The Old Switcheroo 3.9
These days, with presidents selling pardons and fugitive money-launderers
sitting on senators' fundraising committees, the political peccadilloes
committed north of our border seem almost cute. Rahim Jaffer, an
MP from Edmonton, has been demoted in the ranks of Canada's right-wing
Alliance Party for his part in a hoax pulled over on Vancouver radio
station CKNW. It seems that the man speaking in a phone interview
with the station was not Jaffer, but his executive assistant, Matthew
Johnston, impersonating his boss.
Astonishingly, at least one listener was paying attention and alerted
the station to the deception. At first, reports the Globe and
Mail, Jaffer maintained that he had done the interview himself.
A few days later, however, under increasing pressure, he copped
to covering up the imposture. Johnston resigned, explaining that
he had double-booked Jaffer and didn't want to break his commitment
to the radio station.
Potemkin Proles 7.5
The human-authenticity prop is one of the honored visual clichˇs
of American politics. You can't sign a bill gutting welfare or ceding
big chunks of the public domain to boodlers without a backdrop of
inner-city cherubs, honest toilers or strong, silent cops to ratify
Sometimes, however, the deed in question is so odious that real
people can't be suckered into playing along. Thus a memo circulated
by the National Association of Manufacturers, and leaked to the
Washington Post, in reference to a media event orchestrated
by House Speaker Dennis Hastert in support of the Bush tax cut:
"The theme involves working Americans. Visually, this will involve
a sea of hard hats, which our construction and contractor and building
groups are working very hard to provide. But the Speaker's office
was very clear in saying that they do not need people in suits.
If people want to participate--AND WE DO NEED BODIES--they must
be DRESSED DOWN, appear to be REAL WORKER types, etc. We plan to
have hard hats for people to wear."
Tory Love Affair 5.6
There is a point where political polling yields too much information.
In February, the
Virgin Group conducted an Internet survey of British college students
to see whom they found more sexually desirable, Prime Minister Tony
Blair or Conservative Party leader William Hague. It turns out the
ladies love the balding, pug-faced Tory, preferring him by a landslide
61 percent to 39 percent. More than 70 percent of the survey's heterosexual
male respondents said they'd sooner knock boots with Hague's wife,
Ffion, than have a go with Cherie Blair. Meanwhile, gay men preferred
Blair four-to-one. And Home Secretary Mo Mowlam, who would sweat out
a beauty contest with Robert Bork, was easily trounced by her Conservative
The results of the poll may have set off a round of high-fiving
at Conservative Party headquarters, but do they mean anything? The
Tories seem to think so. "This is further evidence that William
Hague is truly in touch with the British people," a party spokesman
told the Sunday Telegraph.
Uh-huh. The poll apparently did not query respondents as to which
candidate is more likely to make them sleep on the wet spot.