MITCHELL’S MUSINGS: And the U.S. presidential nominee is…

Morning Star managing editor Glenn Mitchell adds his take on the somewhat fascinating theatre that is U.S. politics

I have to admit I’m not totally up on American politics so the way they elect their party leaders seems somewhat, well, foreign to me. Of course it’s a foreign country so that makes some kind of sense and it’s not like the way we do things in this country could stand as a template for the rest of the world as the right way to select a party leader.

I mean the Liberals on the federal scene certainly haven’t got it right lately in their revolving door of leaders and ultimately, losers, and the NDP seem to be taking forever to elect theirs as their hold on the second spot in Canadian’s hearts seems precarious at best.

How smart is that?

Still it seems like a better and at least slightly smarter way than the way the Americans do battle.

I mean it appears to an outsider with only passing interest that lives north of the border and shouldn’t even be writing about it but is anyway, that there must be a better way.

As the Republican roadshow leaves Florida with Mitt Romney apparently flying high, even though the week before it was Newt Gingrich (what’s with the first names of these American leaders anyways, it’s either Barrack vs. Mitt or Barack vs. Newt?), so stay tuned as every little thing you’ve done in your life comes under the microscope and is magnified a million times.

The money involved is truly outrageous and the ups and downs and time it takes to win a nomination is baffling. I mean it can be fun and at some level it’s democracy on the run, which is a far superior approach to electing a leader than most countries in the world can claim, but it’s also numbingly silly at times.

Although great fodder for late night talk show hosts and people like Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. Colbert’s even put together a mock campaign for the Republican candidacy, which ironically, looks pretty good to me.

And then there’s the fact that the race can be over after just a handful of states have had their say, I know it’s a well-worn tradition but seems patently unfair as well. Not to mention the plethora of attack ads against their fellow nominees that will in the end only hurt the party when they go up against the Democrats.

I know they used to actually have conventions where they elected leaders in the past, but in these days of controlling everything, they likely don’t want to risk that anymore. So they’re left with this comedic roadshow?

Anyway, I got to thinking that what if the American tradition of electing a party leader was, for some reason (this is where you suspend disbelief to make this scenario work, hopefully), utilized by the Liberals.

After all they need one, apparently Bob Rae is only interim.

So I see it going something like this:

CBC reporter: “Well here we are at the P.E.I. primary where the few thousand people who make up this province basically get to choose who the next Liberal leader and potentially prime minister is before the West even thinks about it. So Mr. Rae how’s it going so far.”

Bob Rae: “Well our entry polls are looking good but we’re waiting for the exit polls to see if all that money we spent is going to pay dividends or not. I mean, er, I have faith in the fine people of Prince Edward Island. Did I mention that my competitor Justin Trudeau’s dad was once a communist, or I  heard he was, anyway.

CBC reporter: “What do you have to say about that Justin?”

Justin Trudeau: “Didn’t Bob used to lead a left-wing party of some note? And why should a failed provincial premier get to be PM? Actually I too have faith in the right-minded thinking of this great province. Plus I spent a few million on ads with  my beautiful face front and centre so we’ll see. Did I mention that I’m much younger and hipper than Bob?”

Bob Rae: “I’m more experienced.”

CBC reporter: “Shouldn’t you guys be going after Stephen Harper instead of each other?”

Bob and Justin: “Why, he’s not a Liberal, is he?”

—Glenn Mitchell is the managing editor for The Morning Star