Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Harper: Bush. Same ideology. Same manifesto.

Harper said some time ago he is offended when he is compared to George W. Bush. So, Stevie, get ready to be offended.

Liberal Oasis excerpts New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.
The blueprint for Bush-era governance was laid out in a January 2001 manifesto from the Heritage Foundation, titled "Taking Charge of Federal Personnel." The manifesto's message, in brief, was that the professional civil service should be regarded as the enemy of the new administration's conservative agenda. And there's no question that Heritage's thinking reflected that of many people on the Bush team.


The ostensible reason for politicizing and privatizing was to promote the conservative ideal of smaller, more efficient government. But the small-government rhetoric was never sincere: from Day 1, the administration set out to create a vast new patronage machine.

Those political appointees chosen for their loyalty, not their expertise, aren't very good at doing their proper jobs -- as all the world learned after Hurricane Katrina struck. But they have been very good at rewarding campaign contributors, from energy companies that benefit from lax regulation of pollution to pharmaceutical companies that got a Medicare program systematically designed to protect their profits.

Not unexpectedly, Harper also espouses smaller government, but did not hesitate to point out, before he was elected with a minority government, that he was not happy with the content of the civil service.

The reality is that we will have for some time to come a Liberal Senate, a Liberal civil service, at least senior levels have been appointed by the Liberals and courts that have been appointed by the Liberals
It was a slip that should have caused the media to howl. It was a direct insult to the Public Service Commission and it was a patent falsehood. But the media gave Harper a free ride through the 2005/2006 election campaign.

Then we get this little bit of information from last week.

The Conservative government is being accused of political cronyism after one of Stephen Harper's oldest and closest friends was named chief of staff to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane Finley.

John Weissenberger, a Calgary geologist who has assisted in several of Harper's election and leadership campaigns, was quietly appointed to the position recently.

Now, political patronage isn't new to Canadian politics, and every governing party can be accused of cronyism, but Harper has made loud announcements that his government will be different.

With or without the opposition, our government will introduce the following core ethic:

We will only keep positions that are necessary, and we will only appoint qualified people to those positions.
Really, and what are Weissenberger's qualifications?
Both Harper and Weissenberger were actively involved in the founding of the Reform Party in 1987. Weissenberger served as campaign chair when Harper was elected as a Reform MP in 1993, then as deputy manager in Harper's successful run for the leadership of the Canadian Alliance in 2001.
Why, they're best buddies. What other qualification is necessary?

If Harper finds it offensive to be compared to Bush perhaps he should stop emulating his behaviour and stop taking his cues from the Fraser Institute, the American Heritage Foundation and the likes of political swine like Frank Luntz. It's getting so obvious that even the Americans are starting to notice.

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