Folks, as the Music Man warned us, we are in trouble. We are in terrible, terrible trouble.
Now, none of us should be surprised if the head of Nearly New Canadian Government boasts that, thanks to himself and his worshipful acolytes, that Canada has the most stable financial system on the face of the earth. No sir.
But when we are taken seriously by many of the G20 leaders, and when the USA doesn’t snicker at the puffery of our federal minister of finance, the world is definitely in some considerable difficulty. Indeed, while the credit for the good fortune we have enjoyed should most properly be given to previous holders of the prime minister’s office – the Right Honourables Brian Mulroney, Jean ChrĂ©tien and Paul Martin – it is to the credit of Mr. Harper et al that the current federal government has held the course and was not diverted from its determination to maintain a small `c` conservative financial system. Still, it is disquietingly sobering that we are viewed by some as the very model of fiscal probity.
And then we come to the political mess in the USA. It is truly distressing that the positive campaign message of ‘Yes We Can’ from the current president turns out to be that yes, he could get elected. And that was it.
Let no one doubt that he makes wonderful speeches. They are models of irrefutable rhetoric, gracious pace and oratorical rhythm. Indeed he has probably made more pubic speeches in his first three years in office than presidents Regan, Nixon and Clinton combined. He is indefatigable in his well-measured lope to the microphone. Unfortunately he spends so much time talking to America that one wonders who is running the executive branch in Washington. Could it be Joe Biden?
Now there can be no doubt that the president is supported by some very bright and hard working bureaucrats and political heavyweights. But one can’t but wonder who is consolidating the thinking while he does the talking. One suspects no one. His lack of ability to stand up to congressional high jinks has left the Tea Party in firm control of Washington. Indeed, the president gives the appearance of being a really nice, somewhat confused junior senator. While history may be kind to him in his quest to match the inspirational speechmaking of Lincoln and Kennedy, his lack of mastery of the office of the presidency is tragically discouraging. He would be wise perhaps in taking time off to watch reruns of The West Wing.
So while it fills me with anxious dread, one has to consider that our boring pedantic federal political leaders, faithfully clinging to the uninspiring mission of peace, order and good government may be the only way to survive until America elects a competent president. Meanwhile, let us sing with gusto our bilingual national anthem O Canada!
Alan Murdock is a local pediatrician.