1. Greg Gutfeld’s comment on political anger:
So as the anger surrounding the health care bill escalates, many in the media are reporting how the anger surrounding the health care bill is escalating!
Now I’ve been down this road so many times I could navigate it blindfolded and covered in peanut butter.
It goes like this: for the media, anger is only okay if its targets meet their stereotypical, romanticized criteria. Meaning: the corporation, the conservative, the daddy who never loved them.
Here’s a list of people doing angry things the media is okay with:
But this health care bill anger is different from all that – not just because it’s right, but because it involves Obama. And being angry at Obama is like being mad at Santa Claus. How can you be mad at Santa, when he brings us so many gifts? …
For two hundred plus years we’ve kicked ass, and we’re now choosing the belief system of the idiots whose asses we’ve kicked.
So that’s why I’m angry. And why you’re angry too.
And when jackasses try to take away your right to be angry – by calling it racist or extremist – tell them they’re the racists. Because it’s those tools who assume that anger can only be about race. And if they disagree with you, then clearly they’re not just racists – but probably homophobic cannibals, too.
It’s not a very difficult thing to figure out. But it apparently escapes the bright people — and they generally are very bright people — in the American media.
I don’t get that. A good chunk of the American public doesn’t get that, either, which is why Fox’s ratings are going still higher, even though they’re kind of silly themselves. To quote a commenter there, “I tend to watch channels that don’t call me a tea-bagging racist, but that’s just me.”
2. Geraghty in the yet-to-be-e-mailed Morning Jolt:
Obama to Critics: I Understand Only Most of You Are Crazy Conspiracy Theorists
AP: “President Barack Obama says he believes the Tea Party is built around a ‘core group’ of people who question whether he is a U.S. citizen and believe he is a socialist. …
A guy who has dramatically expanded the federal government’s role in banks,student loans, auto making, health care, real estate, insurance, and energy industries is lamenting that people are calling him a socialist. What more does he have to do before the label becomes less than outlandish, establish SMERSH?
Actually, if he established SMERSH, I’d be more likely to support the guy. As I rather like the ideas behind the literal translation — “Death to Spies!” (Though I prefer killing the other guys’ spies, not ours.)
Wishful-thinking liberal pundits — no, if the Conservatives win and are actually allowed to hold a minority mandate in the 41st Parliament, Stephen Harper’s leadership is not seriously in danger.
Well, I’ve got to think that the people in charge of drafting the Conservative Party’s constitution — i.e., Harper and his people — took a look at the Chrétien-Martin mess and said, “We don’t want any of that in our new party!” Or they possibly are familiar with this book.
10.6 At the first national convention following a federal general election when the Party does not form the government and the Leader has not indicated an irrevocable intention to resign, the delegates will vote by secret ballot if they wish to engage the leadership selection process.
10.7 In the event of any of the following, National Council shall implement the leadership selection process at the earliest convenient date thereafter:
10.7.1 the death or retirement of the Leader;
10.7.2 the Leader indicates a desire to resign by submitting notice in writing to the President of the National Council;
10.7.3 more than fifty percent (50%) of the votes cast at a national convention as provided for in Article 10.6 are in favour of engaging the leadership selection process.
No, if you want to get rid of him, first you will have to remove him from government. Otherwise, Stephen Harper will leave the Conservative leadership when he has either lost a federal general election (and perhaps not even then — he’s still quite young, and he’s the best the Tories have got) or just done all he thinks he can as prime minister and feels that he has a worthy successor to pass things on to.
Remember the one poll that had ObamaCare up 49-40?
A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows an uphill selling job ahead for President Obama and congressional Democrats to convince most Americans that the health care overhaul passed last week will help them and their families.
In the poll, 50% call passage of the bill “a bad thing” and 47% say it was “a good thing.” That’s at odds with the findings of a one-day USA TODAY Poll taken a week ago — a day after the U.S. House approved the legislation — in which a 49%-40% plurality called the bill “a good thing.”
November is a hard road to travel.
And it’d be irresponsible of Ignatieff to discount it, says Wells:
I regret that my account of a campaign-closing 2008 interview with Stéphane Dion merely quotes the then-Liberal leader to the effect that the NDP platform was “not realistic” because of its “old-style socialist” overtones, without quoting the specific element of the platform that Dion found so unappealing. So you’ll have to take my word for it: What Dion specifically didn’t like was Jack Layton’s decision to pay for his promises by cancelling future cuts to corporate income taxes that had not yet taken place. Dion, you’ll recall, preferred to pay for his promises with a tax on carbon that was only partially compensated with income-tax cuts.
At the time, those were the two big, important, structural differences in policy — the only two, if I recall correctly, although readers are welcome to remind everyone of other differences in the reopened comment board below — between the two largest national left-of-Harper parties. …
After this weekend, those big structural policy differences between the Liberals and NDP no longer exist.
And this means…?
Ignatieff likes to step backward when you say “Boo” to his face, and that’s the result Stephen Harper achieved last autumn when he made it clear he will run against a Liberal-Bloc-NDP coalition whether the Liberal, Bloc and NDP say they want to have a coalition or not. Of course he will. One result of the Madness in 2008 was to handily polarize the electorate, sharply motivating Conservative supporters to want Harper to remain prime minister. He had no trouble recreating the same dynamic in 2009 when Ignatieff tried to force a fall election.
Of course Harper will, and of course he should — as was shown in November 2008, when six weeks after swearing up and down he would never do it, Stephane Dion signed on to a coalition with the NDP, with Bloc support.
What should Ignatieff do?
There are two possible responses to coalition talk: “Never!” and “Maybe.” “Never!” was the one Ignatieff tried last autumn. It has the advantage of drawing a sharp distinction between himself and Dion’s ruinous 2008 adventure. The disadvantage is that it’s irresponsible. If, say, 120 Conservatives, 118 Liberals and 40 New Democrats were elected (leaving 30 Bloquistes; I just pulled these numbers out of the air, any other outcome is possible), it would simply be asinine for everyone to sit around and let Stephen Harper run everything for another two or four years when a stable Liberal-NDP arrangement (with or without Bloc support) could be envisioned.
It really would be. Though I’d have so much fun watching it.
It is fair for a new leader to say he would not attempt such a rickety contraption. But he has an obligation to provide a government that corresponds to the broad will of the entire electorate, if he happens to find himself in a better position to do so than the Conservative leader after the next election. After his speech on Sunday, the odds of such an outcome just went way up.
Yeah, I think it did.
It wouldn’t be stunning to see a 130-seat Conservative plurality in the next Parliament, with 95 Liberals and 40 New Democrats.
In that case, with the Liberal-NDP forces out-numbering the Conservative forces, would it be stunning to see an Ignatieff-Layton accord to take down Harper on the opening Throne Speech of the First Session of the 41st Parliament?
Trust Harper to point this out during the next campaign; enough voters to elect a majority government wanted him as PM in 2008 — they just didn’t want him running amuck. Given the choice between that and the Coalition, they preferred Harper.
I think a stable Conservative minority government is extraordinarily unlikely in the 41st Parliament.
We will see a highly unstable parliament and a quick 42nd federal election, a stable Liberal-NDP coalition government, or a Conservative majority government.
If I had to put money down right now, I’d say it’ll be a Tory majority — but the odds aren’t overwhelming. Maybe 55-45 that it’ll happen. And my other 45% is for Prime Minister Ignatieff with Deputy Prime Minister Layton.
Instant update: My pre-spin: if Ignatieff doesn’t rule out the Coalition — if he goes all King on us — it’s legit. If he rules it out absolutely, and then pulls it — we Tories will hit the streets again. (Well, we’ll probably hit the streets either way. But only in the latter case would we be right to.)
Update again: Dead as of March 24th –
Canadians hoping for a coalition or realignment on the centre-left of Canadian politics will have to wait for Michael Ignatieff’s departure from the Liberal leadership.
“Everybody talks loosely as if we’re all on the left in the same box,” he said in an interview. “I’ve never thought that. I think a Liberal is a Liberal and an NDP is an NDP. They have related but separate political traditions and I respect that.”
I think the lede might be over-reading what Ignatieff said. But still, he didn’t correct the impression.
Okay, he’s not threading that needle.
I was wondering what the main theme would be, in the end.
And I found it, in Ignatieff’s closing remarks — he’s going to delay cancel the corporate tax cuts (let’s be honest — if you put them off, you’re not putting them in) and spend more creating lots of “networks”.
Which is fine. I was wondering how he would distinguish himself from Harper.
This is what he has chosen. (Along with a lot of gobbely-gook about being “the most international country”. Which I think is silly.)
So this sets things up nicely for a spring or fall vote, I say.
Let’s have an election. Or we can wait till October 2012. Whatever.
Update: A commenter over here noticed what I forgot — tossing the corporate tax cuts overboard is Jack Layton’s price for working with the Liberals.
Coalition, Part Deux?
When the 41st Parliament is called, we shall see.
I tuned in at various intervals to the webfeed of the Canada at 150 conference.
I’m not sure about his conclusion re the carbon tax, but I think his other read is essentially correct:
If the people here have any say in the matter, the Liberal Party will seek to redefine itself as a party committed to social policy and the environment. There is nary a word about the deficit, about keeping taxes low, about fostering international trade.
The question for Michael Ignatieff and his team will be to what extent the party sticks to that platform going into the next election. To the extent it does, Canadians will be offered a clear choice: focusing on getting the books back in balance, or focusing instead on new investments to make the population healthier, better educated and more secure.
That would be a decent next election to have — it reflects the divide between the centre-left and the centre-right.
I think it’s one that Harper can win, given the current political spectrum and party alignment. But that isn’t a certainty.
Still, I’d bet 90 per cent of those in this audience think a double-double is four shots of single malt Scotch and not a Tim Hortons coffee order. And that disconnect makes dreaming up big ideas for the average voters a huge challenge.
You know what? Tim’s is nice, but I’d go with the four shots of single malt any day of the week.
Sometime in my undergrad years, David Horowitz, a somewhat controversial conservative … not sure whether polemicist, columnist, or public intellectual is the best description… (activist, perhaps) commissioned a full-page ad of an article of his titled, “Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Blacks is a Bad Idea, and Racist, Too“.
Horowitz meant to be inflammatory: the ninth point, in particular, notes that African-Americans are far better off for their ancestors having been enslaved and taken to America than their African counterparts. While this happens to be perfectly true, it does tend to amount to saying, “You’re damned lucky your ancestors were enslaved!” — a point which is not going to be received very well by most.
He attempted to run the ad in a number of campus newspapers — when I heard about it, he was submitting it to the main papers on the eight Ivy League campuses.
Horowitz was trying to provoke a reaction from the students and administration there — Read more…
Must add that qualifier. Stateside, they have nothing but issue debates. There may be a mini-revolution this November, given the issue debate that’s been raging for the last few years. (That was this: how do you get back to fiscal conservatism, when you have the “fiscally conservative” party in office and they’re spending like drunken sailors? The solution that may end up playing out is a double-firing. First they fired the conservatives for the liberals, and now they’re firing the liberals for the (hopefully chastened!) conservatives.)
But in Canada, where are the issue debates?
I was reminded of that by the abortion imbroglio, described in the posts immediately preceding this one. I was also reminded of it by this little piece, in which the 2005 Stephen Harper meets the 2010 Stephen Harper.
SH 2005: This feels like one of those old Freedom 55 commercials where you get to meet your future self. Give me a piece of advice that will save me some grief.
SH 2010: Remember this sentence: O Canada is fine the way it is. …
SH 2005: One final question—if I punch you in the face, will I feel it?
Anyway. What the abortion resolution vote reminded me of, was that Canada doesn’t lack for policy debates, it’s just that they usually happen behind closed doors, in total secrecy.
Which is unfortunate.
The last public policy debate we had was the 2006 Liberal leadership race.
[No, the 2008 federal election doesn't count -- that was just Stephen Harper taking a 2x4 to Stephane Dion. I mean, heck, he didn't even bother to release a platform till five days before the election. And when he did, it was on glossy paper with lots of colour, big photos, trapped inches of empty space, and large fonts.]
So here’s what we need.
First, we need to have an election.
Next, we need to have a change in the composition of the government. My first preference is a Harper majority. My next preference is a coalition of the other three parties. (Why? It’d be fun.)
Finally, we will have a number of leadership races, during which everyone will air their differences again, and we’ll get to hear a whole bunch of things. (Many of which the government will then steal. It’s the Canadian way.)
If Harper wins a majority, we may well see four leadership races — the Liberals, the NDP, the Greens, and the Bloc. (Why? Because Harper will have untrammeled power for four years. No reason even to show up, other than in token numbers — he’ll get his way regardless.)
If the tripartite coalition gets in, there’ll be at least one race — the Conservatives’, either in a leadership review or a leadership convention (though I think Harper stays, in that case) — and lots of public negotiating among the coalition partners. (Unlike the Tories, they all leak like sieves.)
So. Election, Tory Majority or Coalition of the Damned, and leadership races.
Come on, Canadian political class — you can do it!
Instant update: Or you’ll leave me doing this.
Update again: Mind you, I think if the Liberals do not win government in the next election — which is an open question, I do not doubt that they can win — they would be best advised not to immediately defenestrate another leader.
Harper lost his first campaign on a couple of unforced errors. He stuck around and improved. Layton has gotten better and better. Duceppe is a well-oiled machine at this point. Ignatieff’s a smart guy. I’d give him a second shot, if he doesn’t have the best results from his first.
Well, we can see the splits that the Liberals were trying to get at, in the Tories’ internal deliberations.
The Liberals had proposed a motion on the government’s maternal health initiative that was clearly designed to divide the Tory caucus over the issue of abortion.
How to deal with this? The Conservatives were in a quandary.
In a caucus meeting to discuss the motion, the Tories were split – the Prime Minister at one point mused about supporting it, according to sources. But pro-life MPs in the caucus were not in favour of that.
The broad intent of the Liberal motion was to call for more clarity around Stephen Harper’s maternal health initiative, which he is taking to the G8 summit in Muskoka this summer. But it was the other part of the motion – that the Liberals had added to trap the Tories – that would allow the Conservatives their out and a way to vote as a unified caucus. …
Mr. Del Mastro, a pro-life MP, seized on the passage.
He pointed out, according to a source, “the American tsunami response and the earthquake in Pakistan as foreign-aid efforts during that period that the motion broadly condemned.”
“That kind of anti-Americanism is something that all members of our party unite against,” a Conservative source said. “James Moore [the Heritage Minister, who is a well-known pro-choice Conservative] got up … and specifically backed [Mr. Del Mastro’s] statement and said he would gladly vote against the motion.”
And there was their solution.
Well, there it went.
Here’s the Liberals’ problem. Canadian laws are already on the pro-choice extreme — no restrictions whatsoever, and full state funding. If they want to push the Tories on abortion, they need to push that line.
The thing is, only about 45-50% of Canadians support abortion-on-demand. About 25-30% support moderate restrictions, and about 20-25% support bans of the sort that the staunchest pro-life people pitch, Stateside (banning all save cases of rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother).
If the Tories pitched a law limiting third trimester abortions — that would probably have the support of a majority of Canadians. They don’t want to, because they have some hardline libertarians in their caucus, and they want to appeal to suburban female voters — it would upset their political coalition — but they could. (And again, PM Harper, who could have backed the Liberal resolution without any personal discomfort, is almost certainly at least moderately pro-choice.)
If the Liberals made abortion a voting issue in Canada, the single party of the right would have 45-50% of the voters to draw from, and the multiple parties of the left would have 50-55% of the voters to draw from.
That’s not a recipe for political success for progressives. In fact, it seems to me that that might be a recipe for a majority government on the right.
Just not necessarily Stephen Harper’s.
Instant update: My advice for pro-lifers? (I’m conflicted, myself. Comfortable voting for pro-life politicians, also comfortable voting for pro-choice politicians; probably would vote on the pro-life side in most issue referenda that come up, depending on the question. Don’t support outright bans; am not terribly offended by first trimester abortions being legal and funded.)
Get the proportion of Canadians who support moderate restrictions on abortion — trimester/week cutoffs, notification laws, funding — up over sixty percent. Gather your polling data. And then start pushing your political party — whichever one it may be — hard.
You’ve been making up ground — younger people are more pro-life than their parents. If you want that debate to happen, move public opinion and you’ll get there.