Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Liberals Win Ugly but Are Ugly All the Same

As much as the Star desperately wants to appear to be critical of a government as transparently corrupt as the federal Liberals, it simply cannot resist getting in the odd taste of Paul Martin’s boots.

James Travers today fancies himself the objective, the impartial pundit that gets both to wag his finger and wink knowingly at the government who, as he so grittily puts it, “win[s] ugly but win[s] all the same.” And you can really see how hard he works at appearing to balance a clinical admiration of the Liberal’s underhanded tactics, with a pronounced, almost a toffee-nosed disapproval of the abuse of ethics that was required of them to do so … And for the most part he gets away with this, in spite of the slight naughtiness of his basic premise, that “in politics, as in pro sport, winning is everything and no points are added or subtracted for how elegantly or crudely victory is claimed.”

(Naughty because this isn’t necessarily true; and because it strikes me as a rather obvious attempt to get one of those sweet-sweet self-fulfilling prophecies out there ... I mean, is it really that unlikely that the extremely dodgy dealings behind the Belinda Stronach business, the gift of $4.5 billion to the NDP (which, it would appear, the Liberals might spin to the exclusion of their fair-weather allies), and the passing of Bill C-38 at political gunpoint won’t work against the Liberals in some measure? Probably not fatally, of course—the reasons for which I’ll come to in a second. But the depths to which this government has sunk over the course of the last couple of months knows no analogue in Canadian political history, and many, many Canadians actually seem to be quite aware of this. It couldn't seem so far-fetched, then, to at least make room for the possibility that all of these things (and a couple of others I can think of) just might come to bear on the minds of voters come election time. Hope springs eternal, anyway.)

But, like I say, the nudge-nudge-wink-winkery that Mr. Travers indulges here seems mostly legitimate, however nauseating. Right through, that is, to the penultimate sentence … But that last one! … He says “For a Prime Minister who captivated voters with his vision and now leads a government that survives deal-to-deal, that passes as progress.”

Can the man be serious?!

No, Travers, you ass! It doesn’t! It doesn’t because your causality is completely and utterly false! The Prime Minister most assuredly did not captivate voters with his vision! I know a fairly representative cross-section of these voters and not a single one of them has any real idea of what Liberal policy is. And, indeed, the suggestion that the PM could captivate anyone with anything other than the sheer comic value of his facial expressions is patent drivel and hackery.

I mean, I’ll let you have the description of the outcome of the last couple of months as “progress”—but it is only so insofar as any progress is characterized by a linear movement forward in time—evocative, I can’t help thinking, of the steady progress men inevitably make towards grim death. But, I’m sorry, this particular “progress” had remarkably little to do with the content of Liberal policy, and none whatsoever to do with the Liberal leadership.

The Prime Minister, I say, captivated no one with his vision. What bloody vision?! Indeed, I would suggest that very few Canadians voted for the Liberals at all; they did, however, vote against the Conservatives. Which should hardly be surprising or much of a revelation in a country whose very identity is based on negative values. I am Canadian, after all, not American; I believe in peacekeeping not policing; I voted Liberal not Conservative … Joe Canadian can tell you everything he isn’t! (He might even tell you that he's barely Canadian!) And Joe Canadian will tell you that because he doesn’t believe in the suppression of ‘a woman’s right to choose,’ and because he doesn’t believe in the continued withholding of the inalienable rights of homosexuals to marry—the essence of the Conservative platform, he might also salt-of-the-earthily insist—he doesn’t, then, believe in the Conservative party. Negatio ergo sum.

Yes, Mr. Travers, the Liberal party did play dirty and did win. Fine. But this was not the Liberals just playing the political game! Rather, this was (…alas! would that I could be using the past tense…) a government doing something quite unique in its history: allowing cynicism and lust for power to steer the ship. And while it would seem to be quite possible that this exceptionally obvious fact won’t occur to the bulk of Canadian voters, I refuse to be told by some partisan hack that this was as it should be, or even that it is the lesser of however many evils. The Liberals won ugly, yes, but they need, desperately, to lose! Uglily!