Sunday, February 22, 2009

Contrast In Styles

Peter Mansbridge interviews President Obama. Image credit: Canadian Broadcast Corp..

While searching for something else, I happened on an interview of Peter Mansbridge by David Shuster on Shuster's 1600 Pennsylvania from last Thursday. Mansbridge is a veteran news correspondent with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. His memory of U.S. Presidents, I dare say, goes back at least as long as mine. Here's what he had to say about interviewing President Obama earlier this week about issues between the U.S. and Canada:

SHUSTER: Peter, how well did President Obama seem to articulate some of these key issues for Canadians?

MANSBRIDGE: It was pretty impressive. You know, David, when you consider how much traveling he‘s doing and has been doing in the last 10 days, first selling the stimulus package and then signing it, when I talked to him in the White House on Tuesday, he was just about ready to head out west to sign the bill, yet he was totally up to speed on the issues that Canadians worry about.

You know, those interviews, as you know, they‘re not long, 10, 12 minutes. But I tried to make some headway on all the fronts—NAFTA, the stimulus package, the “Buy America” clause, which is a great deal of concern here, energy issues, the environment. And he knew the Canadian position on all of them and articulated not only Canada‘s position, but obviously where there was a fine line of difference between that and the American position.

So it was pretty impressive. You know, we‘re not always used to seeing that from an American president, and especially lately. We haven‘t seen that before Barack Obama, but we‘ve seen it this week.

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for Thursday, February 19

[emphasis mine]

Ouch. What I get from this is that Obama was impressive in his own right, but what was really impressive was the contrast with his predecessor. Guess the old "alpha male" act wasn't playing so well north of the border, was it? Read the rest of that discussion between Shuster and Mansbridge, and I think you'll get the impression that Stephen Harper, Canada's Conservative Prime Minister, was getting along better with Obama than he had with Goerge W. Bush.

I doubt that I'll ever be really happy about Obama as President, but I'm happy that we at least have someone in the White House who can understand and talk with other countries.


Dana Hunter said...

Every time I get ready to nit-pick him over something, he goes and does something that makes me proud. Damn it. Still, the boy is due in the woodshed if his DOJ's positions on certain aspects of Bush-era policy don't change.

It doesn't matter that he's doing extraordinarily well in so many respects - although it makes it harder to stay mad at him. Sigh.

All I can say is, he'd be an impressive statesman in his own right. When you contrast him with Bush, well, put it like this: you're happy enough to get a million dollars. If you get a million dollars after getting robbed blind, you're exponentially more grateful for it.

Today's captcha is interesting: imagoman. Hmm. That's actually kinda neat...

Cujo359 said...

Sad to say, what I'm worried about (which is what you're mentioning, I think) isn't nit-picking. We need our government to respect the rules it's meant to follow, and we need it now. If only Bush pulls this crap, it's an aberration. If Obama pulls it too, it's a tradition.

One Fly said...

People like him because he has a brain and can articulate his thoughts and ideas in complete sentances.

Cujo359 said...

We really are living in an age of diminished expectations, aren't we, One Fly?

One Fly said...

I believe that but anything else I'll have to see it before I believe it. Yes we are.