Friday, November 06, 2009

Duffy demonstrates the new Conservative party psyche

Just want to add my two cents to the television event of the week for the political junkies of the nation.

This was not a substantive event, the information presented in the Stoffer study was worthy of noting, yes. But the larger interest here arising out of Duffy's presentation is one that has to do with the morphed Conservative psyche, I would submit. In two ways.

First, there's the spectacle of a Conservative Senate appointee ravenously embracing the spoils of the public purse as his right. At least, as much right as that of an elected MP. That's new for Conservatives to be so publicly and brazenly "out" about their claims on the public trough. Defending one's expenses would be somewhat palatable if they were justifiable, presented in a reasonable manner and if one's political party weren't so squarely on record as decrying the Senate as an affront to the taxpayers. But Duffy's demeanour demonstrated a full on embrace, exposing Conservative hypocrisy in a way it really couldn't have been done had this interview not occurred. Here's what Duffy defended as his right:
Among the new Tories in the upper chamber, Senator Mike Duffy alone booked more than $44,000 despite sitting for just three months at the end of the 2008-09 fiscal year.

The former broadcaster has been a regular at Conservative fundraisers across Canada this year.
We know that Duffy has been paraded across the country as one of the new Conservative spokesmen, hosting a Harper economic talk show, taxpayer funded of course...and he's done oodles of Conservative fundraisers. Just how much of the tab are we taxpayers picking up for all of that and how much is the Conservative party picking up? Someone should be asking the Conservative party those questions.

The second morphing of the Conservative psyche lies in a certain arrogance in the presentation here, to the point of denigrating a member of an opposing political party as a "joker." Whatever you feel about your political opposition, snide dismissal is not an attractive quality. It's indicative of a Conservative swagger that perhaps comes with recent polls, a feeling that they're invincible and can't be touched by such other smaller parties. They may be overreaching and you sense that Duffy has unleashed something that Conservatives have tried to keep under wraps as they try to edge closer to a majority. There's a little too much enthusiasm for comfort here.

Maybe Duffy's demeanour might change some minds about who these Conservatives are. Hope all are watching.