Monday, November 04, 2013

Behold The Conservative Base

On Friday, Gerry Caplan wondered whether the Conservative faithful, meeting in Calgary, would experience a dark night of the soul. They faced at least two significant questions:

Which is true: when Mr. Harper said that no one in his office except Nigel Wright knew about the deal with Senator Mike Duffy, or when he now says “a few people” knew? (The number 13 is used by many.) Do you find it credible that his chief of staff, senior aides in his office, the party’s chief fundraiser, the party’s top lawyer, and several close allies in the Senate may have all hid from the Boss Man the money they were giving Mr. Duffy?

And, of course, there was that other question:

Which is true: when the Prime Minister announced he had accepted “with great regret” Mr. Wright’s resignation for giving $90,000 to Mr. Duffy, or when he said this week that Mr. Wright had been dismissed for his “deception”? Had someone else fired Mr. Harper’s chief of staff and informed him only days ago?

Mr. Harper -- as is his custom -- provided no answers to any questions . Yet Laura Payton reported that the faithful left the convention happy:

Delegates say they trust the prime minister and that the media is blowing the situation out of proportion. They argue Duffy's $90,000 in questionable expenses were repaid, which is better than the Liberal Party did during the sponsorship scandal of 10 years ago.

They also argue that Nigel Wright, Harper's former chief of staff who wrote the cheque that covered Duffy's expenses, was concerned about taxpayers when he offered the money. That Duffy didn't have to repay the money out of his own pocket is beside the point, some said, because in the end it didn't cost Canadians.

Matt Altheim, a delegate from Edmonton, called Harper "squeaky clean."

"We have one staffer wanting to pay back the public purse $90,000.... a staffer decided to do that," he said.

"I think it's an issue to be aware of and to be concerned [about] ... but I think people here, the issues for them are good governance, the economy and some of the crime legislation that's coming forward. The things that are going to change this country," Altheim said.

And, so, their faith in Mr. Harper remains unshaken. John Stuart Mill's observation remains as true today as it did one hundred and forty years ago.  "Conservatives are not necessarily stupid," he wrote, "but most stupid people are conservatives."

Behold the Conservative base.


CK said...

Over two weeks ago on Question period, Fife had a panel of news talk radio personalities. The one from Calgary had said he hated to say his listeners didn't care, but it was true. Basically, his callers to his show all said that it's better than having say Justin Trudeau or Thomas Mulcair at the helm.

On Question Period yesterday and some newscasts where delegates were questioned, They seem more scared of Justin Trudeau the drama teacher than any wrong doing coming out of Harper and his office or his minions.

Awhile back from the Blogging Tories, regarding Rob Ford, they said better a crackhead than a soshalist.

And of course, ADSCAM is still brought up to this day.

These right wingers are so ga ga giddy about the hard shift to the right Canada is taking that the ends justify the means.

I would venture to say that had Harper been involved in ADSCAM, he would get a free pass.

Owen Gray said...

I think you're probably right, CK. When others do wrong, these folks get exorcized.

But when the wrong doing comes from one of their own, they are willfully blind.

Scotian said...

That anyone can swallow the "protecting the taxpayers" line stile infuriates me, the taxpayers were never going to be on the hook regardless of Wright's action, because the Senate could seize part of Duffy's pay for repayment. I mean really, it is hardly unheard of to do so when you have someone owing a debt that refuses to repay it despite having been found to owe it through due process (maybe that is the problem, they don't understand due process maybe?). No, they just want to believe whatever they need to regardless of factual merit (take their views on the Adscam, regardless of the actual results of Inquiry they still believe it was far worse than it was, which is not to say it wasn't a serious problem in its own right, just not the inflated horror story the CPC routinely claimed it was) both about themselves and their foes (I don't say opponents, they have proven that they don't see honourable opponents but enemies, which in itself is a major problem if you actually believe in real democratic rule of law government IMHO) because it is easier to do so than it is to be a true independent free thinking human being. This is one of the things that most bothers me about the way party politics progressed in this nation, this idea of my party/leader right or wrong has been around a long time, the CPC though has taken it to new depths given what they have managed to overlook on niggling little things like basic due process issues, precedent, and even criminal law (since Wright's actions were by any reasonable reading of the appropriate criminal code sections on their face criminal in nature).

We saw how high and mighty the moralistic Harper CPC were about how the "clean cut Conservative government" would be back when Harper was baying to bring down the Martin Lib government. Since then we have seen a greater collection of abuse of power scandals than any prior government has ever managed, including managed to get a contempt of Parliament sanction, something no other minority government managed to do. Worse yet, since the majority we see nothing but the closest to true dictatorial government government ever in our history as well, which given the autocratic history of PMs past is no small feat either.

Yet to the base these things which they decried so loudly under the Chretien years as evil, anti-Canadian, etc is now only the best government EVAH, which only goes to show how too many people treat politics like a sport instead of what it truly is supposed to be, the exercise of our collective power to create, manage and continue to improve a stable society for the benefit of all its citizens. That it is *NOT* a sports game where you blindly cheer for your side if you actually believe n the importance of civic responsibility regardless of your political affiliations. We heard Conservatives wondering how anyone could support the tired corrupt Libs under Martin and shaking their heads at how horrible it was for those supporters to still do so (this despite the inescapable truth that Martin actually called a real Inquiry, to the destruction of his government and major short term damage of his party, which showed a belief in accountability we don't see form Harper and the CPC), and now they have descended into being what they condemned and do so with lusty abandon.

What really disgusts me about modern Conservatives though is how easy they find it to ignore fairly serious issues of contempt of the rule of law so long as taxpayer dollars aren't stolen by their thinking as not real scandals. For one thing, we are before we are taxpayers awe are citizens, and the inability to get that is bad enough, but to fail to recognize that abuse of power and breech of law are actually worse and more dangerous kinds of scandal than simple theft is shows just how poorly they truly understand basic civic responsibility, which is truly terrifying.

John B. said...

I think that the biggest whopper that Harper has pulled off on his followers (and likely on many other members of the public who have just tuned in) is his characterization of the opposition as defenders of the Senators whose claims have been questioned.

Harper at the convention on 1 Nov:

“Then, when we decide that a case, based on the facts, requires serious sanction, our opponents immediately accuse of us of being, unfair, nasty and ruthless – and then then portray the offenders as victims or even martyrs. Friends, in terms of such opponents, I couldn’t care less what they say. We will do the right thing.”

One would have to search hard to find anyone other than Harper and some other members of his party who have defended the actions of the Senators in question at any time since the details of their specific cases began to emerge.

But now that Harper has spent the summer studying the file and has apparently determined a means to treat the situation as an opportunity rather than a problem, he has decided to administer lynch mob justice by trying, convicting and punishing the Senators collectively in the court of his personal opinion. Anyone who attempts to question what is happening, by the simple act of refusing to recognize his power to dictate an outcome, or who continues to question the involvement of his office, has dared to “portray the offenders as victims or even martyrs” and has become an “opponent” of his attempt to obtain a resolution.

Because Harper doesn’t answer questions, no purpose would likely be served in asking him to explain the logic of his determinations and, in any case, he probably couldn’t care less.

And so our faith in our previous assessments of the man and his followers should remain unshaken.

Owen Gray said...

The list of abuses -- which you have accurately catalogued -- is long and getting longer, Scotian.

And, like the dim-witted Sergeant Schultz, the base see "nothing at all."

Owen Gray said...

And, likewise, the courts have now become the enemy of Senate reform, John.

Harper believes he is the law. And, under those conditions, the law is an ass.

e.a.f. said...

The party faithful are a strange lot, as seen on t.v. when they were interviewed. They follow harper and who knows why. Perhaps it is simply, better the dog you know then the one you don't. Manyof the party faithful believe in harper because he tells them what they want to hear. he confirms their attitudes.

Many of these people are right wing and any thing other than their own beliefs is frightening to them. These are not sophisticated people. Some are very rich and the cons work for them, because they keep wages low and taxes low for corporations. What the average Canadian has in common with the wealthy is beyond me. Perhaps they believe, if they associate with these wealthy 1%ers, they are somehow part of it.

Owen Gray said...

If the base feel they have common cause with the wealthy who patronize Mr. Harper, they're fools. e.a.f.

There has never been a shortage of fools.