Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Keep The Elephant Out Of The Room


For ten years, Stephen Harper drew his inspiration from the Republican Party. He is now in hiding. Whoever replaces him, Lawrence Martin writes, would be wise not to drink from the same well that Harper did:

While there probably isn’t much cross-border spillover from the Grand Old Party’s madness, it hardly helps the conservative brand. For Canadian Tories, it would be best if the Republican Party just went away.

It’s especially the case now, but it has been this way for a long time. Going all the way back to the Eisenhower era, the Republican Party, with one big exception, has served to hinder the interests of Canadian Conservatives. By contrast over the same period, the Democratic Party has served Canadian Liberals well, the latest example being the hug-in between Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama last week.

It's all about values, writes Martin. And Republican values -- despite Harper's repeated insistence -- are not Canadian values:

Before the GOP descended into the Trump trough, it served up the troglodytes of the Tea Party, a source of ridicule. In presidential sweepstakes, Canadians have favoured Mr. Obama by a wide margin over George W. Bush, Mitt Romney and John McCain. In the 1990s, the Newt Gingrich brand of Republicans found little favour here.

Richard Nixon’s presidency served as a thorn to Tory interests. When he visited Ottawa in 1972, officials took hot-water hoses to the snow on Parliament Hill for fear he would be pelted with snowballs.

If Canadians could vote in American elections, most of us would be Democrats: 

The reasons why Canadians favour Democrats, as pollsters such as Mr. Nanos and Frank Graves attest, is because they see Republicans as considerably more distant from Canadian values. That’s particularly true as the GOP has moved further right. Republicans like guns, they like war, they’re retrograde on the environment, they’re more inclined to survival of the fittest, they’re more xenophobic.

Canadian conservatives are a far cry from the demagogic excesses of Mr. Trump and Ted Cruz. But one of the reasons the Tories lost the most recent federal election was their display of intolerance as reflected in their attitudes toward the niqab, on promoting a snitch line, on being seen on board with former Toronto mayor Rob Ford. Instead of bringing together Canadians, the Tories pursued a divide-and-conquer strategy.

Republicans have gone -- in the words of Senator Lindsay Graham -- "batshit crazy." And the Conservative Party of Canada would be wise to keep the elephant out of the room. 


lungta said...

thats who they are
everyone of them
by beer three
will drag out a list of who they hate
those who if eliminated would solve all the problems
the lists are long
the solutions are violent
to have ford and harper and kenney and ambrose hide their inner nature
to what end?
lull us into re-electing library burnings, science muzzling, fact avoiding and economic disasters again
i like that they espouse their overt racism, misogyny, homophobia and general disrespect toward civil is who they are.
really tell me why
you would want to dress this up into an electable alternative again?
this is the face of the conservative party now
if you are "conservative" and this is not you
then suck it up
admit you were wrong
and join your real party

Owen Gray said...

Some of the conservatives I know believed that the Harperites were not conservatives, lungta. They would tell you that the Harper brood was lot of things. But they weren't conservatives.

The Mound of Sound said...

Real conservatism is a belief structure of principles that trace back to Edmund Burke. Anyone reading Burke today will immediately see how far the Right has strayed from anything recognizably conservative. Neoconservatism, in the wake of the Iraq fiasco, has crawled back underneath its rock but it has not gone away. It is still promoting its xenophobic and bellicose mantra. I saw that in William Kristol's appearance on Bill Maher's show last Friday. They're furious that Trump and his mob have made such inroads into the GOP because it has displaced their own preferred variety of corporate extremism. One bunch of radicals rarely likes another.

Mona Ambrose looks increasingly pathetic as she tries to keep the CPC boat afloat. This is a time when both NDP and CPC need to re-invent themselves but neither seems capable of any genuine restoration. There's no vision at the very moment when that is most needed.

Harper was a devil who exploited wedge politics to an extreme. He knew that he could combine his base with another segment of the voting public manipulated by anger, fear and a touch of paranoia and could not just govern but could actually rule. We're at a point where we'll pay dearly if we fail to restore cohesion and support for a common purpose to Canadian society and yet Harper's incendiaries are still going off.

Owen Gray said...

Neo-conservatism relies on anger to fire up its base, Mound. It has never espoused anything like a coherent vision.

Lorne said...

If our long burden under the Harper regime taught us anything, Owen, it's that we cannot take our values and traditions for granted. They need to be nurtured carefully so they aren't uprooted by the next demagogue who comes along.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Lorne. The Canadian identity has been forged by a great deal of hard and honest work. We should not let it be destroyed by another snake oil salesman.

Anonymous said...

Did someone say 'batshit crazy'?
We're there already.
See: Kevin O'Leary

Owen Gray said...

The Little Donald, Anon.

the salamander said...

.. its well worth visiting the websites of Emily Dee .. she catalogued the evolution.. and lunacy of all the main Harper pricks, fools, scumbags etc.. The American connections of rebublicans, demagogues, evangelicals and shrill losers were manna from heaven & divine guidance to distorted political freaks like Harper Kenney Clement Baird Giorno.. Of course Harper et al were simply blathering re Canadian Values...

Politics Money Big Oil Power - bad medicine .. whisky .. smallpox blankets .. dead buffalo .. the indian schools .. shrinking reservations .. broken treaties .. lies .. more lies .. toxins in the waters .. dying species .. liars in high places ..

Every time I see Ted Cruz .. I see a scary caricature of Stephen Harper .. I see Ray Novak.. Jason Kenney .. and Tony Clement.. Pierre Poilivre .. Rona Ambrose .. John Baird.. James Moore .. Ray Giorno .. Arthur Hamilton ... Peter Kent .. They are all the same slimy species

Owen Gray said...

I agree, salamander. They're all cut from the same cloth -- and, as time goes by, they get more and more unbalanced.