In the aftermath of last week's whole presidential election thing, there was a brief moment in which it almost seemed like the Canadian press had finally run out of pretexts for ramming its big judgy nose into American affairs. But then General Petraeus resigned, and guess what -- the schnoz is back!
For those just tuning in now (how I envy you), Petraeus used to be head of the CIA but jumped ship last Friday when it was revealed he was having an extramarital affair (as opposed to an intramarital affair, which would have been fine). Anyway, the story has only gotten more annoyingly convoluted, in the days since, and now there's a third women and at least two other men and the whole thing is rapidly evolving from creepy love triangle to hideous love pentagon. My space here is limited, so if you're still in the dark may I kindly direct you to Business Insider's charmingly succient video summary of the whole mess? I promise I'll wait.
Back? Excellent. So what's the response of the Canadians, you ask?
Mostly they don't get what all the fuss is about.
So the General screwed around on his wife of 37 years, scoffs the Globe's Margaret Wente, big whoop. It was "a perfectly legal extramarital affair that involved no national security issues or anything else of consequence." So why not let him stay? Geez, "if affairs were enough to disqualify people from high office, then the high offices of the world would be half-empty."
Yeah, agrees George Jonas in the Post, while cheating might be "the single biggest obstacle preventing Gen. Petraeus from passing through the pearly gates," it's hardly worth quitting over. Fact is, informs Heather Mallick at the Star, some old guys eventually "say goodbye to sex" and "some don't." So get over it, America.
Such a "peculiar strain in the American ethos," muses fellow Star-child Rosie DiManno, "this obsession with personal morality as measured by sexual activity." Total global outliers, concurs the Post's Kelly McParland. Compared to what goes on in Europe, he thinks l'affair Petraeus "is like a high-school tiff over who gets to wear the football captain's pin to the Prom." I mean, France's former president had a whole frggin' second family and no one cared!
Even good ol' Matt Gurney at the Post -- one of the few pundits actually convinced that the General's "personal weakness" was a resignation-justifying "national concern" thanks to his problematic taste in document-hoarding mistresses -- has to concede that the "only real victims here seem to be Petraeus's wife" and the rest of his kinky five-way.
Now, I know what you're thinking -- could Petraeus-gate ever happen in Canada?
Here in B.C., I remember there was much gossip a while ago that a certain, uh, "well-known" provincial official was something of a routine adulterer, but such gossip would usually be couched in praise about how wonderful it was that our wise press lords never saw fit to "make it an issue." You may recall a similar tone of propriety in the outrage that followed a certain TV station's lurid allegations regarding a certain mustachioed opposition leader.
Coverage of all things Petraeus has dominated the Canadian papers over the last couple of days, and to be fair, I suppose it is big news with possibly global repercussions. But it's also hard to escape the feeling that our media is simply having much vicarious joy gleefully rifling through the sort of dirty American laundry they'd never be permitted to explore at home.
Speaking of home, did you know there's been stuff happening in this country too? Sure, maybe it's not as much fun as a sexy general but it is very, uh, domestic.
On Tuesday Finance Minister Flaherty gave one of those budget update speech thingies in which it was revealed that -- surprise surprise -- he's probably not going to balance the budget by 2015 as promised. In fact, the thing probably won't be balanced 'til 2017! At least!
Considering the present tire-spinning state of the American and European economies, the recent slump in resource prices, and the fact that Flaherty engages in this half-heartedly apologetic balanced budget can-kicking ritual every year, Tuesday's big reveal probably shocked around four Canadians in total.
Luckily they all have newspaper columns.
Welp, I guess that's it, says Michael Den Tandt in a piece syndicated o'er the land, "Canada no longer has a conservative party." Unless all you want from a right-wing government is for them to "shrug, pay lip service to balanced budgets" and blindly "hope for the best," Dan thinks it's time to hang up the ideological towel and just admit that the biggest thing separating the Conservatives from the other parties these days "is the colour blue."
Sad but true, pines David Akin in the Sun. This is a party whose "budgetary track record would make any fiscal conservative turn pale." A "stretch of deficits" with "no real end in sight," moans Terrence Corcoran at the Post.
But surely in good ol' right-wing Alberta fiscal conservatism is still going str-- NOPE says Jesse Kline. Under Premier Redford it's nothing but unsustainable spending -- on borrowed cash, too! And when even "Canada's conservative heartland knows it can get away with spending money it doesn't have, what hope is there for the rest of the country?"
Yeesh, depressing. No wonder conservatives are blue.