Grits want Ignatieff to be Obama's newest best friend
Now that George W Bush has been out of office for three months, the Liberal party has realized they need a better electoral strategy against Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative party than "Bush's best friend".
So the Grits have dreamed up an alternative: "Michael Ignatieff is Barack Obama's best friend".
On Wednesday Ignatieff will have a dinner meeting with Richard Holbrooke, Obama's Afghanistan policy advisor.
Liberal party insiders have reportedly been scrambling to spread the good word on the meeting, and portray it as demonstration that Obama would prefer Ignatieff as Prime Minister.
"Michael Ignatieff is not even prime minister and already the Obama team is reaching out to him for his expertise and because they believe he will be Canada's next prime minister," said an unidentified Liberal.
"This shows how highly regarded Michael Ignatieff is to leading figures in the Obama administration," says another unidentified Liberal.
This tactic is likely meant to remind Canadians of the role John F Kennedy played in the political rivalry between John Diefenbaker and Lester Pearson. Kennedy actively sought ways to help Pearson defeat Diefenbaker, whom Kennedy didn't particularly care for -- and the feeling was mutual.
During the 1960s, it was Kennedy who sought to interfere with Canadian politics. This time it's the Liberals who are attempting to drag an American President into Canadian politics, and make it appear as if he's taking partisan sides while he's doing it. It's a common act of Liberal cross-border partisan parochialism, one with particularly hypocritical undertones.
If the Conservative party were making themselves this cozy with an American President, the Liberals would howl bloody murder over it. In fact, they have before.
Even more comical are Liberal claims that Canada has allowed itself to be neglected in the formation of policy on Afghanistan.
"Canada's voice has been muted. We should not simply be a repeat of the US," said another Liberal insider. "We have paid the largest price in the percentage of soldiers killed and we are significant aid donor. We should make sure we have a say in the war against terrorism and the mounting challenge in Pakistan."
Of course this ignores the fact that Canada has been very active in settling multilateral -- not merely bilateral -- policy on Afghanistan, especially through NATO.
This all points to an evident lack of imagination in the Liberal party's strategy. At the earliest opportunity, they'll envoke Obama and one can expect that they'll do it as often as they can.