Politics Straight Up

January 21, 2010

In the political trenches, the battle of ideas is almost always won by those who are best able to explain their position(s) clearly, succinctly and without the slightest hint of subtlety. “Keeping it simple keeps it real, yo,” I am told by a local political strategist and overnight/weekend infomercial host who asked to be quoted anonymously pending the outcome of legal proceedings. “That way, voters don’t have to think too much about it.” He goes on to say that ideally politicians should try to get their point across in one breath. “So Joe Q. Public will remember it easily and regurgitate it without having to forgo a mouthful of nachos.”

It is a strategy that conservatives — both big and little ‘C’s – have mastered. Ever since Ronald Reagan’s ‘Morning in America’ back in 1980, the political left has been, well, left stammering, hopelessly yammering on with awkward, tongue-tying slogans that have seldom resonated with voters. For every one “It’s the Economy, Stupid!” or “Change We Can Believe In!” there’s been countless numbers of clunkers that ultimately fell on deaf ears. Who can remember the rallying cry “Climate Change Is A Complex Dynamic of Inter-related, Multilevel Systems Susceptible To Even The Slightest Variation But Overall The Science Is Solid.”? Or how about even this pithy but obscure proto-Keynesian economic challenge, “Countercyclical Fiscal Policies Now!!”? Me neither, which has been the progressives problems for decades now.

Yes, governing is not simple. It demands complicated and multifaceted approaches that don’t always operate on easy-to-understand, intuitive gut levels. But that doesn’t mean explaining how you’re going to do it has to get bogged down with detail heavy insights, thoughtful deliberations or big, multi-syllabic words. If you want a crack at power, it’s all about “The Axis of Evil”, being “The Decider” and “You’re Either With Us Or You’re Against Us”.

Here at the local level, we can see this discipline already at work in the early days of this year’s municipal election. Toronto Sun columnist and Hater-Of-Everything-To-Do-With-David-Miller, Sue-Ann Levy, came hard out of the gate last week after Councilor Joe Pantalone announced his intention to run for the mayor’s office. Not even waiting until the first sentence, Levy brings the pain right there in the title: Mayor Pantalooney? No Way!

Ha Ha! Joe Pantalone? Joe Pantalooney!! He can’t be mayor. He’s crazy! Crazy as a loon, that Joe Pantalooney!!!

How will the man ever dig himself out from the hole Levy’s tossed him in? His twenty-nine years of civic duty which Levy dismisses as merely a “career” only serves to prove that Pantalone is categorically unfit to be mayor because he’s crazy. Who’d dedicated nearly 30 years of his life to public service? You’d have to be crazy. Probably couldn’t get a “real” job, that Joe Pantalooney.

Since Sue-Ann Levy doesn’t agree with anything Joe Pantalone stands for, ipso facto, the councilor must be crazy because certainly Sue-Ann Levy isn’t crazy. Would such an august operation like the Toronto Sun hire crazy people to fill its pages?

It’s a hardball approach that Levy seems to relish and that must save her heaps of time to not do reporterly stuff like investigative researching. Why, just a few days ago, she turned her sights on those “whining airport wingnuts” who were stamping their little feet over the possible expansion of flight numbers by the good folks at Porter Air. How dare a gaggle of “self-centred, ridiculous bunch of whiners” (Sue-Ann does love her quotation marks) treat the waterfront as their very own “fiefdom on the lake”! Haven’t these people cottoned on to the fact that the “fiefdom on the lake” is the personal playground for the likes of federal political patronage appointees, Robert Deluca and downtown business bigwigs who have neither the time nor the inclination to make their way out to Pearson when duty calls? The airport is here to stay, dammit, and anybody who continues to fight the inevitable is simply crazy. And probably a hippie.

So, to all you left wingers out there and island airport opponents who see its continued presence and Porter’s possible expansion as the ongoing extension of a politically underhanded and democratically dubious land and money grab of the Toronto Harbor Commission by the federal Liberal party over a decade ago… you see, there you go again, talk, talk, talking, like you’re being heard by rational, relatively sentient beings. Just blurt it out. From the gut to the tongue, bypassing the brain entirely. It’s worked for the right wing for decades now. It might even get you a job writing for the Toronto Sun.

insanely submitted by Urban Sophisticat