Japnaam’s post asks why are we enthralled by American politics? And why is the American president respected more than the Canadian prime minister? Japnaam and some of the comments make interesting reading but I think I can add a little bit more to the discussion.
My argument is that what happens in America touches everyone in the world. Be it her foreign policy, domestic policy, environment policy, garbage policy etc. etc. etc. The decisions that the American politicians make, in one form or the other, touch a poor farmer in the middle of India. But the converse is just not true. This is is one of the main reasons why American politics is followed so closely. And when an American administration starts to make controversial decisions that “following” turns into a deluge of opinions. Everyone has something to say about the Americans.
As regards to why the American president is “respected” more than the Canadian prime minister : For the same reasons above. An American president projects power; With an multi-million dollar PR machine behind him, the president is built up as an the ultimate authority on the state of the world. Such power demands respect. This is just not true in case of the Canadian prime minister. But to me that is a good thing. I would want to look across the restaurant and see an ex-pm eating like a normal guy. That tells me that a Canadian prime minister is accessible. This does not happen with a American president. He is the almighty figure and if you try to get too close to him then see you in Guantánamo Bay.