COLUMN: Lilley – Harper vs. Obama

- September 14th, 2012

headshot with jacket 2It’s a no-brainer: Trade Harper for Obama? PM has the anointed one beat, hands down

by Brian Lilley

A few of my American friends have been asking lately if they can trade Barack Obama for Stephen Harper. Given polling on Obama’s popularity in Canada, most Canucks would likely take the deal but we’d be fools for doing so.

From his reaction on the turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa to his handling of the economy, Stephen Harper simply outshines Barack Obama whether Canadians realize it or not.

In an interview that aired on my television show Byline on Thursday night, Prime Minister Stephen Harper discussed issues with a calm maturity that Americans must hope Obama develops before he drives them and their economy over the cliff.

Canadians have never felt all warm and fuzzy about Stephen Harper to the same degree and in as great a number as they do about Barack Obama. Obama is cool, Harper is cold. Obama is slick, Harper is not. Obama is a soaring orator, Harper can give a good speech, but he’s never claimed he could heal the planet.

Yet for all of Obama’s coolness he is hardly a man of substance and that is where Harper has the anointed one beat, hands down.

Where Obama talks about fixing the U.S. economy, Harper has actually taken steps to strengthen Canada’s. The Canadian employment rate is 7.3% right now compared to 8.1% in the U.S., although as Harper himself and several economists have noted, if the Americans measured unemployment the same way we do they would be in the double digits.

I still argue the Harper government spends too much and should balance the budget sooner, a point on which Harper disagreed with me. “Our first objective is not balancing the budget, our first objective is to make sure the Canadian economy keeps growing,” Harper said.

Fair enough, that’s a point we could debate. What can’t be debated is that for all of Canada’s economic problems, the U.S. is much worse off. The U.S. federal government debt is worth more than the entire U.S. economy and neither Obama nor his allies in the Senate, which the Democrats control, have passed a budget in three years.

That’s not serious stuff.

Harper is also outshining Obama when it comes to foreign policy.

The Obama administration’s first reaction to the attack on their embassy in Cairo was to apologize for any hurt feelings Muslims may have had to a made-in-California movie with a negative portrayal of Mohammed.

Even after the White House backed away from that, Obama gave the idea that the riots sweeping the region are driven by a YouTube video few had seen, and he did so as he read a statement on the death of Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

Obama has been effusive about the so-called Arab Spring from the get-go and thought his good wishes could sweep away dictators and bring about liberal democracies in a region that has never experienced that form of government.

“One should be very cautious about our expectations,” Harper said Thursday. “Mob rule is not democracy and just because there is a popular overthrow of a dictator does not mean the next regime will be based on democratic norms.”

Comparing the two men based on their actions and not their words can only lead to the conclusion that when Harper and Obama meet, Harper is the adult in the room.

Trading Harper for Obama wouldn’t be good for Canada, but it might be good for the rest of the world.

Categories: Contributor Columns

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1 comment

  1. Jen says:

    OBAMA and the NDP are identical in politiccs and both have trained the media to do their biding without a question which to a point renders the reporters ignorant and useless. When all that is done, Obama ndp and for that matter liberals take the opportunity to do and say whatever they feel like knowing that the well trained puppet media are there to continue the job for them (ndp /libs)

    PM Stephen Harper and the CPC HAVE no media or reporters to carry their messages for them; they are all alone. How the CPC managed to survive to this date is only a MIRACLE.

    Do canadians know who and what the PM has done for Canada? Not likely which suits the opposition very well.
    Foreign medias know more of the PM intentions persistance for the love of Canada than most canadian reporters and medias do.

    Looking to other nations to hear some form of good news tells you that none of the media are trusted to deliver.

    The NDP intentions are to: Shut down the oilsands; put moratorium on incoming tankers carrying oil on every port ; the NDP plan to redistribute wealth regulate the media, institude the LFC long form census, and many more. the list goes on and on.
    So, it begs the question “why does the media give a darn which direction the economy is going the NDP are going to stop it or deter it to the point where Obama is doing to his own country-Protectionism. In which case I can’t see businesses flocking to Canada to have the profits ‘redistributed.

    You mentioned that Stephen Harper is cold while Obama is cool.
    Well for Obama to do what he did with the XL PIPELINE knowing full well that americans need job – IS COLD.
    PM Harper who took the bull by the horns to travel overseas to see what he can do to keep our Canada afloat is COOL and level headed.

    There is nothing funny to crack jokes when you know your country is going down like Obama is doing to the USA. USA is in a serious situation and everything possible to get the economy going is no brainer to accept the XL PIPELINE that will create thousand of jobs.

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