Friday, October 28, 2011

Reasons Why We Lost: I Make The Rules/Who Cares?

Did you hear about how that power plant in Mississauga is still open??? Even after Dalton said he'd close it???? WTF? What is the matter with people? Don't they care?
No. No they don't.

That is the only possible explanation. Dalton said the power plant was going to close. The power plant is not closed, and not only is it not closed, work on it has not stopped. People are aware of this. They can see it for themselves.

Why don't people care?

Because Dalton didn't care. Neither did Chretien. Neither, it must be said, does Harper. 
He Makes The Rules, people. Deal with it.

And what's more, people knew before the election that Dalton wouldn't close the plant, and that he would, if given the chance, raise taxes again. We weren't telling them anything they didn't already know. They just didn't care. Because Dalton didn't care.

Well....that's not entirely true. I think Dalton does care. That's why he got rattled at the debate when Hudak attacked him about the power plant. But he knew, or someone on his campaign team knew, that under no circumstances could he admit that he cared. Because caring about what people say about you puts them in control.

Total control.

If I could identify one thing that all Canada's political leaders have in common- the successful ones- it is that they, at all times, exercised total authority over their caucus, their electorate, and their opponents. So if Hudak cracked down on Klees this week and forced him to reconsider his incredibly stupid and self serving decision to run for Speaker, then good on him. He is learning.

Think about men like King, Laurier, Mulroney, Diefenbaker, Chretien, Harper. Think about the Big Blue Machine Premiers. Think about Danny Williams, Ralph Klein, Gary Doer, Hazel McCallion. Jack Layton- who never, ever let anyone in his caucus really undermine him, no matter how bad his party did- is no exception.

Now think about the losers. Paul Martin. John Tory. Kim Campbell. Stephane Dion. Michael Ignatieff. Joe Clark. Ed Stelmach. All of them tried really, really hard to care about people. The people didn't reciprocate.

Now think about those who have survived highs and lows. What drove Gordon Campbell out of office? Ceding control to the public for an HST referendum. Jean Charest? Looking pretty weak right now with corruption getting out of control. Looked pretty weak during that provincial election where the ADQ became the official opposition. Reasserted himself the one time, not sure about this time. Christy Clark looks pretty weak now with the caucus rebellion. Brad Wall looks very much in control, Lingenfelter doesn't. Redford's the unchallenged mistress of Alberta, while Danielle Smith struggles to control her people, but that could change.

Dalton? Well, think about during the summer when his caucus was deserting him. That, more so than anything Hudak said or did, made him look totally, totally weak. Not in control at all. Then he reversed that trend, and.....

Have you noticed that now that Ford appears to care about what people are saying about him, suddenly he looks a lot weaker than he did? And what triggered this slide? Why, a consultation with the public, of course. But now that he isn't admitting guilt over this ridiculous incident with Mary Walsh, it looks like he might get away with it.

A lot of politicos assume that people will rise up in anger once they hear about all the awful things their government has done, but the truth is that Canadians really don't give a toss about what their politicians do. This ain't America, and this ain't the Middle East. You're not going to have a Tea Party, an Arab Spring, or an Occupy Whatever movement worth speaking about up here, and trying to import those concepts wholesale into Canada is going to get you a lot of funny stares from people who really don't give a damn. So long as it looks like the guy running the show is in control, nobody's going to do anything, and they might actually react with anger if someone tries to change it.

If Tim Hudak wants to win, he needs to crack the whip and show that he is the boss. He can't get wrapped up in whether people like him or not, because they've shown that they really don't care.

And until they do care, it's going to be politics as usual.

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