O Canada…

THIS IS JUST. SO. EMBARRASSING.


 

O Canada...

This is Just. So. Embarrassing. If there is anything less attractive than the anti-American streak in our national character — a trait made worse, one suspects, for our neighbours’ sunny indifference to our seething — it is our tendency to prostrate ourselves before American celebrities. And they don’t get any more celebritous than Barack Obama. Okay, I get that he’s a likeable fellow. He avoids excessive partisanship, he comes across as thoughtful and decent, he connects with people — yes to all that.

But people, really: camping out at 4:30 in the morning on Parliament Hill for five seconds of waving from behind plexiglas two hundred yards away (and five seconds longer, at that, than scheduled)? Hours and hours of television coverage given over to a few brief clips of the President a) landing, b) walking with the Governor General, c) sitting with the Governor General, d) flashing by in his motorcade, and e) walking, sitting and standing with the Prime Minister?

Have we all taken leave of our senses? The CBC interviewed some lunatic woman who gravely informed us that, with the election of Barack Obama, she now knew that “everything was going to be okay.” A sign in the crowd read “First God, then Obama,” which was positively restrained compared to some of the comments one overheard. And I don’t just mean from the reporters.

I find all this openly worshipful behaviour more than a little disturbing. I don’t like it when I see it directed to rock stars — What possesses people to chant their names in unison? Is it not enough to be a slave? Why do you have to advertise it? — but I really mistrust it when it slops over into the political arena. And is it not all just a bit more loathsome for being attached to a foreign leader? Could we be more craven? Usually we reserve such spinelessness for Quebec separatists.

What is it people hope to achieve by such behaviour? What do they hope to prove? Is it all just a form of conspicuous consumption — an opportunity to flaunt their taste in political leaders, to bathe, somehow, in his reflected coolness? Do they suppose that Obama is in doubt about the degree of public affection he arouses? That he is insecure, and needs to be reassured? Or is it just blind, unthinking infatuation, a rush of blood to the head (and other parts) such as prompts teenage girls, mysteriously, to scream aloud at the sight of a Jonas brother?

This need for heroes, this cult of charisma — and we in the media are the worst offenders, though for more explicable motives — is not merely empty and shallow. It is dangerous. At the very least, it is a distraction. At the worst, it is a kind fascism. It appeals to all that is hollow within us, and — worse — within them. Was that not the least attractive thing about Trudeau: the glamour?

“Unhappy the land that has no heroes,” Brecht wrote. “Unhappier still the land that has need of heroes.”


 

O Canada…

  1. Well, he’s no Joe Klein, but then again, some would swoon over a chance encounter with Harvey Korman in the Mall of America.

    • especially since Harvey died last year!

  2. I hate the cult of celebrity as much as you do, Andrew. That said, isn’t it great that they’re not gathering from as early as the wee hours of the morning to protest the arrival of the U.S. president? I’d say that’s a positive thing.

    • That was yesterday, with the cardboard cutout of Obama, on the Sparks St Mall.

      I wonder who won the lottery, and got to take it home at the end of the day.

    • We’re not at the “cult” stage yet, but we certainly do live in a culture of celebrity, and it’s not a healthy thing for the world.

  3. It’s a cathartic effect after eight hours of George Bush.

    • I think that’s exactly what it is. Well for the most part anyways. Bush made people so angry with what he was doing that change for the sake of change became the order of the day, and Obama, whether or not he will bring change, at least brings the appearance of change. Many of those who don’t normally follow politics or don’t fully understand politics, are probably going to fall head over heels because of the desire to make up for not being involved before Obama came around.

  4. Who is this shrill, imperious scold and what has he done with Andrew Coyne?

    Does anyone know how Coyne reacted when Peter MacKay gushed to Condoleeza Rice: “I’m your biggest fan!”

    • Yes, he renamed his male poodle.

    • AC must have had a nervous fit when Ronny & Brian did their duet?

      • I know i did. just recoverved last yr!

        • Coyne: “Don’t you ever say anything snide about that genuinely tender and moving moment between Mulroney and Reagan! That was different!….*shriek*!”

          • Oh, Ti-Guy… you never could address the issues raised without sticking in a, “I know you are but what am I.”

          • Speaking of shrieking…

    • It’ hard to ignore the will of 1500 .. repeat , 1500 … quiet polite Canadians.

  5. Oh, and your HTML is showing in the header… lol

    Sorry I’m a QA I can’t help but notice…

  6. O Andrew, just lie back and enjoy it.

  7. Hear hear.

  8. I do recall swooning just a little when I met Andrew Coyne, however.

    • And then he started talking…?

      • No, he was very polite. AC is hot for a right-winger, if you go for the chiselled handsome good looks kind of thing.

  9. It is exceedingly embarrassing. Just tell yourself that most of the celebrants are expats. That’s the only thing that somewhat eases me of that sick, chill feeling – even if the assurance isn’t true.

  10. Leave it to Andrew Coyne to play the CONTRARION. You do realize how predictable you are? You’re just so different from the rest Andrew, just so unique and refreshing. Yawn.

    • You’re predictable too. Who cares?

      Good luck with life.

  11. I couldn’t agree with you more. I joked with one of my American friends that President Obama was in Canada today and that he was expected to heal the sick and cure the lame. To his credit, he has played down expectations, but the cult following is massive and I predict it will unfortunately be his undoing.

  12. “At the very least, it is a distraction. At the worst, it is a kind fascism”

    I would say a lot surrounding Obama is a kind of fascism, from the cult of personality, mass rally in Berlin, lots of talk about how people are going to have to ‘work’ and an appetite for the State to take care of everything.

    I don’t understand this worship of heroes either, the people society choose to adulate rarely have done anything to deserve it. We are not a serious society anymore. And from what I have seen on tv the past little while, Rosemary Thompson comes across as the lead obama cheerleader within the msm.

    • We are not a serious society anymore.

      Yes, because before we were a serious society.

    • Bush: wiretaps American citizens without warrant, claims the right to arrest anyone, declare them an unlawful combatant and hold them out of the country without due process or representation for any length of time, actually signs a law eliminating habeus corpus, institutes torture into policy, invades a sovereign state without cause, calls for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, uses a devastating terrorist attack for political gain, fires federal prosecutors for not acting on his political agenda, staffs post-war Iraq with political hacks, etc.

      These things are not fascism.

      Obama: Inspires millions, triggering a sort of Beatlemania, hints that Americans have hard work ahead of them to rebuild their shattered economy and… well I don’t know what the hell you mean by the state “taking care of everything”.

      This, you and Coyne would say, is a kind of fascism.

      Interesting view of the world.

      • I’ve got news for you. The terrorists are staying in Gitmo. The necessary wiretaps continue and have been conducted in Canada as well btw and are quite necessary to protect us from these people intent on killing us. Iraq is a democracy and is no longer a threat to the world.

        Obama has just blown 1 trillion dollars on happy gum drops and choo choo trains. 1 trillion dollars.

        • “Iraq is a democracy and is no longer a threat to the world.”

          Wouldn’t it have been cheaper to just declare Iraq to be no threat to the world 6 years ago?

          TJ Cook left off the most important aspect of Buscism, by way of 1930’s parallels: making up reality as you go along.

  13. Sorry, just wanted to point out that I agree with Mr. Coyne and not with the previous commentor.

  14. I think Andrew just needs more flax in his diet of late – the whole thing has been a bit much for him.

  15. I share Coyne’s sentiments about cult worship of people being disturbing and I’m glad he came right out and said it. That’s why he’s my favourite pundit ever! COYNE! COYNE! COYNE!

    • Yeah, it’s really important that a child of privilege rain down withering scorn on the hapless nobodies while barely acknowledging the lazy media’s role in over-hyping everything.

      Can’t let us masses wander around unchastened, after all. Makes us smug.

  16. I Agree!! My feelings exactly!! The CBC is especially embarrassing, actually worse than watching some of the American Idol contestants who think they are really good, but are really awful. I feel so embarrassed for them I have to change the channel. Some of the reporters are practically having public orgasms, good lord how humiliating. Don’t get me wrong, I think Pres. Obama is terrific, but man this is cringe worthy.

  17. Mr. Coyne,

    You must not have got the memo. Obama was sent by God to save the world… sort of like Superman. Isn’t that what Obama said, himself, at some rally?

    W.E.D.

    • That’s some crack research right there.

      • You mock, but I think that was just a copy-paste of an actual National Post editorial.

        • Does anybody actually still read the NP these days?

          • Nope.

            My work involves monitoring all media and we just canceled our subscription because it was useless – always old news and downright crazy opinions.

          • For comic relief. Barbara Kay does it to me every time.

          • Actually, while we make fun, the National Post recently made its first operating profit ever over a financial quarter. http://www.financialpost.com/news/story.html?id=1177592

            (Also, if only for Colby Cosh and the fact that they realise Western Canada exists I prefer their editorial page over the Globe‘s ten times in ten.)

    • You’re thinking of Jake and Elwood Blues. They’re also from Illinois.

  18. I don’t think the Canadian left is really anti-American – they just don’t like Republicans (or LBJ) – not unlike the American left. If you recall Dief got a lot of flack, and a lot of dimestore psychology about his dislike of Kennedy.

  19. Leave it to Coyne to be the party pooper…

    • If there’s a party, he’ll bring the poop

      • BYOP

  20. AC, you’re the man but please lighten up. There’s nothing embarrassing about a show of affection — this is welcome given the last eight years.

    Also, Pres Obama is a popular leader but he’s not a celebrity in the way we understand celebrity to be. He is not Paris Hilton or J Lo. To call him a “celebrity” I feel is code for something denigrating. There’s nothing wrong with people connecting in a positive way with politicians.

    • Also there were, what, a few hundred people on The Hill. Considering that at least a part of those were expats or out-of-towners, it’s not exactly a sign of the apocalypse.

      • According to the CBC, there were afew hundred, then about a thousand, no maybe 1500, maybe two thousand, and even according to one reporter thousands. Mostly reporters I think.

    • In fact, one McCain ad called him “the biggest celebrity in the world”, flashing pictures of Obama, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. The word “celebrity” is definitely a code for something denigrating in this context.

      Hey! Still up on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHXYsw_ZDXg

      Coyne is officially reduced to parroting Republican attack lines. Maybe if he was as big a celebrity as McCain, Paris Hilton would produce a video mocking him too.

      • Context is everything. John McCain was saying “Obama is a celebrity, not a leader, not worth the risk.” I slipped into Canadian attack ad mode for a moment there but you get the point.

        Coyne is saying “what the hell are we doing licking the toes of this man in this fashion?” He’s not saying “Obama is incapable of leading the United States because Canadians want to carry his babies.” It’s the over-the-top lionization of Obama, which is an interesting counterpoint to the over-the-top demonization of Bush that would probably make a great thesis for a political science student someday.

  21. Brilliant Andrew. This over the top mindless adoration of a mere “politician” frightens the hell out of me.

  22. Thanks to journalists like Andrew who have enough confidence in their own talents and their country to resist the hero worship. I am, quite frankly embarrassed by some of the PPG who has such a hate on for our PM that they treat him with no respect whatsoever. The torquing over at CTV and CBC but the usual bubblers was truly, truly pathetic.

    If that wasn’t enough we have the interim liberal leader Bob Rae(and we thought it was Iggy…nope…I think Rae’s pulling Iggy’s strings) and co. whining about equal time. Want equal time Liberals….earn it by winning the next election.

    • Three cheers for democracy, freedom and openness eh Kathy?

    • Uh, Kathy? Coyne was scolding *you*.

      If you don’t like the situation, you only have yourself to blame.

      Now stop embarrassing Mr. Coyne.

  23. There’s nothing like comparing Obama to past presidents like Lincoln and Roosevelt especially when he hasn’t really done anything yet. The Canadian media can be accused of doing this alongside the mind numbing Obama worshippers.

  24. Once again Coyne hits it out of the park!

  25. Coyne, this adulation isn’t specific to Canadians. Just about everyone on planet feels the same way.

    I feel bad for Harper, though. I was watching him waving and smiling to the crowd on the Hill and wondered how he felt to see such giddiness from his people aimed not at him but at his foreign visitor.

    • Don’t worry, he will have his revenge.

  26. People please….dont you see??….if you criticize Coyne the terrorists win!!

  27. Makes one wonder how these type of people (the Obama worshippers) actually cast their vote during elections. It appears they go for fluff and style instead of substance. Harper is an economist and accountant so I guess it’s not sexy enough for the masses.

    Based upon the Obama worshippers and there confidence in him, I expected the TSX to climb 2,000 points today. Imagine my surprise when it didn’t.

    • Harper is an economist and accountant so I guess it’s not sexy enough for the masses.

      Mediocrity rarely is. If Harper were at least a reasonably good economist, I’d find that mildly galvanic.

      • As far as I am aware Harper also has no formal nor recognised accounting designation. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

        I am reliably informed, though, he is writing a book on hockey.

        • People who write books on hockey are not sexy enough for the masses.

          • People who are the author of policies that are openly hostile to several regions of the country are not sexy enough for the masses.

            Also it seems to cause Stephen Harper intense pain whenever he attempts to smile.

          • Transcanada’s observation, “Also it seems to cause Stephen Harper intense pain whenever he attempts to smile,” reminds me of the old saw:

            “A Puritan is someone who is deathly afraid that someone, somewhere, is having fun.”

          • In sum, the masses can be quite picky.

    • Obama worshippers are apparently not part of the investor class. Don’t hold your breath for a 2000 point TSX rally, not in one day, not over one month, any time soon. Lower first.

      I do prefer Obama to Bush (either version), and I certainly prefer him (or almost anyone) over Harper. But I am certainly not going to worship him or anyone.

      As for Harper’s substance, do let us know when you spot some. His credentials from the world of economics are piss poor. Even this self-directed investor could analyse and deduce that the Canadian government was in deficit before the 2008 election yet only relatively recently (and certainly only after the polls closed) Mr. Harper has finally admitted same. What particular qualifications did Harper bring to the PMO? Nothing of value to the country it would seem.

    • Every time Obama opens his mouth to expound on his general goodness and hope the markets plummet. Please please let’s give this man some private time. I can’t afford much more of his great ideas and general eloquence.

  28. “Harper is an economist and accountant so I guess it’s not sexy enough for the masses.”

    MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

  29. Andrew, you’re such a spoilsport :-)

  30. I think that young woman wasn’t a lunatic — just young and ignorant of politics. I don’t see much harm if Obama’s celebrity is what has got her interested. She can identify with him because she’s also half …racial….what’s the right expression? …anyway.. (god help us if we adopt the ‘African Canadian’ label here…)
    Obama’s Election march was what the majority of students and professors at Canadian Universities where interested in, while an interesting Canadian coup was playing out. Andrew Coyne contributes to try to change the electoral system to engage more youth. Yet Canadians haven’t been engaged since Trudeau. Obamas and Trudeas don’t come along every day, the celebrity aspect can help to bring more people into a deeper interest in political life.

  31. If there is anything less attractive than the anti-American streak in our national character … it is our tendency to prostrate ourselves before American celebrities.

    Yes, the only thing worse than out Anti-Americanism is our Pro-Americanism. Sadly we’ve yet to perfect the right level of feigned indifference. And all these idealistic people with their hope and optimism, how gauche indeed!.

  32. I caught a little bit of the live coverage, which was just starting as I was supposed to be leaving for work. I ended up being late. I could simply not believe the fools that the media were making of themselves. Didn’t stick around long enough to see any “person on the street interviews” but I’m guessing they managed to fill time by finding lots of semi-orgasmic people to gush about Obama.

    The Americans in my office are laughing at us.

    • “The Americans in my office are laughing at us.”

      So maybe you should get another job.

      • “Why did you leave your last job?”

        “Well, our American clients were laughing at the media’s adulation of everything Obama, and I just couldn’t put up with that kind of disrespect. Especially from an American.”

        That might work for a job interview at the CBC, but don’t think it would help me in most interviews. Besides, I’m moving between laughing at them and feeling embarrassed for them myself.

        I think Kady mentioned it in one of her posts, but I actually saw the bit where a CTV reporter was standing outside on what MIGHT be the route that Obama’s limo would take. That is worthy of ridicule.

        • Man, sounds like you’ll just have to suck it up, then.

        • Besides, I’m moving between laughing at them and feeling embarrassed for them myself.

          I don’t believe you for a second. *You* were laughing at Canadians. The “The Americans in my office are laughing at us” bit was a just passive-aggression.

          You do Canadians proud, son.

  33. Andrew, I totally agree, it was embarrassing to watch. When the popularity rating of the President is higher in our Country then his own,, wow,, do we have some work to do. It is amazing how when it is politically popular to embrace the American President then the political parties are all over it, but when, and it will happen, when the President makes decision and he will if he is doing his job that benefit the US at our expense I am sure the Opposition parties will be just as supportive and lavish in the praise,, before we start making statue to this man, let see how he actually does his job.

  34. This need for heroes, this cult of charisma — and we in the media are the worst offenders, though for more explicable motives — is not merely empty and shallow.

    And the explicable motive of the Mother Corp’s cringeworthy Ipod nonsense was…?

  35. “Andrew, I totally agree, it was embarrassing to watch. When the popularity rating of the President is higher in our Country then his own,, wow,, do we have some work to do.”

    Actually I think that is the norm in Canada. Canadians liked JFK more than Dief, and Clinton more than Chretien. Kerry would have gotten like 75% of the vote according to one poll I saw. It has a lot to do with the nature of the presidency. The US president is both head of state and head of government. However, because we don’t LIVE in the US (even though we are affected by its decisions), we really only see the head of state functions.

    It remains to be seen whether Obama will be a good head of government, but Obama – and most US presidents – have the qualities that make a good figurehead. They are generally taller, better-looking and more charismatic than Canadian leaders.

    Our Prime Minister, by contrast, doesn’t really do the whole “father of the nation thing” – he is the head of government, and selected to be primarily a HoG (although Canadians think of the PM increasingly as they would a president). So we didn’t care so much that Harper or Joe Clark were nerds, that Chretien talked funny, that Lester Pearson or Mackenzie King were dull as dishwater. You may notice that in spite of our problems we are far better served by our uncharismatic leaders than Americans are by their pretty-boy presidents (and our two most presidential PM’s – Mulroney and Trudeau were crappy and divisive).

    • When it comes to Canadians preferring a dull boring PM both you and AC are wrong, we just take what’s given.[ party picks the leader] . Yr opinion of Trudeau yet again puts you in the minority of Canadians. I’d say you’re wasting yr time studying Pol. Sc. Take up accountancy, that should be boring enough for you!

      • Canadians don’t PREFER dull leaders – the showering of support for Obama, and Trudeau’s continued popularity is an example of that. I am suggesting that when we elect leaders, charisma plays a much smaller role than in the US, because we don’t consider the PM to represent the nation in the same way Obama or Bush did America. Moreover, dynamic visionary leaders are dangerous in a system of government with no checks and balances. The way we evaluate leaders does not give charismatic politicians any special advantage, at the very least.

        Consider four particularly charismatic, visionary politicians who gave good speeches: John Diefenbaker, Brian Mulroney, Pierre Trudeau and Bill Vander Zalm (not a visionary, but definitely charismatic).

        -John Diefenbaker may look like a fuddy duddy, but he was Canada’s greatest orator in his day. His government was massively incompetent, however, and voters waited a long time before electing the Tories again.
        -Vander Zalm won in 1986, but his single term in office was an utter disaster.
        -Trudeau was electorally successful, but we forget that he only won a minority in 1972 (against Bob Stanfield) and lost in 1979. Moreover, his victory in 1974 wasn’t about personality, but was about an issue: wage and price controls. His leadership was ultimately disastrous for his party, which saw its worst ever election result in 1984, and faces internal rivalries that date back from when Trudeau led the party.
        -Mulroney was also electorally successful, but it was because of his use of an issue (free trade). Like Trudeau, his party had its worst ever result after him, breaking into three parties. The forces he unleashed almost led to Quebec secession.

        • Sorry, but yr take on Trudeau in particular is just wrong. Canadians came to trust him on the nat unity file in particular [ i lived this it’s not theory to me ] Yes there was a cult of personality there and he exploited it in much he same way JFK did. Certainly there’s a lot of nonesense accompanying adulation or blind faith, but as long as the individual has a firm grasp of sillier aspects of this phenomenom and has something of substance to offer their country then much may be forgiven. Trudeau and JFK [ too early for Obama ] passed this test, in other words the downside of their charisma was largely off-set by the authenticity of their visions.
          In Trudea’s case his major contribution was, along with Lougheed and company, to mid-wife our modern constitution. As AP as re marked these guys are arguably the real fathers of confederation.
          Mulroney may more closely fit yr model. A talented charimatic politician brought down by hubris.

  36. No, Andrew, YOU are so embarrassing!

  37. Oh just hush Andrew, you’re so negative.
    Why can’t you just soak in the moment sometimes.

  38. Nice to see Coyne still has some lucid moments.

  39. http://blog.macleans.ca/2009/02/19/a-running-diary-of-tv-coverage-of-the-obama-visit/

    Feschuk is hilarious!! Because what he says is soooo true!!!

    ———————————————————–

    11:43 Just a classic moment. Obama shakes Harper’s hand at the front door of Centre Block, then the President gestures out towards Parliament Hill and asks, “Do you mind if we go out there? I just want to give a quick wave.” It’s fun to imagine what must have gone through Stephen Harper’s mind. Out there? But there are PEOPLE out there!!

    11:44 Harper joins Obama out front and sets a new record for number of waves given by a politician to a crowd not cheering for him.

    11:58 Time for an intermission. Back later for the news conference, when Barack Obama will presumably say, “Do you mind if I go out there? I just want to answer a couple questions,” and Harper thinks to himself: Out there? But there are REPORTERS out there!!

  40. Yeah, insane fanfare like this is a bit overboard in any case. However, Obama, for many people, means a stark departure from the crap that we’ve had to deal with for a long time out of America. No, he’s not that revolutionary in his actual policies, but in his attutide and demeanor are a very welcome change. He’s far from perfect, but he’s a welcome sight and undoubtably inspirational because of it.

  41. Hey Andrew, you can kid Mansbridge tonight on this. Especially when Peter wanted the former US Amabassador’s opinion on whether or not it was important that neither Obama or Harper used each others first names….”did this mean they didnt like each other”, said in concerned furrowed brow manner

    I bet that one gets scrubbed from the Mansbridge highlight reel…..

  42. Andrew,
    What was George W Bush’s popularity after September 11th?
    I agre ovarall with your assessment especially the CBC reporters.

  43. Yes there is something more embarrassing. It is the petty parisanship on display by Michael Ignatieff after he met Obama. No leader of the opposition has the right to go out and undermine the prime minister of his country with respect to international agreemnets meant to further the interests of all Canadians including Liberals.

    Ignatieff is too partisan for his own good and it will come back to bite him in the long run.

  44. What’s wrong with Canadians admiring a politicians who displays charisma, compassion and overall non-creepiness.
    It’s a refreshing change from our politicians!

    • BO is without doubt the creepiest potus I have ever seen or read about. Even the enigmatic Nixon and the phlandering serial liar WJC do not come close. The cultlike narcissism blended with the Chicago machine tactics chill me to the bone.

      • Yeah, he’s done some chiling stuff all right, like rejecting torture.Owwwwh!!! Scarrreey stuff!!!

        • No after his first cia briefing on how much info was gathered from gitmo interogations etc. He agreed to retain the option of shipping them to nasty foreign confines where god knows what they have in store.

          Waterboarding is not torture by many peoples definition as it is more akin to sleep deprivation etc. In that it causes mental duress rather than physical harm.

          • Yes he has agreed to renditions and i predict he’ll come to regret it. Even here i’ll lay odds his administration will do more to monitor the individuals rendered then ol see no evil, hear no evil George. And if necessary this will change – nada under Bush.
            I’ll lay a $ to a dime if i were to waterboard you, you’d think otherwise. Drowning, even simulated drowning’s no picnic. ” Mental duress”! There’s a dozy of a euphemism for torture – Orwell would most definitely not have approved!

  45. a rush of blood to the head (and other parts)

    Too far! Snip this out …

  46. In about two years or less most of these groupies will deny that they were in attendance. BO’s popular support is declining by the day as is the stock market. It is a theory of mine that the more cdns dislike a potus the better he is. Ron Reagan being the best example in favour and jimmy carter and WJC being the negative example. BO is a textbook case I am sure ofit.

    • George W. sure did a heck of a job. Canadians really got that one wrong, Gordie.

      • that is exactly what the attitude was with HST a prez who left the white house at even lower approval levels than GWB. We shall see how he is judged in the fullness of time just as we did with RR and will fo with BO.

  47. “This need for heroes, this cult of charisma — and we in the media are the worst offenders, though for more explicable motives …”
    Someone else asked the question, as yet unanswered … and those “explicable motives” would be?

    Would it perchance be because although they bandy about words like “substantive,” the media focus on the really important issues like … practically swooning at the thought Pres. Obama might … yes, it’s true … his motorcade went to ByWard Market to get a beaver tail! I’m told he’s actually eating it inside “The Beast”! Obama likes it! He really likes it! And he loves Canada!

    • That’s was a planned deviation from the schedule to throw any potential assassins off. Even the media knows this. The CBC reported on it….substantively…shortly after.

      • The only “deviation” was in the deviated septum of the journalists whose noses were out of joint because they were not chosen to ask THE question at the press conference.

        • You don’t know how happy it makes me to see you write something that intricately inane, Chatty from QC.

  48. I was having a sh1tty morning. Then I saw and heard Rosemary Barton squee at O’Bama as he sped past. Then all was OK again.

    Squeeeeee!

  49. Jeez, what a killjoy.

  50. Andrew – Martin Stringer here from CPAC.

    I read your entry with interest…I agree with the sentiment….I’m actually worried that the rock-star cult of Obama is obscuring the very, very worrisome situation he has yet to deal with (ie: the financial sector & the credit crisis) Did you notice his press conference last week ? (As opposed to his stimulus package signing in Denver this week). At that press conference – faced with hard questions from the Washington Press Corps – it became clear that he is just crossing his fingers and hoping (I guess like the whole industrialized world) that the U.S. financial sector reacts favourably to his financial bail-out package. And even if the big money boys on Wall Street take whatever obscenely large package his Treasury Secretary finally works out , that still doesn’t correct the structural and regulatory problems!

    Ooops! Maybe I’ve contradicted myself. Maybe that’s why rock-star idolatry is excusable – as a necesaary diversion in such scary times!

    OK – that works for Americans.

    But what about for Canadians! What’s our excuse?

    • Marty:

      Check out the mounting Rage over the most recent unveiling of pork er. stimulus the mortgage bailout package that gives money to people who largely should never have been given one in the first place using the taxes paid by peopje who have never missed a payment. The recipient list apparently reads like a polling list for acorn.

      And even before this story broke BOs favourables had moved from the high 70s down to the low sixties. Cdns so far are largely unaware of the tides turn but they will become aware shortly.

      And just wait until he bails out GM (read: pays back the UAW) giving billions to GM retirees as young as 48 (yes 48). The outrage from average Americans will be something to behold.

      The Dow hit a new low today and is off 15 percent since the start of the year. (my guess/estimate is 5800 by may down from 7440 today). And there can be no disputing that much of the drop is due to collapsing confidence in BO.

      • And there can be no disputing that much of the drop is due to collapsing confidence in BO.

        This is nature’s way of saying: “Investors…Don’t listen to this.”

        The continued collapse of the economy has nothing to do with Barack Obama. It has to do with an economy based on consumption and credit, the bills for which have come due.

        End of story.

        • Take a look at the charts before you say that and perhaps take a gander at cnbc or another financial news channel. The most significant drop – there have been several others – happened when geithner laid an egg with tarp 2 (or the non-event as it was nothing but airy fairytalk (as martin notes about BOs presser above it was much the same) The markets are pissed at BO right now and I don’t see anything coming down the pike that’s going to change that mood.

    • But what about for Canadians! What’s our excuse?

      “Manufacturing Consent” – we are experiencing the same thing that happened in the later stages of Obama’s primary battle, which extended into the general election. The press by and large went gaga, and now that the reality is setting in while in office, and under scrutiny while in office, the veneer is starting to wear off.

      Our Canadian media (PPG etc) will go through the same phase, just later. And the public will follow lockstep.

      Absence makes the heart grow fonder, for longer.

  51. I guess not many here are old enough to remember Trudeaumania, eh?

    Like AC today, I didn’t understand that silliness then, either.

    Anyway, kudos to PM Harper. It’s been longer than I care to remember…definitely 16 years at least…since a Canadian Prime Minister represented our nation to America with such class, dignity, and intelligence.

    Refreshing beyond words to describe.

    • Refreshing beyond words to describe.

      If only.

    • Hey, maybe now’s the time to begin the dialogue between US and Canada regarding amalgomation? If the lefties were anywhere near accepting becoming American it’d be now~!

      • I’d give my left testicle to see that happen. I’d give my right one if we could also leave Quebec behind.

        • Is this some sort of non-religious, Lorena Bobbitt right-wing fantasy y’all share? Being castrated and joining the United States? Like the rapture but it doesn’t screw up sleeping in on Sundays?

  52. fascism? Are you like, going through a break-up or something?

    • Hahahaha

  53. “Unhappier still the land that has need of heroes.”

    Ah, Brecht, that famous proponent of the flat tax. But did he mean a land that needed even the heroes it had, or the land which had none but necessarily needed some? We fall into the latter category; Comrade Coyne surely doesn’t mean to imply the former?

    • Glotz nicht so blöd.

      • So blöd als was? Brechts Meinung ist doch unverwechselbar? Die Leute schaffen sich ihren Helden; keine Leite ohne Helden oder ohne Lust fuer Helden; glaubst du deshalb dass jedes Land ungluecklich ist?

        • Dies hat gar nichts mit nazionalen Helden zu tun.

          In his productions, Brecht would put up posters on the walls of the theatre to greet incoming spectators, who entered with the a look on their faces that said “I’m here to learn!” with the message “Stop gawking like an idiot.”

          Kind of like how one should approach a Coyne missive, especially one that references Brecht.

          Nicht?

          • Ha, genau!

          • ti and jack, your brown shirts are in the mail.
            I’m with Coyne on this one. If Obama had cured cancer or the common cold or even acne, I might be able to forgive my fellow citizens their sycophantic display, but he has not done thing one, yet.

          • ti and jack, your brown shirts are in the mail.

            *sigh*…Philistine.

            FYI, Glak: Jack and I wouldn’t have been the Brownshirts. We’d have been among the first to perish in a concentration camp.

            Please don’t use terms you know nothing about.

          • It’s amusing to me [ it’s not actually] that many off the excited fans in the crowd were black. Let’s see these guys aren’t allowed to celebrate a black man becoming Prez. Almost fascism eh! Look what you started Coyne! Evn if it was never yr intent.

  54. You’re over the top here, Mr. Coyne. The crowd was a positive thing; it showed that people still care about politics, are curious about an untouchable figure, and that they want Obama to succeed. The fandom is all about having a little fun.

  55. Great article Andrew. I never thought I’d say that. You have it bang on. This mass prostration before the “next one” by certain members of the media and the general public is not only embarrassing but demeaning. He is only a man. Flesh and blood. With all the hub bub, I am expecting him to distribute fish and wine to the masses. On a much better note, our Prime Minister showed that he belongs on the world stage. He is a class act. If all the lefties in Canada were expecting him to look and act like a few former PMs that we’ve strutted out they were sadly mistaken. Stephen Harper, no matter your politics, is someone we can be proud of.

    • “Stephen Harper, no matter your politics, is someone we can be proud of.”

      From the evidence available; if your definitions of pride derive from diminished aspirations, circumscribed expectations and lumpenproletariat desires . . . yes, Harper would be your man.

      If, however, you believe Canada’s potential inspires something beyond Harper’s mediocrity and inadequacy you might want to look around for an alternative to invest your time and energies in building a better nation.

  56. While I agree that the mania exhibited over Obama is misguided at best, it does exist for a very real purpose.

    People need Heroes.

    People need the vision of what humans could be if they tried. People want someone to look up too. Not necessarily to blindly follow, although that seems like the case here. But definately to lead them by exhibiting integrity, good ethics and strong values, of course charisma doesn’t hurt.

    The fact that people project these traits onto Obama is the problem because he doen’t actually exhibit them.

    The fact that people need heros is not a problem. But they should try someone better, like BIll Casey.

  57. Andrew, sweetheart, lighten up. I think that Canadians are entitled to one display of childish adulation of political figures (foreign or domestic) every forty years or so. Whether cynics like to acknowledge it or not, we’re living in a transformational time, when for the first time in decades, America has a chance to be a force for positive change in the world. The opportunity to be able work with them rather than against them is an energizing prospect to many young people and idealists of all ages around the world. Of course, we’ll see if Obama is able to deliver on his promises, or live up to his own stated ideals, but it’s certainly a fascinating time to be on the planet, and in the midst of all this uncertainty, people are enjoying it. Let them enjoy it for a little while before you pour the bucket of cold water over them.

    I’d also like to call your attention to the fact that many of the joyous faces in the crowds celebrating Obama are Canadians of colour, who perhaps have varied reasons for celebrating this particular president that you, with your oh-so-tony pedigree, are ill-equipped to understand. Despite your quoting Brecht, your class bias is showing.

    • Well said : i wish I could communicate as clearly.

  58. The mega sensationalism that is B. Hussein Obama will not serve the world well. My Canadian brethren, be prepared to spank Washington and protect your interests, because truly….the Washington crowd will try to own you and force you to their will. I am embarassed with our government, and I was part of the 46% that did not vote for false hope and theft of my change.

  59. People don’t need heroes. If you want a hero, by a comic book. People need experienced leaders with a plan to succeed. Unfortunately Obama delegated his plan to Pelosi, thus dooming us all to an extended economic disaster.

    • Experience, intelligence, knowledge, integrity, ethics and courage to stand for their convictions.

      Sounds like someone to look up to, say a hero.

      It may be just a semantic arguement here because in today’s political/cultural climate someone who exhibits those traits is heroic.

  60. I couldn’t agree more. I’m glad to know my hubby and I weren’t the only ones baffled by the whole display. And don’t get me wrong … I have nothing against the man or his policies. I just agree that the whole reaction of the Canadian media and public was a tad ridiculous for a 6 hour political visit.

  61. This was an interesting article but let us reserve the word ‘fascist’ for rock stars that demand that we spy on our neighbours.

  62. I agree totally. Canadian reporters are paid handsomely to cover events in an objective professional manner.That does not include going into hysterics at the sight of a man buying some cookies.TV reporters yesterday acted like mindless, adolescent groupies. In contrast, CNN reported the press conference and about 3 minutes summary of the news. After all, he is their President, not Canada’s.
    I agree that the Obama frenzy contains a whiff of facism, that is in the original meaning of the term. oulined in Jonah Goldberrg’s book LIberal Fascism.
    Not a great day for Canadian journalism.

  63. And of course the best thing is that Obama has not yet actually done anything. He has no achievement of any sort at all.

    • O, apart from being the first man of his racial background to cut through the deep racial divide and achieve the seemingly impossible goal of being elected – with a majority of votes, not the decision of the Supreme Court – as President while at the same time reigniting a sense of hope, purpose and altruism almost extinguished by the civil rights abusing Straussians most recently in charge?

      O, apart from coming from as far “outside” the establishment as one can in the USofA and locking in the support of a coalition of Democrats previously untapped to steal a march on Billary.

      O, in comparison to the vast list of achievements racked up by the spoiled, AWOL, DUI, intellectually-stunted puppet n’er do well who preceded him?

      • Isn’t he just another rich guy? with nothing better to do?
        I guess that’s what makes him presidential. Rich and bored.
        And of course a need to have some war, or some conflict with some random nation. It’s the American way. I think he wants to send 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan. Mission Accomplished.

        • Yes, you’re right: O does not come from poverty. Is he just another rich man? Not in the sense that he was given an oil compnay, ball team or governor’s job to play with in his spare time.

          Not sure how the rest relates.

          These two replies notwithstanding, I agree that expetations are high, even outrageous. But what’s behind the sarcasm of others about people being a little pumped about a leader for a change?

          Rich, grubby Haliburton and Enron executives had their bit of fun. They got their little Lotto 649 Happy Dance (TM) when their puppet won. Why not your average, everyday jane and joe?

          Sure, disappointment is probable in comparison to expectations vs the mess he is inheriting, But is that what is behind the cynicism? Or is it that the ones uttering the derogatory sneers just can’t stand to see the great unwashed daring to hold out some hope for a kinder, gentler society?

          • I have nothing against Obama, but I happen to think it is simply adult to question what his actual achievements have been and what his concrete plans amount to. We will all find out the hard way the huge gap between expectation and reality, but we had better be a bit more clear-headed about him if we want to make sense of the next few years.

            Sure, he got elected, and sure, he looks and sounds a lot better than George W., but that won’t butter much bread. I was pretty happy he decided to come out against torture, Gitmo etc., but on the other hand the stimulus bill he has supported is a shambles and his proposals about mortgages seem completely wrong.

          • Good job listing all of the leftist (sorry, “progressive”) talking points Brad. I also noticed that you used the required name-calling of President Bush. Your “O” badge is in the mail.

            I am concerned however that in your listing of Obama’s accompishments, you didn’t actually list any accomplishments.

            By the way, nice job labeling other comments as “derogatory sneers” after your list of derogatory sneers. It wasn’t ironic at all.

      • Right, Brad, private Catholic schools, Columbia and Harvard Law Review are WAY outside the establishment..

      • @ brad

        *O, apart from being the first man of his racial background to cut through the deep racial divide and achieve the seemingly impossible goal of being elected*

        not so impossible, I guess brad. and, of course, “O” only received only one percentage higher in votes than did Chimpy McHaliburton in 2004.

        *O, apart from coming from as far “outside” the establishment as one can in the USofA and locking in the support of a coalition of Democrats previously untapped to steal a march on Billary.*

        Outside the establishment? The man’s a u.s. senator; he attended harvard law school; he lived in one of the richest areas of Chicago: he’s about as `establishment’ as they come.

        *O, in comparison to the vast list of achievements racked up by the spoiled, AWOL, DUI, intellectually-stunted puppet n’er do well who preceded him?*

        which achievements are these? get elected to state senate, then the u.s. senate, being a `community organizer’ for a while… and…? I guess “O”;s never been picked up for DUI; but on the other hand he admits to being a cocaine user. HOw much intellect does it take to believe that there are `58 states’? or that a presidential term isn’t `eight to 10 years.’?

        • dun roberts:

          “seemingly impossible” has a qualifier and, I believe, is a justifiable observation of a country where most pundits prior to this past spring gave him little to no chance precisely because they weren’t certain Americans could yet vote for a black man.

          “Outside the establishment”, again, a relative descriptor. In American politics, as with most politics, you need to be from somewhere within the party system ergo from within The Establishment. But check the left media from late winter early spring; Hillary had ALL of the main Democratic money committed to her. Salon, Slate, Atlantic all looked at that and didn’t see how anyone could break through that establishment barrier and overcome. He did it by identifying new sources of potential Democrats and Democratic cash. I’m not naively stating he did what he did as a sharecropper in his spare time. He did what he did, in relative terms, from as far out to the edge as you can be, in a skin that pushed him to the furthest edges of that remote hinterland.

          I only brought in the Chimp as a comparison for those who exist out there who blindly cheered him on as their great hope but who are now so set on tearing down O before he gets started.

          Isabelle – see above re establishment

          Robotnik:

          Thanks, but I actually thunk it all up by my ownself; I’m not looking for a badge; and see above re: the Chimp and derogatory sneers.

          Thanks for your interest.

          • @ brad again
            *“seemingly impossible” has a qualifier and, I believe, is a justifiable observation of a country where most pundits prior to this past spring gave him little to no chance precisely because they weren’t certain Americans could yet vote for a black man.*

            goes to show what the pundits know, eh? Then why do you bother with them when they are always so spectacularly wrong? I don’t think, in any case, it’s the pundits: it was simply your own prejudicial assumptions about the u.s. electorate.

            *“Outside the establishment”, again, a relative descriptor.*

            but more particularly, the `establishment’ is itself a poor descriptor of anything. There is – always has been – multiple centres of power in the u.s. (as in any country), and none that conformed to any monolithic `establishment. ‘

          • I’m sorry, I forgot to include myuagreement with Bill Simpson. You are right, his concrete accomplishments are thin. In fact, when watching the race back when Hillary had it all but sewn up, but he was beginning to make a stir, I made that observation myself. I wondered if he had the kind of intense, in the trenches experience necessary to handle the public stage, deal with set backs, change course when necessary, etc..

            I have to say that the scrutiny he underwent in those primaries and the – in relative terms, mind you – decent way in which he handled his foes, began to give me some comfort. That he did not work to divide but to find what unites was refeshing. I am cautiously optimistic that he has the stuff to handle his job, but I do not pretend to be holding out any expectation that he will be a messiah or that he will not misstep.

            Until I was proven wrong, I found it inconceivable that W would lie to the world as blatantly as he did about WMD. I said as much at the time in discussions with my friends. I was flabbergasted as the truth became apparent. I honestly held out hope that he would not be a terrible president. I was wrong then, I might be wrong now.

            In the absence of hindsight, how does one approach the unknown? It appears that there are those who are pre-judging O and finding him wanting. Your observation about lack of accomplishment is merited on its face. I probably read it, however, in the spirit of cynical sarcasm rife within this string that so palpably wants him to fail, needs him to fail, prays for him to fail, that I misinterpreted your intentions.

            I apologize unreservedly if I mistook your point.

          • dun roberts @ brad again

            it is possible that I hold prejudicial views abut the US electorate. if so, my prejudice is that there is a whole lot of anti-black prejudice in the US. Maybe it is just in the media and among the pundits and that I misjudged them. Within that base assumption on my part, I believe I am correct. I’m pretty sure there are a number of empirical studies already under way that will settle that question. We’ll see. If I’m wrong, then that’s one point in my whimsical O-ode down the drain.

            On the establishment, I’m a little concerned about your neck. Is it alright? Doing a U-turn that sharply at speed can be dangerous.

            Your first statement on the establishment :

            “Outside the establishment? The man’s a u.s. senator; he attended harvard law school; he lived in one of the richest areas of Chicago: he’s about as `establishment’ as they come.”

            would appear to bely the logic behind your second statement:

            “the `establishment’ is itself a poor descriptor of anything. There is – always has been – multiple centres of power in the u.s. (as in any country), and none that conformed to any monolithic `establishment. ‘”

            Anyway, I’ll assume that my answer was so stunning in its clarity and brilliance that it momentarily dazzled you and that you were reeling when you hit reply. No need to apologize.

  64. Do people want a hero or do people want someone that they think will rescue them from their own mistakes, with lilttle or no effort on their own part?

    While it is good to have friendly relations between our countries, seeing as it is apparently the largest trading partnership in the world now, it does not mean we have to lose our minds and faint at the site of a leader FROM A DIFFERENT COUNTRY! A country that just a few weeks ago placed a little ditty into a bill that would restrict some Canadian goods from being purchased. 40% of our steel products goes to the US – do you think if that was blocked, those workers would be prostrating themselves on Parliament Hill for the man who put his signature on it? Alberta gives more money Per Capita to the federal govt than ANY OTHER PROVINCE and now it is wary of facing the derailment of one of it’s most important resources. How will that fare the rest of the country if plans in the US creep into Canada?

    I am all for showing support and brotherhood between the countries, but adulation and adoration? Are you kidding me? Maybe people should have waited to see what will happen between our countries before deciding that he was the great hope. In Canada people holdings signs of ‘first God then Obama’??? What?? What does that even mean? If they want to show their interest in politics, perhaps they should pay more attention to what is going on in THIS country first.

  65. Right on the money Coyne! Keep the good work!

    I just want to say to those who pay before the meal is even served or eating, watch out for upcoming bad service or worst horrendous cramps! We do not reward people for being glamorous; the peacock is an example for that, but for their hard work and achievements.
    I do not see any miracles that Obama has performed, except perhaps becoming president, but then again Nixon, Bush and the like mediocre minds were presidents; this perhaps points out to the fact that being a president is not an achievement in itself.

    No one gets points for being born and politicians should not be rewarded for being themselves and mastering the art of politics: it is their job.

    Just like the price tag of the last election this costly visit (expected to cost $2 million. That’s more than $5,000 per minute. According to CTV) achieved nothing except bring us back to the status quo with less money in our pockets.

    Obama: the leader! The chosen one! Wait I can see the light! My Eyes! My eyes! Oh Canada someone has just overcharged your credit card and it is at a rate of $5,000 per minute!

  66. wow, you are one jilted journalist. you just don’t get it do you?

    no wonder so few good men run for office.

  67. I agree that the reaction was a bit on the ridiculous side. And I’m not talking about the crowd in front of parliament hill. The people have every right to manifest their interest, especially in a time when politicians of Obama’s character are far and few between. If anything it demonstrates the need and desire for politicians with tact and vision. However, we cannot say the same about the media circus. I found the coverage spectacularily overwhelming, especially at the CBC. We really need to look at the partiallity of our medias. I don’t believe it is right for any media to rally behind an idea, whether it be american politics or even ‘canadian nationalism. I am disillusioned by the number of times, for example, that the CBC uses the word ‘Canadian’ in any news situation, as if they are the advocators of defining our national identity. In fact, Mr. Coyne, I would be greatly interested in your thoughts on this particular issue as you frequently are a political commentator on the CBC.

  68. There are many in the U.S. not too impressed with our new President, myself among them. We don’t understand the adulation.

  69. All this fuss for a man who hasn’t DONE anything yet,except to sign a bill that will put us deeper in debt.

    He is NOT our savior and most likely will be a ONE term President.

  70. I share your sentiments Mr. Coyne. But I can’t help but feel that your comments are undercut pretty heavily by your participation in the At Issue panel yesterday. What was that entire exercise but an attempt to throw some intellectual justification behind all the fluff. “The symbolism was the substance” huh.

    Why so polite in front of Mansbridge, and so frustrated on your blog? I suppose I wouldn’t want to bite the hand that feeds me either… but if the coverage frustrated me so much and I had a soap box to stand on I’d like think I’d say something.

  71. It is so refreshing for someone to see Obama for what he is – a man that talks well and hasn’t done anything. It’s unfortunate that I (a US citizen) had to read Canadian news for some truth.

  72. I’m stunned by the personality cult around “the one”. The worship for this charismatic man with the smoothest platitudes will only feed his ego and ambitions – Next stop Secretary General of the UN.
    (after the decline of US economic and military dominance)

    • Cult is exactly the right word for it. I find hero-worship of any mere mortal somewhat disturbing. As you said, it simply feeds his ego.

      British philosopher Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) said this about the topic of hero worship:
      “Hero-worship is strongest where there is least regard for human freedom.”

  73. Coyne is right. Worse, Obama is a fascist, a front man for an insidious agenda. The happy smiley face that makes idiots swoon, and the paid-for sycophants out in force to make us all think that is reasonable. Already the agendas being pushed are for much tighter controls on the populace, to make things more cofortable for the thugs that really run things.

    We will rue the day this puppet got his strings. Although, any puppet would have done, he just makes it seem all so acceptable.

  74. Canada. Want to keep the O. Trade him for Harper.

  75. As an American, I think the current PM of Canada is much more competent than our current president. Over the weeks of president, Obama has been aloof at best, grossly negligent at worst. Sounds familiar over the last 8 years, eh? He has signed bills that have been incredibly short-sighted. I applaud Harper in trying to promote Canadian private enterprise through competition and open trade. Private enterprise is what actually creates wealth, not government departments or ministries. Obama has done tremendous damage already by choosing a doomsday method of communication to sell his so-called “stimulus” bill, which is nothing more than huge government expenditure that will create no wealth and is unsustainable. His lack of experience is appalling and the delusion of Obama’s “character” or “tact” is simply his excellent rhetoric combined with people who ignore what little record he has. I think the events that will unfold will be vindication for those who sounded the alarm on this guy and were ignored by people who were in love with a romantized idea that Obama sold in storybook fashion.

    • I totally agree with you….half of the population who voted for Obama are going to be very disappointed when reality hits them and the other half who didn’t vote for him will feel vindicated. I’m just hoping that he and his policies will not do too much damage in the next four years.

      • Make no mastake about it George Bush and the Republicans caused this mess. Its going to need a miracle from Obama to fix it.

        We have hope. You have Eight long years of blogging in your mom’s basement.

    • You and your ilk gave us George W. Bush. please put on your dunce cap and sit in the cornor. thanks.

  76. Coyne – you should call someone to remove all the urine that seems to have been deposited in your cornflakes this morning.

  77. Who is Andrew Coyne? Some Bush supplicant? Or just a backwater rabble rouser trying to make a name for himself?

    Canada should be proud that Obama made his first foreign stop in Canada. So what if people wanted to wait hours to see him? This is a man who is going to make a difference and anybody who has a vision beyond getting comments in a failing weekly news magazine would understand this basic tenet.

    He should come down here to Times Square and see the throngs that gather at the various TV morning shows. There’s some perspective.

  78. Here in the US – those of us who understand the magnitude of the disaster that our fellow-citizens have voted into office – are reeling with disbelief and the sense that it may be too late to pull us back from the brink.

    Commentary like yours is our solace; that there are rationale people – even in the press – who understand how grave and worrisome is this cult of personality upon which this socialist has risen to power.

    I try to remain hopeful, but it seems his ascension to office has been abetted by many on the left who have worked for decades to effect a hard shift toward the left – regardless of the economic consequences.

    Thank you for expressing the concerns that many of us in the US share.

    • Thank god the majority of us in the US don’t share your opinion of the last eight years. I just hope Obama is given the time to poop scoop the mess you guys have left for us. If not, this country is doomed. Wake up, you idiot.

        • Oh yeah. The Repugnants had nothing to do with this. Escape to your gated community while you can, you idiot.

          • “Repugnants”? Wow you’re so smart. How did you think up a name like that? I bet you were voted funniest guy in your third grade class.

        • It was unadultrated free market capitalism that allowed the greed in wall street to spill over and sufficate the public.

          Most Americans know that the deregulating republicans caused the current crisis.

    • Unfortunately America has elected a man on style, not substance. A man who spent 2 years in the Senate before he went on the campaign trail for president. A man who didn’t learn how the legislative process works, didn’t attend security briefings about the threat to America worldwide, and didn’t produce a single piece of legislation while in the Senate.

      He has already completely undone Bill Clinton’s welfare reform which removed 70% of people from the welfare rolls and made them productive citizens again. He has written an order to close Guantanamo Bay within a year with no Plan B. He had created an 800 billion dollar stimulus bill with almost zero short-term stimulus. Many of his nominees were tax cheats and had to be removed from consideration. The list is endless and it’s only been a month.

      In short, his first days in office have been a disaster that even McCain voters could not have foreseen.

      God help the United States of America.

      • You’re a McCain/Bush voter… thats all you need to say to deem yourself irrelevent.

    • What’s up you “net very smart” American.
      Your dumb Banking system has made it possible that 3-5 trillion dollars disappeared into thin air , so this needs to be replaced by the “World” you Americans borrowed it from the first place.

      What did your system get you.? Deeper and deeper in debt that any country on earth.
      Do you Americans even know what the word “Socialist” means.

  79. You can keep him– He has only been in office for a month and he has already shown his complete incompetance….he has screwed up everything he has touched…..everything that comes out of his mouth is an obvious lie. He has picked tax cheats, overt racists, lawyers with legal problems, more tax cheats, and petty criminals for his cabinet.

    He is the worst President we have had since Carter, already. He usually doesnt even know where he is unless its written on a teleprompter for him and sometimes thats not even enough for this idiot to get it right…..i heard he said he was in Iowa at his speech in Ottawa– He has made more moronic goof ups that Bush did….you just dont hear about it because most of the media protects him—

    Did you hear about him trying to enter the Oval Office through the window….thinking it was a door—

    The guy is an empty suit who makes decisions only after referencing his fascist playbook–

    He will end up failing in every aspect of his Presidency…..you want him…take him–

    • lucky for us the majority of Americans 68% according to last poll don’t agree with you.

      Why does Obama have an approval rating of close to 70% and Bush close to 20%. Because your ideology of deregulation and zenophobia are bankrupt.

      Please file for chapter 11 and go away. thakns.

  80. I agree wholeheartedly with Andrew on this. The good thing about the exercise was having a Prime Minister who could speak inteligently. How did we put up with Chretien all those embarrassing years.

    • Nice spelling. Gives you credibility.

  81. You can keep him!

    “The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, but under the name of liberalism they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without ever knowing how it happened.”
    – Norman Thomas, American socialist

    Barack Obama’s father, Barack Hussein Obama Sr. was a Harvard-educated Nairobi bureaucrat who also supported the redistribution of wealth. In 1965, he advocated eliminating private farming and nationalizing businesses. He also wrote, “…there is nothing that can stop the government from taxing 100% of income…” and … “I do not see why the government cannot tax those who have more and siphon some of these revenues into savings which can be utilized in investment for future development.” The younger Barack Obama has adopted many of his father’s Socialist beliefs. Unfortunately, this dysfunctional thinking is accepted as normal in the Socialist/Progressive/Marxist world.

    Senator Joe Lieberman, former Democratic Vice Presidential candidate, was asked if presidential candidate Barack Obama was a Marxist. Lieberman said, “…must say, that’s a good question … I’d hesitate to say he’s a Marxist, but he’s got some positions that are far to the left of me and I think mainstream America.”

    Socialism is based on envy and the mandated sacrifice of others. It is the desire to possess another’s wealth and lower others to a shared misery. Socialism can be said to be successful when all suffer equally. The fable about cooking crabs describes the Socialist mentality. When the pot filled with crabs begins to boil some crabs attempt to climb out of the pot. But the other crabs pull the escaping crabs back into the boiling water. In the end – all suffer the same fate.

    Socialism does not encourage self reliance, responsibility or personal wealth. In fact, shirking responsibility is accepted. Socialism does not reward anyone for working hard because everyone receives the same reward. The best worker and the slacker are rewarded the same. Socialism equalizes misery and poverty while productivity and efficiency suffer.

    The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
    Winston Churchill

    • Oh please. When are you right wing idiots ever going have an original though instead of trotting out these lies that have been put to rest long ago? Do you get your information by carrier pigeon? Joe Lieberman is the ultimate political lizard. How he manages to survive escapes me and amazes me. He is a political whore, willing to take whatever position is requested by the highest bidder. I’m waiting to see the news clip where his tongue flicks out, he licks his eye and he sheds his skin again. God help us survive you idiots.

      • I’ll throw your own words back at you: “Nice spelling. Gives you credibility.”

        “…an original though…”

        • burn

      • How long have you been on welfare? You sure have a lot of free time to sit here and worship at the obamamessiahs feet.

    • Yes and the American people are the most “self-reliant” people on earth. ?Wow what a joke.
      Remember. ? the word Bail me out. Bail me out Please.

      Give me a break.

  82. British philosopher Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) said this about the topic of hero worship:

    “Hero-worship is strongest where there is least regard for human freedom.”

  83. I wonder how many Obamaboosters also followed the media in equally blind fashion and bought millenium doomsday books a few years back.
    Stop and Think has always been great advice, more so when the tv, radio et al are ordered silent by the clever little OFF button.
    What a concept!

  84. Andrew

    Get a life – can’t we celebrate President Obama’s visit with PM Stephen Harper et al – without the media getting their collective skivvies in a tizzy ?

    I thought that the visit was great for both Canada and the USA – and the day’s visit was a good first step on improving our inter national relations – especially at the top of the political ladders . Sure, there was lots of schlock in the meetings – but no one was bowing and scraping . And even our PM managed to get our Canadian point of view on our common security – out on the table to both the President and his public back in the USA – without appearing obnoxious.

    It’s time to celebrate this historic meeting – not do the usual Canadian thing – that is – being seen as perpetual complainers and American enviers . Let’ s be proud that Barack chose to come to Canada first – and why not – we are their biggest customers- and they are ours . Time to stick out our collective chests and let it be known that our economy is the best in the world .

    PS – I am not a dedicated Obama supporter – but even I am prepared to give the guy a chance to show his true stuff – and so far he is trying hard – and after all – that’s all that we can expect from a rank rookie politician.

  85. Andrew, you so reveal your old-school conservatism.

    People on the lower to middle rung have felt so ignored for so long that they are starved for any figure that appears to care. Obama-worship may seem incongruous, and perhaps it is, but it still appears that no one is reading the writing it puts on the wall.

    Times have changed- attitudes have changed- and what seems obvious to the old guard is definitely NOT obvious to the rank and file. Deal with it, because if we do not see reformation, we will get swept up in revolution.

    These are not the very comfortable out there waving their flags and banners; these are the marginalized and struggling seeking to be comforted.

  86. Andrew, are you just upset that no one chants your name? Barack Obama represents hope to a Nation and a world in crisis. As individuals we are powerless as events around us unfold. Decisions that affect our lives are made by people that have no connection to us. And often, they are very bad decisions. Obama has given us the words that make us feel that someone in power has our best interest at heart. Whether he does or doesn’t, whether or not he is successful doesn’t matter. He has given the common man the feeling that someone is looking out for him.

    • And that’s what matters right? Words. Not actions, just words. So long as he says the right things, he can do whatever he wants right?
      And really, how an elitist snob who dines on Arugula and Wagyu beef can have anything to do with the “common man” is puzzling.

  87. As expressed above, “wake up you idiot…” seems to be the natural level of discourse entertained by the devotees. That is what makes me nervous. If this thing really goes south (no pun intended) can anyone doubt that the leader would have any shortage of volunteers for the brownshirt brigades?

  88. Unbelievable. The right wing extremists are no different than the left wing extremists. Full of stupidity and exaggeration. So, now Macleans belittles people who have hope. Although I disagree with idolization of another human being, if Obama fails…the USA becomes a 3rd world country, after 8 years of Republican blunders. The world on the brink of world wars, people out of work, out of houses, pensions completely lost, no health care for 45 million Americans, and people WANT Obama to fail? As a Canadian, I don’t care if they bring George Bush back, but, I want the USA to succeed, so that my pension doesn’t go poof into thin air, but, for some reason, all the right wingers seem to be ok with that, as long as Obama fails. Don’t forget, it will be YOUR pension, YOUR health, YOUR jobs and houses that will disappear, too. Not just everyone else’s. President Obama, regardless of your color, religion or politics, I hope that you succeed. And the next President, if he/she is Republican, I hope that you succeed and make America strong so that the rest of the world will remain strong. All you people who want America to fail….hit the road…we don’t need you.

    • Thank you. This is our reality. We need to hope Obama succeeds, not fails. If he fails, we’re doomed. All politics aside, we (Canada and the US) are on the verge of becoming third world countries.

      • What you don’t seem to realize is that if Obama succeeds in implementing his agenda, we will definitely be a third world country.

    • You’ve nailed it. I’m not for idolization either, but in the big picture, does it really matter if others do. If people are happy with their own behaviour and it doesn’t hurt anyone else, well, let them fly at it. What is really important is ensuring the success of the US and the rest of the world. It really doesn’t matter who does it, as long as they get it done.

  89. Look, this is some sort mass self debasement that overcomes some people who want to be someone else…
    they were the same type of people who mass worshiped with flowers at the gates of Buckingham Palace when Diana died, the same type of people who drive hundreds of miles to pile stuffed Teddy Bears at some spot when someone they don’t know dies, the same type of people who repeat the same old tired lines they have learned they should say from watching TV when they find themselves on camera (where did that damn word “closure” come from?)
    these are the people who buy all the tabloids at the supermarket (millions of them)
    ask them the square root of 9 and you will get ????
    ask them any question that isn’t answered ad infinitum on TV and you will get ????
    but ask them who they like on American Idol and you will get all the names… LOL
    but ask them about last night’s Deal or No Deal… and you will get an answer LOL

  90. Barack promised to return to Canada “when it’s warmer.”

    Sounds like he supports “climate change”!!!!

  91. I agree with you Mr. Coyne – I felt a little embarrassed and disconcerted witnessing all the hype in the media surrounding Obama’s visit. Obama is a politician and I think his becoming President is indeed reason to hope for positive change, but the celebrity treatment he’s received – yesterday on Canadian ground, but also in the US and beyond – is very much out of place in politics. ‘Unthinking infactuation,’ though it may not be at the root of our enthusiasm (anyone can recognise that the man DOES make a lot of sense), it could indeed be the result ; infactuation is more or less irrelevant in show-biz but dangerous in politics. All the media hype adds nothing of relevance to how we can appreciate what Obama stands for (or should stand for).

  92. Just maybe, the charisma in Ottawa yesterday, is the result of a U.S. government and a president that is in tune to the socialism we have endured in Canada, and especially seen, beginning in the charismatic years of Pierre Trudeau.

    Economically, governments in Canada have competed with the achievements of its citizens for too many years and has resulted in most of us becoming equally “poor”. We can relate to this “poorness”, and now America, once a “mature creditor nation” has adopted our political philosophy to become more like us.

    Now our two nations have similar political “suasions” and the charisma of Mr. Obama has literally swept some of us “right off our feet.

    It will be interesting to see which nation will go “broke” first.

  93. okay…this is weird.
    I just made this EXACT same comment last night to my husband while watching the news.
    (well maybe not as eloquently….)
    I EVEN used the Trudeaumania point.

    I am so happy you are expressing the same distaste for this whole parade of Obamamania.

  94. It is to funny to see people on the left justify their hero worship instead of addressing it. I have seen multiple arguments tat go something like “we have been in darkness so long… and now Obama offers light…”

    Good Grief would you lefties listen to yourselves! The article is about hero worship and you slather your desire for hero in defense of yourselves. It is comical and just reinforces what the article is saying!

    This goes on with any discussion of Obama BTW and that is the real concern. People get into real trouble following blindly, believing in a savoir or as some who think they are being moderate (and who are the worst) who say he can’t be critized before and we need to sit by as we see the effects of overturning major pillars of society and spending trillions of dollars. Listen you moderate bozos it is a little late if we just wait to see what happens in those cases. This isn’t about raising dog licence fees.

  95. At least he didn’t bare his chest to show you his glistening, chiseled pectorals! That seems to keep all of our idiot reporters here in the US drooling (especially when Chris Matthews’ leg starts tingling).

  96. Much ado about nothing Mr. Coyne. I hope the irony hasn’t been lost on you, guess what you do by writing an article decrying the popularity of Mr. Obama with Canadians. You increase his exposure, well done. So is Mr. Coyne not falling in line? Do you not buy the hoopla? Do you know something that we don’t? The not-too-subtle implication here, as I see it, is that somehow those with signs and screaming fealty while waiting in the cold are somehow inferior. Indulging in hero worship might not be the height of dignified behaviour, but it happens and it will continue to happen. So what? How about you focus on our government…perhaps the fact that the current administration has had four (yes four!) Ministers of foreign Affairs in the last two years. Or maybe that our federal governmnet is running a deficit for the first time in over a decade. How about that we’re running the first trade deficit since 1976? But thanks for drawing our attention to our hero worshipping habits.

  97. While I agree with Andrew that it all seems more than a tad excessive, some of us thought that a column he wrote some time ago about the current G.G. was both embarrassing and overwrought in its fulsomeness. I suppose that we all have our moments.

    • Too true Shelley, well said.