Brits React To McCain-Palin Ticket
LIANE HANSEN, host:
The American presidential election is a hot topic around the globe, especially in the United Kingdom, perhaps because of the close alliance between the two countries. Diane Roberts has this essay on how the Republican National Convention and the rest of the campaign have been playing in the U.K.
DIANE ROBERTS: American politics fascinate the British. All that bluster, all that money. The British media did a pretty thorough job of covering the conventions considering that, one, there's a six-hour time difference, so the big speeches happened at 4 a.m. And two, the British don't have a vote. But when Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, came rip-roaring into their consciousness straight from central casting, they were hooked. Reporters from the BBC and other news outfits stalked St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center, listening to delegates gush about her. It was as if she were the newly-revealed love child of Teddy Roosevelt and Margaret Thatcher.
It's no wonder Sarah Palin has dominated the front pages. She embodies all that is exotic and inexplicable about America. She's a beauty queen. She's an evangelical. She comes from a far-off land of majestic mountains, big skies, bears, bridges to nowhere, oil pipelines, and all the caribou you can shoot. Several newspaper columnists said she's right out of one of their favorite American TV shows, "Northern Exposure." The Democrats, on the other hand, put the British powerfully in mind of the "West Wing." Barack Obama is Matthew Santos, declared The Daily Telegraph. You know, the Jimmy Smits character, the earnest and eloquent candidate who pledges to unite a bitterly divided nation.
But this past week, the Republicans held the stage. This is, after all, the weirdest American election since the millennial mess of 2000, and Sarah Palin is the new star. Her hair, her clothes, the names of her children, which one British columnist said sound like characters in an Australian soap opera, have been big news for days, as has her penchant for moose hunting. There's a little problem with that moose hunting, though. It reminds the British of yet another one of their favorite TV shows. See, the only moose most of them know is Bullwinkle. And I can tell you, they don't like the idea of him being made into a stew. Rocky wouldn't like it either. They do love animals here.
HANSEN: Diane Roberts is a frequent contributor to Weekend Edition. She's spending this campaign season in London.
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