Debasement by the Base
I’ve had a few folks inquire why I haven’t posted anything for a few days. It isn’t normally in my nature to go for more than a day or two without writing something unless I’m traveling somewhere with Maggie and enjoying Air Canada’s crack hospitality. If Porter Airlines is ‘flying refined’; Air Canada is a flying experience that never quite made it to the refinery.
The fact is that I have been writing but I didn’t like what I wrote enough to post it. I think the reason is that I’m so disgusted with the state of politics in this country I can’t seem to get beyond the fact that it is a disgrace.
Last week alone another Quebec mayor was charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Those words are becoming quite commonplace in Canadian politics: bribery, fraud and breach of trust. It has a nice ring to it doesn’t it?
Stephen Harper’s Office is under police investigation, no matter how much he and his ventriloquist dummy, Paul Calandra, might try to claim otherwise. The RCMP are now alleging that Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen was less than forthright with them when they questioned her about the Duffy Affair back in June, Senator Irving Goldstein appears to have done some unethical finagling; Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Office was searched by the Ontario Provincial Police as they continue their investigation into the unbelievable taxpayer rip-off that is the Ontario Gas Plant Scandal and then, of course, there is the ongoing saga that is Rob Ford.
The word disgrace doesn’t begin to completely describe him.
The worst part of it for me is that those are only the highlights. There’s more – lots more but who cares anymore? Certainly not the hard-core left or right – The Base as pundits and political strategists like to call the core hard-line supporters of every party and activist group.
The Base is the group on which you can always depend to support you no matter how corrupt, how inept or how stupid your government, party or whatever it is might be.
The interesting thing about ‘The Base’ is that the Liberal Base is no different from the Conservative Base which is no different from the New Democratic Party Base. Regardless of the party or the ideology, The Base can rationalize anything. They have reduced any concept of principle or values to one fundamental premise.
“We are perfect and so is our leader. The rest of you are pond scum and your leader is an idiot, dishonest or an outright crook.”
It doesn’t matter the issue, The Base will always reduce it to simplistic solutions that have as much thought and understanding behind them as a Justin Beiber song. Unlike most people who discover facts from which they formulate an opinion; The Base formulates an opinion and then searches for facts to support it. Facts which might contradict the opinion are ignored or shouted down.
We saw that clearly when a doctor in England released a study linking autism to vaccinations. It didn’t matter that the study was proven to be fraudulent nor did it matter that the World Health Organization and the Surgeon General of the United States publicized that it was a fraud. What mattered to the true believers was that actress Jenny McCarthy and Oprah Winfrey said it was true and thousands of people stopped vaccinating their children putting them at risk of diseases like polio and smallpox.
That’s one of the common characteristics of all Bases. They have substituted devotion and adoration to an individual for loyalty to the group’s principles and values. It’s how people like David Suzuki, Justin Trudeau and Stephen Harper become more important that the group they lead.
Pick your issue or your ideology. There is a rabid, hardcore base that defends the dear leader, regardless of how inept, how corrupt or how far from the fundamental principles The Base claims to embrace.
It’s how politicians like Dalton McGuinty get reelected. It had nothing to do with a broad appeal to the quality of the governance he provided and everything to do with a large base of support that refused to accept the damage he and his party were doing to the province.
His successor, Kathleen Wynne is being supported by the same Liberal base and condemned by the Conservative base. In fact, she was condemned before the end of her first week in office. She hasn’t really done much which in and of itself is an issue but the Conservative Base was all over her because she hadn’t been elected.
Of course she had been elected – by her riding. In Canada, no premier or prime minister has ever been elected to their office. That’s the American system. In Canada, a premier or prime minister is elected to represent a riding and his or her caucus and party elect him or her to office. To try and claim that in Wynne’s case is undemocratic is nothing less than uninformed nonsense.
But then a lot of the batshit that comes out of most political bases is exactly that – nonsense and too often, destructive nonsense.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is the darling of a hard-core Conservative base. He is, after all, a fiscal conservative who has taken on the establishment and brought peace, order and stability to the Big Smoke.
There’s been a tax increase in Toronto every year since he took office and while it is true that his increases are significantly lower than those of his predecessor, they aren’t any better than the increases over the same period of time in Ottawa which has a former Liberal cabinet minister as mayor.
Toronto’s infrastructure is falling apart, it has serious mass transit issues and the current budget he now criticizes was produced by his own budget committee. Rob Ford is not the only reason Toronto’s finances are a mess but he is definitely not the solution either.
It doesn’t matter to his core base, however, or the conservative media who still, four months after the fact, drone on about Justin Trudeau’s admission that he smoked a joint while they tiptoe around the mayor’s reluctant admission that he smokes crack, after a year of lying about it
The same things they criticize in the opposition, they tolerate and forgive in their own.
And that is another key factor all political bases share in common – hypocrisy. They can justify anything. The current Senate expense scandal proves that.
Bribery, fraud and breach of trust are the policies of the day and we might as well toss in illegal drugs, driving under the influence, sexual harassment and deception for good measure.
Members of the Prime Minister’s office are under investigation by the police and by the Ontario and B.C. Bar Associations, Senators are being audited by the Auditor General and despite the promise of accountability and transparency, this political cesspool has been anything but. The Conservatives aren’t even trying to pretend a willingness to provide accountability and transparency anymore.
It’s strictly circle the wagons and stonewall.
Day after day, the Prime Minister’s parliamentary secretary stands in the House of Commons, refusing to answer specific questions and instead tossing out absurd accusations and misdirection. The Conservative Base loves it.
”Screw accountability and integrity, Zing those lefty bastards!”
The conservative majority on the Senate’s Board of Internal Economy, which is investigating how some key senior conservatives were able to obtain information about the Mike Duffy audit before it had been released, blocked an attempt by the committee to have a key witness from Delloite appear before it and give testimony.
The obvious question is why? Surely a government that has promised transparency and which claims it has nothing to hide wouldn’t block a key witness from appearing before an investigating committee – but it has and The Base is right in their supporting them all the way.
Screw integrity and democracy; protect the leader.
I don’t much care about the Liberal Base who follows dreamily along behind Justin Trudeau. They’re as vacuous as he is for the most part and the NDP Base simply spends too much time singing Koombaya and talking to the trees to be taken seriously but I am ashamed of the Conservative Base.
If Stephen Harper was caught in flagrante delicto with a goat, The Base would blame the media for reporting it and accuse the goat of being a Liberal.
More than any other political base, it is the hard-core Conservative Base that can justify anything and with about as much mean-spirited acrimony as possible. The self-righteous sanctimony is choking.
The Base claims to support our troops and in particular our vets. What hypocrisy.
Stephen Harper’s government has done more harm to our vets than any government in Canadian history.
They tried to have PTSD removed as a medical condition so that they would no longer have to pay disability or provide long-term care and treatment. It was only a public outcry that forced the government to reverse that decision. They have presided over the leaking of confidential medical records in an attempt to silence a veteran who was highly critical of the government, brought in the Veterans’ Charter that slashed payments to returning Afghanistan veterans, have terminated the service of disabled vets just before they became entitled to pensions and, of course, are fighting the right of veterans to bring a class-action suit against the government to redress some of the issues.
The Base, especially its PR department over at Sun News Network, likes to point out that the Harper Government has increased spending for veterans. Great! Where’s it going? It isn’t going to support local veterans’ offices; those are being closed in some areas. It isn’t going providing increased benefits, the government currently pays benefits to approximately 10% of our vets compared to almost 80% of vets supported by the Australian government and its Veterans Charter has the government paying out less cash.
There is that $50 million Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Farantino announced for the construction of yet another memorial. That didn’t go over too well with vets or anyone else except the Base. The government has since announced it will investigate and look for ways to improve support. Hopefully that report won’t take as long as the report on the staggering level of suicides among vets returning from Afghanistan. There have been more than 50 since 2008 and another three just last week but the Harper Government has been busy being fiscally responsible and our vets will just have to be satisfied with ‘wear red on Fridays’ and a new medal.
What bemuses me is how some conservative pundits (and I use the term loosely) take Farantino at his word especially considering how much they criticized and condemned him when he was OPP Commissioner and refused to enforce court orders against aboriginal protestors and thugs or protect home owners at Caledonia.
Apparently once you have been anointed by Stephen Harper – anything can be forgiven.
The conservative base is so busy criticizing ‘lefties’; it has no time to defend the values for which conservatives stand.
You know the values to which I refer: accountability, transparency, integrity, law and order, respect for life, senate reform, fiscal prudence and smaller government.
Stephen Harper promised that he would not appoint unelected senators. I voted for that but he didn’t keep his promise. Of the sixty sitting Conservative senators, Stephen Harper referred 59 of them for appointment.
Stephen Harper promised accountability and I voted for that too but he has steadfastly refused to take responsibility for anything that has happened on his watch. He appointed everyone involved in the Senate Scandal but none of it is his fault – it’s theirs. As far as The Base is concerned, he is an innocent who was victimized by putting too much trust in those around him.
He introduced the Accountability Act which he has since ignored. Access to information requests are being blocked and slowed down according to the latest report to Parliament by the Privacy Commissioner and, of course, there are the illegal acts.
The Robocall election fraud, the In and Out election spending fraud, the Senate Expense Scandal and the ongoing attempt to cover it up; just to name a few.
Stephen Harper promised smaller government. I also voted for that but he actually increased the size of government by 45,000 employees and even after his much vaunted 10% cut across the board, the civil service is still larger by 26,000 employees than it was when he took office.
He promised to revitalize our military and support our vets and I definitely voted for that. Above and beyond the disgraceful manner in which he allows our vets to be treated, the military is still waiting for helicopters to replace its decrepit Sea Kings, the Air Force has no replacement jet fighter on the horizon with the Harper Government’s inept handling of the F-35 procurement, our Navy has fewer working submarines than the West Edmonton Mall and Canadian Rangers patrol our Arctic region with rifles left over from WWII. He committed to NATO that Canada would spend 2% of GDP on defense but has never come close to meeting that commitment.
It goes on and on, day after day supported by a base of support that ignores the facts, places its devotion to the leader above its loyalty to conservative values and principles.
And in the end, that makes the Conservative Base no different than the clueless fools that follow drooling along behind David Suzuki, Justin Trudeau and Rob Ford.
The Conservative Base clings to the idea that fiscal Conservativism is our salvation regardless of everything else. Brian Lilly at Sun News Network went so far last week as to state that while there were some problems with the government – it was worth it because of the great job being done on the economy.
Right.But what can you expect from a pseudo-news network that spends months harping about what a wicked person Justin Trudeau is for admitting he smoked a joint but gives a ‘fiscal conservative’ mayor his own television show after he publicly admits to DUI and smoking crack.
These are people with a double standard so deeply ingrained they believe only they are right and the rest of the world are nuts……and we thought it was only the Green Party that had a lunatic fringe.
Stephen Harper inherited a budget surplus from the Liberal Governments of John Chretien and Paul Martin. He also inherited the strong, regulated banking sector. He didn’t create anything except a huge budget deficit which he’s promising to eliminate by 2015 – a mere two years later than his original promise of eliminating it by 2013.
During Bill Clinton’s 1992 Presidential campaign, strategist James Carvelle coined the phrase, “The economy, stupid!” It was meant as a reminder for campaign workers to stay focused on the key platform messages of the campaign which also included “Change vs. more of the same” and “Don’t forget healthcare”.
Over time, the phrase has been altered to “It’s the economy, stupid” and is often used by politicians and pundits when trying to identify the most important political issues.
As the Liberals found out in 2006 after the Sponsorship Scandal, ‘it isn’t just the economy, stupid.’ People want integrity, accountability and transparency in government and at some point, when they don’t get it or they become tired of corruption and being lied to – they act.
Stephen Harper didn’t get elected in2006 because he was popular. He got elected despite the fact that he wasn’t; Canadians were tired of scandal. He was reelected because he kept his word for the most part during his first term and the Liberals had a weak, unpopular leader but just like the Liberals, he has forgotten the values he originally promised to defend.
The Base has forgotten too. Hopefully before the next election; enough true conservatives will stand up to be counted and defend our values and principles before Stephen Harper and his hard-core cult do to the Conservative Party what Jean Chretien did to the Liberals.
© 2013 Maggie’s Bear
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