Christian Conservative Christian "Independent"

I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Friday, June 11, 2010

NP: "The Liberal Party must be destroyed"

The National Post's Jonathan Kay put out a GREAT blog post yesterday, advocating a position that I've been advocating for years... that the Liberal Party of Canada MUST DIE.

I've long said that for the sake of the nation, the Liberal Party must be destroyed. They are the single greatest roadblock to any real political discussion, debate, and dialogue in this great nation. Any time a real idea is brought forward by any other Party, they're always the first to spin it negatively for their own political gain. We can't even talk about a lot of issues here in Canada, because we know the Liberals will do everything in their power to paint us with the "Scary Conservative" mantra.

I've also advocated this position because I've noticed, over the years, the same thing as Mr. Kay... that when you ask a Liberal WHY they're a Liberal, you'll get some fluffy pie-in-the-sky answer, or a bogus "my family has always been Liberals" response, as opposed to any real statement on policy. Or something along the lines of "I vote Liberal to stop the Conservatives". I have ONLY EVER ONCE had a real policy discussion with one Liberal supporter (with a guy who's not even a Liberal member) on why he supports the Liberal Party of Canada. (that would be you, Mr. J.A... aka "Sir L") But most of the time, it's just some nonsensical, vague and useless answer... much like the Liberal Party itself, I suppose.

Anyway, fantastic piece of journalism... I highly recommend giving it a read.
The Liberal Party must be destroyed — for its own good
By Jonathan Kay - June 10, 2010 – 2:55 pm

Four and a half years ago, in the run-up to the 2006 federal election, then-Senator Jerry Grafstein wrote a letter to this newspaper declaring as follows: “The Grafstein family has voted in every federal election for the Liberal party in the last 75 years, and we intend to so again with renewed enthusiasm in this election.”

Think about that for a moment. At various times over the last 75 years, depending on who has been in charge, the Liberal Party has been the party of protectionism, of free trade, of war, of peace, of indulging Quebec, of confronting Quebec, of Bay Street, of the poor, of Washington, of anti-Americanism, of Trudeauvian socialism, of ruthless 1990s-era austerity. Yet throughout it all, the Grafstein clan has mechanically checked the box for the Liberal Party. The Liberals could run a monkey draped with a Liberal sash, apparently, and the Grafsteins would just keep ticking the box so long as the monkey endorsed monkey bilingualism and monkey equalization.

Grafstein is hardly alone. There are many others like him scattered around Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and points in between — veteran Liberal grandees who simply could never imagine voting for any other party. For these people, the Liberal Party isn’t a set of people and policies, it’s a cherished flag you salute.

This Liberal fetish for self-veneration has been around so long in this country that we have lost track of how weird it is. When justifying their party affiliation, Conservatives, NDP, Bloc Québécois and even Greens typically will recite a set of reasonably specific policy positions and values. The same is true, in the United States, of Democrats and Republicans. With Liberals, on the other hand, you tend to get empty clichés and historical references built around the tautology that the Liberals are great because they are the party of greatness.

The most common is the one about the Liberals being “the party of Laurier” — as if the party affiliation of someone who’s been dead for almost a century should have the slightest bearing on how anyone today should vote. It’s the equivalent of an American Republican describing the GOP as “the party of Taft,” or a Democrat declaring his fealty to the “Party of Wilson.”

The Liberals’ treacly love affair with themselves wasn’t a problem in the Trudeau era, when the country truly did hunger for the sort of large-scale national projects that played to the party’s grandiose sense of holy ordainment. Nor was it a problem in the 1990s, when the opposition had fractured into regional constituencies, and the Liberals could declare themselves a “natural governing party.” But now that the right has united, and the taste for Trudeuvia has evaporated, Liberal self-love has sabotaged the party in two major ways:

1. It has made Liberals existentially incompetent at the act of opposition, since the role itself is seen as an insult to the natural order of the universe. Toronto Star columnist Thomas Walkom (with whom I normally disagree) nailed this point when he recently wrote that “the Liberals don’t take the role of opposition seriously. Desperate for power, they are unwilling to do anything to spark an election until they are reasonably sure of winning it.”

2. Like a college football coach who believes he can plug any quarterback into a pre-existing offensive “system,” Liberals have come to believe that any stiff — even Stéphane Dion — can ride to victory on the strength of the Liberal brand. In this regard, the selection of Michael Ignatieff — a man who hadn’t lived in Canada since 1978, the era of the Bee Gees and Grease— was an act of stunning arrogance that would be unimaginable for any other major Western political party.

Many Liberals who want to dump Ignatieff speak of passing the torch to a new generation of young Liberals. The problem with this is that most young Liberals I know already have internalized their party’s trademark self-regard as God’s Chosen Party. It’s what drew these student-council types into the party in the first place, in fact: the promise of running the country without the hard work of proposing new ideas.

All of which brings me to the prospect of a Liberal-NDP merger. The move makes sense from a purely arithmetic perspective: One party is better than two. But more importantly, destroying the Liberal brand also would be a great strategy for saving the party’s grandees from their own self-destructive hubris. It doesn’t matter what you call the new entity — just make sure that, at the end of the day, something called the “Liberal party” no longer exists as a vessel for vapid self-hagiography.

Liberals should welcome their own party’s funeral. As things stand, many of the lifelong Liberals I know walk around in a state of unspoken shame because their party isn’t fulfilling the divine destiny of the “party of Laurier.” Surely it must be someone’s fault, they suppose — and so they cast about for internal enemies, attacking one another in a whirlwind of panic and bickering. Getting rid of the Liberal brand actually would be liberating for these people: They could finally reawaken to the idea of politics as an exchange of ideas, rather than a sentimental, backward-looking marketing exercise.

Surely, Laurier himself would approve.

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  • At Fri. Jun. 11, 01:33:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Larry said…

    "...paint us with the "Scary Conservative" mantra..."

    You mean we're not scary?? Does that mean I can take off my Al Gore mask now?

  • At Fri. Jun. 11, 02:01:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The behaviour you describe here as being counter to a healthy democracy in Canada isn't unique to the Liberal party. You can see it in spades in every party, and if you're being honest, you can see it in some of your blog posts as well.

    This behaviour has a name: hyper-partisanship -- putting the interests of the party ahead of the country. Any time you defend your leader's lying, vote for a party toady instead of a person with leadership skills, or paint another political party with a broad brush, you're reinforcing the behaviour you're decrying.


  • At Fri. Jun. 11, 02:42:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What you described is also unfortunately becoming more prevalent within the Conservative Party as Stephen Harper continues his quest towards creating an electoral majority with the help of the biggest big-tent party her can form.

  • At Fri. Jun. 11, 03:33:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Top Can said…

    I look at all this talk about the demise of the Liberal Party as being healthy, because we're causing the Grits to really examine themselves and their reason for being. That being said, the Conservatives also need to do some soul searching and wonder what's next for them. Harper is not going to be around forever, and there's no one in the wings should he leave.

    Harper was touting this maternal health initiative as a legacy item, but I think the real legacy he should be working on is how to build a Conservative Party that can actually win a majority. Everybody talks about the Liberals stuck below 26%, but what about the Tories, who can't get above and stay past 35%? What is Harper doing to enhance beyond the base of his party that will have a lasting effect beyond his time in office? I know he's doing tons to reach out to New Canadians, but as the numbers are showing, that's not enough.

  • At Fri. Jun. 11, 03:53:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The only reason the Liberal Party won't die is the fact that so many immigrants came to this country under Liberal governments. So they vote Liberal. If you get rid of the label Liberal, what happens then?

  • At Sat. Jun. 12, 04:09:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger Alex said…

    I thoroughly enjoyed your post today.

    One thing I would like to point out is that the leader of the 'Young Liberals' came out in favor of congealing with the NDP.

    The Liberals are done already. Their youth think the best thing to do is to scrap the party.


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