I know a guy who appeared on some BBC political show in London the morning after Bush won the last election. He was the American Republican on the panel. The guy who was all "I think it's a good thing Bush won."
But he wasn't a pundit. And I happen to know for a fact that he'd had some kind of major falling out with the Republicans in London, and knowing him I can guess it was pretty much a big bust up which resulted in him and them not being on speaking terms. (I know this because I'm no longer on speaking terms with this person for a different bust up.) But all the real Republicans were all off partying somewhere or sleeping off their hangovers or calculating short positions in the stock market or something, and he was the only guy the BBC could find on a Friday morning in November.
How they stumbled upon him, I'm not sure. But he had a big email list and he'd supplied Americans for the audiences of other political shows (I went to one myself) and maybe he was on some kind of shared tv researcher list.
Anyway, it's a mystery to me how anyone gets one of these pundit gigs. I mean, I have an opinion. I clean up pretty good. I have a fair bit of public speaking experience. I'm not without wit and some charm, but I've never been a pundit on British tv. (The Vol-in-Law has been a pundit on British web tv. Is that close?)
It was early Sunday afternoon and we were watching the news channels prattle on about South Ossetia and here comes this guy defending the Georgian position. And he was drunk and sweaty. And he was in chavvy sports wear. One of those ridiculous Ralph Lauren shirts with the giant polo logo like this - only bigger, I swear.
Photo credit: Hello, my name is douchebag by T'shane on flickr.
I've met more sober, more cogent Georgians* in London bars.
And you know what this guy said? Well, shit. He said a bunch of drunk shit. Democracy. Autonomy. Blah, blah, blah. A lot like the Rowley Birkin character from the Fast Show.
I know they have to come up with guests on short notice and can you name one famous Georgian living in the UK? But really. War in the Caucasus, the sleeping Bear wakes up angry, the return of the cold war and that's the best the BBC can do?
*And I mean Georgians by the Black Sea Georgia, not Georgians from down I-75. I've met some of those in London bars, too but they were pretty drunk and blathering on stupid stuff about Dawgs.