Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The lesson of the day: too much red meat can kill

It is one of the first duties of all Canadian citizens to get all excited whenever anyone outside of our borders notices us, even for something unflattering, so I would be remiss if I did not note that many of the big American political blogs are picking up on the story of our federal political upheavals. And now The New York Times has it.

This past election was little better than low comedy, the kind of straight-to-video sequel whose only selling point is the continuing presence of one minor character from the original. (On that note, I once read that Eugene Levy had it in his contract to appear in American Pie sequels only if they never graced an actual movie screen – which, if true, is just sad.)

I have no illusions about the viability of a coalition formed between the grasping, direction-less Liberals (who no longer understand what it means to be on the opposition bench) and an NDP that swings back and forth between positioning itself as the Liberals' natural replacement (and thus ready for the levers of power) and a kind of federal equivalent of a consumer advocate. (When they tried to make a big issue out of ATM fees a while back, I knew they were not exactly on the verge of having anyone take them seriously.)

But...

This whole thing has been a lot of fun to watch - especially the sight of the Tories arrogantly and blindly shoving their fat petards into the hoist. I've always given them credit for being savvy, but this move was just amateur. I mean, they'd won. Their opponents were vanquished. They simply didn't need to throw their base – the vast swath of unreflective AM talk-radio listeners – any more red meat. Had they gone full-bore for deficit-spending and industry bailouts, the usual tax-is-theft right wing think tanks would have howled and sent out snarky open letters to all the papers, but surely Harper can afford to piss those people off – where else are they going to go?

Harper is an expert in bluff-calling, but even he had to know that the opposition wasn't about to let him choke them off completely. They'll sit on their hands when the issue is war or human rights or poverty or whathaveyou, but threaten their funding, and oh boy...

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