Thursday, December 1, 2011
The Conservatives Did What? Please, Not While I'm Eating!
John Kenneth Galbraith, once said of Richard Nixon: "Our nation stands at a fork in the political road. In one direction lies a land of slander and scare; the land of sly innuendo, the poison pen, the anonymous phone call and hustling, pushing, shoving; the land of smash and grab and anything to win. This is Nixonland. America is something different."
Lawrence Martin in his book Harperland, writes: " [A]mong this breed of new conservative was a different temperament. It was an attitude not readily found in the traditional Canadian middle-of-the-road parties, but more common to a strain of American Republicans. It was a current of bitterness, an anger ..."
David Emerson, the Liberal who crossed the floor for a cabinet position in the Harper government, admitted that he "couldn't fathom the intense level of acrimony. He had never seen this kind of thing with the Liberals. But with Harper and his men, it was woven deep." He spoke of them as "viscerally hating their political opposition", saying that "Sometimes it was just startling to me."
Former Liberal MP Keith Martin, who also served in both parties, described the Conservatives as politicians who had been in an environment "that has bred a hatred". (Harperland p.3)
It's as though they can't help themselves.
Historian Richard Perlstein said of Nixon that he was a "serial collector of resentments", and those resentments created the kind of visceral politics that Nixon engaged in. Says Perlstein, "By the end of the 1960s, Nixonland came to emcompass the entire political culture of the U.S. It would define it, in fact, for the next fifty years." (Nixonland p. 46)
You would think that with Harper winning his majority, he might try to play nice. In fact, didn't many journalists suggest that the only reason Harper was so combative and controlling was because he had a minority?
We learned recently of prank phone calls in Liberal, Irwin Cotler's riding of Mount Royal. The calls originated with a company called Campaign Research, used by many Conservative candidates during the last federal campaign.
Blogger Sixth Estate reminds us that Campaign Research was founded by several Conservative insiders, including Nick Kouvalis, the Rob Ford election aide from Toronto, and Aaron Wudrick, the Conservative campaign manager who was caught a few years ago calling for the creation of Conservative “shell organizations” and “front groups” on university campuses. He worked for Peter Braid.
The Conservatives have finally admitted that they were behind the phone calls.
There is nothing illegal in what they did, just slimy.
We have had five years of this kind of politicking and it's growing weary. Can we expect another five years, or worse, as in the case of Nixon's influence, fifty?
I would much rather try to eat looking at the picture of the men at the top of the page, than try to eat, listening to this story. It comes down to who are the biggest asses.