09 September 2006

Danny's dementia and Rowe's rants

From the Canadian Press version of a scrum yesterday comes little more than another occasion for Premier Danny Williams to repeat his cute little sound bite about the Prime Minister being a big buddy of Big Oil.

That's really the only substance in the set of comments.

A pre-planned little quip that someone in the Premier's publicity department likely spent a bit of timing inventing.

Communications Lite.

More cuteness, less filling.

It's the kind of stuff you'd expect from Paris Hilton, say or the publicist for some other vacuous tabloid tarnisher who is famous for, well, being famous. It's the kind of mental flatulence politicians - even most Newfoundland politicians - aren't known for.

Nope, lonely turbot fingernails are decidedly rare in the political rhetoric of a place where verbal ability is a keen indicator of intellectual capacity. The real joke in the Nissan Bonavista spot is that they had to put in subtitles so the mainlanders could keep track of the fast talk and obvious mental dexterity of the salesman. Consider him a modern day version of the guy jumping up and down on the manhole cover on Yonge Street and yelling "87!".

but I digress.

Toward the end of the CP piece is this quote from the Premier on how things might have been better back in April had Stephen Harper been involved:
The reality is that if he [Prime Minister Stephen Harper] could actually reach
a deal with these companies himself and deal with a lot of these things,
(Hebron) would be back on the rails.
Every Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador since Confederation has feverishly worked to keep the federal government's hands off what areas of provincial jurisdiction. Brian Peckford waged political war on Ottawa for almost a decade over just such an issue and offshore oil and gas before he lost in court and then secured the historic Atlantic Accord (1985).

Heck, Danny Williams only a short while ago was strutting around talking about being masters of our domain destiny and boasting of going it alone.

So, under the powers wrestled from Ottawa by Peckford, Danny Williams was locked into a mano-a-mano set of negotiations with Big Oil. He was doing what he claims to do best: negotiate toughly with Big Oil and others like it.

But now, Danny Williams claims that, what? He isn't a Great Negotiator? He is incapable of going it alone? He needs his Big Brother to back him up?

The thing about the line quoted above is that it is true. But it is true if the "he" is Danny Williams and not Steve Harper.

More importantly, though, what we see here is yet another example of Danny Williams trying to divert attention from the main issue - how he will get Hebron back on track using his own super powers - by picking a fight with Ottawa that really isn't a fight at all. What's worse, if Harper were to act on Williams' supposed desires, we would see Danny Williams with less revenue from the offshore than he gets or wants to get and considerably less control over development than he currently enjoys but denigrates and squanders.

Every provincial government - irrespective of political stripe - since 1985 has used the power flowing from the real Atlantic Accord to our collective benefit. If we took Williams at face value, we'd believe he was planning to toss it all aside.

But if we've learned anything, we've learned that the Premier's publicity department is good at the quips but not much else.

in the meantime, Williams is aided in his superficial political communications by a bevy of supporters, some organized, some apparently not. Like Bill Rowe, Williams' former personal envoy to Hy's and currently the host of an afternoon call-in show on the province's largest commercial radio broadcaster.

Rowe took exception to one caller yesterday and launched into an unwarranted personal attack on the caller who dared note - as we have noted - the shortcomings of the premier's position. Rowe's own biases, which are both personal and partisan, are becoming increasingly more obvious as we get closer to election time.

But like his former boss, Rowe tosses aside facts in favour of invention. For example, Rowe should know full-well that Clyde Wells' remarks were about the Hibernia deal, not the Atlantic Accord. But facts - including things Rowe himself participated in - are irrelevant. Rowe seems to model himself after television talk-show host Stephen Colbert , without grasping that Colbert is a parody .

So between a Premier who talks in hollow sound bites, renders observations about himself but attributes them to others and a radio call-in host who thinks wikiality is a viable basis for intelligent society, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are left wondering one thing:

When will Danny be hopping on couches?