Those of us who are old enough to remember recall that one of Richard Nixon's pet -- and pat -- phrases was "perfectly clear." And, therefore, it is particularly ironic that Stephen Harper -- who appears more Nixonian with each passing day -- has adopted that phrase. As evidence, I offer the above clip.
But, Jordan Himmelfarb writes, the more Harper claims to be "clear," the more opaque he gets. That was particularly true during question period last week -- when Harper chose to show up:
Asked by Mulcair last week how many times a day he speaks to his chief of staff, Harper claimed not to understand the question. Asked whether a particular aide was privy to particular discussions, he responded with a non-sequitur: “Once again … the facts here are very clear. Mr. Wright decided to take an action on his own initiative, using his own funds. These actions are his sole responsibility.” It’s bad enough that the prime minister is once again erecting a stone wall; that he claims the wall is clear insults our intelligence.
If one is searching for clarity, the place to begin is with Harper's record:
Harper came to power in the wake of the Liberal sponsorship scandal promising a new era of openness and accountability in Ottawa. But at every turn – in his cold-shouldering of the press, his ongoing recalcitrance with the Parliamentary Budget Officer, his muzzling of scientists and other public servants, and his abuses of parliamentary procedure – he has demonstrated the emptiness of those promises.
Like Nixon, Harper is a morose, suspicious man who sees enemies everywhere he looks. His gut instinct is to build a wall between himself and those he feels are out to get him -- and that's pretty much everybody. Like Nixon, he is wreaking havoc in government.
That's what's perfectly clear.