Friday, October 10, 2008

On the Globe and Mail's Endorsement...

I might be annoyed by the Globe & Mail's (underwhelming) endorsement of Stephen Harper if their so-called reasoning wasn't so incredibly laughable (and if I cared about newspaper editorial boards endorsing candidates). Really. I don't know how anyone familiar with Harper could possibly read that drivel and take it seriously.

Paraphrasing: Oh sure he's mean and nasty but he's keeping his emotions in check (if you don't count his pit bull temper and think prime ministers should be soulless automatons). And he hasn't pushed his right-wing extremist Reform-style roots (because apparently he's reformed - forget about the fact that he's had to dial it back because he led a minority government).

I don't know. What can you say about the G&M's editors when they throw out illogical assumptions like this?

Some Liberals already have taken aim at Mr. Dion in the midst of the campaign, but they should engage in a more sophisticated diagnostic. The party-writ-large has failed to reinvent itself for the 21st century and public opinion research shows, perhaps as a result, that fewer and fewer Canadians identify themselves as "liberal."

That's a big "perhaps" and they had to word it that way because what they've tried to do is to lump "liberals" with "Liberals". Those of us in tune with media and conservative manipulation know better. I'm not a Liberal party supporter anymore because they made the wrong decision when it came to endorsing Canada's involvement in the Afghanistan war, but I certainly haven't dropped the "liberal" identifier as a result. Why? Because being "liberal" and "Liberal" are two different things. You'd think the G&M's editors would know that that dog just won't hunt but I guess when you choose to support such an incompetent candidate as Stephen Harper for prime minister, the kitchen sink strategy and shaded nuance is really all you have.

As for failing to "reinvent itself", I'd say the Green Shift plan is a huge change. What's Steve offering that's so breathtakingly different? Absolutely nothing.

The absurdity continues:

Meanwhile, the supposedly obstinate Mr. Harper has been nothing if not open to adjusting as circumstances change. He was masterful in building a "big tent" centre-right alternative to the "natural governing" Liberals. His vision, determination and adroitness restored political competition to Canada, not an insignificant accomplishment.

Open? Adroitness? He hid the fact that Afghan detainees were being tortured. He hid the real cost of the war. His buddies continually shut down committee business as they were instructed to via a 200-page Tory manual that outlined how best to disrupt committees. He's hidden from the press. He's muzzled his own cabinet members and MPs. He lied about the income trust promise. Do I have to go on? I sure don't think so. It's all been very heavily documented and stories about the way he's mismanaged his authority have even been broken by G&M reporters.

Mr. Harper has done well on other fronts, too. He has spoken with refreshing candour and courage on foreign affairs, especially on the Middle East,

And there it is: Israel. Is that one of the main reasons the G&M board members prefer Harper? They agree (as James Laxer pointed out in July 2006) that the decimation of Lebanon, which Harper called a "measured response", was entirely acceptable. Most of the rest of us don't.

And just how courageous was it to parrot John Howard talking points supporting the illegal Iraq war? That's not courage. That's dangerously flawed neocon ideology.

Regardless, I will not succumb to calls in the Canadian blogosphere by Liberals, liberals and others to boycott the G&M. Some of their reporting has been invaluable - especially about what this Conservative government has attempted to keep from the public about the war and human rights abuses. We need all of the investigative reporting we can get in this country. As with all media sources, we need to read and watch with a critical eye.

I'd suggest that those opposed to Harper and his party boycott Mike Duffy's show and his sponsors instead. Low blows like that should not be rewarded. And it's quite ironic that the G&M's editorial was published the same day that Harper et al took their campaign (even more) into the gutter. It wasn't planned that way, that we know of, but it definitely makes the G&M board look more than a little less insightful today, to say the least. Or maybe they're all snickering behind the scenes about what happened. Who knows? I do know this, however: Stephen Harper is a desperate man and desperate people don't make good prime ministers.

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