As I study Liberals more and more, I am beginning to see the crucial difference between us and them. And it is this: The Liberals are a cult. We are not.
Yesterday, Dwight Duncan announced that he was going to cut a whole bunch of infrastructure cash that had previously been assigned to vague and nebulous causes. We don't know as of yet what these cuts will affect. This marks a continuing pattern of rightward motion for the Liberals, and I am not opposed to it.
What I am opposed to, however, is the notion that if Tim Hudak had told people he wanted to cut a bunch of infrastructure cash without saying what specifically, down to the tiniest detail, he wanted to cut, the Liberals would have lost their minds. We know this because they have done so already. And had Tim Hudak been specific down to the last detail, well, the Liberals would have lost their minds then, too.
Critically, the difference between Duncan's soon to be real cuts and Hudak's desired cuts is that Liberal cuts are done "with compassion." Yes, I know that explanation is shoot-yourself-in-the-head ridiculous, but people like pollster Nik Nanos are buying it.
Do these people (and the people of Ontario.....but we'll get to the voters later) not remember how big of a problem it was for them that Hudak announced a platform last year that didn't give specifics on what he wanted to cut? I'm not buying the explanation that it was a long time ago, because last week they were bothering Hudak for not being specific enough about how much additional money he wanted to commit to subways.
I wrote this week about Liberal MPP Kim Craitor who, for whatever reason, feels like he has to be the one guy who distances himself on a regular basis from whatever Dalton's doing today. He is doing this because what Dalton is doing is not popular and not liked. There are people who are mad about wind turbines and the fact that horse racing slots are closing and that the province is broke. But not even Craitor has gone so far as to criticize Dalton personally for his decisions. And even during the dark days of 2010-2011, at the lowest point the Liberals have been in forever, I could barely find one example of any Liberals being publicly critical of their leader.
Hilariously, the Liberals are the ones who mock us for being a cult. We respect Stephen Harper and Rob Ford for decisively beating Liberals. But we criticize these men and their mistakes frequently. We debate who is a principled conservative and who isn't, while the Liberals will take anyone from former NDP premiers to disaffected Red Tories.
We knew that Dion and Ignatieff were losers. George Smitherman's mayoral campaign was publicly and obviously in trouble from the very beginning. The Liberals knew they were losers. But did the rank and file say so publicly? No way. Bob Rae was supposed to be an interim leader. Is he going to be permanent leader now? Does the Liberal rank and file have anything to say about that? Nope. They're preoccupied with robocalls and a campaign in Toronto-Danforth that has little if any chance of succeeding.
Here's the guy they found to carry the Liberal banner in Toronto Danforth. When asked why he's doing this, he starts throwing out hockey metaphors because he can't answer the question directly. He can't answer the question directly because he's never had to think about why he supports the Liberals. Supporting the Liberals is just what he does. It's as natural as coaching hockey or breathing. His mind is an undisturbed clear lake of The Liberal Party Is Awesome. This is not a candidate. This is a cult member.
So, too, with Dalton and his merry band. Dalton McGuinty is a man whose deep and abiding faith in the Liberal Party comes from being born and raised in a Liberal family. He does not have the critical capacity to understand why his ideas make people angry. And if someone like Craitor finally loses his seat in the next election, that doesn't bother Dalton at all, because he isn't capable of understanding why it happened. There is a lot in common with this approach and Rick Santorum home schooling his children. But only Rick Santorum gets criticized for being willfully ignorant.
I can understand why Dalton and his people are this way. But I don't understand why the people of Ontario will not admit this contradiction. Either it has not been communicated to them, or they are deliberately blocking it out of their minds, and Harris is just a convenient excuse.
If the latter is true, then it is a waste of time to argue with these people and it is a waste of time to consider their viewpoints. You cannot argue with a member of a cult. And that is why Tim Hudak shouldn't bother trying to win them over and be content with a 40% majority. Which, according to some polls, he already has.
The question is whether Tim Hudak and his campaign team will or will not be scared off, as they were back in October, by the actions of a few zealots.