La Presse has the scoop this morning on what Julie Couillard is going to say in her book due out on Monday. Essentially, she says Maxime Bernier is an arrogant, womanizing SOB who badmouths his party leader and his constituents behind their backs and whose primary concern is himself.
I’m trying to contain my shock. I mean, a politician who’s self-obsessed and hides his true feelings from the public? What is this world coming to?
Of course, I’m willing to trust these claims about as much as I am Bernier’s denials. The fact that she’s releasing such a book in the first place (and has moved the publication date back a week to have more of an impact before the election) shows quite a bit about her character.
But if we assume that what she says in the book is true, does that make Bernier a horrible person? Concluding that sovereignty is inevitable and saying your prime minister is too fat are clearly offenses worthy of expulsion, and badmouthing your own constituents is usually political suicide. But I find it hard to imagine any politician not doing these things on a regular basis.
Do we really think that Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae aren’t trash-talking Stéphane Dion in private? Or that Gilles Duceppe thinks he can win 75 seats in this election? Or that Jack Layton doesn’t think Alberta Conservatives are stupid? Or that John McCain and Barack Obama are really as religious as they let on?
There were a couple of scenes in the West Wing’s last two seasons in which presidential candidates said that voters are asking to be lied to when they put their politicians up to such unrealistic standards.
So, in the end, should the most successful politicians simply be those who are better at concealing their private thoughts and keeping their lies going?
I think that’s a scarier thought than a minister leaving confidential papers at the home of a biker chick.