Crazy Like A Crazy Person Or Just Crazy?

May 19, 2014

There’s that old aphorism, credited variously to Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw howsthatgoagainor Winston Churchill, that goes something to the effect: If you’re not a socialist when you’re twenty, there’s something wrong with your heart; if you’re still a socialist when you’re forty, there’s something wrong with your head.

I’d like to riff on that, thinking about modern day conservatives. If you’re a conservative these days, regardless of age, eighteen to eighty, there’s something wrong with both your ticker and noggin.

I mean, how else to explain that a good 30% of the Ontario electorate are still telling pollsters they are willing to vote for Tim Hudak’s Progressive Conservatives in next month’s provincial election. This, a week+ into his campaign of the axing our way back to prosperity plan. 100,000 public sector jobs gone. Corporate taxes slashed to the lowest in North America. LRT plans for Toronto, Mississauga, Hamilton and Brampton? texaschainsawmassacreGone, gone, gone and gone.

Never mind that none of this is good or sound policy. His 1, 000, 000 Jobs Plan is laughable even by some of his strongest supporters. While his threats appear to be real, his promises are empty.

Now, there are all sorts of reasons to want to see the governing Liberals chased from office. But Tim Hudak isn’t offering a better alternative. He’s merely being spiteful. It’s vengeance, he wants, not better governance.

What do his supporters think this would accomplish? Zero economic benefits, at best, and there’s a lot of wishful thinking and blind faith going into even seeing that as a possibility. His transit plans for the GTHA won’t make a dent in the region’s congestion woes. He’s even admitted there are going to be bigger class sizes in schools if he has his way.

defiantTo what end?

The eradication of the province’s deficit and any semblance of the last decade of Liberal rule, it seems.

Neither of which, by almost every count, will contribute in any positive way to the daily lives of average Ontarians.

That’s kind of the very definition of cutting off your nose to spite your face, isn’t it?

Even while his policy announcements raised more eyebrows than they did serious consideration, Mr. Hudak has been applauded in some circles for his forthrightness, his no pulling of punches, his boldness in laying out his plans.

“But its value is mostly for what it signals of his resolve,” writes Andrew Coyne in the National Post, referring to the pledge to cut 100,000 jobs for the public sector.

The resolve is the thing, you see. Not its effectiveness or necessity. Who cares about the economic results as long as you do what you say you’re going to do, ridiculous or not.determined

Now, let me state right here that I’m in no way comparing Tim Hudak to Adolph Hitler aside from a stylistic similarity. Whatever else his faults might’ve been, Hitler was a politician of certain resolve too. He offered up a few solutions of his own, back in the day. So what if one in particular was a little genocide-y? He said he was going to do it. He did it. You can’t fault the guy for a lack of resolve.

What is the appeal of a politician full of bad ideas, unflinchingly out there promoting them? Bad ideas are bad ideas whether you yell them to the mountain tops or keep them to a parlour whisper.

What exactly has the conservative voter become that this is now seen as a constructive attribute? Loudly, proudly pronouncing nonsense. Has it really come down to a case of my guy, right or wrong? burntheplacedownPositive change isn’t their goal so much as any change, good or bad, is better than no change.

I get why nearly 3/4s of us want to see a new government at Queen’s Park. The stench of scandal, misspending and cover up hangs over the Liberal government. But frankly, I’d take that over the smell of scorched earth which I feel is what’s being offered to us by Tim Hudak. It isn’t an alternative. It’s a vendetta.

fearfully submitted by Cityslikr


Play It Again Tim

May 12, 2014

Who still believes that wildly slashing jobs in the public sector will result in a tenfold increase in the private sector work force? truebelieversWho still believes in a direct correlation between more and deeper corporate tax cuts and bigger business investments in the economy? Who still believes that an extensive subway system can be built using found money from simple belt tightening and finding efficiencies?

Progressive Conservative voters in Ontario, apparently. And their party leader, Tim Hudak, is making sure they hear him loud and clear early on in this election campaign with his shock and awe, slash and burn announcements. He most certainly isn’t attempting to broaden his base. Just the opposite, in fact. Cement it in place, rock solid.

The reason for that approach is pretty obvious. According to a recent Ipsos Reid poll, Progressive Conservative support is what I’d refer to as intransigent, intractable. seenoevilPollsters more diplomatically call it ‘committed’ or ‘loyal’. 54% of PC voters express an absolute certainty of casting a ballot that way on election day. Only 37% of Liberal supporters think that way. 34% of NDP.

Perhaps even more important to electoral fortunes, of the just over half of people who say that nothing short of a natural disaster or personal emergency will stop them from voting, 42% plan on voting Conservative, 14 and 15% ahead of the Liberals and NDP respectively.

So, get out that conservative vote by stirring up fond memories of the Mike Harris era. Tap into that deep well of anti-government, anti-tax sentiment. Bang the drum of outrage and resentment.

texaschainsawmassacreNow look, I get it.

There’s every sort of reason that nearly 73% of those responding to the poll think there needs to be a change of government at Queen’s Park. The Liberals are tired. After 11 years in office, the age spots are showing. There are the scandals, oh my, are there the scandals, and the cover-ups of scandals. There are the half-measures, half-taken, on issues like public transit and the environment. Despite the new leadership, a general sense of entropy permeates the Liberal Party of Ontario.

Kick the bums out!

Still…

We’ve seen this movie before.

Hell, it’s playing out right now at a theatre near you. proofisinthepuddingWe don’t have to harken back to darker days of yore.

The attack on the civil service at the federal level is already bearing rotten fruit. A loss of vital statistical information, from household data to climate change, stemming from departmental cuts to overt muzzling of government scientists. A lack of oversight allowing the transportation of dangerous materials in unsafe vehicles resulting in a catastrophic turn of events like Lac Megantic.

In all likelihood, the federal Conservatives will go into next year’s election campaign boasting a budget surplus as proof of how austerity works. This will be a claim made in the face of a less than robust economy with much of the country suffering from severe infrastructure disrepair. Bridges, roads, public transit networks, all underfunded and substandard. And don’t even get me started on our social infrastructure deficit.

Here in Toronto, since 2010 we’ve been living with the results of many of the ‘tough choices’ Tim Hudak insists we have to make. Across the board budget cuts, service reductions, increased state of good repair back log. emptypromiseAll in the name of keeping taxes low and curbing so-called out of control spending.

So this isn’t about some bold leap of faith into the unknown or a change for change’s sake because how much worse could it possibly be? We know how much worse. We’re living it.

Yet, potential Conservative voters are most dogmatic in their attachment to party and intention to go out and vote for them. So either they’re A-OK with the inevitable outcome of Tim Hudak’s austerity measures which is pretty much the opposite of what he claims will happen. Jobs will not be created. Business investment will not increase. Public transit will not be built. These voters don’t care about any of that as long as the Liberals are tossed from office.

Or they believe in the continued fairy tale politicians like Tim Hudak continue to spin. If we only cut the public sector. If we only reduced taxes a little bit more. If we just allow the free market more freedom and less government constraint, flowers of prosperity. Yaddie, yaddie, yaddie. A rising tide will lift all boats. Yaddie, yaddie, yaddie.

Vicious and deluded are the only ways you could describe Conservative supporters at this point. abadonallhopeCombined with the fact that more than 4 out of 5 of them seem to have little intention of questioning that support, they are an immoveable bloc that operates beyond engagement or discourse. An army of obstinacy, offering nothing new or even remotely realistic to the conversation.

The party of spite, less convinced of the worthiness of its own cause than it is the absolute wrongness of the others. Even when they may be right about the latter, the repugnancy at its core offers little to outsiders as a viable alternative. It’s the mathematics of disenchantment and lowered expectations. “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here” has become the Conservative mantra. Our worst is better than their worst.

submitted by Cityslikr