Thursday, November 4, 2010

Michael Smerconish's Weird Pervez Musharraf Column

This column is weird, even for Michael Smerconish. Pervez Musharraf is in town, so Smerconish takes him to vote:

"We discussed apathy, and I described voter turnout patterns in the U.S., explaining that in 2008, only 63 percent of those eligible came out to vote.

'In Pakistan, it's the opposite.

'It's the educated class which does not vote. You said you've always voted. Let me shock you by saying that I have never voted - except in the last eight years.

'Yes, in this, I did go to vote. Otherwise, before that, when I was not the president, I never voted,' he told me.

Why not?

'Because I thought it was useless going to vote like that,' he answered.

What Smerconish never says -- and this seems really relevant if we're going to lump discussions of democracy and Pakistan together -- is that Musharraf didn't need to vote because he had a bigger vote than the whole rest of Pakistan combined: He took power through a military coup! In fact, he still advocates the Army be given a formal veto power over democracy there!

None of this makes it into Smerconish's column. Instead, we're supposed to value American democracy a little more because, heck, a former Pakistani president seems to think it's kind of cool. Smerconish had the chance to interview somebody influential and important about a part of the world that's critical to current U.S. interests ... and he pulled a radio DJ stunt. Disappointing.

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