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There are some 2,800 words about Michael Ignatieff’s current situation under this byline in the current print edition. Unfortunately, there are also some bits that couldn’t be included, lest the piece double in length. So I’ll post a few of those today.

Here, for instance, is an observation from former White House advisor David Gergen (offered in the foreword to this book), the idea of which essentially guided my piece.

Our presidents not only wear the two traditional hats of head-of-state and head-of-government, they also give us voice as a people. Every speaker must come to know his or her own voice, but power comes when a speaker’s authentic voice is also the voice of the people being addressed. Our best presidents have known that instinctively, and they have helped to define who we are, what we are experiencing, and how our experience fits into our great national experiment.


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  1. "Every speaker must come to know his or her own voice, but power comes when a speaker's authentic voice is also the voice of the people being addressed."

    Iggy is never going to find his own voice because he put power/ambition before his beliefs when he joined the Liberal party. No more odes to oil sands that's for sure. Now he has green plan where we can go back to being cavemen fighting for grubs in order to save planet from something that is not occurring.

    It is not necessary to find voice to prosper in politics but I agree with Gergen though that only the beloved leaders managed to sound authentic.

  2. If President's are supposed to fit their voice to the people (as Gergen says in that quote) then Obama is currently operating without clue one as to how to hear anything other than his own voice.

    The Washington Post and the New York Times realized that they were missing issues of interest to Americans (and leaving them entirely to Fox). So Obama's reaction was to commiserate with Maddow, Olbermann, Dowd, Rich, Herbert IN THE WHITE HOUSE about Fox being a GOP toy? The subsequent White House attempts to get the press to not accept Fox as a peer, has ended in the Times and Post asking WTF is up with Obama?

    "…officials at the White House had decided that if anything, it was time to take the relationship to an even more confrontational level. The spur: Executives at other news organizations, including The New York Times, had publicly said that their newsrooms had not been fast enough in following stories that Fox News, to the administration's chagrin, had been heavily covering through the summer and early fall"

    "…'It was an amalgam of stories covered, and our assessment of how others were dealing with those stories, that caused us to comment,' Mr. Axelrod said in describing the administration's thinking."

    "…Speaking privately at the White House on Monday with a group of mostly liberal columnists and commentators, including Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann of MSNBC and Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich and Bob Herbert of The New York Times, Mr. Obama himself gave vent to sentiments about the network, according to people briefed on the conversation".

    "…In a sign of discomfort with the White House stance, Fox's television news competitors refused to go along with a Treasury Department effort on Tuesday to exclude Fox from a round of interviews with the executive-pay czar Kenneth R. Feinberg that was to be conducted with a 'pool' camera crew shared by all the networks".

  3. In case anyone's wondering, the part about cavemen and grubs was on Page 42 of the last draft of the Liberal Red Book that I saw. Apparently there's some internal debate about whether to illustrate it with actual photographs of grubs. Proponents argue that this will "make the whole grub thing more authentic."

  4. That settles it — I'm buying a GMC Yukon XL and driving to Fort McMurray for work.

  5. And does he groan about Olbermann at Will's house? Any newspapers concerned that they're missing important stories or repudiating Obama for trying to get them to shun those covering those stories? Just askin.

  6. I agree whole-heartedly that nothing is more important than this story. Please do chase it to the ends of the earth.

  7. Can you post your article from the print edition online? I don't feel like purchasing the magazine. I spent all of my allowance on beer and popcorn.

  8. "I'm buying a GMC Yukon XL and driving to Fort McMurray for work."

    That's the spirit we are looking for. Much better than fighting over who gets how many grubs.

  9. I know you are being facetious, and I mostly agree, but I do think it is interesting that both Obama and Harper Admins have decided to start some argy-bargy with media outlets they disagree with recently.

    Edit Later: This comment and comment I deleted were same except I wanted to substitute elbow with argy-bargy but ID would not let me. Also, I like the word 'sooky' Wells, have not heard it before.

  10. I'm being totally facetious, but I'll certainly grant — have written before — that Obama and Harper can both be operatically sooky about coverage they don't like. I'll add that in Obama's case, it's yet more evidence of his amazing ability to waste energy on peripheral issues. But does he have a right to complain about Fox? Sure. Is Fox absurd? Too often.

  11. But this story is over. The Paper of Record has told Obama to grow up. You can too.

  12. I'm imagining the horror that awaits me when yet another Canadian confuses presidents with prime ministers. That God I won't read it in Macleans until six months from now, when I have my next dentist appointment.

    I don't want my voice represented in Parliament. I want people who know what they're doing and who won't screw up. Managerial competence. That's it. I'll find the my inspirations elsewhere, thank you very much.

    I know that's not a sufficiently gorgeous idea to inspire people who, apparently under penalty of death, have to write something about all of this, but there you are.

  13. Facetiousness noted. And yes every pol can do a better job if they waste less time on what the media should say. Maybe it's a good thing Harper watches US news.

  14. Would you find it appalling if tomorrow, Harper decided that CBC was so absurdly biased as to not constitute a "real" news organization, and ordered the rest of the media to ostracize them for it? I tend to think so. So why the facetiousness?

  15. Because I'm an awful, awful man.

  16. For once, I can agree with Foreigner. The fetishization of government that "looks like [country]" and the ongoing obsession with who plug the most impractical-but-supposedly-inspiring "big idea" are both problematic.

  17. Fair enough.

  18. You don't have to go too far back to be a caveman, jolyon…

  19. For once, I can agree with Foreigner.

    I retract my previous comment. ;)

  20. How would harpo know? He can't watch Canadian news because they say bad things about him!

  21. There's complaining, and then there's demanding fealty. For Christ's sake, his communications people were complaining that Fox had the audacity to fact check them.

  22. "the press decide[d] to go along with all of this"

    Obama thinks the worst of some press and tries to send them to Coventry.
    Carlson thinks the worst of some press and entirely misses the broad rebuke to Obama.

    We're so happy you chronicled the latter for us.