Wednesday, February 09, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: DO YOU SWEAR TO BE A SMARMY, ARROGANT S.O.B., SO HELP YOU GOD?
Toronto Sun: Small Town Class
I love the Toronto Sun.
Anyway, I'm sure you've all read about former PM testifying at the Gomery inquiry, so I won't go into headsplitting detail. A few thoughts:
1. Its fun being right. If anyone thinks this whole thing was just some lawyers who successfully prepped their client and an ex-PM who was quick on his feet, they are woefully naieve:
(From the Globe and Mail)
"This golf-ball sequence, which produced the "Westmount cheap" line, in reference to the wealthy Montreal enclave, had been much anticipated by his strategists. They had indicated to at least one reporter that a great line was on its way and to wait for it.
Mr. Chrétien's former principal secretary, Eddie Goldenberg, who crafted the compelling 35-minute opening statement for his boss; his executive assistant Bruce Hartley; Senator Jim Munson, his former director of communications; and Charlie Angelakos, who was a senior staffer in his PMO, were at the back of the room to support him — and, of course, to wait for the delivery."
2. Can you believe the pettiness and vindictive nature of Chretien and Martin? We've all followed it for a long time, but apparently it knows no bounds. There are two PM's--one current one former--who are (or will be) on a judicial inquiry stand beating the crap out of each other. Amazing.
(From Chantal Hebert in the Star)
"For the past year, the Prime Minister and his advisers have carefully nurtured the notion that there was a greater-than-average distance between Martin and the troubled sponsorship program. They have done so by painting the initiative as a brainchild of the former prime minister, an operation run so close to Jean Chrétien's chest that Martin, as his chief rival, was largely out of the loop.
The underlying assumption was that the sponsorship file was handled within an inner circle so tight that even as influential a government member as the finance minister would have been at a loss to pick up any hint of trouble.
But yesterday it took Chrétien less than five minutes to throw a rock into his successor's glass house.
One page into his opening statement, the former prime minister had already taken pains to show that the decision to increase the federal government's visibility in Quebec was taken not within his inner circle but with the unanimous backing of his cabinet, shortly after the 1995 referendum.
Six pages into the statement, Chrétien dwelt at length on his and Martin's joint decision to set aside a multi-million-dollar reserve designed to fund unspecified unity initiatives such as the sponsorship program."
3. The more I see him operate, the more I respect Chretien as a political operator. While he still led an incompetent government that apparently had no respect for taxpayers dollars or accountability, he did it with pizazz!
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