Worthwhile Canadian Article


The Canadian-owned TNR has the scoop on the Canadian scandal that torpedoed Barack Obama in Ohio. Sort of. Well, not really.

Did [Canadian PM Stephen] Harper or his team try to meddle in the Ohio primary for political or ideological reasons? We will likely never know unless something like a smoking gun is produced–an e-mail or phone record that categorically links Brodie to Goolsbee, et al.

Michael Blanchfield is not in possession of said gun or said smoke. The strongest evidence he has is hearsay.

Harper called the leak regrettable and "blatantly unfair" to Obama's campaign, and has promised a full internal investigation to find the source. But his attempts to distance himself and his office aren't ringing true to some. As one opposition Liberal MP correctly noted, leaks from the Harper government are rare. It is well known that Harper's office keeps cabinet ministers–not to mention diplomats abroad–on a tight leash. These days, even the most seasoned of former diplomats check with Ottawa before talking to the media.

The strongest evidence I have is hearsay, too, so here it goes: some Canadian conservatives are friendly with some American Republican operatives. Before the 2006 election when the Tories finally took back power, Ralph Reed was one of several Americans of the rightward persuasion who advised the party. In 2007 I hung out at CPAC with some Canadian conservatives and a friend of theirs who had done some political work in the country: Frank Sensenbrenner, son of Wisconsin Rep. James Sensenbrenner. American political consultants (like Dick Morris) do work in Mexico, too, and American consultants probably swung the 2006 Mexican election away from the left-wing, pro-Chavez candidate. But let's look at the substance and tamp down the outrage. On the substance, Ezra Klein is right:

On the one hand, both the Clinton and the Obama campaigns were playing Ohioans, pretending to be viciously opposed to NAFTA even as they've no intention of seriously changing the agreement.

For that reason I wasn't too sad about Obama's doubletalk on trade being revealed, and I will be doubleplus-unsad if it's revealed that Hillary "My husband signed NAFTA when we were co-presidents but I was secretly against it!" Clinton was blowing smoke on this, too.