Gawd, talk about schmoozing!!! Get a load of Mansbridge! You'd think the bald bastard would light up a cigarette or something!
Anyway, the next couple of days are going to be fun as hell to watch as Canada's national news media collectively gurgle and coo as the new President visits the country that only ever registers on the American radar when, for example, its President comes to visit.
What's really interesting is that most would agree our national media has long held a less than pro-American slant in it's coverage of all things USA, yet for some reason, that doesn't apply to the photogenic new Prez. Don't get me wrong: I think Obama rocks. I just think our national media is going to make a colossal ass out of itself and frankly, I hope Obama wears protection.
While it is no small feat for Stephen Harper to have united the right, the petty and vindictive nature of his brand of politics leaves a bad taste in the mouth of 62% of Canadians. For all his strategic brilliance and alleged geometric logic, he has been unable to deliver a majority government in two kicks at the can. He's sat on his hands on issues important to Westerners, like the gun registry, and he appointed 18 Senators when he was supposed to be all about the almighty Triple-E brand of welfare recipient.
He broke his own election law. Muzzled MP's, started a war with the Press Gallery, hired a bunch of $#%tards to run his war room during the last campaign where the @#$%tard war room was the story on the nightly news and not the message they were trying to spin. He deliberately created a constitutional crisis six weeks after the fall election in a #%%#ing transparent attempt to drive a stake in the heart of the Liberal Party and it blew up in his face. To top it off, eleven weeks ago he was saying "five years of budget surpluses" and last week brought in a budget with the biggest deficit in a generation.
I could go on, but I won't. Conservatism sold out in an attempt to win a majority. It sold its soul, its credibility and perhaps most importantly, it lost many of its best minds along the way.
Who to blame? Well, you start at the top and work your way down. I've blogged about it here before numerous times: Stephen Harper will defeat himself. The budget was the final nail in the coffin and it's just a matter of time until he's a private citizen again. Michael Ignatieff is going to win the next federal election - it might be a minority government, but he is going to win. Why?
Because he's not a douchebag.
Stephen Harper has been a super hubungous douchebag of a dick for about three years now and it's really hard to support a douchebag as your national leader when every night you turn on the television to see "All Hope and Change All The Time" from the US networks.
The era of Karl Rove's politics of division is over, in case nobody noticed. Canadians are tired of a douchebag at 24 Sussex. Particularly when they're collecting pogey.
There will be an election this year and the Tories will lose. It's only a question of "by how much".
Oh, and this guy? He's salivating over running the Liberal war room come election time. He's a prick, sure... but at least Iggy can say, "He's our prick."
It must suck to be Mike Duffy these days. After his comments earlier this week suggesting that PEI Premier Robert Ghiz may get the "shaft" by getting in bed with Danny "Don't f@#$ with Newfoundland or I'll put a Jihad on your ass" Williams, the press won't leave the guy alone.
The interesting thing, though, is that Duffy is speaking the truth and anyone who follows politics in Canada knows it. Provinces have to play ball with Ottawa or the reprisal factor will creep in: it may not happen tomorrow morning, but rest assured, someone will get his or hers at some unforeseen date in the future and probably when they least expect it.
With this in mind, Duffy is receiving probably a disproportionate amount of coverage because he's a journalist who went into politics. (It was a political appointment, mind you - Peter Kent actually ran for office and won, unlike the scud stud who ran and lost.) He probably should have kept his trap shut, but then again it's the freakin' Senate of Canada people! If I were appointed to the Senate, I'd wear a different fur coat to work each day just to piss off the anti-fur lobby, I'd probably get a snake tattoo on my face and wear shower thongs in my office. Yeah, you heard me... shower thongs!
Seriously though, this is a lesson for Duffy. He now knows what it feels like to be on the receiving end of the news media and I hope he makes the best of his appointment.
Being that I'm a middle aged man, I remember a recession less than thirty years ago where Canada could have only dreamed of a 6.9% unemployment rate (it was double-digit then) and1% inflation not to mention the lowest interest rates in Canadian history.
Yet here it is, an orgy of spending that would even make Trudeau do a double take!
Now I'm sympathetic to Harper's government in that he's got a minority and has to bring down this budget to remain in power, but really... is it worth remaining in government when you're going to lose the next election anyway? Better to have fallen on his sword and let the Liberals take over so they can wear the blame for the recession. (Even though government in Canada didn't create it... voters don't make that distinction.)
Who would have thunk it only six months ago? I'll close by saying that I think everyone in Ottawa (from the politicians to the pundits) has forgotten their history. This recession bears little resemblance to the one in the early 1980's. People aren't supporting 15% interest on their mortgage payments and the 6.9% unemployment rate we're currently experiencing is a fart in the breeze compared to back then.
Yep, Conservatism is dead in Canada, and so is Stephen Harper's future as Prime Minister. He's going to wear the blame for the recession whether he likes it or not and his party is going to lose the next election. About the only good thing I can predict at this point, is the NDP will probably be reduced to 9 or so seats when it happens and I won't have to see Karate-Chopping Jack Layton on the boob tube anymore because he's be done like dinner.
(TGV wonders quietly whether any Canadian Federal Leader could pull off a speech like that. Between the nasally drone of Ignatieff, the flat accountant voice of Harper or the karate chopping of Layton, it's hard to imagine any Canadian leader presenting a speech as inspiring as Obama's. Is it any wonder Canadians love the guy and wish we had a guy like him in our country?)
To those who loathe Americans, take a good hard look at your television set. There's two million people in that mall in Washington and while we're quick to condemn America for being too American, everything in Obama's speech rings true. Today is a good day to be an American. Today is a good day for all of us, I think.
I wish the new President and all Americans luck. This inaugural address was a call to service and I hope everyone listening takes him up on it.
Okay, I was gonna give the guy the benefit of the doubt, but it's pretty clear that Iggy is on crack.
I know this because apparently Michael Ignatieff (who we still don't yet know how HIS plan to address the growing economic crisis differs from Harper because everything he's been espousing seems to mirror everything Harper and Flaherty are saying, but I digress..) seems to have forgotten a couple of important factors:
a) The federal surplus was generated in part by ripping off Canadians for years by overcharging EI despite Sheila Fraser demanding the Liberals stop doing it
b) Even if Harper hadn't dropped the GST and spent like a drunken sailor in a whore house, we'd STILL be facing a deficit.
Very simply, Jesus Christ himself could have been running the government for the past three years, this economic crisis is unprecedented in my lifetime and, for example, automakers would still need a bailout, we'd still be talking about major infrastructure programs (read: make work) to keep people employed and stop them from drowning in their quagmire's of self-amassed personal debt.
But yes, blame Harper - by all means.
Crack must be cheap these days in Liberal circles, what with deflation and all...