VITAL SIGNSrnPOLITICSrnBush’s Red Toryrnby Greg KazarnOnly Americans would take seriouslyrnthe idea that a foreign politicianrnwho presided over the demise of a oncedominantrnpolitical part should serve asrnthe model for a major U.S. presidentialrncandidate. If a German proposed thatrnthe ruling Social Democratic Partyrnshoidd follow former Soviet PremierrnMikhail Gorbachev, or an Italian suggestedrnthat the ruling Socialists shouldrntake advice from old French GommunistrnParty boss Georges Marchais, he wouldrnbe laughed out of his country. Gorbachev’rnpresided over the demise of arnworld superpower; under Marchais, thernFrench Reds, who once had the power tornbring down governments, have seenrnmuch of their working-class base defectrnto Jean Marie Le Pen, he of la droit terrible.rnNo serious observer in Berlin orrnRome, or in Moscow or Paris where theserntwo men are known best, would suggestrndigging up their political carcasses. Thisrnmakes Martin Brian Mulroney’s exhumationrnin Washington and the heartrnof Texas all the more curious, since Mulroneyrnpresided over the near-total destructionrnof the center-left ProgressivernConservative Part)’, which ruled Ganadarnas recently as 1993.rnCanada is the United States’ largestrntrading partner and shares with it thernlongest unprotected border in the world;rnyet even in major border towns like Detroit,rnthere is ver)’ little interest in the politicsrnof our neighbor to the north, save forrnan occasional reference to the U.S. StaternDepartment’s bete noire, francophonernseparatists who refuse to abandon the laternRene Levesque’s vision of independence.rnFor too many Americans, Ganadarnis a land of polar bears and lumberjacksrnwhose most famous exports arernHoll)’vood comedians, game-show hosts,rnand network news anchors.rnDespite the last export, the nation’srnpolitics are given short shrift by the Americanrnmedia. It is dangerous to make thesernobservations in politically correct mediarncircles where Canada’s alleged inferiorityrncomplex vis a vis the United States is accepted,rneven welcomed. It is easier whenrnyour mother is Canadian and your relativesrnstretch from Windsor to Montreal.rnFew Aniericans reniember Mulroney,rnwho will go down in history as the manrnlargely responsible for the utter annihilationrnof one of Canada’s great politicalrnparties of the 20th centvir’: the ProgressivernConservatives, aptly called “PCs” byrnright-wing critics. After winning the leadershiprnof the part)’ in 1983, Mulroney wasrnelected to a seat in Parliament. In the nationalrnelections of September 1984, hisrnpart}’ won one of the largest parliamentaryrnmajorities in Canadian histor)’. Butrnover the next eight years, Midroney eagerlyrnabandoned his conservative base,rnearning the sobriquet “Red Tory.” Increasinglyrnunpopular because of his repeatedrnsellouts, Mulronev announcedrnhis resignation early in 1993. In the ensuingrnfederal election, the ProgressivernGonserv’atives were left with a mere twornseats in Ottawa. The party has never recoveredrnfrom the Mulroney debacle: It isrnnow one of the smallest Canadian parties,rntrailing the ruling Liberals, the conservative-rnlibertarian Reform, and thernfrancophone separatist Bloc Quebecois.rnThe PCs suffered another setback lastrnyear when their leader, Jean Charest, arnRed Tory in the Mulroney tradition, defectedrnto the Quebec Liberals, only to bernsoundly thrashed in the ensuing provincialrnelection b’ Parti Quebecois leaderrnLucien Bouchard, who may well leadrnQuebec to independence.rnAt first glance, Mulroney appears arnstrange model for George W. Bush, thernson of former U.S. President GeorgernHerbert Walker Bush and a leading contenderrnfor the 2000 Republican presidentialrnnomination. Mulroney abandonedrnhis conservative base through a series ofrncompromises with the Liberal oppositionrn(for instance, his cheerleading for thernNorth American Free Trade Agreement);rnhe angered Canada’s English majorit)’rnby creating the impression that hernwas pandering to francophone Quebecrn(most prominendy with the Meech LakernAccord, whose failure dealt his premiershiprna serious blow). Upon closer inspection,rnhowever, the Mulroney-Bush alliancernmakes perfect sense.rnAs prime minister, Mulroney’s unapologeticrnpro-Americanism earned himrncriticism from both the Canadian leftrnand right. The left saw him as a flunky ofrnU.S. corporate interests; the right questionedrnhis price for sovereignty in acquiescingrnto Quebec. But what reallyrnpeeved Canadians, Lansing Lamontrnwrites in his book Breakup: The ComingrnEnd of Canada and the Stakes for America,rnwas Mulroney’srnself-applauding air. . . . He wasrnmarked as a name-dropping blarneyistrnwith a craving for approval, arnman of shallow intellectual depthrnwith a vindictive streak when itrncame to dealing with associatesrnwho were not up to snuff. .. .rnRighdy or wrongly, Canadians mayrnhave sensed in Mulroney a manrnwhose first-rate ambitions andrnachievements could never quiternovercome the second rate in hisrncharacter and personalit)’. Instinctively,rnsome may have suspectedrnthat in American politics Mulroneyrnwoidd have become at best a colorfulrnSenate committee chairman,rnbehind the scenes an artful logrollerrnand after-hours raconteur.rnLike his friend George Bush, hernepitomized the triumph of perseverancernover talent.rnMulroney became almost a fixture atrnthe White House, where he provided arncontrast to his predecessor, the debonairrnPierre Elliott Trudeau, who was snobbishrntoward Americans in general and especiallyrntoward a succession of Presidentsrnhe considered his intellectual inferiors.rnRonald Reagan bareh’ tolerated Trudeau,rnand the gap in U.S.-Canadian relationsrnwidened during his administration.rnIn fact, both were nationalists: Trudeau,rndetermined to steer Canada along itsrnown path, independent of the UnitedrnStates on the world stage; Reagan, just asrninsistent that America “stand tall” againrnin the world. But as soon as Trudeau andrnthe Liberals were replaced with Mulroney,rnrelations improved dramatically.rnDuring Bush’s presidency, Mulroneyrnand his family became regular guests atrnthe President’s summer residence inrnKennebunkport, Maine. Lamont writes:rnThe two leaders conversed frequentlyrnon the phone, and Mul-rnAUGUST 1999/45rnrnrn