Saturday, May 22, 2010

Obama "only adult" in Washington (James Laxer)

This week, three men named Harper, Layton and Ignatieff have been condemned by the likes of Rex Murphy for "losing their minds" because of their tacit agreement to run for cover on the issue of submitting M.P.'s expense accounts to the Auditor General. Only Gilles Duceppe appears willing to submit to the hot-button word, "transparency" with respect to how members spend the $550 million in expenses.
It is true that all expenses of the Canadian government are examined by the Auditor General, and for some time, this specific function has been in abeyance.
Yet Murphy and others would do well to listen to Chantal Hebert, of the Toronto Star and CBC's At Issue Panel, who advises that the sponsorship scandal blew-up after the auditor general released some specific findings about how money was influencing politics in the Liberal Party in Quebec.
It could be argued that the party has not recovered from that debacle after how many years?
Why would M.P.'s wish to submit to such a muckraking by both the media and the voters? And the media are sitting ready to pounce on the most infinitessimal indiscretion, especially when they know it will feed their sales/ratings for their readers/viewers/listeners to learn some miniscule fact that discredits their already untrustworthy M.P.
Both the politicians and the media have fallen victim to the "gotcha" game of finger-pointing that constitutes the melodrama of North American politics today. It is truly a shameful "show" and that is the only word for it. It is as if the tabloid-type journalism and the "gotcha" finger-pointing of the political opponents have fused into one very juvenile high-school "non-musical".
As James Laxer put it on Allan Gregg's TVO interview, "The only adult in Washington is Barack Obama!"
And there is reasonable doubt that he can carry this "war of attrition" of the political systems alone successfully.
At least one healthy adult male, Obama, is still visible trying to conduct political business from a position of some maturity, decency and credibility, and yet the sharks even in his own party are circling his cage sniffing for blood because of his "tardy" and insufficient response to the BP oil haemorrage in the Gulf of Mexico.

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