Thursday, January 19, 2017

Mr. Wonderful?

Kevin O'Leary is in. But Brent Rathgeber isn't impressed by either O'Leary or his prospects:

The first few times I saw Kevin O’Leary harshly criticize a contestant, I thought it was so over the top that it had to be contrived. His affected viciousness repelled me; predictably, it also earned him a seat on the American copycat program Shark Tank. The American entertainment industry has a history of embracing the obnoxious.

There are those in the Conservative Party that are trying on Trump Lite for size:

We’ve already seen some of the worst aspects of the excruciating 2016 American presidential campaign migrate north. Kellie Leitch’s opportunistic proposal to screen potential immigrants for their embrace of ‘Canadian values’ is carefully nebulous, allowing it to send different messages to different people. Steven Blaney wants to revoke citizenship for terrorists and ban the niqab from the public service. Red meat for the anti-Muslim crowd.

Both Leitch and Blaney went after Maxime Bernier last night in Quebec City, before and during the French language debate, for campaigning to end corporate welfare after having handed out the pork as Stephen Harper’s industry minister. Leitch, the queen of the drive-by smear, quickly issued a press release calling Bernier a “liar and a fraud.”

But O'Leary sees himself as the Trump of the North -- a notion that Rathgeber doesn't think will fly:

I believe the Trump phenomenon was more an accident then the beginning of a trend. He’s the outcome of an unlikely collision between multiple factors: a deeply disillusioned electorate, fear of undocumented workers ‘stealing’ jobs, fear of terrorists — or anybody who looks like he might be one — and a very, very unpopular Democratic nominee. Take away any one of those factors, and Trump loses.

And the conditions that could permit the ascent of ‘Trump Lite’ simply don’t exist here. Undocumented Mexicans ‘stealing’ Canadian jobs? That’s not even a thing. Terrorism? Canada hasn’t been immune from terrorist attacks — but mass shootings are, thankfully, rare here. Stephen Harper tried to capitalize on islamophobia in 2015 but the barbaric cultural practices ‘snitch line’ and the war on the niqab were soundly rejected by the electorate.

Finally, there’s the obvious: Justin Trudeau is no Hillary Clinton. I may disagree with many of the current government’s policies, but Trudeau is young, hip, photogenic and (politics aside) personally very likeable. Moreover, Canadians already have had the opportunity to “drain the swamp” — and to some extent they did so in 2015.

Rathgeber is betting that Canadians will understand that Mr. Wonderful is not who he says he is.



the salamander said...

.. Mr glib fast mouth .. & self professed smartest guy in the country.. from Boston eh? In my entire life I have glanced up here n there when he blurted financial advice or opinion.. Think we were having spaghetti bolognese take out with astonishing garlic bread. Can't recall a damn thing he spouted about.. but I noticed our names both start with O' .. was memorable, not. Lunch next day was far better than him, tho leftovers. He argued with a woman as I recall.. think she got fired.. pretty hard when you're CBC eh

The Mound of Sound said...

I like his fellow Dragon, Arlene Dickinson's take on O'Leary:

"The question on everyone's mind is the same: "Is the cold, money-driven person we see on television what we will get as a potential political leader?"

"It's the exact same question I've received from Canadians from coast to coast since we co-starred on Dragons' Den together.

"And the answer is: Yes, he's exactly the same person privately as he is on camera.

"Kevin is funny. I often enjoyed a glass of wine with him. He's also intelligent and a savvy self-promoter. But at his core, he's an opportunist. He doesn't do anything that doesn't offer a path to power, fame or fortune — and that should have us all afraid.

"He's the business community's worst spokesperson. Why? Because he represents capitalism in its very worst form — a soulless system that bases decisions solely on dollars and cents, profit and margin."


"Like all opportunists, Kevin shifts positions when it's convenient.

"When I criticized him for saying, "there was nothing honourable about being a warrior," (referring to our armed forces), he immediately backtracked. According to Kevin, what he meant to say was Canadians were "world-class warriors and peacekeepers," and those of us who took offense to his original comments were "confused."

"The fact is Kevin doesn't know about the honour of our armed forces, because he doesn't fight for anyone but himself."

"I don't want a leader that's only in it for himself. I do not want a leader who will cut and run when it's in his best interest. I don't want a leader who views our country as nothing more than a balance sheet."

I think we know what Dickinson thinks of O'Leary. Oooh.

Owen Gray said...

Excellent information on a man who Dickinson knows well, Mound. He fights only for himself. Conservatives can't say they've not been warned.

Owen Gray said...

Like Mr. Trump, he's all ego, salamander. That seems pretty obvious.

Anonymous said...

LOL @ that fluff piece from Arlene Dickinson: "Self-interest isn't what politics should be about, and it's not what drives good decisions. Politics isn't just about dollars and cents, it's about people."

Make me puke. Politics is about politicians, economists and 'fake news' journalists betraying the public trust to line their pockets.

What no lazy propagandists can tell you – because they have no need to do research on the prolefeed they slop together – is that if O'Leary connects with conservative voters, he will win a 'majority' in 2019. (Cons love 'self-interest' BTW. 'Invisible hand' and all that. This talking head is so lazy she doesn't even know her target audience.)

Conservative voters make up 40% of the electorate – 10% Red Tory and 30% red meat – and a fake majority is achieved on 40% of the vote. Do the math. The only time the conservative vote has been united over the past 80 years is under Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper. All they need is a competent leader to win.

I'm hoping that O'Leary wins and destroys Junior's coattail legacy. Junior is more right-wing than Harper on economics: Free trade with China. Privatized infrastructure spending that looks no different than Donald Trump's plan. Selling off government assets. 'Starve the beast' deficits funding big tax cuts for the rich peddled as Keynesian stimulus. Ugh.

Interesting how conservative ideology becomes palatable when you put a pretty face on it – to some people.


Owen Gray said...

There are those of us who have been disappointed by Trudeau. I'm sure you've read some of their comments, MAGA. But I don't see O'Leary as an improvement.

Anonymous said...

That was a great post by Rathgeber on iPolitics. He gets better all the time. I wrote a response, but didn't post it in the end, because there's some seriously ill Conservative trolls on that comment board who obscure the view. Dickinson's observations are to the point, but I based mine on my own eyes and ears. Here's some of it:

"The last foreigner from Boston who tried to become Canadian PM was Ignatieff who seemed warily uneasy all the time and thus appeared uncommitted to his role.

Now we have Mr Wonderful, full of puffed-up self-importance but in fact a political policy lightweight of no mean proportion, again from Boston, inserting himself into the scene trying to become Conservative leader. This latter day Yankee who sits in splendid isolation in the US, feels free to pass judgement in a pitying manner on the 33 million pathetic plebs occupying Canada, the land of his birth.

Why, anyone with half a brain and two decades wresting a living in the no-holds-barred US of A, can run Canada with one hand tied behind his back, nooo problem. Easy-peasy. Fewer souls than California. Apply standard business techniques. Keep 'em off balance and yell at them. Rudely interrupt their objections when they react badly to your obviously genius ideas. So, he reasons, let's go back to the Big Land and reap the huzzahs of approval for taking time out of his busy personal schedule to educate us all, and following that his grand election, nay coronation, to lead us all to the promised land will follow as night does day.

Were it so simple. He's Kenney lite, all personal desire for fawning approbation as he grabs for the brass ring and powah, and will be devoured alive by real politicians truth be told, if he could but admit to the likely worrying realities he'll face on the campaign trail, like a total lack of knowledge on federal-provincial affairs where empty bluster gets you nowhere, aboriginal issues, debate venues where shouting, intimidation and interruption will not be tolerated, and of course, his lack of French, to name but a few. But ego propels him forward anyway. That and his disdain for anyone else's capabilities. "People," he seems to say, "if you saw things my way, you wouldn't need glasses!"

BM / cont'd

Owen Gray said...

Apparently, O'Leary believes that ego trumps ignorance, BM. Not surprising, I suppose, when the incoming president believes that there is a correlation between the size of one's brain and the size of one's bank account.