Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sympathy For The Devil

There was a lot of schadenfreude in the rightosphere lately about how Olivia Chow's mayoral campaign distanced itself from our old friend the War Room Boss. To some people, this is, apparently, some kind of victory, which is an understandable response given the steady, unrelenting rain of crap that the right has had to deal with for what seems like forever.  

Yes, I can definitely sympathize. For I remember the early days of this here blog, when I took it upon myself to occasionally push back against the War Room Boss' theatrical Carville-ianisms once it became clear that the PC Party of Ontario had jelly in their spines and would rather loudly proclaim "NOBODY CAAAAAARES ABOUT WHAT HE HAS TO SAY" (whilst clicking on his site a zillion times per day) instead of, you know, doing anything. 

So it fell to li'l ol' me to do stuff like correct the record when he tried to imply that the PCPO was attacking Bill Davis, or to point out that one of the guys in his punk band just happened to have some coincidental connection to an attempt to boot Ford from office early, or to purchase a copy of his latest book in a Chapters outlet a couple of days before it was supposed to be made available to the general public. Fun stuff, not so significant in the grand scheme of things. Hell, I even dared to dream that he appreciated the fact that someone cared enough to try.

But (I thought, anyway) there was a higher purpose here: If I could show that the big bad scary War Room Boss was not the Mephistopheles everyone else on the right made him out to be, then maybe we could get back to important stuff like winning elections. Maybe, just maybe, if we pushed back as a movement, effectively, using facts instead of sputtering ragefully or pretending "nobody cares" about this stuff, then we would look like a group of people the voters would consider voting for instead of being the butt of jokes.

Little did I realize that the right is so wracked by insecurity that they would rather tell each other ghost stories or deny the existence of the problem altogether. And- let's be honest- the podunk, cottage-industry nature of our political system makes people like the War Room Boss (who have actually studied at the feet of guys like Carville who take their jobs seriously) look like Prometheus bringing fire to the mortals. So, I got a lot of visits to my site every time I pushed back, but nobody else joined in.

Then, Dalton called it quits and Team Pupatello tried and failed to retain some form of sanity within the OLP and....well, there was really no point in poking him any longer. There was a much bigger threat now. The armies of Big Labour had emerged as a viable political force, influencing the choosing of a Premier of Ontario, and suddenly the left didn't need guys like the War Room Boss to frighten the right with a little theatricality and deception.

There is no more room for cisgendered white privileged males (like the War Room Boss) within the confines of a truly progressive party, or mayoral campaign for that matter. No more "it's the economy, stupid." No more Clintonian triangulation, no more "borrowing ideas from the left and the right". No more "mean-spirited attack ads" or showing up on TV with Barney the Dinosaur dolls or war rooms in general. Cheap political tricks like that distract from the real progressive narrative- destroying capitalism, the abolition of the concept of gender, forced transfers of power to the underprivileged, the end of resource exploitation, the dismantling of the police and the military, overturning the entire judicial system......and hey, PR guys like the War Room Boss make their living off of representing some of those interests, don't they? Oh dear.

But let's not be too mean to Mr. War Room Boss. He's just reaping the fruits of his own labour. For in that book of his which I purchased, he laid out the thesis that the way back to power for progressives was to harness the energy of the Occupy Movement. Of course he should have known that it's impossible to co-opt a group of inflexible radicals who have committed themselves to destroying the system and have no interest in being part of it....but then again, aren't we guilty of the same thing? Haven't we underestimated the unions and the social justice warriors for decades, telling ourselves that the real votes are in the centre?

And do we imagine- as the War Room Boss did, once upon a time- that we can stay holed up in our little enclaves? Do we, and other traditional Liberals, imagine that we will be spared the guillotine? No, no....the social justice warriors will not be so kind. All who participated in the system will pay, and pay dearly.

So let us remember the War Room Boss positively, with some wistfulness for the fun times that were. Because compared to what's coming, a few tweets calling a subway plan racist is water cooler conversation, easily forgotten.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Time Is A Flat Circle

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Durham MP Erin O'Toole asking for donations because Sid Ryan and the unions had elected a Liberal in his riding provincially, the riding that his own dear father had held for so long. It was a good email. It played on people's emotions. It'll likely achieve its objective, which is to net the CPC a good chunk of cash. But for all that, it missed the point entirely.

The point being- as we all know- that we have a group of unions ready to activate at a moment's notice and destroy everything conservatives hold dear. And nobody seems to be able to do anything to stop them.

Now you would be justified in wondering precisely why (after three elections in which the Working Families Coalition made a very big difference) the right has been so slow to do anything substantial to counter their influence. You might even ask this question aloud. But as I've found out over the years, suggesting that anything more be done than "spreading the word" about nefarious union influence in the hope that the average Canadian won't stand for it gets party people very very nervous and causes them to start making a spiel that I call the "We Need To Be Very Careful" speech.

Supposedly, if you listen to these people, when the contract was drawn up that created the Working Families Coalition, the Liberal lawyers wrote in some super-secret magickal legal incantation from the fourth circle of hell that our top legal minds can't hope to decipher, much less replicate. I of course have no legal training (and neither do lots of other rank-and-file conservatives), so I wouldn't even be able to begin untangling this knot. The upshot of all this, though, is that whenever anyone starts musing about raising money as a third party as a possible counter to the WFC, chances are they're going to get pulled into a room somewhere and told that We Need To Be Very Careful about that because unspecified horrible things will happen with Elections Canada being somehow involved.

While I admit to not being able to tell a legal brief from a brief summation, I have a pretty good understanding of human psychology. And I know that when people start expending a lot of energy worrying about beside-the-point issues, it's so they can distract people, and themselves, from massive, truck-sized problems like "What the hell are we going to do, to really do, about this WFC and these unions" that they've convinced themselves are way, way too hard to tackle.

This was the reason for last year's embarrassing right-to-work debacle, in which the PC Party nearly ate itself for fear that we were handing the unions a loaded gun. As if our very existence wasn't a trigger for the WFC. It's also why the PC Party of Ontario expends so much energy on the Red Tory vs. Blue Tory battles, because if we can't stop those unions, at least we can make life difficult for each other. It's why the PC's spend so much time "sticking to the message" on policies that are vote losers and on idiotic "laser-like focuses", because when you are "laser-like focused" on something you can't see the train barreling towards you until it's two feet away.

And if that wasn't bad enough- if you comforted yourself with the knowledge of "well, at least the federal party has it together"- we now see this exact same behaviour coming out of the PMO in the form of ridiculous ads against Justin Trudeau that are about as damaging as a kiss on the forehead. But it's not just stupid ads about marijuana- it's how right-wing folks unironically refer to Junior as the Shiny Pony, how Sun News uses the same Secret Muslim messaging about Trudeau that worked so brilliantly against Obama, and how we've all convinced ourselves that Canadians are too smart to vote for Mr. In Over His Head next October. We all see the gathering together of Liberal elites and their union running dogs in preparation for next year, and we've decided that we're going to pass the time laughing at Justin and pretending that he is far too silly to be taken seriously so that we can act all shocked if he does reduce the CPC to atoms the same way we all acted surprised that the PC's flamed out in June.

Conservatives have become conflict avoiders, worn down by years of being accused of having hidden agendas and feeling increasingly like the battle for the culture is being lost. And as they continue to conflict avoid, the social justice warriors will continue to acquire more and more power while blaming invisible conspiracies for all the ways in which our society continues to slip backwards. Then the debt bomb will explode, and the difference between us here in nice safe Canada and the rest of the world will disappear, and we will be finally forced to confront these problems that we have avoided for so long, and there will be an enormous amount of chaos, and then the cycle will start all over again.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Psalm 118

What is the biggest knock against the Liberals? What is the one thing, above all else, that annoys people (okay, us) about them? There are lots, sure, but if we had to pick one thing, only one, what would it be?

No question about it. It is that Liberals lie.

Are Liberals the only ones that lie? Not at all. Conservatives lie plenty. I'm not going to pretend that they don't. The difference is in what Liberals lie about.

Liberals lie about who they are. They will tell you that they are: Canada's natural governing party, the party that listens to grassroots, the party of Bay Street, of Main Street, of Toronto, of Montreal, of rural Alberta, of free trade, of protectionism, of aggressive foreign policy, of being honest brokers, of the flag, of Canada's health care system, of compassion, of deep cutbacks to the provinces in the 1990's, of higher taxes, of the environment, of pipelines, of the Senate, of veterans, of peacekeeping, of education, of net neutrality, of protection of standards, of supply management, of reproductive freedom, of protection of religious rights, of multiculturalism and LGBTQ equality and personal freedom and everything else that could be dreamed of. A Liberal will tell you that they are all of these things at once without seeing any kind of contradiction.

Well actually.....that's not quite true. I mean, sure, up until very recently it was true. That's how Liberals won elections. And when they won elections there was a hope that they would do something right every so often. Even when they lost elections, that hope never went away.

But then, something happened. It didn't happen to the Liberals per se. It happened around the time of the last financial crisis, where people saw their incomes and futures wiped out and where an entire generation- my generation- saw themselves saddled with more debt than they could ever imagine would be paid off in 50 lifetimes. And instead of fighting back, we all just kind of.....went up to our rooms and pulled the covers over our heads.

The system had basically failed, and the voting public decided it couldn't be fixed. It, and the people who supported it, were going to rebuild it, and themselves, out of nothing, by educating themselves about all the ways in which they were terrible and personally responsible for oppression. These people and this system were going to be punished for the tiniest errors. Opposition leaders were going to be defeated in their own ridings. People who reached out across the aisles to non-traditional bases of support were going to have their arms metaphorically chopped off. Change was going to be looked at as scary and terrible.

Don't go looking for real reform from opposition parties. Those guys are and were all just fakers and posers, fauxgressives and not-real-conservatives, who weren't really down with the way stuff was. And as such the voting public would be damned if it was going to rouse itself for anything other than the true Second Coming, the new Golden Age of Prosperity to which everyone was entitled.

Therefore, just doing things the same old way isn't going to work for the Liberal Party of Canada and their various and multihued subsidiaries in the provinces and in the cities. Gone is your grandpa's LPC where you could hope for a tax break every couple of decades. The new Liberal Party of Canada is now a full-on revolutionary, positivity-fuelled tide of history into which all the brightest lights are drawn, under the leadership of the Destined One, the Kings of Kings, and the Breaker of All Vessels. You know to whom I refer before I even write His name- His Christlihoodness - the LORD- Justin Trudeau.

We all know, on some primordial level, that His Derpiness's daddy was the closest thing we have in this country to a mythological figure- a Lincoln, or a Pilsudski, perhaps, or even Uncle Jesse from Full House. So- logically- Justin is the only one with the ability to bring in the Age of Glory. That is why everyone is projecting their wants onto him, and him specifically. That's why this guy is able to say that it's time for a carbon tax while Stephane Dion and Alf Apps got trampled for saying the exact same thing. The LORD is on the side of a carbon tax, so what might men do?

That and the fact that the unions have picked him as the guy who's going to finally take down Harper. That always helps.

Where was I going with all this? Oh yeah, Liberals lying. Yeah, that was a bit of a downer. But no longer. They don't have to lie anymore and be all things to all people in that annoying Liberal-y manner. These guys have the Justinian authority to go full on wackadoodle progressive- after they get into government. For now, they have to pretend to be pro-pipeline and other stuff like that, but that's what all great Liberal leaders do- tell people they're not going to raise taxes, or tell people they'll eliminate the GST.

Consider Israel. No longer will the LPC have to issue half-assed press releases supporting Israel's right to defend itself. No longer will people like Rick Salutin have to wag their fingers at progressives who happen to be pro-Israel. Can you imagine the relief? Can you imagine how much easier it will be for Liberal MPs to not have to worry about tangling themselves into existential knots, to not have to be jealous of the CPC who can afford to take a consistent stand on the issue? They can just drop the whole charade and tell pro-Israel people to go take a flying leap, the same way they told the pro-lifers and whatever contingent of the LPC supported partisanship in the Senate.

By the way, if you happen to be a supporter of Israel and can't stomach an LPC where Omar Alghabra determines Middle East policy, well, you can sit in the corner with Tim Hudak and everyone else who thought some semblance of fiscal discipline was an idea Canadians would still get behind. Don't do that, though, because there's still a chance that Trudeau might let CJPAC  continue to throw nice parties in downtown Toronto.

So it is that ideas that we could all once agree had some merit get tossed out the window, and the stone the builders had rejected becomes the cornerstone, or whatever.