During the last Canadian election, the Consul General of Boston had to cancel a speech at Bridgewater State College. Why? Because government officials are not supposed to speak during the election season. I ended up being the substitute, and had a very fine time staying in Plymouth near the famous rock. Why do I raise this now? Because last night I attended a speech at Carleton, facilitated by my school, the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, given by the US Ambassador to Canada, David Jacobson. He was apparently seeking an opportunity not just to speak during the election but about the election.
The talk was quite an interesting take on things. He said that he was not presenting a partisan talk, despite the fact that four years ago he was an organizer for the Obama campaign. Instead, he was just explaining the stakes, the differences and such. Sure. I was greatly amused by his keen ability to "stay above the fray" in ways that made it clear who is the better candidate from his perspective.
When asked about the lies both campaigns tell, Jacobson indicated that both campaigns were mostly telling the truth, but that it, of course, matters which candidate seems more authentic (hint) and which one seems to "get" where the voters are coming from (hint).
I was tempted to ask a #voterfraudfraud question, especially since Jacobson is from Chicago, but refrained since the students had heaps of questions. My question would have been: does he think the efforts to suppress votes via the dark fantasy of voter fraud concern will cause more votes to be suppressed or more votes to be mobilized out of anger at voterfraudfraud? That is, will voter suppression depress turnout for Obama or will it increase turnout as folks become offended that their rights might be violated? I don't know the answer to that question. I do think the GOP is doing the best it can to make sure that African-Americans and Hispanics chose any other party to vote for, and I wonder if students will figure out that they are being targeted as well.
All, I can say is:
Oh, and I did suggest to one of the Embassy officials that an American Ambassador may not want to remind Canadians that the US gets 27% of its imported oil from Canada. Yes, this means that the US gets more of its oil from Canada than anywhere else, but it might cause some Canadians to be uncomfortable, that the US just loves Canada for its minerals rather than for its maple-ly goodness.