Just Tasteless - or Perhaps, Fearful?

I clicked onto this story, but even knowing the Star as I do, the first paragraph knocked me for a loop:

What do Hurricane Katrina and Preston Manning have in common? Both blew through town leaving behind damage it will take years to repair.

Nice, eh? Nothing like comparing a real tragedy that resulted in the loss of lives, homes, businesses and millions of dollars, with a politician with whom one disagrees.

(Yeah, I know, I'm sure James Travers, the author of this little piece, meant no offence. Sorry, I still didn't find it funny.)

A bit of background: Preston Manning was in town last weekend to host a seminar on how we can build a "conservative movement" in Canada, similar to what was built in the USA following Barry Goldwater's failed bid for the presidency in 1964. (No, I didn't get an invite, and yes, I would've liked to - sue me.) It could be argued that the network of conservative journals, think-tanks, columnists, and the like which developed since '64 helped speed along conservative victories in the years to come, including (as the most obvious example) Ronald Reagan's election in 1980.

Apparently, our man Jim at the Star feels that this is the sort of Yankee-Republican-right-wing imperialist nonsense that we upstanding Canadians can do quite well without, thank you very much. And to make sure that us dullards in the crowd get the point, he decided to compare Preston with Katrina, along with making the (less offensive, but still quite arguable) point that the Bush administration's ideology is responsible for all sorts of problems in the States and elsewhere.

Now, I came to the CPC from the PC Party end of things. I never was a Reform Party supporter, and I never considered voting for Preston Manning to be Prime Minister. But I will say this: in recent years, even before the merger, I've come to hold a much higher level of respect for Manning, and for what he accomplished. Like Travers, I am disappointed that it resulted in a fractured situation "on the right", but you could make an argument that the Reform Party, or something like it, was necessary to Canadian politics. One of these days, I'll expand on what I mean by that.

For the time being, however, I think we can say that what Manning is suggesting be done now could assist conservatives in arguing their case to the Canadian people. Travers assumes that these arguments are doomed to fail, in part because of what he calls the "markedly different sensibilities on opposite sides of the 49th parallel".

Here's a thought: If our "sensibilities" are so different, perhaps it's not because Canadians will always reject conservative ideas and policies out of hand, but rather it's because conservatives have not yet done a good enough job of making their case to Canadians, which includes finding effective ways to do so over horrified howls from people like Jim Travers.

Here's another thought: Perhaps the "Manning Centre" may result in conservatives persuading Canadians that what have been accepted as Canadian "sensibilities" are not the best or only "sensibilities" on offer.

Here's a final thought (for now): Despite what Travers and others may think, there should not be squatters' rights as to what are acceptable "sensibilities" or "values" in politics. Just because we have (allegedly) decided that we like things a certain way now does not mean that the status quo should be accepted forever without having to explain why. If the Manning Centre (or something like it) accomplishes its goals, Travers, the Star, and others may have to resort to more than flag-waving and hyperbole to defend their turf. The sooner that sort of debate happens, the better.

More later.


At 12:59 a.m., Blogger Raging Ranter said...

Has Travers ever gotten anything right? Last July he wrote a piece on a mounting "Dump Harper" movement within the Tory Party. And who was at the forefront of this revolt? Sinclair Stevens and David Orchard. If the ass clown would have done even a little research, he would have realized that neither Orchard nor Stevens even held a Conservative Party membership. They formed their own little whiner's club called the Progressive Canadian (PC) party, remember? Travers never let things like knowledge, facts, and proper research get in the way of a good article.


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