Conservatives in Canada are responding to Benjamin Netanyahu's victory this week with that special kind of vindicated, fervid glee they reserve for occasions where their deepest held convictions are proven right. The response is Ford-quality, ladies and gentlemen.
There are just too many things for the right to be excited about here. Bibi was written off by the Israeli establishment and pulled out the win anyway. Obama's day was pretty well ruined by the result. Netanyahu's sheer chutzpah, taking his election campaign to the floor of Congress, was entertaining. And then there's that other thing- the little bit about how the Israeli PM got his vote out. By terrifying them with the spectre of invading hordes.
And really: Is there a more bedrock conservative message than the one Netanyahu sent to voters? The message that says, "They mean us harm and want to take our stuff"?
Would that we in Canada, goes the unspoken wish amidst all this backslapping over an election on the other side of the planet, be able to speak so clearly, so truthfully, to this anxiety that everyone (and totally not just a tiny subset of conservatives, you guys) feels. Something like that was no doubt going through Larry Miller's mind when he bluntly told women who won't take off the niqab during a citizenship ceremony to stay they hell where they came from.
So-called moderates such as Christine Elliott can finesse this essential point as "socially compassionate fiscal conservatism" all they like, but what she's saying still isn't that far off. Despite her niceness, there's still the essential element of us vs. them. She may not believe the poor mean any harm, but the rich certainly can't go on paying for them forever.
Unfortunately, because these moderates are in a constant and futile struggle to keep themselves from making Larry Miller-style eruptions, they get into a state where they suppress everything they believe in favour of stuff other people said or thought of first. This is how you get a John Tory, and this is how the Christine Elliott campaign manages to go from criticizing Monte McNaughton for distracting from Liberal scandals to trying and failing to call out Patrick Brown on non-disclosure of donations in the space of a month.
They look like complete hypocrites, but the reality is a lot sadder: they can't even remember what they were thinking last month because they don't have any thoughts of their own. Rest assured, though, that underneath all the fear and confusion, a part of them will always be sympathetic to the Larry Millers and their keeping of the flame.
The tension between the confused and muddled moderates and the clear and unapologetic Principled Conservatives is an old story, but the point is moot. Canada is not Israel, and there is no group of radicalized minorities openly calling for the country's destruction anywhere to be found within our borders. As such, searching for a group of voters that will rush to the voting booths to protect "Canadian values" when they are deemed to be under attack is a little like searching for Bigfoot.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon conservatives of all shapes and sizes to get it through their heads that unless rockets are raining down upon Canadian cities the way they do upon Israeli cities, or unless the garbage isn't being picked up for weeks on end the way it was that fateful summer in Toronto, or unless women are being executed in broad daylight on Boxing Day, you're not going to get a positive response from the public at large when you tell women wearing a niqab during a citizenship ceremony to go back where they came from.
Now this does not mean that we will never get to a point where comments like Miller's enjoy widespread support. In the face of a possible Justin Trudeau government, continual decline of the provinces under Liberal-friendly regimes, and further "retributive" attacks by ISIS and their allies within Canada for the crime of just existing, the mood amongst Canadian voters will begin to resemble that of Israeli voters, and that of voters around the world who are tired of the insiders running the show at their expense.