Spin Cycled



The rejuvenation of Maxime Bernier is officially upon us. Maxime, who basically got himself into trouble because he a) likes attractive women; and b) is forgetful enough to leave sensitive documents at the house of at least one attractive woman, has apparently figured out that he can get the media on his side by peddling a storyline. Hence, his tryst with a moderately dubious woman in a tube skirt and the subsequent whoopsie with the documents suddenly became his fall from grace. Every hero needs to struggle, though, so Maxime went to a monastery for five days to wrestle with his political fate. He consulted with his political mentor, a certain tall, flat-faced fellow with an unmistakable baritone, the Mickey Goldmill to his Rocky Balboa. He came back a changed man, newly chastened and humble, ready to soldier on for his constituents–and, of course, for his government, which desperately needs him. He then sold this dreck one year to the day of his backslide.

It’s crass. It’s nakedly transparent and terribly cynical. And it sold, hook, line, sinker (fishing rod, tackle, boat…) to two big news outlets, who ponied up dozens of drippy column inches for the occasion. Mission Accompli! More after this…

“Shaken by the storm provoked by the Julie Couillard affaire, Maxime Bernier thought about quitting politics and returner to the private sector last year,” begins La Presse’s tale this morning. “But after spending five days in a monastery in Saint-Benoit-du-Lac, alone, without phone or BlackBerry, digesting everything that happened prior to his resignation as Forein Affairs Minister, Maxime Bernier decided to continue his work as the deputy for the Beauce in Ottawa.”

Egads. Five whole days without a BlackBerry! Anyway, on it goes for several hundred words, in particular detailing Bernier’s consult with Brian Mulroney, who has had his own dark days as of late, and who as luck would have it called him out of the blue. “In the middle of it all, Brian Mulroney called me,” Maxime told La Presse. [Cue stirring John Williams strings, have handkerchief within reach.] “He told me, ‘I am certain you see nothing but black right now, that you don’t see the sun at the end of the tunnel. Take your time. The sun will come back. Go reflect and think of what you want to do, you’ll speak in front of people, those that elected you.'”

It gets even better [sic]. The La Presse piece ends on one of Maxime’s newfound insights: if I can come back in politics, well then, by Jove, Quebec can come back to the Conservative party–which, as it happens, is in tits deep in these parts. One is left to wonder: who could possibly lead the Conservatives out of its quagmire better than the Quagmire Kid himself?

Not coincidentally, the National Post wrote essentially the same story yesterday, and did away with any sort of discretion with the following headline: “Maxime Bernier returns from penalty box to restore tarnished reputation (and save the PCs in Quebec)”.

Makes you feel icky, doesn’t it?

UPDATE! Maxime has bolstered his media charm offensive with a spiffy new website that Fagstein gleefully boots around today. Some good news: at least preening, painful video web features from self-loving members of parliament aren’t strictly a partisan thing any longer. (Hi Justin!)

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