Michael Ignatieff is our Samantha Power


Gawker considers today’s New York Times profile of the Liberal leader.

But the Barack comparisons are overblown. Both men have lived abroad for part of their lives. Both men are hip and “with it.” Both men have had a vertiginous ascent in the political world, sometimes criticized as unwarranted. But Ignatieff has a better cognate in America than POTUS: Samantha Power. Like Professor Power, who has recently accepted a position in the Department of State (senior director for multilateral affairs at the National Security Council, according to Hurriyet), Ignatieff served the director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. (Power was the founding executive director of the Center from 1998-2002; Ignatieff was the director from 2001-2005.) Both Power and Ignatieff have published countless articles on genocide and human rights violation in magazines like The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine. But have a somewhat self-deprecating sense of humor and openness that, sometimes, gets them in trouble with a quote-hungry subtlety-stripping media. But most importantly, both started as public intellectuals first and only entered the political world second.


Michael Ignatieff is our Samantha Power

  1. All in all , I’d rather have Samantha Power ….. and a draft pick.

  2. I found that NY Times interesting. It turns out that Iggy has been sending emails to his friends abroad complaining about living in the backwater that is Canada but many Liberals think this article is just great. Look, the NY Times crowd likes us! Aren’t we cool! Iggy is a colossus, the NY Times says so, don’t you know!

  3. The NYTs article is a I heard from so and so, who heard from someone that… The only point of note from the article is that the NYTs thought their readership would be interested in Ignatieff.

    As to Samatha Powers, it should be useful to Ignatieff to have a close link with Obama.

  4. It’s too bad Harper couldn’t get noticed by the Americans so they’ve have the opportunity to tell us what American figure he represents for Canadians That might, for once, have been useful, since I’m damned if I can figure it out.

    Both the NYT article and the Gawker post struck me as only lightly informed (Gawker refers to the ‘minority Liberal party’), but then that’s par for the course.

    • Karl Rove springs to mind. But it doesn’t really work as Rove, whila a first class %$#& actually did know why he lied!

      • I used to think that Harper was Vice-Vice President to Dick Cheney, but I’ve become less conspiratorial since then as I discovered that my estimation of Harper’s Machiavellian prowess had been exaggerated.

    • I suggest Nixon. Dishonest, recorded meetings of other parties, and his policies were only nominally conservative despite the party name.

      • The sad fact is, Stephen Harper is Canada’s Tracy Flick.

      • Nixon is good, but there’s something else too! Harper has at times the same irritating mannerisms and body language that Reagan had; the leaning of the head to one side, and i can almost hear that folksy “welllll ” before Ronny engaged his brain. In Steve’s case it’s usually, ” look obviously. Or frankly…”

  5. ” both started as public intellectuals first , and only entered the politial world second.”
    I’m perfectly ok with that. It’s much scarier when politicians enter the publc intellectual world. M. Harris springs instantly to mind. Shouldn’t they have to sit exams or something? But what about all that experience, you say? In Harris’s case my 2nd pt only underscores my first!

  6. “Like Professor Power, who has recently accepted a position in the Department of State (senior director for multilateral affairs at the National Security Council, according to Hurriyet),”

    Is it the Dept of State or the White House? The NSC is part of the White House, is it not? The NSC Director reports to the President.

  7. At least Michael Ignatieff isn’t our Susan Powter.
    Stop the insanity!

  8. Is Andrew Wherry our Ariana Huffington? It is bad enough that many in Canada are fawning at the prospect of a prime minister that is decidedly cosmopolitan before being Canadian – but even worse when we cannot look at Canada on its own terms, but rather imagine it as so many reflections of our neighbour to the south.

    Hence, Harper = Bush (Nixon would be a far more apt comparison); Ignatieff = Obama; Alberta = Texas; Toronto = New York (although in film it is usually the other way around).

    What is ironic, is that the same chattering class that loves to hate America (and not the Yankee-phile right), never seems to discuss Canadian issues on Canadian terms.

  9. Curses, find myself agreeing with jwl…

    “In the last few years, Michael Ignatieff’s friends in the United States and England began receiving self-deprecating e-mail messages from him lamenting how dull and low-profile his life had suddenly become.

    He had spent most of the preceding four decades making a name for himself in both countries — writing essays on the world’s war zones for The New Yorker, The New Republic and The New York Review of Books; writing novels and screenplays; enjoying popularity as a television-show host in Britain and a regular at the Groucho Club; and teaching at Harvard and Cambridge universities.

    Now, he joked, he was stuck in the pedestrian life of a freshman civil servant — in Canada no less.”

    I think I have a healthy, “self deprecating” view of my country, but this made me want to throw up.

    It’s bad enough that every second feature or opinion piece about Canada written in New York or London in the last thirty years starts out with this “Canada as frozen, boring, backwater” theme, this time its aided and abetted by a carpetbagger who wants to be our P.M.

    Is it just me or does the Count hesitate a half a beat every time he is forced to utter a phrase like “we Canadians”? It’s almost as if he still hasn’t come to grips with the fact that Canadians might expect him to start acting like one. Hey Iggy, don’t do us any favours, if the country is too dull for you, we’ll settle for Rae.

  10. “Both men are hip and “with it.”

    Igy is with it? On what planet? Oh wait, the NYTimes planet.

    • Great link! A truly funny takedown.

      • i have mixed feelings. It’s funny in parts and reveals a side of Iggy no-one should want to cotemplate for too long. I always knew he had bright boy syndrome and is occassionally unbearably condescending; but at the end i’m left wondering who i disliked more, the picture of Ignatieff the writer draws for us or the author himself? I’m no fan of those who advocate shooting the messenger but this particular Mark steynian messenger gores my ox. The snide superior mocking tone is straight from the Steyn school of journalism. Funny, yes.Often devastatingly accurate. But full of its own brand of arch, oh so cool distain. Nothing, let alone butter would melt in “their” mouths. You’re left with the feeling they’re so detached from the purpose of their criticism that you could almost format the style to fit anything. It could be as easily turned on the author of say the bible.It’s mockery tuned to a fine pitch. The writers are almost as much in love with their effortless cleverness as say Michael Ignatieff!

    • Every time I start liking Iggy a little bit, someone has to go and show me some of his writing again.

      • Look on the bright side, even if he becomes PM he can’t force us to read anything he’s written. And the tv still has an off switch, thank god!

  11. Now we’re stuck with a PM who didn’t write what he said he wrote, and can’t finish what he started… Give me a man of accomplishments over a man of accouterment anyday.

  12. Well, it’s been a very long time since we’ve had a politician so known internationally, so hated and loved and contraversial hasn’t it?

    Kind of nice to have someone who isn’t just a robot, with a boring past and life and personality.