Disliking Liberals vs Disliking Conservatives

Christopher Bird explains what it’s like to be a reasonable Canadian observing Canadian political struggles of the largest 2 parties in their efforts to govern:

I don’t particularly like Justin Trudeau – he showed some promise but has been a massive disappointment on multiple levels – but he is, when you get down to brass tacks, a bog-standard centrist politician. He’s a white dude with some policy chops who embodies the Liberal Party ethos of “we are the natural governing party,” which means A) they care about getting the policy right (for their value of “right” which, for example, doesn’t entirely coincide with mine) more often than not B) but it’s not out of any sense of altruism or compassion, but rather because doing government right means you stay in power and that’s where every Liberal believes they deserve to be.

That said: there is a massive ocean between my dislike of Justin and the Canadian right’s dislike of Justin, which is this weirdly *animated* thing. It is performative and it is active and it is virulent and it is spiteful in a way that honestly doesn’t come close to my dislike of, say, Doug Ford, because when someone asks me why I dislike Doug Ford I have an actual list of Bad Things Doug Ford Has Done; without the list he would just be another dumb, loud conservative, and there are simply too many of those to hate him for being one.

5 responses to “Disliking Liberals vs Disliking Conservatives

  1. Unfortunately, John, we too often allow this degraded Conservatism set the bar for how we gauge our own leadership. That leads to a “he’s better than that guy” attitude that embraces mediocrity. We wind up shortchanged on our side too.

  2. I don’t think that’s fair. Policy disputes or disappointments aside, I think Trudeau is compassionate and altruistic as a *person* and let me explain why. In fact it’s why I don’t think he’s the most astute “politician,” and it breaks my heart to see him publicly abused like he is. In some ways I blame the Liberal Party themselves for not getting their sh* together and pinning all their hope on the prodigal son, who really does not have the kind of cutthroat personality required for the win-at-all-costs profession.

    Pierre was more Machiavellian. Justin doesn’t have that streak, and sadly, it could prove to be his undoing. Especially in this era of populist absolutists who won’t compromise on not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, plus the MAGA virus that’s infected north of the border. Justin said for years that he didn’t want to get into the “family business” because of the nastiness that he remembered went on during his father’s tenure. And this was when the PCs still had something of a conscience.

    Recall the eulogy where he recounts how Pierre scolded him for telling a silly joke about Joe Clark. He was brought up to be respectful even towards one’s bitterest of rivals and even when the sentiment isn’t mutual. I really think he does care. He even went so far as to say that Con voters aren’t enemies but neighbours. That’s a real love-your-enemies stance, considering how many of them want to murder him and his while family. Scheer’s Ceausescu mob. If Trudeau was really a self-serving, career political hack, he would have jumped in the game in his twenties like Scheer and Kenney, who’ve done nothing but fail upwards and collect a public salary while railing against taxes as some kind of demonic sin.

    The Grits were in disarray during the Chretien/Martin wars, and people were approaching him to get involved using his father’s funeral as a jumping-off platform. He recoiled, saying he found it distasteful that anyone would even think to do that. The one “mistake” he might have made was in dragging his feet to run for the leadership once he did get involved, because Harper then had 10 years to run roughshod over public institutions to the point where Canada really has become unrecognizable. The damage had already been done and Harper got too used to power not to exact a revenge plot against the son of the man he despised so much. They used to call Martin Mister Dithers. Trudeau is more like Mister Rogers. But it’s worth remembering that Mister Rogers himself never stood for political office and it’s plainly obvious why.

    Now Trudeau’s own reputation is in tatters because of the vicious drubbing he’s gotten, from saboteurs in his own party and a relentless Con media that’s obsessed with him and always on the attack. You’d think they were hating on Justin Bieber, in how their behavior and fanaticism about “scandals” makes TMZ look credible. I hope Trudeau writes another book — a “What Happened” of his own — and/or does some kind of media tour to clear his name and set the record straight. (I’d love to see him have a sit-down with Colbert.) He got railroaded — like Hillary, like Obama, like Kerry, like Dean, like Jimmy Carter, like Julia Gillard in Australia — and this is why we can’t have nice things. You really can’t help but feel bad for the poor guy. He’s a Golden Retriever in a cage with rabid pit bulls.

    The Cons run with this stupid Trump meme that they want to make Trudeau a drama teacher again. If they get their wish and he gets turfed, it’ll be a Pyrrhic victory of sorts. They think of teaching as a demotion. He doesn’t. I read a guy on Twitter, Mike Gibbs, who says he truly believes Trudeau when Trudeau says he’ll return to teaching once politics is done for him. I do too. He is who he is, which is why he liked teaching and obviously didn’t have the kind of authoritative power ambition to become a principal or administrative bureaucrat.

    He reminds me of Jimmy Stewart, but even Frank Capra eventually got disabused of his own cinematic idealism. I think Trudeau “enlisted” in political warfare out of genuine concern for where the Deform Party was taking the country. The Papineau movie was his first campaign ad. But maybe Canada was “just not ready.” If the public can’t see that due to their own blinkers, that’s on them. He ain’t perfect as a political leader but unlike any RepubliCon, he is a nice guy.

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