What does Laureen watch?
A slow newsday and the usual media obsession with "inside baseball" conspired to give us today's story that Stephen Harper mostly watches U.S., not Canadian news on TV.
Asked to elaborate on his offhand acknowledgement in a speech, Harper later professed himself to be a political junkie who'd rather watch what's going on stateside than reports about himself and his own government. Apart from a celebrated cameo with Rick Mercer, Harper's not much for Canadian TV.
All to the good, one would think. In my own 40 years as a political junkie, I've not before seen a U.S. president and Congress working so quickly on so many milestone issues as the drama unfolding down there this year. Canada's interests are at stake in most of the big issues America's national leadership finally is tackling, including the climate-change, healthcare-overhaul and financial-markets-reform proposals making their way through the hugely complex U.S. political system. And obviously there's Obama's rethink of strategy in Afghanistan, where we have 2,700 troops.
Meanwhile, I'm sad both that Gary Doer has retired as Manitoba premier and that I cannot remember his successor's name. Relatively speaking, it's mostly quiet in the Great White North these days. A PM needs to know what's up with our only neighbour. Trudeau, and Canada, suffered for PET's near-total lack of interest in American culture and politics.
Pearson may have overdone it, influenced by his passion for major-league baseball. In an early encounter with JFK at the White House, a well-briefed Kennedy tested Mike on current team standings, batting averages, pitching stats and the like. Pearson was assessing the starting line-up of the Dodgers when Kennedy finally cut him off, turned to an aide and said: "Okay, he'll do."
Today's revelation does take a tiny bit of the wind out of the Tories' sails on mocking Iggy as a Canuck-come-lately.
Here's the part that will disturb my sleep, though. The Star asked Bob Rae about his viewing habits:
Rae confessed he "always" watched TV news, even in his darkest days as Ontario's NDP premier in the last recession. "I also read the newspaper." Still does.
"Look at the colour of my hair. Of course, I still read it."
So there it is. Either dead-tree media appeal mostly to white-hairs, not your average marketers' favourite demographic, or one's hair turns white from reading a lifetime's worth of newspapers. Score one for cyberspace.
Photo above: Lester Pearson and John F. Kennedy at Hyannisport, Mass. in 1963. Courtesy John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.