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Non-rhetorical questions


 

Acknowledging all of the other obvious reasons, is the public’s seemingly genuine affection for Barack Obama at least somewhat attributable to Barack’s Obama seemingly genuine affection for the public?

What percentage of Canadians will be more impressed with the President’s visit to the market than anything he said at this afternoon’s press conference?

How many times in, say, the last year has the Prime Minister allowed us to see him in a similarly uncontrolled environment?

Did it happen even once during the last campaign?

Were Paul Martin or Jean Chretien or Brian Mulroney any different?

Consider, for that matter, the following clip of the President in Elkhart, Indiana last week. When was the last time any Prime Minister participated in such a forum and left open the possibility of such a situation?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDglFVyA-2g


 

Non-rhetorical questions

  1. Won’t anyone answer his questions?

    • Okay, I’ll bite.

      1. Acknowledging all of the other obvious reasons, is the public’s seemingly genuine affection for Barack Obama at least somewhat attributable to Barack’s Obama seemingly genuine affection for the public?

      Yes.

      2. What percentage of Canadians will be more impressed with the President’s visit to the market than anything he said at this afternoon’s press conference?

      Everyone but Andrew Coyne.

      3. How many times in, say, the last year has the Prime Minister allowed us to see him in a similarly uncontrolled environment?

      Who cares? Harper’s old news and I have my doubts he’ll be good news anytime soon.

      4. Did it happen even once during the last campaign?

      See 3.

      5. Were Paul Martin or Jean Chretien or Brian Mulroney any different?

      See 3. They are even older news.

      6. Consider, for that matter, the following clip of the President in Elkhart, Indiana last week. When was the last time any Prime Minister participated in such a forum and left open the possibility of such a situation?

      * Comment to a young protester throwing wheat at him during a speech in Regina, (17 July 1969), in The Best of Trudeau (1972)

      If you want to see me again, don’t bring signs saying “Trudeau is a pig” and don’t bring signs that he hustles women, because I won’t talk to you. I didn’t get into politics to be insulted. And don’t throw wheat at me either. If you don’t stop that, I’ll kick you right in the ass.

      http://archives.cbc.ca/politics/prime_ministers/topics/2192-13270/

      The PM won’t let ’em rain on his parade

      Broadcast Date: June 24, 1968

      After calling an election just three weeks after he became Liberal leader, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau has promised to stem the rise of Quebec separatism and turn Canada into a unified, bilingual nation. On the eve of the election, Trudeau ignores threats of separatist violence and attends Montreal’s St-Jean-Baptiste parade. When other officials flee as rioters hurl rocks and bottles, Trudeau refuses to back down. This French CBC Television clip shows Trudeau smiling as the projectiles fly.

      —-
      It is my fervent wish that President Obama is cut from the same cloth.

      • Thanks for the quotes James. Love him or hate him Trudeau was a one-off. I really don’t think they’re making people like that anymore – they’re certainly not going into federal politics anyway – a public figure, an aloof intellectual and yet a politically incorrect man ; and a man of enormous personal and political courage. Ah well, maybe it was just the times. Obama does seem to be a different sort of duck. Wish him well.

        • ‘they’re certainly not going into federal politics anyway ‘

          would it ever be nice if they were….

          • Amen to that!

  2. Preliminary: I think you, along with lots of other Canadian journos, are caught up in Obama fever. That’s fine. But if you knew more about him, the primary and general campaigns, and the current state of American politics, you would be less in awe. Obama is a very good politician, but not a magician.

    Answers: No. How many qualifiers in this question: “acknowledging all the other reasons,” “seemingly,” “at least,” “somewhat.”

    At least 50. That shouldn’t be the case, but the media will make it so. His press conference answers were substantive and honest, if very carefully put.

    Probably no to the next three questions too.

    But you could say that CBC’s one-on-one series is similar to the last one.

    Not that it should matter. What we want is competence and honesty, moral and intellectual. I’m not sure how telegenicity shows us whether our candidates have those abilities/qualities.

    • But we might also remove the room for dishonesty, which is ample when the Leader only meets the People once in a blue moon. Any moderately competent thespian can stay on message for 5 minutes at a time, as Harper certainly does, but Wherry’s point is that neither Harper nor his immediately predecessors could ever go off-script for a whole year as Obama did. Trudeau could: he routinely debated journalists — eg. the famous “Just watch me,” which came at the end of a 10-minute discussion of political philosophy with some whippersnapper, while Trudeau was on his way to Parliament Hill in the midst of our most dramatic internal crisis ever. That takes not only moral and intellectual honesty but moral and intellectual strength, which Harper either does not have or deliberately hides from a curious nation.

      • “That takes not only moral and intellectual honesty but moral and intellectual strength, which Harper either does not have or deliberately hides from a curious nation.”

        Yes, but it also takes moral and intellectual honesty from the Canadian public at large. This is not about a one-way street. If one starts off a leadership with most odds against you because the public is so hyped up against you from the get-to, to be able to turn that around takes a lot of time and courage, I’d say.

        There is no way that Canadians could not be proud of their PM today. Now whether they will admit to such is another matter, a matter of going for moral and intellectual honesty, perhaps? What, saying that one is proud of our own nation’s leader? That would be unheard of! So to sum it up then: “we either don’t have it or we deliberately hide it……..”

        • Hey, I wrote that I was proud of Harper’s performance on CNN yesterday. And there’s no denying he did a perfectly fine job today.

          The Canadian public was not hyped against Harper from the get-go, it was the other way around. The man has had to be tamed. He began public life as a right-wing lobbyist and Reform Party Jeremiah. What his critics strenuously object to are those elements of his persona and agenda that have persisted from the days when he saw the modern Canadian state as the enemy against which all tactics were permissible.

          Neither he nor, evidently, you understand that a Prime Minister is not a president. A Prime Minister is inherently subject to severe criticism. It’s part of our system of government. He is not at all the representative of the nation. Get that straight.

      • JM
        I’ve always thought that 9 or 10 mins should go into a hall of political fame. The journalist does well actually, but Trudeau is just on fire, sadly most folks have only seen the famous denouement. No pol that i have seen since, excepting Obama – maybe – could come close.

        • Did you see it’s online?

          • Thanks. I always treasure it as amoment in time when we were lead by a man who could think on his feet. No flunkeys around , no notes, just off the cuff . It’s how politics used to be folks!

          • It’s hard to believe, eh? And Trudeau may have been the best of them, but they could all do that to a certain degree, back in the day. God dammit I hate this reality TV politics we have now.

          • What i enjoy almost as much as the authenticity of that time, was the lack of political correctness. Trudeau could almost certainly not get elected today, were he around for this reason alone.
            Vaguely off topic. Did you catch Mercer on Strombo? He said the sandwich making scene with Harper that made hm look so folksy actually took a number of takes and the asssistance of aides to show him how to make a sarny.Good god what are we becoming!

          • Alas, I was glued to work. Was that what the Gable cartoon today was about? For the life of me I couldn’t figure it out.

          • Don’t think so. Remember the skit Mercer did at 24 sussex. Where Steve read Rick a bedtime story. At some pt they went into the kitchen and Steve had a folksy moment making Mercer a sandwich, many times apparently. This after SH came down on Dion with his: you don’t get two takes in this business spiel.

          • Oh, right! I saw it online after the fact. He messed up making a sandwich?!?

            I sure could wish they’d leave the “Folksy Harper” alone in whatever other dimension he occupies, goatee and all. Stephen Harper is a wonk, a nerd, a professional politician through & through. The cognitive dissonance his PR people unleash with these vests & sandwiches is both excruciating for us and, I think, an insult to him. Let him become who he is, for God’s sake.

            Yeah, the do-overs, man. The Harperites have broken so many unwritten rules of political fighting by now that one is tempted to say anything is fair game in attacking him. But I guess that would just lead us down into the abyss . . .

        • I have no problem with Harper being un-folksy. Great leaders are often unfolksy, and many folksy leaders suck. But the worst are people like Harper who pretend to be the every-man when they are so clearly not.

  3. And how many Canadian PM’s have ever said:

    “I made a mistake.” or “I screwed up.”

    • And how many Canadian PM’s have ever said:

      “I made a mistake.” or “I screwed up.”

      The government usually falls before they have to.

    • I think Paul Martin turned himself inside out with apologies about the sponsorship scandal, and Harper took full advantage. Harper’s classless capitalisation on that, when he was all about ‘openness and accountability’, plus the fact that the party exceeded the spending rules (illegally?,,,,,we’ll see) during the election, are the reason the office of the PM is currently occupied by this blight.

  4. “I screwed up.”

    Mulroney, on his (and Reagan’s) good fortunes.

  5. Doesn’t the Shawnigan handshake count? That was pretty impressive, from a ‘hands-on’ perspective… Harper talks tough but lets see him kick a 14 year old like he really wants to.

  6. How many times in, say, the last year has the Prime Minister allowed us to see him in a similarly uncontrolled environment?

    Well Aaron, the question falls to you, the Harper-hater-in-Chief…if he had done so, how would you have handled it?

    Answer that, and you’ll know why you never get that opportunity.

    • Harper can’t handle an uncontrolled environment because he’s afraid of Aaron Wherry?

    • This was not a journalist asking Obama an unscripted question. Clearly a partisan but he quieted down the boo-ing and answered.

      Mr. “Tim Horton’s” like the image of a coffee shop but detests the people who actually buy coffee there and would not want to mingle with them, let alone deign to permit them to ask HIM a question.

  7. Dion did a whole series of cross the nation townhalls with non screened questions, which was an obvious sign of his weak leadership.

    • Oh, did he? That’s good to hear.

      I think I actually went to one, but the media coverage over the ensuing months of Dion and his campaign left me wondering if I had just dreamed it…

  8. Did everyone miss Obama’s answer? He knew his candidates had made “honest mistakes”, and yet he presented them as worthy for the jobs. He had to have known that the taxes were _not_ paid until the jobs offered were a sure thing.

    • Wow! Your very own watergate moment! Go get him boy!

  9. Harper gave us a reasonable impression of being a reasonable leader, too bad he probably can’t sustain that for more than an hour at a time. The press conference was mostly dull and I found myself noticing how much water Harper was drinking during it. His tie was okay though. :)

    • I didnt like his tie. Then again, most of his ties are garish.

  10. How soon people forget! For a brilliant moment in an unscripted question during an election campaign : Harper being interviwed at a market with dozens of boxes of produce behind him. QUESTION: Mr. PM if you were a vegetable what kind would you be? …..(severely long pause and a cold blue eyed shark like evil meanie stevie gaze back at the produce quickly calculating all possible outcomes all of which lead to Stevie saying he is a potatoe .. then a small smile .. attention turned back to questioner) ANSWER: Why if I chose to be ahem .. I would be a fruit warm, colourful, passionate etc …… Brilliant I mean an absolutely perfect answer that works on so many levels and earned him at least a 5 point spread from anyone who watched the interplay. You can sign on and rant and make fun and et all but this only goes to show your own frustration because it was well done. My boy Stevie has his moments and yesterday wasn’t just a moment but an hour at least : waiting for next nanos!

    • Substantive question from a citizen about leadership and responsibility for decisions that go wrong with an open, honest and direct answer off the top of his head…

      vs

      Inconsequential silly question from a journalist trying to make a boring press conference less so with a delayed, too crafted a response that was absolutely funny and almost self-deprecating but too calculating to truly tell us much about Harper.

      I love it when Harper gets compared to Obama. As a Liberal that is. Harper comes off as such a second rate calculating power-grabber. And I’m actually starting to really like Obama despite the silly orgy yesterday by the media.

  11. Obama is amazing. enough said. lol :P

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