I haven't really commented much on Newfoundland politics recently. I don't know why. I guess after the drama of the US election, Newfoundland politics seems so pedestrian and small. Even the "cabinet shuffle" a few weeks ago was so small. I almost understand leaving Ross Wiseman staying in Health because they're going to keep him in there until the judicial report on the massive fuck-up with the cancer screenings get released. Then they'll hang him out to dry.
But leaving the obviously incompetent Joan Burke in Education? Please. And once again the staggeringly qualified Elizabeth Marshall gets excluded. And then there's the whole idea of the House of Assembly getting called into session at the end of November, essentially just in time for it to break for Christmas.
God, it's just such an annoying government. I've probably used this quote before, but one of my favourite assessments of Bill Clinton was when someone essentially said that the gap between the potential of Clinton and the reality of Clinton was where the real tragedy of his presidency his lay. I feel that almost every time I look at what Williams is doing in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Williams is a deeply smart man. And it's not so much that the rest of his cabinet is stupid - although I do wonder about a few of them - it's just that they aren't playing with the same number of marbles that Williams does.
And yet so much of his government is tied up in petty crap or vapid attempts to gain favour with the public. You're are 70% popularity levels, if you believe some polling - why not try and do what's right from time to time, even though it might not be the most popular thing in the world.
So where did this come from? This story about the province throwing a party next year about finally making it as a "have" province. Yes, now that we temporarily seem to have some money, all of which could be vanishing as oil prices plummet, lets waste a few million dollars on a party that is absolutely unnecessary except as an ego-stroke to the premier.
The party is symbolic all right. Not as a sign of Newfoundland's emergence on the national scene as a financially solvent entity. It's a sign that even in hard times, Newfoundland can still find a way to waste and fritter away money. And if you can't find better ways to spend that money, then you aren't trying very hard.
George W. Bush always argues (and prays) that history will be kind to his presidency and show that he was right on issues like Iraq. I think he's dreaming in technicolour on that one. I sometimes wonder how history will look at Williams premiership. Will he be the one to help turn the corner for Newfoundland and Labrador or will he be viewed as the one who frittered away a great window of opportunity for the province?
Time will tell. But I'd lean towards the latter and not the former right now.
1. Montreal (live) - Blue Rodeo
2. Lou Reed - The Little Willies
3. Scar tissue - Red Hot Chili Peppers
4. One world - Dire Straits
5. Dear John - Ryan Adams and the Cardinals