Oh, one more thing about America…

We did watch a fair bit of telly while we were in the States, and occasionally I even managed to persuade Sal to stop watching another slice of E! True Hollywood Nonsense. On one of those rare occasions, we happened to stumble across a paid political advertisement on behalf of the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign. These things always seem very odd to my eyes–the Party Political Broadcasts we see over here seem rather quaint and polite when contrasted with the kind of mud-slinging that goes on over there.

This particular one was a straightforward attack on John Kerry using a series of negative quotes about him that had been taken out of context from all those shabby right-wing papers that Al Franken writes about. It started off by attacking things like his war record (President Pot, meet Mr Senator Kettle, surely), and calling him “a waffler who blathers”, but what really stuck with me was the final quote that the ad built up to, their ultimate weapon against him:

“John Kerry has been described as being more liberal than Bill Clinton”.

Only in America could “liberal” be an unquestionably dirty word. Presumably to your average American it’s just a synonym for un-American left-wing commie scumbag. Or something.

Funnily enough, on a not-entirely unrelated name-dropping note, we spotted Jeff Kennet, former Australia Liberal Party member and Premier of Victoria (he of the Shed) drinking with his model son, Angus (Sal was rather more excited about this than me, for some reason) and other family members in the pub in Fulham last night.

Things is, though, that in Australia the word Liberal means the exact opposite of what it means in the US, they being the party of anti-socialist policies, privatisation, deregulation, corruption and tax cuts. Hmm, now who does that remind you of?

4 thoughts on “Oh, one more thing about America…”

  1. Shouldn’t that be Senator Kettle?

    Is ‘corruption’ now a generally accepted policy area in Australia then?

  2. Ah yes, you’re right, that’s a much better joke: I’ve changed it.

    Corruption rife in Australia? Well, I was just making a sweeping generalisation, of course, (as is my wont) but you can read some more detailed information about Jeff’s activities here.

    I think my favourite one is up at the top: On 29 May 1996, Kennett assaulted a number of journalists by shoveling dirt on them and their cameras at a City-Link ground breaking ceremony. After attacking the journalists he said ‘which will be the first one to charge me with assault’.

    Nice chap.

  3. And despite an almost identical heritage of political philosophy, the words “liberal” and “conservative” mean very different things in the US and in Britain.

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