Thursday, April 9, 2015

Tempest In A Teapot

This is a throw down. A show down. Hell no, we can't slow down.

The departure of Monte McNaughton from the PCPO leadership race has set the stage for the final battle between Red and Blue Tories over the soul of the party.

And rest assured, my friends, it is going to be epic. Nobody needs to pretend to be nice to anyone else to try and pick up second ballot votes anymore. From today until the end, it is open war.

We haven't had a good old bloody civil war since Norm Sterling got booted from his riding back in 2011, and even that was just a microcosm of the festering, boiling hatred that exists between these two camps. Attempts by the party to prevent a province-wide outbreak are going to fail hilariously, because they are currently scrambling to figure out how to keep Patrick Brown and his increasingly radical band of malcontents from completing their hostile takeover. Getting the bad blood out is going to be a nice bit of stress relief, if not an exercise in image management.

Liberals, get your popcorn and your lawn chairs ready.

If you need a recap of what's at stake here, you clearly haven't been paying attention, but I'll do so anyway. In one corner stands the reserved and dignified Christine Elliott, in whose mouth butter would not melt. Not for her the aggressive, frat-boy posturing of those pretenders without the royal jelly who have been smashing the party to bits with their tomfoolery ever since that uncouth cad Mike Harris destroyed the PC standing in dear old Toronto. Yea and verily, she represents the majesty of a bygone age, the golden epoch of Bill Davis, where ne'er there was any of the "divisiveness" that plagues us in these dark times.

In the other stands the peacocking, marathon-running, short-dude-overcompensating Patrick Brown, who has assembled a collection of business leaders, former sports stars, social conservatives, and second and third generation Canadians all united by anger over the contemptuous way they've been treated by the old guard. Considerations such as whether Mr. Brown has a seat in Queen's Park or not or whether he has something resembling a plan for the province have taken a back seat to promising that he'll rip the guts out of the party, which might cause the progressive coalition that's stomped the PC's in the past few elections to shrink in terror, or it might just cause them to burst out laughing.

If we are to go by Christine's latest press release, however, Patrick's presumptuous politicking has not deterred her resolve, but rather put her in She Stoops To Conquer mode as she stoops to the kind of rhetoric that made Kathleen Wynne the Premier she is today, using words like "ideology", "rejection", "modern and inclusive", "outdated", and of course, "the politics of division." No more of the limp Big Blue Tent nonsense for Christine- if you support Patrick, you're responsible for the inevitable fifth election loss, plain and simple.

Now I'm going to make the same point I've been making since this thing began. While the difference between Red and Blue is crucially important for the 30 some odd percent of people who can be counted on to actually show up and vote for a conservative party, the rest of the world doesn't care. They see no daylight between Christine Elliott and Patrick Brown. The fact that the PC Party doesn't understand this will sink them a lot faster than Christine's brittleness or Patrick's obnoxiousness.

As far as the voting public are concerned, both want to destroy the public sector and cut 100,000 jobs and deport foreign workers and implement chain gangs and fund faith based schools and take Ontario backward, not forward. Both of them are Mike Harris. Both of them are going to be accused of having hidden agendas and be blamed for Walkerton and Ipperwash and the 407. Christine Elliott will try and fail to convince Ontarians that this isn't so. Patrick Brown will act as though it doesn't matter.

Neither of these responses are inspiring, but of the two, at least Brown doesn't try to pretend he's something that he isn't. We may very well lose the next election with him in charge, but at least he isn't peeing on the legs of the voters and telling them that it's raining. So there's your "endorsement", for what it's worth.

For my part, I'm not voting for either of these two, and I want their "social media" teams to take notice. I, and lots of other people who would be otherwise interested, am going to put my feet up and watch this sucker burn, and my conscience over the next few years is going to be as clean as a whistle.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Move Along, Nothing To See

So, everyone knows that there have been "shocking" "new" "revelations" from the father of Darcy Allan Sheppard that former OLP Attorney General Michael Bryant "killed" "his" "son", right? (Not sure how many quotation marks I need to avoid being sued here, so I figured better safe than sorry.)

Pretty much deafening silence from the right. PCPO, where are you? Hello?

No, on second thought, don't bother. This is perfectly consistent with everything we've seen before. Under no circumstances is this going to turn into a Dudley George situation, or even a Walkerton situation, no matter how hard the PCPO pushes, so they might as well save their energy. Just put it on the "growing list of scandals" that nobody reads and let it gather dust.

When ex-OLP cabmins are getting away with stuff like this, it's time to really, really stop blaming failures in leadership or messaging for election losses. The truth of the matter is, the voters are willing to let basically anything slide so long as they don't see another conservative government in Ontario.

So can we please, please stop pretending as though it makes a difference who leads the party, or how? We might as well just embrace the crazy, since the public isn't going to give us the benefit of the doubt either way.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The New Rules

It's been said that a conservative is a liberal who was mugged by reality. Sometimes the liberal is too smug and arrogant to realize that he or she is now a conservative and it takes a few days to register, but them's the breaks in the new hierarchy of speech.

The right wing had better prepare for an influx of big-name liberal refugees who found out the hard way that they're not wanted anymore because they said the wrong stuff, and for the accompanying coma-inducing debate over whether we should water down the bloodline by granting these fops asylum.

The latest excommunique is the perpetually self-satisfied Bill Maher, who fell off the left-wing wagon in a big way this week when he felt that he just had to compare a former member of One Direction to the Boston Marathon bomber.

I never liked Maher, but I do feel a twinge of sympathy- not because I agree with the joke, which isn't funny- but because poor Bill has spent so much time getting smoke blown up his various orifices for being so bold as to make fun of conservatives, Christians, and conservative Christians in his own "unique" way that it's almost hard to blame him for being confused for thinking he did anything wrong here.

This is the guy who proved conclusively that it is possible to make a movie showing how dumb religious people are, call it "Religulous," get massively paid, and then continue to do this same routine for years while still getting massively paid. Poor bastard was never going to see it coming, was he?

Snarkoid lefty comedians like Maher, whose stock in trade is insulting people, are always the first people to unwittingly topple into the widening abyss of stuff you can't say. It happened to Dennis Miller. It happened to Stephen Colbert. It happened to Joan Rivers.

It's already trite to defend Maher's right to be offensive or to weigh in on whether the joke was racist or not racist. There's a bigger issue here, and that's that tired old white lefties like Maher honest-to-God believe that their progressive leanings are going to give them the same sort of free pass to say the kind of offensive stuff that Trevor Noah got away with.

Witness the spectacle of Patton Oswalt, for example, thinking that he's defending Noah by mocking people who are overly sensitive to "problematic humour", while also considering that Mr. Oswalt is a chubby middle aged white dude with a resemblance to Rob Ford who is guilty of dabbling in the saturated-in-whiteness nerd humour which is on the fast track to becoming "problematic" in its own right and you've got another one of these debacles waiting to happen. I give it five years before Oswalt misspeaks or misTweets and has to turn in his lefty card just like Maher did, and that's being charitable.

They are always horrified to find that the weapons they constructed to attack the privileged are now being used against them. Now it is Trevor Noah who gets a free pass while Bill Maher doesn't, but Mr. Noah has other strikes against him: He is a man, and he is straight, and as such his presence as the new Daily Show host is keeping women and non-straight people off TV, so you had damn well better believe that his time is coming. "First they came for the cisgendered white dudes, and I did not speak up because I was not a cisgendered white dude......"

Pay attention to this pattern, because this is what's going to trigger the final Armageddon battle between left and right- when the number of people who are being forced to their knees by the outrage outnumber those doing the forcing. See if it doesn't.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Mr. Brown Turns Things Around

So just a short little update on this post, wherein I took Canadaland podcaster Jesse Brown to task over what I saw as unwillingness to engage conservatives on issues where their input might prove useful and might even cause the public to learn something.

I legitimately thought he wouldn't listen, and he did. I thought he wouldn't reach out to conservatives, and he did. And guess what? The response on Twitter and elsewhere, from otherwise skeptical conservatives, wasn't horrible!

And what have we learned? That when journalists engage conservatives as people instead of scary monsters with big teeth and sharp claws, you get good-ass debate and interesting stuff.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The News That's Fit To Print

On a dark and stormy night, evil, brooding Stephen Harper sits behind his castle walls, plotting his next attempt to twist the fabric of the virginal, paradisiacal Canadian landscape. Down below, the meek peasantry toils upon the soil, eking out just enough to feed their big-eyed kids, all of them paralyzed with fear of the Dark Lord who none of them voted for and who stole the election with robocalls despite only earning negative 27% of the popular vote. Lightning flashes as maniacal laughter emanates from within the keep! Oh, what horrors shall next be visited upon the undeserving public, who I must remind you all had nothing to do with Harper's reign of terror????

We are closing in on a decade of CPC government and if Harper's opposition doesn't believe every word of the paragraph I just wrote above, they believe some watered-down, slightly more realistic version of the same.

It has never occurred to Harper haters that they cannot defeat what they cannot understand. They can list for you the myriad sins of the Harper government. They can talk ad nauseam about how they invent policy on the fly, about how they are corroding our democracy, how they don't live up to their own principles, about how every word out of their mouths is a dirty stinking lie, and are continually stunned by how the vast majority of it sails right over the heads of the Canadian public. How is this happening? they wonder. How can he get away with it?

I have been listening to Jesse Brown's superlative Canadaland podcasts. I say "superlative" because his stuff is the best out there at this moment in time. For example he does a better job of exposing the CBC than Brian Lilley and the Rebel Media crew could ever hope to do.

Despite Brown's genuine attempt to look outside the box when it comes to the Canadian press, however he is so utterly trapped by the trappings of his profession that he runs into the same walls as all his other journalist buddies, even the ones he claims to be calling out.

You've gotta love a dissident journalist who's trying to break down barriers who books an interview with Ezra Levant just to be a badass, and instead of getting Ezra to spill his guts on what makes him tick, for his lead-off question he asks Ezra whether he actually believes any of the craaaaaaaazy stuff he speaks and writes, and then goes on to tackle the pressing issue of whether Ezra is a paid oil sands shill or not.

Unless I've completely lost the plot, journalists like Brown are supposed to be educators who do research and conduct interviews and ask questions with the intent of explaining to their readers exactly why politicians like Ford and Harper and Netanyahu exist and why a large enough segment of the population will vote for them and look to them for guidance.

Yet I have been listening to media heads babble for what seems like forever about the whys and hows of conservative thinking without bothering to treat the phenomenon with enough respect to explain it beyond arguing over Harper's "tactics" as if they are amateur theologians trying to understand the mind of God.

They come to, say, a Ford Fest, and stand absolutely agog staring at the line of people and the fact that it isn't just a bunch of crackers out to drink beer and sing The Maple Leaf Forever, and then file some column inches about internalized racism and why, oh why, don't poor people understand their own best interests?

Given this massive gulf between the stated intentions of fancy-pants journalists and what they actually do, it's really no surprise that they have figured out so very little about the conservatives they spend so much time venting their spleens about. I, and others, get the distinct impression that they don't want to figure out anything about conservatives that would advance the national discourse and actually tell us something useful about what goes on in Stephen Harper's brain.

There are two reasons for this that I can think of off the top of my head. First of all, Harper and Ford and whoever else are the villains that we all need. Despite what the social justice warriors tell you, Jesse Brown rolled out of his momma's womb with the same capacity for hatred as the rest of us, and when he saw that there was this guy Stephen Harper whom he could hate on all he wanted and call a racist with no repercussions, he went "Ho-yeah!" and joined right in.

But there's a bigger problem, and it speaks to the nature of journalism as a profession. You see, I don't expect Jesse Brown to read this, or take it seriously, because no matter how edgy he thinks he is, he's still a fancy-pants journalist, and fancy-pants journalists don't actually think that someone who didn't come up through their ranks is worth listening to, no matter how interesting or worthwhile the things they say or write are.

It's outside Jesse Brown's frame of reference, just like Harper and the CPC are out of his frame of reference, and that is why he finds himself in the state of bewilderment that he is and why he is reduced to babbling on air about Harper's tactics.

We live in a multicultural, provincial, segmented Canadaland wherein white and black, Jewish and not Jewish, anglo and franco, Muslim and Christian, Native and settler, are in a state of total and perpetual war with one another despite the very best intentions, in a lovely and very neat proof of the conservative way of thinking.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Rush To Judgement

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.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Knock Down, Drag Out

The last time there was an anonymous gossip account that said mean things about the PC Party of Ontario, I got really mad instead of doing what I should have done, which was think about why these things exist, and of course the reason why they exist is because there is a huge, huge demand for PC Party of Ontario people beating on each other and an equally huge supply of PCPO people willing to beat on each other. 

When an anonymous Tweeter suddenly finds themselves in possession of difficult-to-justify material, it tends to upset pretensions by leadership candidates and spokespeople that the PC Party is a viable and united centrist alternative that won't alienate Toronto. Somehow, some way, this information got out, and if we were as united as we would like everyone to believe, it wouldn't have. 

What's the point of pretending otherwise? We really would rather slam each other than slam the Liberals. Hence the eagerness with which the party piled on Monte McNaughton yesterday for his comments to the Premier. 

Supposedly the problem is that Monte's comments distracted the party from staying on Wynne's tail about the ever increasing scandal burden (even though, as I've said before, the scandalmongering is itself a distraction from the PC Party of Ontario's ongoing internal issues), but if you accept that explanation, then how does stopping to dissociate yourself from Monte keep the focus on the OLP and their bad behaviour? 

Then I have to wonder: Where were these people before and during Rob Ford's mayoralty? When Doug Ford was being tapped, then not tapped, then tapped again as a possible PC candidate even as he was detonating some good-sized PR bombs of his own, did these same people get as outraged? No, because back then, the Fords could WIN (until they didn't win).  

Then, of course, the PCPO brain trust is perfectly willing to let McNaughton continue as a candidate and more importantly, take the money he's bringing into he party without too much hand-wringing. 

Christine Elliott could theoretically go before the people and say that Monte McNaughton and his people have no place in a party being led by her, but there is no possible world in which that happens, because she's building "the big blue tent" and she isn't quite sure whether people opposed to the sex-ed curriculum belong inside or outside of that tent. 

The fact is, too many PCPO people want to win, and win now, and they're willing to take any number of shortcuts to get there, and the voters can see right through that. How's that for "serving some realness?"