As a Canadian, I am fully aware of how presumably rational and literate people can elect utter poltroons, nullities, and incompetents to political office. The Liberal prime minister from 1921-1930 and 1935-1948, William Lyon Mackenzie King, thought Hitler “might become one of the saviors of the world” and that “Kristallnacht might turn out to be a blessing.” When he was not busy turning away Jewish-German refugees from our shores, he was regularly communing with the spirits of his departed mother, Leonardo da Vinci, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and his beloved Irish Terriers (all, with the exception of one, named Pat). As poet Frank Scott wrote in a piece titled “W.L.M.K.,” “Let us raise a temple/To the cult of mediocrity.”
Naturally, we didn’t stop there. We put Liberal Pierre Trudeau into the PM’s seat largely because he seemed “cool” and wore sandals; Trudeau then proceeded to massively inflate the national debt, impoverish (and estrange) the oil-producing province of Alberta with an energy tax grab, clumsily attempt to repatriate the Constitution thus abetting the secessionist impetus in Quebec, and cozy up to Fidel Castro. Conservative PM Joe Clark couldn’t count properly and saw his government defeated during a crucial vote for lack of a sufficient number of members in the House. Conservative Brian Mulroney suffered from poor judgment in his choice of colleagues and a tendency to insouciant avarice that later landed him in hot water. Liberal Jean Chrétien, who liked to style himself as “the little guy from Shawinigan,” was really a cunning ignoramus who knew how to feather his nest and cling to power but nearly lost the country during the great referendum debate of 1995. Liberal Paul Martin couldn’t stop waving his arms during campaign speeches like a puppet gone berserk and pulverized the country with his numbingly repeated “Let me be clear,” which he rarely was. He lasted two years and change. (Interesting material can be gleaned from Canadian historian Michael Bliss’ Right Honourable Men.)
I have also bemusedly observed a succession of American presidents whom I would have been loath to invite to my supper table. One had to resign for approving a raid on rival headquarters. One thought we were about to enter a “new world order,” betokening his complete ignorance of history and human psychology. Another seemed to believe that the Oval Office was meant to double as a bordello, a man plainly devoid of moral standards but adroit at the practice of “triangulation.” This is the same man who signed the Motor-Voter bill into law that clogged the voter rolls with ineligibles, leading to gross ballot fraud and fostering still more ACORN corruption. His Republican successor succumbed to the drag-effect of his inept subordinates, stoked the national deficit, believed democracy was synonymous with elections and could be exported to cultures with no historical ground in which democratic principles could reliably take root, and during his second term turned his administration into a holding company for the Democrats.
Some PJM readers might ask themselves why a Canadian is so preoccupied with American politics. For one thing, America, as we used to say back when, is “where it’s happening,” for how America goes, so goes the world. Additionally, the immediate political and economic fate of my country is ineluctably tied to that of the U.S. We have the same enemies, our militaries are integrated through NORAD, we share the longest undefended border in the world, we buy property, visit, and vacation in one another’s lands, and of course, under the provisions of NAFTA, the U.S. is Canada’s largest trading partner. If America implodes, we go down the tubes with it.
Thus I pay close attention to the American political scene, which is always fascinating and always instructive, a bellwether for the future. This will explain why I have grown increasingly distraught when I consider what the American people inflicted upon themselves (and the rest of us) by electing a president on a dream and a catchphrase — a man with a dubious leftist background, with no relevant experience apart from serving two years as a junior senator, with little in the way of detectable credentials, boasting a CV with major areas blacked out, who enjoyed the mentorship of impenitent America haters, and who promised to “fundamentally transform” a country that didn’t need to be transformed, only responsibly governed.
The current American president is arguably the gravest mistake the American electorate has ever made and one it may not survive intact. It will inevitably come to regret its decision. This is not the place to run through the chronicle of Obama’s blunders, backslidings, broken promises, outright lying, despotic tendencies, shallow education, historical falsifications, ludicrous policies, betrayal of allies, and economic bungling (assuming this is not deliberate) — the record is accessible in all its details to anyone who wishes to consult it. What strikes me as most ominous, however, is that the American people have elected a president for whom the critical battleground in the world is not the Middle East or Iraq or Iran or even Afghanistan. For this president, the war he is declaring is to be fought right here on American soil against a late-awakened majority of his own countrymen, on whom he wishes to impose a political structure alien to their history, culture, economy, and feeling of exceptionalism. This is a president who is foisting a radical, far-left agenda on a center-right country and who will not be deterred from ramming his project into existence.