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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Scary, Man

Okay, tomorrow is the official election day in Canada. Some links:
Election coverage starts at 10 PM tomorrow at CBC. For a rundown on parties and polling for ignorant Americans, try this. For polling data, go here. Right now the Liberals are ahead nowhere in Canada, although they are close to break even in Ontario. The Bloc is leading in Quebec. Nationally the Conservative Party seems to be about 10 points ahead of the Liberals, but that doesn't mean they will hold a majority after the election. The NDP and the Liberals may well band together and form a government.

In recent weeks Martin (the Liberal party leader) has gone all out to portray Harper (the Conservative party leader, cue vampire music) as a demented mass-murdering rightist stuffing the body of one victim after another into the closet as the venom drips from his fangs and splatters on the pristine floor of the Canadian progressive ummah. Many Liberals have spent the last month warning of the dire consequences when a post-election spring comes and the bodies in the closets begin to decompose. The foul Conservative stench will be overwhelming a la Star Wars.

However, this effort seems to have failed, because Canadians have a progressive and enlightened tolerance for serial murderers a la Karla Homolka. They may put them in jail for a few years in an apologetic fashion, but they do not believe in taking extreme measures against such people, even if a person convicted of multiple sex murders is caught exchanging love letters and underwear with another murderer in prison - a murderer whose life sentence is scheduled to end in 2008. What right do the mass of Canadian citizens to block or impair the meeting of true minds in true love?

Canadians are really, really, really tolerant. The official state religion of Canada under the Liberals has been graft-laced tolerance, which is why the other main accusation against Harper has been that he might actually go to church to worship and be preparing a theocratic reign of terror. The proof is that he has been ending his speeches with "God Bless Canada", which obviously makes him a Nazi. This has caused more concern among Canadians, but it appears that it hasn't caused enough to knock Harper and the Conservatives out of the lead.

For a more fleshed-out take on the election, try SC&A's coverage of a Canadian columnist disputing the envenomed-fang theory of Harper:
Look here: I am a profane, sacrilegious, pro-choice, reasonably modern woman who lives in downtown Toronto.
Mr. Harper allegedly has contributed to this new life being breathed into the abortion/same-sex/Christian right-wing spectre with three recent mistakes.
In what seemed to be an attempt to reassure voters, he referred to the checks and balances that would be naturally imposed on a Conservative government by a Liberal-dominated Senate, a Liberal-familiar civil service and a judiciary most of whose members were appointed by Liberal governments. That quickly led to Mr. Martin painting a ghastly scenario whereby Mr. Harper would stack the Supreme Court with politicized judges who, in turn, would sneak in a so-con agenda.

Well, that would be a trick as good as walking on water: There's one vacancy on the high court now, and not another until 2013.
These things add up, in my book, to a picture of a thoughtful, complex and reasonable man. I think it's hysteria to draw other inferences.
Most of the column consists of a long list establishing her credentials as a liberal. She goes to the Gay Pride parades with her gay godson. She never sets foot in a house of worship unless it is a social occasion, etc, etc. I doubt Canada will go up in flames even if Harper, by some odd chance, ends up as Prime Minister. What will happen is that the vast Conservative Canadian Conspiracy of Evil Bloggers will no doubt drink some more beer as they begin to discuss their hidden agenda. I wouldn't panic, although DU is not feeling well at all, and also views Merkel's conquest of Germany as a dire development:
2. how can s america see bush and turn left. and canada and germany see it and turn right?
The US turned left? It's a surprise to me and also Dan Gerstein. Silly me; I lack the Harper flesh-crawling gene:
6. He's like a predator trying to coax an unsuspecting child into their car.
You know, 'would you like some candy?' Sorta like that. It may seem tempting, cuz candy tastes good, but as soon as you accept his offer....next thing you know Myron Thompson is Minister of Justice and Gilles Duceppe is the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.
Several other global developments seem far, far more fear-worthy to me.

The Iranian president is threatening that if a case against Iran for violating nuclear treaties is taken to the UN, it will violate nuclear treaties even more. This would seem to be prima facie evidence substantiating such a case at the UN, but I suspect the EU will not see it that way, having carefully followed a long tradition of only electing emasculated male leaders in the major northern continental countries. We will see if Merkel grows a pair; due to the women's movement in northern Europe, only women are now allowed to stand while peeing and possess cohones. She's becoming very popular in Germany, btw.

I find DU's devotion to the MIHOP and LIHOP theories about 9-11 absolutely terrifying. MIHOP and LIHOP mean "Made It Happen On Purpose" and "Let It Happen On Purpose", and are one of the main grudges DU holds against George Bush. As demonstrated in the thread, no amount of actual evidence disputing these theories suffices to weaken their devotion. It's a religion. Scary, man.

Re: the DU poster who asks how "s america" can see bush and turn left, while Germany and Canada see Bush and turn right...

I think the 's' refers to "South America," implying Venezuela, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina, all of which have sworn in left-leaning governments over the past 4 - 5 years.

Just thought I'd clear that up.

But the most ridiculous thing about this is the ethnocentrism that it takes to assume that every election that goes on throughout the world is necessarily mostly a referendum on George Bush. Like Chile and Argentina and Brazil and Germany don't have their own, local issues that might affect how people vote.

Pedro - that makes sense, except, as you point out, elections in S America or Canada are just not about American politics.

Wasn't it Tip O'Neill who said "All politics is local?" I don't vote for my state and local politicians based on national issues, and I truly doubt Canada votes for its politicians based on issues in another country.

DU is still insisting that the 2004 election was stolen and that they are the majority, though.
You are right that voters in Canada won't normally choose their leaders based on what's going on in America. In fact, that's the way it should be. But now, starting with Gerhard Schroeder in 2002, continuing with Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales in Venezuela and Bolivia, and now Paul Martin in Canada (and, soon, with de Villepin in France), we see a new phenomenon in which leaders bereft of a legitimate agenda and persuasive ideas try to make their own, local elections about whether or not you are a Bush fan.

It actually worked for Schroeder, who was losing the 2002 campaign because none of his previous promises had worked out and the German economy was sputtering at best, with unemployment above 12%. People were angry and were going to choose another party. But then Schroeder keyed into anti-American sentiment in the run-up to the Iraq war and based his whole campaign on the fact that his opponent in the CDU wasn't anti-American enough and was going to be too much of a friend to GWB. And it worked, and he won the election.

Paul Martin did the same thing. I think it's a pretty chicken way of campaigning, and saying "my opponent isn't anti-American enough" isn't a great political platform and certainly won't lead any country into a better future.
Both Schroeder and Martin are now out of office though. It could be seen as a warning for BDS Dems!

More seriously, I think all of what is compelling about such a call is the electorate's instinct that elections should be about local issues. That is healthy. Each country may profit from outside help or suffer from global trends, but each country can only have a good life by maximizing their own assets and controlling their problems.

A leader might win on such a platform if it were combined with a strong domestic program, but not if it is thrown out as a red flag.
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