Jean Chretien: you cant take the politician out of the man

Please note, these comments are based on the televised interview, not the uncut one that can be found on The Hour’s website.

I liked this interview for many reasons. for instance, jean chretien’s personality: he was funny, he said what he wanted to say, he was confident and commanding, he is the epitome of a “politician.”

His personality and humour made the interview easy going and enjoyable. He listened in those “Prime Minister 101 classes.” I *almost* started to think that politicians are capable of being human… (a glimpse in to my bias, maybe?**)

I suppose it was easy for him to say what he wanted to say, construct history as he rememebers it, since his term has passed. There are a million more questions that i would have like to have seen asked… maybe i’ll find what i want in the uncut version.

As for Chretien being confident and commanding,  it is clear that he has played the game so long that the controlling of interviews and evading of questions just comes naturally at this point (even if he doesn’t have an agenda beyond “please like me and buy my book”). He is very good at it! It may be just a personal quirk, but answering a question with the word”but..” and proceeding actually provides the answerer with a lot of control. He made you think that he was a) gonna answer the question, b) gonna say something opposing to what we assumed he would say (thus keeping us paying attention) c) allowed him to steer the conversation whereever he wanted… and he did it so smoothly!

Chretien also cut george’s questions off before they were complete, which allowed him to talk about the suggested issue without being limited by a question. Good tool.

By the way, it worries me when a politician has no regrets… to me that just translates as not wanting to acknowledge where they fucked up.

I find that politicians tend to use the “well my term was almost up, but we were working on something..” excuse for their failings.. or in chretien’s case (when talking about Kyoto), he signed it knowing that he wouldnt be around to deal with it. i know being prime minister is a time-limited deal, but what a way to brush off responsibility! i suppose this is just as much a failing of our system, but id rather blame a human (or a semi-human parading as a politician)…

**note that i don’t like any politicians.


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