A former spokesman for George W. Bush received a second sole-source contract from the Prime Minister's Office for American communications advice, according to filings with the U.S. Justice Department. Ari Fleischer was hired for a month last spring to help Stephen Harper receive American media exposure in advance of a critical G20 summit in London. But a second communications contract with the PMO, worth the same amout ($24,500) as the first, was paid out to Fleischer on Sept. 28. "Mr. Fleischer provided the government with services that helped Canada get its message out in a time of global financial crisis, where Canada had a good story to tell," Andrew MacDougall, a spokesman in the Prime Minister's Office, said Wednesday. No details of the additional work were provided in Fleischer's latest filing under the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act, which is date-stamped Dec. 15, 2009.So the PMO hired the former spokesman for the president whose party was just royally bounced from office and shredded by his successor, to assist in communications with Americans? Right. Oh wait, I see the PMO only meant some Americans (and one Aussie):
Fleischer's role, said the source, was as "somebody who knows how to get your voice heard."
Followup information on the original G20 contract, provided by Fleischer in his filings to the Justice Department, sheds new light on his activities on behalf of Harper. Canadian journalists might aspire to have the kind of access provided for conservative American opinion-leaders — eight of whom enjoyed dinner with Harper in Washington on March 29, 2009, at the invitation of Fleischer. The guest list included newspaper columnists Charles Krauthammer, David Frum, Peggy Noonan, David Brooks and Anne Applebaum, senior editors Fred Barnes and William Kristol, and conservative syndicated talk-radio host Laura Ingraham. The following day, Fleischer arranged a lunch meeting between Harper and the president of Fox News Channel, Roger Ailes, and with media mogul Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. owns Fox.So, if I am reading this correctly, the PMO paid Ari a whack of tax payer dollars so Harper could hang-out with the propagandamongers of the side that LOST the last US election?
But it really isn't so funny. It shows you that modern Conservatives can't ever appeal to group big enough to let them achieve any more than temporary power. They are not even interested in venturing out of their own echo chamber. They therefore must, by default, force themselves on the majority. They preach a good line about small government, which works when they're not in government. But the moment they are, their social ideology is so unpalatable by the majority, they must grow incrementally dictatorial if they are ever to survive long enough to implement substantive policy changes. They simply cannot win an honest election because they cannot relate to the majority. Especially now.
This is why the Harpercons only speak to their base, and why they only speak to the US equivelent of their base. It is also why they don't even attempt to conform to parliamentary norms and procedures, because if they did, they would not survive. Twice now, we've had situations where their hold on power was threatened through proper functioning of parliament, and twice now, they've shut it down. Whatever majority they got in a fair election would be slim and tenuous. To keep power, they would have to completely subvert the spirit of free elections and democracy. They would h a v e t o invoke measures like defunding the opposition, gerrymandering ridings, or much worse. Or their own policy reforms would destroy them.
It is absolutely critical that they be stopped this early on, while we still have legitimate democratic means to do so.