Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Second Reading: November 29th, 2011

I thought I'd kick off a new feature here at The Clown at Midnight, focusing on the PC Party's efforts to wear Dalton down through legislation at Queen's Park.

For you see, my loyal readers, it is my duty to annoy Liberals like the War Room Boss and his cadre of cronies, but it is also my duty to inform you about how our stalwart representatives fight the good fight on our behalf. Since the news media are caught up with other breaking news stories that you can't start your day without, it's up to me to help get the message out there.

Prince Edward Hastings MPP Todd Smith wants to make it harder for the Liberals to just plunk down wind farms wherever they want by giving municipal councils more of a say. Dalton plans to "listen" to the bill, which I suppose is an improvement over his current practice of staying away from QP whenever he can. Looks like losing three cabinet ministers over wind farm opposition can change a man.

And while Smith's bill leaves Dalton blowing in the wind, Rob Leone of Cambridge took it upon himself to author a PMB of his own that passed 54-50 yesterday which would hold the government to account over promises to build hospitals. We know the McGuinty Liberals have had some trouble getting hospitals completed when they said they would, so maybe this humiliating defeat will light a fire under them.

For his part, Hudak will continue to push for reform to the apprenticeship system and hopefully create a situation where the government stops looking down their nose at people who want a career in the trades.

Full steam ahead!

Monday, November 28, 2011

More Liberal-On-Liberal Violence

Popcorn, anyone?

Should put to rest any persistent rumours that the platform leak was a trap.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Liberal Screwup Roundup, November 26th

Since the Liberals are supplying 'em, and you demanded 'em, it's time for another Liberal Screwup Roundup!

We begin with the revelation that Ontario's financial woes are scaring immigrants away. And here I thought the Liberals could offer a pandering tax credit or two and we'd become a hub for skilled workers from other countries. Now we can't even find people to replace the ones who've decamped for the West thanks to Dalton's bungling.

Then we've got more bad press from Martin Regg Cohn in the Star, who lays out a scenario where Dalton isn't in the mood to listen to anybody. And people wonder why Hudak is so annoyed all the time! Here he is trying to keep Dalton from crashing into a brick wall, and the warnings are just not getting through. Maybe if Dalton wasn't surrounded by handlers pumping him full of talking points, he'd be more open to suggestions.

Then finally we have Liberal MPP Kim Craitor (rhymes with "traitor") up to his old tricks again. He's on record as being against the HST on home heating bills, but when it came time to vote on the recent symbolic PC/NDP stand against it, he couldn't be bothered to show up!

These Liberals pretend to be masters at playing all sides against each other, but they're the ones losing out here.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Can't Win For Losing

Forget waiting for the release of the Drummond report, because the Liberals have started hacking and slashing away already!

We learn today courtesy of the inestimable Robert Benzie via Twitter that at least 200 Liberal staffers were given the boot and are complaining loudly to anyone who will listen. I think that number's quite a low estimate, myself. Pretty ironic that people who spent the last few months defending Dalton's supposed job-creation record got the pink slip from the man himself!

If you're a York Region Transit bus driver, though, you don't need to worry about working any time soon, because Dalton's got your back. He ganged up with the NDP to defeat a PC PMB which would have made life easier for a lot of 905 voters who likely won't be voting Liberal anytime soon. Who says the Liberals are promoters of clean, green transit? Not when there's a union to be paid off!

The NDP can be useful at times, though, as they embarassed the government with the support of the PC Party by passing a bill to remove the HST from home heating bills. The Liberals, of course, don't think much of the opinions of the majority of elected representatives in Queen's Park, so they decided to just pretend it never happened.

Sure looks like the PC's are playing for keeps here. Way to be, guys!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Who Is Responsible?

The penny drops for Dan Gardner.
"As Conservative strategist Rod Love told author Lawrence Martin, Harper and other Reformers seethed — and rightly so — at the way the Chr├ętien-era Liberals framed them as the lunatic fringe."

Yep. And the Liberals are still doing that, aren't they? Here in Ontario and everywhere. No matter how progressive we try to be.

What role, I wonder, did the Liberals play in the development of today's Canada and Toronto, under Harper and Ford? How much of their current misery is self-caused?

Where do guys like Harper come from, they wonder? And how does he find people- similarly demonized as the lunatic fringe, no doubt- that will vote for him? And why do there seem to be more and more of them?

And when this realization finally hits home for the PC Party of Ontario, just how screwed will the Ontario Liberals be?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Trouble In Trinity Spadina!

Run for the hills! There's a bit of a Liberal-on-Liberal tiff going on in downtown Toronto.

The fight seems to be between defeated Liberal candidate Sarah Thomson, and defeated (federal) Liberal candidate Christine Innes, wife of defeated Trin-Spa Liberal MP Tony Ianno. There are allegations of investments that disappeared, and nobody seems to know who's married to whom! Crazy!

With Liberal backbenchers "disaffected" according to the Toronto Star, can the kept-alive-with-prayers Ontario Liberal Party afford this kind of infighting? It threatens to destroy their fragile minority! Election imminent! Red alert! Oh noez!

We here at the PC Party will watch with BIIIIIIIIIIIG smiles on our faces as this fail parade continues to march along. :D :D :D

Monday, November 21, 2011

The First Day of Dalton's Last Stand

Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends. While the Liberals are focused on a bunch of inside baseball and he-said she-said, as per usual, there were two major developments that hampered them right out of the gate. (The aforementioned inside baseball will be commented on tomorrow, because I *know* that's what all of you, Liberal and Tory alike, really want to hear about. :P)

First of all, the Speaker for the first minority Legislature since the 80's is, shockingly, Dimbulb Dave Levac. The guy who misspoke when he actually mistyped on whether a carbon tax was on the table. The guy who fiddled my time away while Caledonia burned. Truly the kind of inspiring, definitive leadership we're going to need in a one-seat minority! Look! He has to be dragged to the Speaker's chair. ;)

How did this lowlight of a Junior Energy Minister get to be the most one of the most powerful people in the Legislature? Maybe it's because the other three candidates were from GTA or Toronto ridings, which the Liberals likely think they will hold on to forever....except, um, that the former prospective front-runner, Donna Cansfield, admitted she wouldn't be running in the next election:

"I’m not going to run another time. I’m not here for future considerations at all,” said the former cabinet minister who was first elected in 2003.

By signalling she won’t be a candidate in the election expected in 2015 — though with a minority government it could come sooner — Cansfield underscores her autonomy in refereeing the Legislative Assembly."

Yikes! First day and already Liberals are getting while the getting's good.

Now, we know the Liberals like to talk a good game about how they respect women, but it seems that Christine Elliot and Lisa Macleod's endorsements of Cansfield may have provoked a massive stampede to Levac amongst the Liberals. Andrea Horwath was also on the record as saying she wanted to see more women in leadership roles. So we have two Tories and the NDP leader leaning towards Cansfield, which means that for Levac to have won, the Liberals must have backed him en masse. Yeah, we could have had the first female Speaker in Ontario's history, but that would have meant giving the Tories and NDP what they wanted. Can't have that!

You might have heard about how perennial Liberal leadership hopeful Chris "Smoove B" Bentley was about as smooth as chunky peanut butter during his announcement that the Liberals had finally halted construction on That Power Plant 58 days after they said construction had stopped. Why do you suppose Liberal leadership hopeful Chris Bentley is constantly made to look like a doofus and getting handed all these tough files? Hmmm. I wonder. I also wonder if work will begin again once people have moved onto another story.

We don't know how much this decision will cost taxpayers. So how about we ask and ask and ask until we get an answer? No, better yet....how about we answer every single one of their annoying questions about when we're going to apologize for something with a question about when they're going to tell us how much cancelling the plant will cost?

And we've only just begun!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Don't Be Like Mike

The Legislature, and consequently, the PC Party of Ontario, gets back to business tomorrow. And I'm sure they remember this guy, right?

Yeah. Don't be like this guy.

Contrary to what your friendly neighbourhood Liberal War Room Boss would have you believe, minority Parliaments are all about rising and falling election threats. We went through years of this silliness at the federal level. He should know, having borne witness to a particularly spectacular failure of will by the federal Liberals on that score some years ago. And no, an election next year is not out of the realm of possibility.

There is a world of difference between "Get ready for an election" and "Mr. McGuinty, your time is up." The PC Party would do well to remember this. The first is OK and keeps your supporters watching. The second makes us look silly.

By all means, keep the heat on McGuinty. Make his life miserable. He deserves it. But there's something to be said for letting McGuinty dig his own grave.

His caucus is packed full of perennially re-elected municipal politicians who owe their success to everyone knowing their name and who are quickly turning their ridings into franchises where nobody's thinking about succession planning. The young up-and-comers were shut out of cabinet. Some of his MPP's are in their 70's and 80's. Others are radicals who will force him into more of those humiliating backtracks that were so common this year. And if that wasn't bad enough, he's got four of his MPP's butting heads over the Speaker position, a Fall Economic Update looming, and nervous staffers considering their career options as the public sector gets squeezed.

Something is going to give. And soon. So we don't need to huff and puff and threaten to blow the house down every week.

Remember: whatever the federal Liberals do, or did, we go in the opposite direction.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Occupy Your Local EDA?

I blog about provincial politics in Ontario. I try not to blog about the Conservative Irritation Of The Day.

I try to focus on one goal, and that goal is getting rid of Dalton McGuinty's Liberals.

The reason why Dalton McGuinty is Premier of Ontario is that he is not distracted by Irritations Of The Day. He doesn't care about the Occupy Toronto movement getting a stay of execution or about a group of idiots at a Toronto school who decided that football and soccer are the latest thing to ban. So if I want Dalton out, I guess I can't be distracted by those things either. But I will have to, at least temporarily, to write this post.

If you think Dalton's Smartest Guys In The Room can't come up with an argument in support of the Occupy Toronto movement or in support of banning footballs that not only they agree with, but you will agree with, then you just don't understand why Dalton is Premier. Not that it matters because it turns out a lot of people think that the opinions of people in V for Vendetta masks are worth listening to. Why else would there be sympathetic stories in the newspapers day after day after day? Why else would prominent businesspeople and politicians be talking about the significance of this protest?

Here's why I think we have Mark Carney and whomever else doing the I-feel-your-pain act when it comes to the Occupy protests: because they are worried about being seen to be hard hearted. And this is the Governor of the Bank of Canada. We are in a pretty bad place economically, and there isn't enough of the good life to go around, but heaven forbid we start worrying about ourselves first! What will people think???

Hey, I have a crazy idea: How about somebody says, out loud, that the reason these people can't find jobs is because they, like most people, expected that they will be taken care of from womb to tomb? Oh no, that's cruel and mean-spirited. Nobody will ever vote for us if we say that. And besides, here's the Liberal War Room Boss suggesting that removing these people would produce another Ipperwash. Oh noez. Did it suddenly get cold in here or is it just me?

The strategy of the Principled Conservative movement for the past umpteen years has been to scream to the heavens about this or that affront to freedom for a day or two and then forget all about it when the next outrage comes down the pipe. I don't watch Sun News for this reason. I don't listen to talk radio for this reason. On rare occasions, when somebody like the Liberal War Room Boss enters our little echo chamber with counter-arguments, we're all suddenly out of ideas. I find it depressing that after trying and failing for years, this is all we have.

Did we boot the Liberals out of Ottawa by screaming about this or that outrage? No! We got better at doing what they did and we worked harder than they did. Now they're the ones doing the fruitless screaming. And oh, is it satisfying. But why is it so hard to make progress anywhere else? Because there is no focus. It's here, there, and everywhere.

At one point Stephen Harper thought he would make Paul Martin look dumb by accusing him of being soft on child porn. He thought it would trigger a firestorm of outrage and catapult him into the Prime Minister's chair. Now, seven years later, he's finally figured out that no, Canadians don't care about who's soft on child porn because they trust the government implicitly. He understands that Canadians really don't care about who's principled and who isn't. He understands that it's all a story we tell ourselves to keep the truth from being known. And so, he is pitiless. Utterly pitiless. And I admire him for it.

But as a movement, we haven't learned this lesson. We are content to read columns in the National Post and the Sun, watch Ezra and Michael Coren pontificate on TV, read Mark Steyn's blog, and let others do the heavy lifting. When Harper's term comes to an end (and it eventually will, because he is after all human), then we can pine for the days of the Harper majority, argue in pubs over whether he was really all that Principled or not, and run away from his legacy on the campaign trail. 'Twas ever thus.

The Occupy People and the helicopter moms who wanted footballs banned at that school wring their hands about the deplorable state of affairs, are overcome with empathy, and then do something that they think will remedy the situation. The Occupy people and the helicopter moms are consistent.

We aren't.

But here's the good news: As more and more people start to realize that all the empathy in the world won't fix what's causing the problems of today, then people are going to get less and less offended when Conservatives say awful things like, well, maybe it's too expensive to take care of people from birth to death. And then the Liberals are going to be in a world of trouble. We can wait until that point, or we can start WORKING.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Young And The Restless

A few short days ago, I wrote a post in which I described the pervasive deficit of doing and the surplus of talking amongst supposed Principled Conservatives who are aggrieved with the state of things in Ontario today.

It occured to me shortly afterwards that a demonstration of how this is done may be needed.
As I write this, the youth of the PC Party of Ontario are hard at work on merging the youth and campus wings of the party. For reference purposes, the youth wing is the Ontario Progressive Conservative Youth Association (OPCYA) and the campus wing is the Ontario Progressive Conservative Campus Association (OPCCA). A letter from Grant Dingwall, the OPCYA President, can be read here.

Now, for those of you who have no idea how OPCYA and OPCCA affect your lives (and offhand, I'd guess that's a lot of people), I'll make it very, very simple. We currently have two organizations that draw on the same pool of youth volunteers. People in OPCYA can be in OPCCA and vice versa. Furthermore, in 5 other provinces, there is only one youth organization as opposed to two.

It should be noted that there is no intention to create a youth wing where one currently does not exist, as was the case during the federal convention early this year.

Now, if anyone can raise an objection from a conservative point of view to the idea that we should have one youth organization instead of two, I would like to hear it. Because I haven't heard one yet.

I am aware that merging two youth associations into one youth association is not going to put Ontario back on track. But, by cracky, it is one of the first instances I can recall in a long time where people in our party decided to reform things from within instead of complaining about problems external to the party.

I am also aware that people may not approve of this change, saying that it may go too far or that it may not go far enough. That's fine. That's what democracy is about. But if you feel quite strongly that this merger is the worst idea ever, please note that this idea was conceived of and is being implemented by the youth of our party, and it would be very difficult- in my opinion- to justify an attack on our party's future leaders for doing what they said they would do once elected to their current positions.

So I ask you once again, readers: if the youth wing can work to make this happen, what's stopping you?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Smoke And Mirrors

Three months remain until the PCPO AGM in Niagara Falls. Interesting developments are taking shape in the form of races for party exec, constitutional amendments, and realignment of strategy in preparation for the next go-round. All of which will be discussed in depth on this here blog in the weeks to come.

First and foremost, though, is the question of the leadership review.

For a month now, the media has been falling all over themselves to try and play up the narrative that Tim Hudak has to start working like he's never worked before to prove he should remain leader. This despite no evidence that any organized group of people are working against him. But hey, never let the truth get in the way of a good story, right? (Side note: Hey, Liberals? When the press tries to create rumours like this out of thin air about Bob Rae, then I'll believe you've hit rock bottom.)

Now. I understand there is anger at Hudak. But it is free-flowing anger, not channeled into anything. Like the HST, eHealth, the power plant in Mississauga, the cafeteria in Toronto where menstruating girls were separated from everyone else, and the rest of the 99 problems that have arisen during Dalton's reign that nobody seems to be able to find an acceptable solution to, there is a surplus of talking and a deficit of doing.

And this is why I cannot take so-called Principled Conservatives seriously. Real Principled Conservatives act.

If opposition to Hudak was based on Real Conservative Principles, then the people who have a problem with Tim would have identified themselves already, gotten together, and begun work to get their objective accomplished.

I know, because four years ago, I had a problem with John Tory's performance and I let people know it immediately afterwards, and I donated money to Draft A Leader. Fast forward to four years later and there is nothing for people who have a problem with Tim Hudak that I am aware of (and I am most certainly not one of those people who have a problem with Tim Hudak).

So who are these people?

Is it the Sun News crowd? Nope. They're lining up behind John Snobelen, who is behind Hudak.

Is it the architects of Ford's victory? Uh-uh. One of those architects is Richard Ciano, who is behind Hudak.

Is it the deficit hawks? Kevin Gaudet is setting himself up as their champion. And he's behind Hudak.

Who are these people? Who is leading them? What are their objectives and preferred choice post-leadership review?

I doubt we're ever going to get an answer.

So, people out there who want Hudak gone and read this blog, you don't have to answer. Instead, think. Think about what they keep saying about our party. That we complain about problems but offer no solutions. And ask yourself whether you are part of that problem.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Drop In The Bucket

And so ends the 2011 election season, an utterly disgraceful one for the Liberals by any measure. Not one result, coast-to-coast, that they can point to and say, "We have the momentum." The best they did was their wins in PEI and here in Ontario, where they held us off at some cost.

So what?

Does anyone out there think that these Liberals are going away any time soon? Did we win?

Absolutely not.

This country, all of it, still belongs to the Liberals. Nothing has changed that. Not the federal majority in both houses. Not our advances provincially, such as they were. Not our victories at the municipal level. Not the establishment of Sun News. Not the dominance in fundraising. Not even the fact that Conservatives seem to be on the rise worldwide. None of that matters.

For you see, I talk to Liberals. And they remain hopeful. Hopeful that good, as they put it, will triumph over evil in the end. All of their misfortune is just a setback. All of our gains are just a bad dream that will end soon.

When I can open a newspaper and see ridiculous, unfounded rumours about leadership challenges to Tim Hudak reported on as if they are fact (and remember, this is a guy who did just take a piece of Dalton's rear end, something nobody else has accomplished in recent memory)....

.....or when, a day before Brad Wall wipes the floor with the NDP, I read about how Harper's decision to dismantle the Wheat Board might hurt the Saskatchewan Party's hopes, and then, after Wall is done wiping the floor with the NDP, there is not even an acknowledgement of how wrong they were.....

....or when people -any people- refuse to take the CBC to task over this ridiculous, ridiculous situation with Rob Ford......

....or when Margaret Wente points out that the Occupy protesters are overeducated, irresponsible adult children who put the cart before the horse in a big way, expecting to graduate into a world that would shower them with neverending praise, and the next day there are letters taking her to task for being too harsh on single mothers.....

.....or when anyone gives a toss about what Bob Rae has to say on any subject, given that he is a carpetbagging, limelight-seeking opportunist of the first order (and that is something not even the Liberals I talk to try to deny).....then I have to conclude that the Liberals, deluded as they unquestionably are, still have reason to hope.

Compare their state of mind, if you will, to ours. I- we- are currently engaged in soul-searching, debating, deliberating, pondering, on what our next tack will be. We actively fear losing what we've gained while the Liberals look at their troubles as just a down period that they'll bounce back from. That's why we are so reluctant to criticize Conservative leaders who do the wrong thing. I don't like that tendency, but I understand it.

I understand it because the battle between us and them has never been a war between equals. Central to Liberal electoral success is the Heritage Moment illusion of the quiet northern nation, governed by the sane, sage practitioners of the golden mean, where we peacefully play hockey on frozen ponds, are kind to our neighbours, are proud of our healthcare system, dutifully watch the CBC and read Canadian novels, and settle our differences without getting emotional. And we Conservatives, who believe people are naturally selfish and self-interested, are an affront to that. We don't have anything as soothing as the Heritage Moment illusion. All we have are hard truths.

Aye, Mr. Liberal Voter. Why don't ye jes' REEEAD it, then?

Nobody likes having their illusions challenged. But challenge them we must. And if the economy craters, or the Liberal abuse of trust becomes so massive that it cannot be rationalized a la Adscam, then the illusion will disappear and we will have an opportunity to take this province back.  

Monday, November 7, 2011

Two-Way Communication

I went to one of these regional feedback townhalls the PC Party is currently holding yesterday. At that regional feedback townhall was a very high-ranking member of the PC Party. And he said something that I didn't quite grasp the import of at first.

He said that, for the longest time, he'd been trying to get party members to submit their e-mail addresses to the party so that they could be contacted more easily.

Now, for someone like me who spends a good chunk of the day trying to figure out how we're going to take this province back, something like this is obvious, not worthy of a second thought. Of course the party needs my e-mail. Of course the party needs the e-mail of every party member. Why is this an issue?

Then, a few hours later, trying to fall asleep, I asked myself the same question. Why is this an issue?

Then it hit me.

At the moment, people are blaming the central campaign for dropping the ball. They are saying the grassroots were ignored, the campaign gave them nothing to work with, there was too much control, whatever.

But, by and large, the same people who complain the party is ignoring them are the same people who won't submit their e-mails to the party. You know......so the party can contact them???

Then I remembered something else this highly placed individual said yesterday. He said that, by and large, most provincial EDAs were dormant for the majority of the time from 2007 till a few months before the election.

So- I reasoned later that evening- chances are that the same EDAs who complained of having candidates parachuted in are the same EDAs who hadn't done that much between one election and the next.

Then he said that there were unfilled positions on the party executive and there were executive positions that nobody knew existed.

So- continuing on this line of reasoning- despite an abundance of people complaining that the party's priorities are all wrong and that they have the answers, we have vacancies and a general lack of knowledge about who does what within the PC Party of Ontario.

Because, it seems, nobody took it upon themselves to learn about this state of affairs for themselves and do something about it.

So you guys tell me. Is the central campaign solely responsible for what happened?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Easy Way? Or The Hard Way?

Well now. As the old saying goes, ask and you shall receive. And we have received an interesting three way contest for PC Party President where previously there was silence.

The three men who have stepped forward are:

-Kevin Gaudet, former boss of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and PCPO candidate in Pickering Scarborough East

-Richard Ciano, of Campaign Research and former National Councillor for the CPC, good friend and business partner of Nick Kouvalis

-John Snobelen, former cabinet minister under Mike Harris, MPP for Mississauga Streetsville

All well known people in Conservative circles. All men I like personally. And all three could be great Party Presidents. And we could have a nice clean race here, the object of which would be to debate the future of our party politely and constructively.

And I want a nice clean race. I do. I don't want this to become about settling petty scores from years ago.

But if it does become about settling petty scores, then those who play it that way are going to be called out on this here blog. And that would suck. It'd be doing this the hard way when we could have done it the easy way.

So I guess we'll just see, won't we?

Friday, November 4, 2011

We Are Not The Federal Liberals (I Hope)

There are, I think, few Conservatives in Ontario who look at the federal Liberals and say, "We need to be like those guys." And yet.....when it comes to the topic of the PCPO, I just get the feeling that things aren't so clear cut.

The Federal Liberals, I am told, are extremely preoccupied with who leads them. His Eminence Crown Prince Justin Trudeau is looked upon by many as the saviour of the Liberal brand. Others venerate Chretien. A good number of Liberals don't care if their Uncle Fred is running the party, so long as it's not Bob Rae. Rather than try to build with the guy they have now, however temporarily he may be there, it's all about who is going to fix everything for everyone.

We look at that with a mixture of disgust and amusement....and then someone pipes up with, "Wow, wouldn't it just be *dreamy* if Mike Harris came back?" And then someone else pipes up with, "No way, John Tory should have gotten another chance!" And then....well, we know what happens then.

Additionally, it should be noted that everything for the federal Liberals lies with the leader. The leader is expected to unite Liberals from coast to coast and address all 86523 of their priorities while nimbly avoiding attacks from the other parties, getting the media to eat out of their hand, and proposing a perfect plan to deal with the economy and the provinces that leaves out nary a single detail and leaves nobody inconvenienced in any way. And if the leader doesn't do all of this, then he or she is the worst person ever, the party's ignoring its grassroots, the priorities are all wrong, and what were we thinking when we went with this person who couldn't lead a one-man band.

Of course the people doing this complaining know exactly what they'd do if they had the chance, but it's not like they would ever step up and mount an actual challenge to the leadership that lasted more than a day. Goodness, no. Running for the party executive? Please. Who has that kind of time?

Luckily, nobody in the PC Party of Ontario thinks that way. *cough cough*

You may also have heard that some federal Liberals think a merger with the NDP is a fantastical idea. The brand, they say, is dead, and it is time to form a totally new progressive party. Let the blue Liberals go to the Conservatives, we don't need them anyway. And all of that bad blood between them and the Dippers? Never you mind.

What a bunch of losers, say we. We'd never think of forming a new party....like one where we drop the P from PC and boot the Red Tories, or drop the C from PC and boot the Blue Tories, or anything like that. That'd just be silly.

Yeah, I'm sure nobody would want the PC Party of Ontario to be like the broken federal Liberals.

So why do some Conservatives in Ontario act like federal Liberals?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Art Of Winning An Unfair Election

I went and saw Brad Pitt's latest movie, "Moneyball", this past weekend. It's about how Billy Beane, the GM of the Oakland Athletics (played by Pitt) broke with traditional baseball wisdom and used an unconventional player selection strategy during the 2002 season in an attempt to defeat richer and more advantaged teams.

The film is remarkably even handed, showing the interplay between conventional baseball wisdom, analysis of player statistics, and simple luck and superstition as the experiment plays out. As the team bounces back and forth between success and failure, you are left wondering how it could have gone if this or that change had been made, or if what we're seeing is part of some larger phenomenon that nobody can really explain. It's clear the new thinking broke ground and that traditional thinking was an obstacle to success, but there was a steep price to be paid and without smart application of the new strategy, things could have been very, very different.

Importantly, the numbers-based approach doesn't always work. When the team does well, Beane and his Yale-educated economist assistant Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill) are lauded on talk radio, by the fans, and by the players. When the team does poorly, the players are surly, fans are furious, and people call for Beane's head. Tense scenes between Beane and his family, his team's manager, his scouts, and his players abound as they try to get him to reconsider.

In the crucial 20th game of what could be a record-setting 20-game win streak, Beane- who never steps out on the field during a game- hears that his team is up 11-0 in the fourth inning and, ignoring his daughter's warnings not to jinx it, swerves off the highway and drives to the ballpark to watch the victory unfold. But as soon as he steps on the sidelines to watch, clouds roll in and the triumphant music stops. His team suddenly starts giving up runs, missing line drives. Before long they've blown the lead and head into extra innings with the game tied at 11-all.

Watching the (extremely well-done) scene, you feel the momentum break. Why is this happening to the team? Is it a sudden run of bad luck? Was the experiment doomed to fail from the start? Or did Beane actually jinx the team by walking out on the field? This question is never fully answered.

To great effect, you watch people offer explanation after explanation for what is happening only to be proven wrong, then right, then wrong again. And when the outcome is finally decided, a voice-over pipes in, giving you an I-told-you-so account from someone you never see, but who somehow knew all along what was going to happen. A voice we've all heard.

In the film's most affecting scene, Beane's daughter plays her guitar in the middle of a music store and sings a song to her father, a song which is repeated before the credits.

She sings the song about not knowing where to go, but he -the seasoned professional- could just as easily be singing the song to her. As could any of the self-professed experts in this film. She doesn't know. He doesn't know. They don't know.

I think you all see where I'm going with this.

Six months ago, things looked very different for the PCPO than they do now. And in six months, things may look different again. When they do, people will take credit for knowing all along how it was going to turn out, just like the Liberals are taking credit now. And when the moment comes that leads the Liberals to their downfall, they'll be just as much at a loss to explain why they didn't see it coming.

So, if we are smart, we will wait for that moment to happen while doing everything we can to make it happen faster than it would otherwise. Until then, enjoy the show like the song says.