.

From Jerusalem, Mitch Potter reports on the bombing in Tel Aviv. From Ottawa Jim Travers weighs in on political corruption.

Speaking of which, check out this new book, to which yours truly contributed the Afterword and Jack Granatstein the Introduction. (Here’s an interview with the author, William Kaplan, and check out this review by Peter Desbarats.)

The National Post’s front is all US election, aside from a Nova Scotia human rights tribunal that viewed Lone Ranger tapes before deciding that kemosabe is not a demeaning word. As a boomer, I’m relieved.

Inside the Post, Terence Corcoran touts free skies. Paul Kedrosky weighs in on the US election:

“In most things that truly pique Canadians, such as the Iraq war, a Kerry presidency would be similar to a Bush one. And in other matters, such as dealing decisively on Canada-U.S. trade issues in the face of stridently protectionist calls from within his own party, it seems unlikely Mr. Kerry will be Canada 's best friend. Wishing otherwise will not make it so.”

Don Martin writes about masturbation. David Frum weighs in with a truly repugnant column about Yasser Arafat, speculating that the Palestinian leader has AIDS and recycling some old, unproved Romanian intelligence about him.

(Here, here and here's some interesting stuff on Arafat's principal vice, and here's my recollection of lunch with him, and here are my thoughts on Ariel Sharon.)

John Ivison says Pierre Pettigrew--Trudeau's former foreign policy advisor--wants to be prime minister; I think he’s right about the latter but seem to recall that Pettigrew advised a man much loathed by PET, Claude Ryan. As to Ivan Head, regrettably he passed away yesterday in a Vancouver hospital, at the age of 74.

The editorial board supports Québec and says Ottawa should butt out of maternal leave programs. Another editorialist pans the Ontario government,

“Premier Dalton McGuinty is perpetrating an injustice by introducing legislation that will ban future development of 1.8 million acres of private land without offering the property owners anything in return. While staking out more green space is a reasonable government objective, the failure to compensate landowners for the resulting losses is unacceptable.”

A third editorialist poops on Stéphane Dion, who once was a favourite in Don Mills:

“But fitting every new federal building -- and retrofitting many of the old ones -- with "green roofs" would be an absurd way to spend federal cash. If the Environment Minister believes that more trees are essential to Canada 's air quality, then the most appropriate and efficient course of action would be to reforest existing green spaces, something that can be accomplished by college students at a cost of a few bucks a shrub.

Mr. Dion has justified his proposal by saying that the government would be leading by example. That's code for Ottawa undertaking a purely symbolic measure that achieves little practical benefit.”

Elsewhere in CanWest land, the Montréal Gazette, Vancouver Sun and Ottawa Citizen front the US election, with the Gaz also re-cycling a story about Santa’s new mailing rules. The Sun also goes high with pot.

The Citizen features a building planned for Dubai that will be taller than the CN Tower, an 84-year old woman who’s suing the government to get her seized money back and a retired Admiral who can’t understand the fuss about the seared sub and the dead submariner.

Inside, the editorial board writes, “Today is the day Americans pass judgment on George W. Bush, but voters in Afghanistan have already done that, and Iraqis may get their chance in 2005. Win or lose, Mr. Bush has changed their lives forever.”

Inside the Gaz, economics prof William Watson writes,

“If it were "the economy, stupid," as Bill Clinton's brain trust said it was in the 1992 election, then George W. Bush would romp to victory tonight.

Yale University economist Ray Fair is the acknowledged expert on using economic data to predict the outcome of presidential elections. His favoured "estimating equation" correctly predicted the winner of nine of the last 10 elections. Its only error, ominously, was the first George Bush's re-election. Plugging in last Friday's buoyant GDP numbers, Fair gets a popular vote of 57 per cent for Bush. He concludes Bush's chance of losing should be virtually nil.”

The editorial board says Jean Charest must do a better job selling what “sounds like an outlawed pesticide, the partenariat public-prive (PPP).”

Another editorialist weighs in on child care: “As Dryden and the provinces work out a deal, who will speak for hard-pressed, one-parent-at-home families? A tax break for them should be part of the plan.”

In the Winnipeg Sun, Tom Brodbeck writes about the health care bureaucracy. In Calgary, Paul Jackson says Alberta voters are restless but he isn’t, and Licia Corbella is into understanding euthanasia.

In Edmonton, Neil Waugh’s beef is cattle. Mindelle Jacobs says immigrants go to where the jobs are.

From Ottawa, Greg Weston replies to the Fonz. In London, Rory Leishman weighs in on the Elmasry affair. (In a brief item in the Globe, we learn today that the B’Nai Brith guy also suffers from foot-in-mouth.)

Posted by Norman Spector on November 2, 2004 | Permalink

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