Real honest politics, American style
Jeremy Paxman's clash with Ann Coulter on Newsnight last night was a classic. In case you don't know she is the outspoken Republican supporter billed as the right-wing's Michael Moore who specialises in lefty-baiting and courting general controversy. To promote herself, of course. As you may expect she was greeted with the BBC's typically left-establishment bent from the beginning of her interview with Paxman. She then demonstrated just what I find refreshing about politics in America: people will say what they think and the real differences in approach, which I'm sure are just as pronounced, although hidden, over here, are allowed to shine through. She was happy to front up to Paxman, to flag up what his presumed beliefs are and to call them such, before unashamedly placing them in contrast to her own.
The absolute highlight was when she was badgered by Paxman about her claim that there was a leftist hegemony in the mass media: surely the fact she had been invited onto ABC, CNN and the BBC showed this wasn't true? "Yes, of course," she replied "after the warm welcome you just extended shows that must be the case." Paxman cringed, visibly wilting. He knew he'd been completely outflanked by someone who wasn't scared to call some shots or be honest about her beliefs.
Leftist bias in the media, particularly the BBC, and our somewhat associated irrational disdain in the UK for American politics seems to be something of a recurring theme. Simon Heffer, in an uncharacteristically excellent article about the continuing resentment of Thatcher by the left, flags up the Corporation's orthodox standpoint. Iain Dale makes a convincing case that America, far from being the navel-gazing home of zealotry that many wish to think it is, actually often engages in a more wide-ranging discussion of events around the world than ourselves. They are perhaps just more honest about what they think or feel about issues both at home and beyond their own shores. When you see how meaningless our "more sophisticated" politics feels at times a bit more direct honesty, US-style, is surely a good thing.