Thursday, October 04, 2007

Hail to the chief? Harper’s presidential airs

I'm about 400+ pages into Brian Mulroney's very weighty auto-biography (here's a preview review: Brian was right and everyone, especially Trudeau, was wrong) and we're in the midst of his first mandate at the moment, so I haven't gotten yet to his thoughts on Stephen Harper.

Luckily though, he shared his thoughts on his successor as Conservative PM (in between two swell Liberal guys that balanced the budget and turned-around the economy) with the media so I don't need to wait:

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney says current Tory PM Stephen Harper reminds him of the Gipper, Ronald Reagan.

"Of all the people I've met internationally, he reminds me more of the style and the approach and the decisiveness of Ronald Reagan than anybody else," Mulroney told a Calgary luncheon audience Wednesday.
Hmm, does that mean Harper is consulting astrologers, selling arms to the contras and running huge deficits? The deficits aren’t there (yet), and I doubt he’s funneling arms to Nicaragua via Iran. He does have a psychic on staff though, so who knows…

Still, the comparisons to Reagan may play well in Calgary, but I doubt they’re particularly helpful in Quebec. Or B.C. Or Ontario. Or the Maritimes… If you listen closely you can hear Conservative strategists crying"Shut-up Brian!"

Old Lyin’ Brian may be on to something with the whole Harper/Reagan thing though, at least when it comes to taking on presidential airs. And if anyone would be an expert on delusions of grandeur, it’s Brian Mulroney.

As the Globe noted this week, it’s odd Harper would want to take a space that was intended for a public portrait gallery and convert it into a multi-million dollar, private, receiving-hall for Pres…Prime Minister Harper to welcome foreign dignitaries:
In other words, it wants to take a public place that would have showcased Canadian art and history to millions of Canadians and turn it into a place that would be off-limits to the public and would showcase a politician to a handful of foreign eminences.
Sounds a little odd. Doesn’t Canada have a head of state? And doesn’t that head of state have a hall to receive foreign dignataries? The answer to both is yes, Michaelle Jean and Rideau Hall. But then again, these Conservatives have never had much respect for the GG’s role in our system of government, in opposition or in government.

As for the PM, every other one has always made do with the Government Conference Centre, the Lester B. Pearson building, the Confederation Room and, well, their office, which the Globe notes Mulroney found good enough to receive Reagan in:
How odd, then, that it is Mr. Mulroney who is remembered by some as the Conservative prime minister with presidential airs.
Odd indeed. I’m sure Harper will change that though. He already has a personal stylist, and now a grand presidential reception hall. He has the media calling his plane Air Force…err Air Bus 001. He has a gas guzzling presidential-style motorcade.

How long before he has the Navy Band strike-up ‘Hail to the Chief’ when he walks into the room?

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1 comment:

900ft Jesus said...

good post! This "I am Commander in Chief" and presidential ego thing isn't just annoying, it's dangerous because Stevie doesn't just embrace Republican US style, he adores the ideology and methods. In 20 months, we can already feel the impact.