Our friends in Europe often struggle to understand the American political system and its dynamics, which are so different from the European parliamentary systems. I’m sure the latest weird political jousting between the President and Republicans is especially baffling. I imagine this conversation between Pierre and Nicollette as they stroll past Les Deux Magots on a Parisian boulevard:
Pierre: Will you watch President Obama’s speech on Wednesday? We need the American economy to lead the way out of this recession.
Nicollete: The speech isn’t Wednesday — it’s Thursday. Wednesday conflicted with a debate of Republican candidates for President.
Pierre: Oh, when is the presidential election?
Nicollette: It’s in 15 months.
Pierre: 15 months? I don’t understand, then. Is this debate especially important?
Nicollette: Not really. There have been many Republican debates already, and there will be many more. In fact, it’s possible that even more Republican candidates will be getting into the race.
Pierre (shaking head): I thought the economy and unemployment were supposed to be the most important issues in America right now. Hasn’t President Obama really been pushing to give that speech and lay out his plans?
Nicollette: Well, President Obama has given lots of speeches about his economic plans already, and they haven’t had much of an impact. And he could have presented his plans weeks ago, but he decided to take a vacation first and then give this speech to a Joint Session of Congress.
Pierre: Well, at least now Americans will start focusing on the economy. A prime-time speech by the President to a Joint Session of Congress demonstrates that this is the most important issue to work on!
Nicollette: It’s not a prime time speech. In fact, it’s being given at 7 o’clock so that it can be finished before the first game of the NFL season.
Pierre: What’s the NFL?