Andrew Coyne is no Pollyanna. He does not expect much from politicians; and, he says, we should not be surprised by the state of our politics. For politics is rarely noble; and politicians are rarely heroic:
Politics has been better before, and it has been worse. But politics, whatever one would wish, has never been a contest of ideas. Occasionally it is about ideas, as in the free trade election of 1988. But such debates as do arise are resolved not by persuasion but by combat. There simply isn’t time, people in politics tell themselves — the public hasn’t the patience. You can’t explain your position, and you can’t defend yourself against the other side’s attacks. All you can do is attack. Elections, in consequence, are about who can tear the most flesh off the other. And they all do it.
But there is the matter of degree -- and, in that regard, the Harper Tories have pushed the envelope. Moreover, if we allow them to keep pushing the envelope -- something they have been doing with impunity -- things are not going to change. They won't change, Coyne writes,
until somebody in politics — the followers, not the leaders, the ones who quietly tell reporters of their frustrations, but go along in the end — stands up and says it’s wrong of my party to behave this way. My party: never mind what the other guys are doing. We just need to stop. Us.
So when are we going to stand up and say, "Enough?"