Mainstream media in Canada has long been a stagnating swamp. For those who were quite sure - even as far back as 15 or 20 years ago - that it could not possibly get any worse I have bad news: it has.
I am not talking here about mere disagreement. Disagreement can be healthy, and even a whole lot of fun. As one well-known American economist quipped about the Harvard scholar Joseph Schumpeter: "Schumpeter was often wrong, but always for very interesting reasons."
The pointlessness, senselessness and carelessness of so much that has been written since the U.S. election, is a case in point.
The post-election synopsis from one leading columnist in this province? The Republicans could learn a thing or two if they studied Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative campaign playbook. Now, give this columnist the prize for the longest reach for the Canadian angle. But really, what is the point in this?
Mr. Harper received only 39.6 per cent of the vote in the last federal election. Republican Mitt Romney?
About 48 percent of the vote. It is clear that more than 60 per cent of those who cast ballots in Canada voted against Mr.
Harper. If the Green Party and the NDP had thrown in with the Liberal Party of Canada - the Liberals then being the rough equivalent of the Democrats and the Conservatives being the rough equivalent of the Republicans in a two-party system - the Liberal Party would have won the last federal election decisively. Mr. Harper would not have been merely beaten, he would have been crushed.
What Mr. Harper was able to count on - and Mr. Romney was not - is a divided vote to the left of him. This has nothing to do with the secrets in Mr. Harper's playbook.
She goes even further astray and notes that there is something the Republicans just do not seem to understand: "In this century, North Americans covet individual freedom." And then this: "Many are even libertarian." Say what?
Yes, she wrote this. I am not making this up.
An answer to this nonsense in two words: dead wrong. There are not "many" libertarians in this century. There are very, very few. Libertarians - people who love freedom and who believe that government is at best a necessary evil that ought to be strictly limited - are a lonely breed.
One piece of evidence she offers for the supposed love of freedom in this century?
Well, we are given the example that two states even passed resolutions to legalize marijuana. Wow!
But this columnist ignores the fact that marijuana was not prohibited in the United States from the time of the founding, through the entire 1800s and well into the 1900s.
In this freedom loving "libertarian" century? Canadian Marc Emery was shipped to the United States and was there sentenced to five years in an American jail over this stuff.
While yes, there might have been a state or two that took some baby steps toward legalization, the columnist ignores the countertrends of government growth and intrusion that defy her analysis.
Earlier this year, New York City for example - the leading city on the continent - banned large soft drinks.
Toke up? Maybe in a few years. 7-Up? Off with their heads Mayor Bloomberg!
Other American cities are now rushing to follow suit as salivating local politicians clamour over each other to be next.
Ahhhh, the libertarian century. And poor Thomas Paine missed it.
There was, in the final analysis and despite all the silly media hype about clear choices, very little to choose from between the Republocrats and the Demopublicans.
Both Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama condone the blowing up of U.S. citizens with drones without due process or the right to a public trial. Both are firmly committed to big government.
Both look like deer caught in the headlights of the military industrial complex. Mr. Romney's Massachusetts health-care plan was, indeed, similar to Mr. Obama's national health-care plan.
Both men are graduates of Harvard Law (which in and of itself should have caused the public to flee toward a third party).
The two men and their two parties are linked more by their similarities than by their differences, and they would almost certainly govern within a whisker or two of each other.
The American public, not sure whether to go with Tweedledum or Tweedledee, in the end split pretty well down the middle and went slightly in favour of the devil they knew.
There is nothing in Mr. Harper's campaign playbook that would have changed that.
A local note on the U.S presidential election campaign: In the early afternoon of the election, I had a lengthy discussion with my long-time nemesis, the former New Westminster NDP MLA and one time B.C. attorney general Graeme Bowbrick.
I don't like to admit it, but I'm obligated to give credit where credit is due. Mr. Bowbrick correctly predicted the U.S. presidential election result in every single swing state and that type of accuracy, as evidenced by all the prediction errors made by the pundits and talking heads on television, is not an easy feat. Well done.
Mike Sporer is a lawyer based in New Westminster.