The chorus of criticism facing President Donald Trump's reluctance in condemning the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, is only the tip of the frustration confronting Republican officials. The president's inclination to pick fights with almost everyone around him (Russian President Vladimir Putin excepted) and to consistently ignore mainstream advice is leading to increased skepticism and disillusionment even among erstwhile supporters.
In the world of politics, the internet can be a force for good of for ill – the jury is still out on that. What can be said with some certainty is that the web can lead you to unexpected places.
“We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfil the promises of Donald Trump. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump.” – David Duke, former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, on the white supremacist-inspired violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the weekend.
There is such a thing as leadership.
There was a time, less than a million years ago, when the federal Liberals prided themselves on their ability to get things done.
They might not have been lovable or even very likeable, and most of the time they weren’t. They were not a warm and cuddly outfit. They didn’t take selfies, hug voters, or remove their shirts in public. (Can anyone imagine “Uncle Louis” St. Laurent – his most famous quote: “If we are to preserve civilization, we must first remain civilized” – on a beach showing off his tattoos?)
Donald Trump’s White House has to be the most fascinating workplace in the western world.
I do not mean “fascinating” in the customary sense of being alluring or charming. I’m thinking of “fascinate” in what my dictionary says is its obsolete meaning: to “bewitch” or “cast an evil spell on.”
Obsolete or not, it is impossible escape the spell cast by a world power centre commanded by an uninformed and irrational head of state who thrives on chaos, who rules by tweet and whose three-step modus operandi is: deny, lie and attack.
You will not find them written down anywhere, but there are two rules of political protocol that are customarily observed in this country.
The first could be called the “anti-haunting” rule. When party leaders leave the political stage, willingly or otherwise, they do not hang around in retirement to haunt their successor’s performance. They are expected to go quietly into the good night. They keep their mouth shut and their advice to themselves.
This is the topic of a new paper of mine avaiable for early view and scheduled for publication in the September 2017 issue of the academic journal, Canadian Public Administration.
Here's the abstract:
Strategists for each of the federal parties will be watching the next few rounds of opinion polls intently as they assess the magnitude of the “Khadr bump.”
There is a consensus that the Trudeau government’s controversial apology to, and $10.5 million settlement with, Omar Khadr and will drive down public support for the government – possibly enough to drop the Liberals into second place behind the Conservatives.
“We have a great neighbour in Canada and Justin is doing a spectacular job in Canada. Everybody loves him and they love him for a reason. So congratulations on the job you are doing.”– Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Hamburg , Germany, on Saturday.
So there you have it – a ringing endorsement from the president of the United States. What prime minister could ask for more?
The federal government needs some sort of Big Problem Manager – perhaps a whole Ministry of B.P. Management – to oversee the planning, organization and implementation of events like the sesquicentennial Canada Day celebration in Ottawa on Saturday.