Saturday, January 21, 2006

Dr. StrangeHarper: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Not Fear the Tories

So the polls appear to be holding. Barring a miraculous last minute swing in Ontario (not unheard of) the Conservatives are going to win a minority. There appears to be enough last minute shifting and few screw-ups by the Conservatives in the past week to keep them shy of majority territory. Which is what most people want anyway. Just in case Stephen Harper's miraculous transformation into a moderate conservative has a shelf life of about seven weeks (oddly, about the time it takes to run a federal election).

Liberals running in the election have done everything but paint the Conservatives as the anti-Christ. "If you elect the Conservatives, the angel will break the second seal and you can forget about ever catching a cod fish because the seas will have all turned to blood, and the cod, they don't like swimming in blood, b'ye."

I can understand this. If you're a politician and running for election, well, you do everything you can to get elect. It's important to get elected and become a member of the party running the government. You get to decide the direction of the country. And, more importantly, you can access to a whole lot more money to play with than if you're in opposition.

The only Liberals who want the Liberals to be the government are those running to fill the seats. An other Liberal with half a brain should look at this crowd and go "Yeesh. Maybe a break isn't such a bad thing." Purge. Restart.

"Choose Your Canada." Stephen Harper will do terrible things. He will siddle up to the Americans. He will make us just like the Americans. He will cut our beloeved social programs."

Oh please...

Look, Canada is a fundimentally liberal (or Liberal) country. Even the most cursary glance of the party in power for the past 100 years will show that. Canadians don't elect Conservatives; we toss out Liberals. At some point in time, the Liberals get too smug, too corrupt and lose touch with the rest of the country. Welcome to that point in history.

The Liberals have just been horrific for most of the past two years. It's sad really. I think Paul Martin could have made a good prime minister. It's going to be one of those things debated by historians on what went wrong. But the party is adrift. No idea or focus that they can coherently articulate to the rest of the country. Other than "Tories bad. Have some money."

The best thing for the Liberals is to lose this election, go off into a corner, get reorganized and get ready to fight again in two or three years time. Find a new leader. Get a coherent vision.

Because the Tories won't destroy the country. They're going to muck with it, to be sure. But there will be nothing of lasting damage. I honestly don't think they're going to mess with same sex marriage or abortion or with universal health care. It's too controversal and will stir up people way more than they can afford as a minority government. They need to get reelected and there are smart enough people with the Tories to realize people are not voting for them because of their deep love of their party, policies and leader. It's because they've finally hit the tipping point with the Liberals.

Besides, once the Tories win, it will be a miracle if on election night one of their newly minted MPs doesn't say something staggeringly sexist, racist or homophobic. There's no way they go a whole week without it happening.

The honeymoon when Chretien got it was about two years, because people loved him as much as they hated the Mulroney Tories. The honeymoon with Harper is going to be about two weeks. No one hates Martin; it's just that no one understands him anymore.

So don't worry about the Tories. Let the Liberals go off and lick their wounds. They'll get themselves straightened out. Because odds are, the Tories won't really be around long enough to do any serious damage. You can start the clock on them five minutes after the election has been called.

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Scotty said...

Thanks for your insight. It has given me something to think about.

Jason Bartlett said...

Yeah you do make some good points, can I still be a little nervous about them? In particular, Stockwell Day?

Anonymous said...

This will make you even more nervous:

this will too... but it will also make you laugh:

Anonymous said...

Interesting position...I hope you're right!