Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Rare political comment: Ford and Obama

We have two politicians flaming out this month. Rob Ford is a guy most people had never heard of until he messed up so spectacularly. Obama was famous even before he screwed up.

The Ford mess strikes me as pure entertainment. So far anyway; there are hints of a dark side to the story that I won't mention here that, if they turn out to be true, will make this a very worrying story indeed. What we have seen on the surface, though, is pure comedy and very humbling for Toronto which, while I have many good friends living there, is long overdue.

The political consequences of it strike me as minimal. I don't think the outer-ring vote is going to turn around from this and all agree that they need to submit to whatever those hipsters in the core want in the future. If anything, I would think the opposite will happen.

The Obama mess is harder to judge. Obamacare may survive and then it may not. My guess is that the insiders know the mess is even bigger than has been reported so far; Obama, in particular, acts like a man who knows that a major charge against him is pending and is hoping for a miracle reprieve that he doesn't really believe is coming. Either way, it's out of our hands.

And that, I think, is the central lesson to learn here. One of the illusions journalism tends to foster is that being better informed helps us control our fate. It doesn't. No one even gets to vote on any of these things for a year, if you get to vote at all. Meanwhile, these two guys either go down in flames or they don't. I think you can get all the news about them that you need by checking up on them once a week. At most.

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