"Meet Michael Ignatieff, likely the next Prime Minister of Canada. He enjoys Twittering, reading, writing and leading a nation of 33 million. His nickname is Iggy. All Hail Iggy!"
The above quote is courtesy of the New York site Gawker, fawning over the man they see as Canada's Samantha Power, a genocide expert, author and Obama adviser. They file their tribute under the handle, Canadawesome.
Really? That's totally embarrassing, Gawker!
The post, stripped of subtlety, plays off a New York Times article on Sunday saying much of the same thing.
Both overlook a good part of what Ignatieff has done outside his literary work, which is not much at all. For all the trumpeting about him being Obama-esque, or some outside-the-box thinker, hasn't Ignatieff been a standard, by-the-books Canadian politician thus far?
Regardless of who went to his wedding or what holiday party he throws, Ignatieff rarely says much of substance on the Canadian stage. His last foray into the battle of ideas was when he waded into the Iraq war debate, which he did not fare well in. (There was also the Israel war crimes comment, but it only took a few moments to retract that so it doesn't count.)
And for such a deep thinker, he hasn't had exceptional ideas for Canadian policy. None to upgrade the last budget. And none that have rivaled his predecessor's Green Shift, which, say what you will about its merits, was at least a new idea.
Also, to say he is like Obama in that he's "hip and 'with it'" is outside the realm of reality. His techno-advances are all the product of a computer-literate staff. His "man-about-town" status seems long ago evaporated. His ability to captivate is still unproven - he barely won a party leadership contest and has yet to light any fires with oratory skills.
And he's of another generation than Power, Obama and much of the United States' ruling class. He's even 12 years older than our current PM, who, by the way Gawker, was on Twitter first (and updates more frequently).
Even his choice of literary subjects seems ordinary, especially compared to Power. She documented an exceptional United Nations diplomat, Sérgio Vieira de Mello, who's story was little-known and cut short by violence in Iraq. Ignatieff documented an exceptional essayist, Isaiah Berlin, who is well-known and well-celebrated to the point where another biography is hardly necessary.
It's not even that Ignatieff is that objectionable. But that someone would write "All Hail Iggy!" with a straight face is next to infuriating.