Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's Steve the plumber week in Ottawa

(Star/AP/Reuters)

The inevitable comparisons are ramping up in advance of President Obama's visit and they're not pretty. Two items in that vein this morning. First, from John Ibbitson's piece in the Globe, his hypothetical memo from the Privy Council Office to the PM in advance of the visit concludes with this observation:
We can also not help but note that the American President is extremely popular within Canada. Thousands are expected to come to Parliament Hill to see Mr. Obama, despite the brief nature of his visit. It is not certain that the current Canadian government generates equivalent enthusiasm.

That is, however, a political consideration, and outside the competence of this memorandum.(emphasis added)
Hilarious! There's not much the Harper gang can do about that elephant in the room. Except manage it down so that there's just the minimal possible public exposure of the two of them to the public. Check.

Secondly, got to love the end of this article which reviews Harper's grand attempts to lower expectations about the comparisons to Obama. Best line at the end of this excerpt from Peter Donolo:
Moreover, Mr. Harper might not want to invite too many comparisons on the two men's approach to partisan politics. While Mr. Obama has included Republicans and Democratic rivals in his cabinet, Mr. Harper not long ago attempted to eliminate public funding for political parties in an effort to hamstring his opponents. The move has stuck to the Prime Minister, with polls showing he is being blamed for the winter parliamentary crisis. The leaders' contrasting approaches to political partisanship will no doubt draw comment; according to Mr. Donolo, many Canadians may not feel well served by their Prime Minister when it comes to getting along with the opposition.

“Obama's still enjoying his honeymoon,” Mr. Donolo said. “And in Canada, the dishes are flying around the kitchen.”
Laughed out loud at that line...the bloom is certainly off the "rose" here...:)