Guest Column: Eric Idle
The Monty Python alum weighs in on American politics.
I was asked to write about your election, which is quite difficult for a limey. It's such a different world. One is tempted to ask: "Are you serious? Is this for real? This is the world's greatest democracy we are supposed to envy? Really?" A more corrupt and insane system would be hard to invent. It makes Hollywood look relatively sensible. It makes the Greeks look comparatively honest. OK, it is not as bad as the Chinese, who seem somehow to have managed to combine Mao and Prada, but to an outsider, it does seem, well, totally nuts. Americans always are amazed to learn that the Brits have a three-week election period with no TV advertising allowed. You now seem to have a four-year election cycle, and it costs a fortune. Is it too rude to suggest that Mitt Romney could help pay off the deficit by, well, paying taxes? Either way, your election seems almost entirely about money. Politicians spend 80 percent of their time fund-raising, leaving almost no time to do their jobs and making them totally indebted to their sponsors. Lobbying, and television advertising paid for by wealthy corporations and special-interest groups, takes care of the rest. A level playing field? The Alps are flipping flatter.
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