When Bob Dole subsequently offered me the job as his press secretary, I at first resisted. What I subsequently came to learn over the next several years was that Bob Dole was at heart a centralist, a pragmatist, a problem-solver. Unlike some of his colleagues, he understood and enjoyed the machinery of the Senate.
Somewhere along the line, November 11 passed from being a spectacle of unanimous civic deference to yet one more boring "controversy" of modern life, bound up in all sorts of political pet causes and righteous quests for moral superiority. Take the matter of exactly what and how we should be remembering. This is something the editorial pages have no shortage of fun opinions about.
Republicans have to reinvent themselves. The tactics and issues that have worked for them for more than three decades have failed. Democrats and progressives have a rare opportunity to permanently shift the debate on several key issues. America is at a crossroads, more divided than ever and trying to decide what kind of nation it wants to be now that it is no longer the world's lone superpower.
During those four years there had been much sadness, wailing and gnashing of teeth and beating of breasts in the land as the tribe's riches and power ebbed, and the people lost faith in their tribe. So therefore, many leaders did arise who did each say unto the people that he alone was strong and of good courage and should be their leader to lead them out of the slough of despond and into the land of milk and honey...
Most of us are relieved the U.S. election is over -- listening to the hyperbole of the campaign for so many months has been difficult even for Canadians who don't hear the ads and don't have the same emotional reaction to the candidates. But there are some lessons to be learned for non-politicians working on their personal brands.
At the end of the day, this "close" election was not really that close. While the race was closer than 2008, Romney's routes to victory proved limited and, ultimately, impossible. The outcome of this election will likely raise serious questions about the influence of the right wing Tea Party in the Republican Party.
Imagine the following scene with me, if you will: Marine One lands amid a fury of fireworks in the middle of Grant Park in Chicago. President Obama is wearing a full flight-suit as he struts from the LZ up onto a stage already occupied by Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z. As he makes his way behind the podium, George Clooney unveils a giant "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner.
A successful Obama presidency -- one that trims the debt, shrinks the deficit, reforms entitlements, and spurs GDP growth is one dangerously likely to revive the old Canadian demons of insecurity and inferiority. Regardless of how much it may satiate our fiscal interests, an economically resurgent America almost certainly means a return to second-place status for this country.
Tuesday, election day, is going to be a big day, there's no doubt about it. Americans when they go to the polls will be deciding the direction their country takes -- on the economy, health care, big or small government, taxes, marriage, abortion and foreign policy -- for the next four years. But I'd like to talk about what to my mind is an even bigger day -- Wednesday, the day after the election -- because one very important thing in America needs to change and Wednesday is when it has to start.
The Republican convention's most telling moments happened every time the camera scanned the delegates in Tampa, Florida. Yes, it was a 2012 political convention but it still looked predominantly white from my vantage point. Republicans could take a paint-by-number lesson from Canada's political play book -- primarily from one Preston Manning.
The presence of 15,000 journalists in Tampa and Charlotte for the conventions was ridiculous but even wackier is the size of "Nation PR." Likely bigger than Newark or its governor, this is an industry of propagandists, bloggers, twitterers, scandal-mongers, pundits, spin doctors, pollsters, journalist-partisans who pen biased op-eds and columns, campaign operatives and dewy-eyed "Monicas" who will do anything for the boss. Nation PR never sleeps and now the fun, for the rest of us, begins as they launch their saturation bombing campaign on US voters to capture victory in November.
During Ramadan, a time for focus and introspection, Michelle Bachmann and her posse are testing me. Big time. She believes that members of the Muslim Brotherhood have infiltrated the U.S. government -- and she's calling them out in public. In today's ballooning and increasingly influential social media landscape, sure sticks and stones can break bones, but a correctly phrased Google search can be even more devastating.
It's not that Americans aren't smart enough to know the bile spewed in super-PAC ads consists largely of lies. Surely they suspect Romney could care less about them, and his presidency would hinge solely on placating the so-called "one-percenters" who really run America; it's just there's something omnipotent about the way unlimited amounts of money slowly, steadily steer our thoughts and desires.
The good news is that, win or lose, President Obama has succeeded after decades of attempts in providing the type of healthcare the rest of the developed world provides. America's private-sector health experiment has failed abysmally and is on its way out. Governments outside the U.S. deliver medical care better and cheaper. The proof exists all over the world, except in the minds of partisans who would defend the indefensible.
Nobody is in a position to review David Frum's new novel, Patriots. You're either going to hate it for all the wrong reasons, or love it for all the wrong reasons. Set in D.C., the novel centres around Walter Schotzke, a likably louche trustafarian who is about to be swallowed whole by the populist right. Sound familiar? If so, it's because it is: Schotzke is no Frum, but there are clearly some autobiographical elements in this novel, thinly-veiled, and ready to deliver carnage to everything the ultra-right holds dear.