Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bastard logic

Andrew Steele's great take on the new Ignatieff attack ads:
I'm a subscriber to the Will Ferguson theory of Bastards and Boneheads.

It states that Canadians elect leaders who are bastards, not boneheads.

Ferguson writes: "Bastards succeed. They are ruthless. They are active. Their cause may be noble or it may be amoral, but the Bastard is always the active principle. Boneheads fail, often by stumbling over their own feet. They are reactive. Inept. Indignant. They are usually truly amazed by their failures."

Trudeau versus Clark. Mulroney versus Turner. Chr├ętien versusu Day. Harper versus Dion. Most of our recent national elections were competitions between arrogant bastards and stumbling boneheads, and the bastards always win.

Conceding the "arrogant bastard" high ground is a major error. In effect, the Conservative Party is paying millions of dollars to brand Michael Ignatieff the very thing Canadians vote for: arrogant bastards.

The best attack ads make their victim an object of ridicule. This one attempts that with a cheeky attitude, but builds up its target so much before it tears him down that the net result can be a grudging respect for Ignatieff.

Taught at Harvard? Isn't that a good thing?
I was just in the Queen's Park area earlier and there are thousands upon thousands of Tamils there. As I was leaving, people were all streaming toward the protest. A little bit of statesmanship, leadership, foreign policy engagement by the Harper team is sorely lacking in this and so many other matters. Instead we get pro forma follower mediocrity. There is absolutely no sense that the Harper government is competent in such matters or knows what to do.

Instead, the Harper team has shown us once again today that it is totally preoccupied with its own self-interested political priorities. They're Republicons, combative and driven by divisive politics. In the House of Commons this afternoon, threatening another election in response to legitimate EI reform demands. How about maturely dealing with the subject matter as voters expect them to do in a minority parliament instead of the bluster? Canadians have demonstrated an appetite for change in recent polls, no doubt inspired by the competent, intelligent government that's in full bloom to the south. We need a lot more of that here.

[And with all due respect, of course, to matttbastard, for a temporary borrowing of his blog name for my blog post title...:)]