An American Macaca in London

Just days away from an election, Gordon Brown pulled a George Allen.

The similarities go deeper than off-the-cuff comments caught on tape during a campaign.

In each case, the comments helped underscore the impressions opposing candidates wanted voters to have of the offending candidates.  In 2006, Jim Webb and Co. would have loved for northern Virginia voters to think of their incumbent Senator as a southern”good ol’ boy” with questionable opinions on race.  That’s not the type of charge a serious candidate can credibly level against a candidate without strong evidence; Allen made it easy when he unwittingly uttered a word that sounded like an ethnic slur.

Similarly, opponents of Brown’s Labour Party could have complained that the Prime Minister was out of touch with ordinary Americans (or however that argument goes over there), but Brown has made it exponentially easy by callously dismissing the concerns of a voter. The snide attitude and duplicitous nature make Brown the stereotypical career politician – aloof, self-aggrandizing, and contemptuous of the constituents underneath him.

The only thing going for Brown is that, at the very least, he didn’t know he was on tape.

Betting the farm

With stimulus/bailout talk dominating the headlines, President Obama’s Department of Agriculture is doing something smart – reviewing the disbursement of farm subsidies to stop some payments. Currently, the flawed handout program sends cash to some people who have never planted a seed in their lives – and probably couldn’t tell a hole in the ground from… well, you can figure that part out.

It’s over a year old, but this blog post from Merry Olde England has a clever take on the ridiculousness of farm subsidies.

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