Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What a SMALL Man

Only Stephen Harper could manage to turn a important visit by Obama into a statement on petty politics and manipulation. God forbid the GG should be allowed to greet Obama, in front of the cameras. How outlandish, that the oppostion leader should meet Obama in a diplomatic setting. Simply ridiculous to acknowledge that Canadians might want a mere glance or two. The PMO has micro-managed this visit, to the point that they've turned it into a selfish farce.

Yesterday, it was amusing to see Harper speak of the visit, almost giddy at the prospects. You can't blame the PMO for wanting to maximize the benefits to their advantage, that's a natural political reaction. However, the controlling nature to ensure than only HE is the center of the attention, leaves a bad taste and in turn Harper has managed to undermine the positives. The PMO's pathetic attempts to point out the comparisons between the two men (surprised Kory didn't mention that both men stand erect and eat breakfast too) denotes a callous opportunism.

A "working" visit, without the ceremony is fine, given the times, you want to convey a serious, business-like feel. That the visit has become so tightly ccntrolled, to the point of ANAL paranoia, once again provides another disappointing example of Stephen Harper's smallness.


saii said...

I dont know if someone has pointed this out yet, but despite the "similarities" that the PMO is saying between Obama and Harper, the latter's true colour will always show:

"Harper's spokespeople threatened to CANCEL the press conference if, at any point in the day, a Canadian reporter shouts out a question without being invited to do so.

White House reporters habitually bark out queries during photo opportunities with the president.

But nobody had better dare pulling such a stunt in Harper's office."

"Cancel?" What a stark difference!

Steve V said...

Someone should shout out a question, because if they did cancel the presser, it would show Canadians just what a petty gang is running this country.

Anonymous said...

V good points Steve! I was thinking the same thing.
I am completely tired of Harper's bitch-boy Kory Teneycke(sp?) parading himself in front of the camera and asking them to lick his ass.
Pardon the imagery, I'm doing a Senator Duffy.

Big Winnie said...

Steve V:

I couldn't agree more.

Tiny Perfect Blog said...

It says a lot about Harper, but nothing we haven't known for a long time.

If Ignatieff doesn't want Harper treating him like a turd, he should pull the plug on the Harper government.

I'm not holding my breath.

sassy said...

I’m confident that President Obama, being nobodies fool, has taken (and filed) note of how his host is micro-managing this visit, and in spite of this, will likely carry the day with the grace, dignity and diplomacy of a true statesman.

Diplomacy is the art of telling someone to go to hell in such a way as they look forward to their trip.

RuralSandi said...

Obama is the reach out and across president so how in hell can they compare Harper to him?

Harper must be really, really insecure. Not really leadership antics at all.

Other PM's had no problem with visiting presidents with respect to media, etc.

Harper looks weak, petty and unlikeable. CTV (Newsnet) have been running the BORING useless Harper interview over and over again.

Personally, I think what Harper is doing is totally rude.

Steve V said...

I think that's the word "insecure".

Anonymous said...

I'm counting on a real journalist taking a camera in anyway, and asking a question that isn't on the list.

Steve V said...

"OTTAWA-Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae, the party's foreign affairs critic, will both meet with U.S. President Barack Obama and his officials tomorrow afternoon for a brief chat at the airport.

A spokesperson for Ignatieff said the two Liberals will meet with the U.S. President and other senior American officials for 15 minutes just before the U.S. delegation departs from the Government Reception Centre, the airport on the outskirts of the capital used by foreign dignitaries visiting the capital.

Afterwards, Ignatieff will return to Parliament Hill to hold a press conference on his talk with Obama."

I think that's smart, because with the limited time, Rae can also speak with other officials, if Ignatieff has any one on one with Obama.

Anonymous said...

Steve if you consider that the media is starving and half of it in bankruptcy there could be an interesting fallout in the future. Instead of three pictures of Obama talking to leaders there will only be one and with a limited script everyones story wll be the same so there wil be no need to buy more than one newspaper to get whatever "story" there will be.

My guess is that cbc will be first on the auction block after upstaging Harper so thoroughly yesterday. If our media had any guts and pride they would boycott the whole thing tomorrow.

Steve V said...

"If our media had any guts and pride they would boycott the whole thing tomorrow."

Harper's treated the national media like dogs for three years, with nary a peep, so... I'm just hoping somebody misbehaves so Kory can give them the evil eye, maybe even a scolding.

ottlib said...

"Harper's spokespeople threatened to CANCEL the press conference if, at any point in the day, a Canadian reporter shouts out a question without being invited to do so."

This is a joint press conference where American journalists will be co-mingling with Canadians journalists.

Perhaps the Canadian journalists will roll over if the Harperites cancel the press conference but I imagine the American media would have no compunction about howling about such an event.

It would be interesting to see Kory Teneycke blow a gasket as jounrnalists he cannot control begin to ask difficult questions or begin spinning a cancelation in the worst possible way for the Conservative government.

Then there is the notion of an Ignatieff/Rae press conference occuring after the visit is over. If the Harper/Obama press conference is canceled the Canadian media would need to find content about the Presidential visit somewhere. If Mr. Harper is unwilling to provide it I am certain Mr. Ignatieff and Mr. Rae would be more than happy to fill the void.

Part of me hopes that press conference in canceled just to see that.

Scotian said...

Trust Harper to turn international relations and diplomacy into something as bitterly partisan as he has here, it is entirely consistent with how he has abused the office of Prime Minister since the day he was first sworn in. I have maintained all along that this man was dangerous and destructive to the Canadian political context/dynamic and at every turn Harper has shown that if anything my fears were understated from the reality. I just console myself with the thought that thank all that is holy he never managed to get his majority, because given how dictatorial he has acted with minorities it is obvious he would be far worse if he knew he was unaccountable for at least four years no matter what he did.

I also think it speaks volumes that Obama did not stop by here on his pre swearing in tour and that he is basically doing a touch and go for his first visit as President to this country, both on Harper's side and on his. This nonsense many CPCers have been spouting about how weird it is that so many Canadians are so interested in Obama despite his being an American President and not a Canadian figure makes for a nice smokescreen, but the reality is he is a historic first for the Office, he does represent views far closer to Canadian values and beliefs than what we have seen for the past eight years, and especially given the current economic disaster the state of our relationship with the USA given its economic impact on our economy is something of great importance indeed.

As to the further media clampdown Harperco is imposing, I really hope some in the Canadian media show some backbone finally and ignore what Harper's mouthpiece dictated, it is more than past time this PM had to face the same media scrutiny all his predecessors had to instead of this bubble format Harper clearly prefers. Harperco clearly is more concerned with appearance than substance, and has shown itself to be the most closed and secretive government I have seen in my lifetime, and possibly throughout our entire history (which when you consider how secretive governments in wartime like WWII had to be is no small feat).

Harperco and CPC supporters whine about how unfair the media is to them and this government, the truth is they have gotten an easy ride of it (having the director of the political news bureau of one national network clearly acting as a partisan cheerleader of Harper and the CPC government until his Senate appointment added insult to that injury) and it is long past time they were forced to deal with serious hard questioning as ALL governments should be under pressure of regardless of their political affiliation. That is, if one believes in democracy and the importance of the citizen to be an informed voter, something Harper has shown time and again is something he has no use for. Just take his many deceptions on how government works in this country from the coalition garbage to the idea we elect governments in our system when we clearly do not, and these are hardly isolated examples either, I just do not want to run the many pages it would take to list all the examples of the last three years.

Calling Harper a small man in this context is a generous overstatement IMHO, microscopic doesn't even do it proper justice it is so petty of him.

Anonymous said...

I would let sleeping dogs lie. Harper wanting to cash in on the Obama bandwagon, in what is a six hour visit.

Do you really think Canada is really that high on Obama's agenda, let alone Western Europe? Mexico means more to the US economy than Canada. This is merely a courtesy call.

Here's to a breakdown in trade relations with the US and Harper to wear the dismantling of NAFTA.