01.10.2016 11:39 AM

Catharsis vs. Cancer: Is obnoxiousness is the new charisma?

Sure.  In the 2016 GOP presidential nominee race, it’s certainly that.  So too the 2010 Toronto mayoralty race.  The obnoxious jerk is the winner.  Sure.

But what the author doesn’t answer, so much, is this: why isn’t there a similarly-obnoxious progressive standard-bearer? Is there one? (There isn’t. There hasn’t been.)

“At some point, we have to deal with the fact that there are at least two candidates who could utterly destroy the Republican bench for a generation if they became the nominee,” Josh Holmes, a former chief of staff to the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, told Politico’s Alex Isenstadt recently.

Being LOUD and MEAN and HATEFUL is certainly the best way to get noticed in the Internet Era, true. Conservatives are good at that – they are better at peddling emotion and resentments.  I’ve written about that for years.  And it’s why scum of the Earth like Five Feet of Hate and Amazingly Fat Cur somehow survive, too: they traffic in hate, online, 24/7.

If they want to survive, however, real conservatives need to wrestle the controls away from the extremists who want to hijack their operation and pilot it into a mirror. They need to reassert the notion that conservatism is actually about continuity, not trying to stop history.

Will they? Beats me.  I’m not a conservative.  And I’m precisely (and proudly) the kind of progressive that Mesrrs. Trump/Cruz/Ford hate.

But something is clearly happening within the body of the modern conservative movement.  And it less resembles catharsis, and much more cancer.




  1. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    I like what that guy Kinsella said. If memory serves, it went something like this: winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.

    And that’s why Trump or Cruz (or even Carson) won’t be the nominee. The first two learned absolutely nothing from Reagan.

  2. julian says:

    anthony weiner is definitely an obnoxious progressive.

  3. dave says:

    Simple difference between a Conservative and Liberal, for an example.
    Conservative says “I don’t want a gun, I don’t need a gun.”
    Liberal says ” I don’t want a gun, I don’t need a gun……..NOBODY should have a gun.”

    • Matt says:

      Or, a somewhat dated example:

      Conservative: I don’t like the CBC, so I don’t watch the CBC.

      Progressive (excluding our host): I don’t like Sun News, so the CRTC should take it off the air.

      • bluegreenblogger says:

        ROFL. Right. Of course. The CRTC shut them down. It was dirty Liberals, refused to make carriage mandatory. Stoopid Liberal market forces.

    • doconnor says:

      That actual difference is that a conservative will think, “The news is scary. I’ll get a gun.” while a liberal thinks. “Studies show that having a guns only put more people in danager, so they probably shouldn’t be allowed to have them.”

      • The Doctor says:

        Generalize much?

        • doconnor says:

          No more then Dave.

        • Ted H says:

          This whole discussion starting with Dave is totally about generalities, however studies do show that having more people with guns is probably not a good thing. Vastly increases the potential for unfortunate accidents, hot blood crimes, mistaken identity shootings, vigilantisim. I would hope that a bit of common sense is something both conservatives and progressive can exhibit, sometimes I wonder about conservatives though.

    • Jon Adams says:

      I say, “I’d rather not be shot by belligerent whack-jobs.” I’ll let you know how far my principles get me on that count.

    • Reg News says:

      Progressives are obnoxious by default – they always believe they speak for everybody.

      • smelter rat says:

        It’s odd you’d come to a progressive’s web site to post something like that. But then most neocons are not very self aware.

        • Justin, not in Ottawa says:

          C’mon smelter. There’s nothing wrong with a healthy exchange of ideas. That’s what makes a democracy. If there wasn’t opposing points of view this site becomes nothing but a liberal echo chamber.

  4. e.a.f. says:

    Trump’s act is getting his a lot of coverage that money just can’t buy. “I don’t care what you say about me, as long as you spell my name right.”

    There do appear to be a lot of nasty people on the right. Cruz is another one, who uses the style well. it has an appeal to people who some how didn’t get what they wanted and its easier to blame someone else than accept that the guys on the stage and their friends did it to you.

  5. AllanA says:

    But you have closed your eyes to the 10 years of non-stop hate propaganda peddled in Canada by the liberal left against Stephen Harper. Surely you must be aware of the vile vicious anti-Harper hatemongering appearing on political fora, yours included, that permeated Canadian politics. Adding homegrown terrorism to the homegrown political hatemongering and you have obnoxiousness that you seemed to tolerate without a peep of censure. Of course, you and the Media Party considered leftist-liberal hatemongering politically justified.

    Now we have a celebrity PM vacationing in a posh Caribbean resort over Xmas, while Western Canadians were losing their jobs by the thousands, but that’s okay because Justin is beloved in the eastern-based Media Party… you included. Take off your rose-coloured liberal glasses and look at reality, because all is not well in the USA and Canada, and getting worse. Unhappy people will make their opinions heard and they will vote accordingly. That’s democracy, and you don’t want to stifle democracy, do you Warren?

    • Ted H says:

      You are right, people were unhappy, voted accordingly and kicked Harper out and gave the Liberals a majority, ya gotta love democracy.

      • Justin, not in Ottawa says:

        True, Ted. But there was something to be said about ‘Harper Derangement Syndrome’. It was embarrassing to hear my more Liberal friends carry on and compare Harper to Hitler. I’d say it was cringe worthy.

  6. Kaiser Helmets 'n Motorbikes says:

    The challenge we face as fiscal conservatives is the problem of what to do with victory. We are almost 40 years into our ascendancy. Today our ideas of economic liberty, private sector growth, and critical thought dominate the developed world.

    The left’s great benefactor, the disgusting communist Soviet Union is a long extinguished pile of ash. “Communist” China has gone from starving hundreds of millions of people to death with collectivized left wing radical economic policies, to liberating hundreds of millions of its citizens through free enterprise.

    Our problem is not Donald Trump, or Rob Ford, it’s what the hell remains for us to accomplish?

    We on the right are at a moment of existential angst. While we dither, we risk losing all we have accomplished and causing millions of people to become enraptured again with the petty, self enthralled, pied pipers of the left.

    In 1978, the Liberal parties of the western world were at their zenith. Here in Canada, vast tracks of the economic landscape had been nationalized by the left wing. Too bit Liberal party hacks found themselves “CEO” of Air Canada or “CEO” of a Petro Canada. These poorly prepared, egomaniac party loyalists ran roughshod of the economy, promoting nepotism and economic madness at every opportunity. In the UK, the IMF was at the doorstep, waiting like the grim reaper to swoop in the moment the British declared default on their international debt.

    It’s easy to forget all this now.

    It’s easy because brave men and women stood up to union bosses, to the mobs, and to the all powerful Liberal elites. Women like Margret Thatcher and men like Ronald Reagan endured endless vitriolic attacks from the rabid left wing media and entrenched landed gentry. One day, their reputations, like Themistocles before them, will be restored. For now, those of us on right must first stop assuming that our ideas, our dreams of a better future for all mankind, are somehow permanent, somehow unassailable. If we don’t return to the public square and begin expressing our vision of fiscal conservatism and progressive social policies, the Ford brothers, the Donald, and countless other lesser men will gladly take our place.

    • doconnor says:

      There is always room to bring about economic stagation rather then just the lower economic growth of the last 40 years. You can try to reduce middle wage income rather then just eliminating growth. There is still room to increase income equality before triggering a revolution.

      • Kaiser Helmets 'n Motorbikes says:

        You’re absolutely right, doconnor. Left wing economic policies that attempt to control free enterprise do result in reduced middle class income through stagflation, government controlled nepotism, and lost opportunities for meritocracy. Excellent observation.

        • doconnor says:

          You seem to be confused about my observation. Reduced economic growth, stagnant middle class income growth and increased inequity all happened during the last 40 years of right wing ascendancy. During the left wing ascendancy from 1940 to 1970 it was a period of higher growth, richer middle class and less inequity.

        • Ted H says:

          US economy is doing great under Obama. It’s historical fact that the US has always done better economically under Democratic governing, right wing economic policy just isn’t based on reality. Two kinds of conservatives “sucker and millionaires”.

          • Kaiser Helmets 'n Motorbikes says:

            You are absolutely right, Ted H, the US economy is expanding.

            As you may know, the American system is quite different than the Westminster tradition. The Administrative branch, to which you refer, has only the most cursory input on fiscal policy. As I sure you must realize, it is the Republican congress and their right wing, free enterprise approach to which you are directing your accolades for accomplishing an economic expansion since the great recession.

    • Mike says:

      The rise of Donald Trump is a direct result of the failure of the policies that you hold so dear Kaiser.

      Take a look at who supports Trump. A Trump supporters are older, white, males, likely to not have post secondary education. In the period from WW II until the 1990’s this group of Americans did well financially. With little education they were able to find jobs in factories and assembly plants and live the American Dream. Since the Thatcher/Reagan era with it’s cuts to government spending, trade liberalization, globalization and union busting this group is hurting. This group is now competing against workers from the Far East and Mexico, and it’s not doing so well. Trump has been able to tap into the anger that this group feels.

      The Thatcher/Reagan policies may have become accepted orthodoxy, and they may have led to growth in the economy, but what they have also lead to is great income inequality. And that will be their undoing.

  7. Sean says:

    Warren wrote: …”why isn’t there a similarly-obnoxious progressive standard-bearer? Is there one?”

    Answer: Bill Maher and we need more Bill Mahers

  8. The Doctor says:

    I dunno about that — if the commenters to this website are at all representative of the population at large, I’d say that the most consistently loud, mean and hateful commenters are NOT conservative, e.g., smelter rat, Scott, nobonus4nonis etc.

  9. Brace Ourselves says:

    What about the (in)famous Canadian “rat pack”? They focused on destroying, not building.

  10. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Let’s see how this prediction weathers: Rubio will be the come back kid in this primary cycle as Republicans do whatever is necessary to win the White House. That means as first priority grinding Trump and Cruz into the political dust. Cruz can’t bring over Latinos but Rubio sure can.

  11. AllanA says:

    In 4 years (2019) you won’t recognize Canada….. it will be decimated by the liberal-left….. and the conservatives will be left with reviving the remnants into something viable…!

  12. Jack D says:

    Amazing how an analysis on Trump and politicians similar to him by Kinsella elicit diatribes by commenters about guns, “obnoxious progressives”, the CBC and the media party. The vapidity of such repetitive resentfulness and implicit defence of Trump-esque politics is unsurprisingly why individuals like Earl Cowan find a welcoming abode in Conservative parties.

    Its not only the unwillingness to acknowledge the logical fallacies and troglodytic regressive attitudes, but the vehement denial of such positions taken by this demographic that surprises me most. Its quite amusing, really, to see people hold so passionately values that they happen to be afraid of even discussing candidly or recognizing them for what they effectively are.

    Donald Trump will tell you that Donald Trump is not a racist. He will tell you that Mexicans are criminals and rapists who bring nothing but drugs to the USA. He will tell you that Muslims as a whole are to be looked upon with suspicion in America and should be segregated from the communities they reside in. He will make all sorts of derogatory comments directed towards the women he faces; he will tell you he is not sexist.

    Donald Trump will tell you everything but the truth; Donald Trump’s supporters will tell themselves everything but truth.

    • AlanA says:

      Yes, Trump’s Truth hurts because there is a kernel of validity in his accusations that resonates with the American public. Only the bleeding heart liberals will complain as will their leftist media about Trump’s valid insights into America’s root problems… too many unassimilateable foreigners invading and disturbing the peace… adding to the domestic disadvantaged who will never emerge from their poverty and uselessness. That’s the brutal reality and why liberal-leftists want to share America with those who would destroy it’s basic values only reveals a masochistic, neurotic death-wish in their mentality. The man-hating women of America have their voice on CNN to propagate their gender war against male capitalism.

      • Jack D says:


        Frankly I’m a little surprised Warren Kinsella allowed that comment to be posted seeing as it utterly lacks a basis of logical legitimacy and borders on passive-aggressive racism and sexism.

        Perhaps you’d find a better home commenting on Tea Party oriented blogs than this one; because nothing you said is remotely in line with widely held Canadian values.

  13. Peter says:

    There are several elements to this—an Internet that gives losers voices they never had before, a general decline of norms of civility, pushback against political correctness, the “plain speaking” culture of a lot of the conservative base, etc. But among them is a general disdain among modern progressive “elite” voices for what Jack D calls “troglodytic regressive attitudes” (just one of many slanders that have become daily fare) and the people who hold them, who they would rather insult and dismiss than engage. Look how cautious and tongue-tied about the NDP has to be about what they really think during elections to have any hope of success. Do progressive elites imagine the targets of their contempt don’t know it and don’t listen to voices prepared the challenge it? Epithets like Jack’s serve to delegitimize and assure progressives they sing with the angels whether they have public support or not. To put it bluntly, progressives have become frightful snobs whose concern for “the people” has become highly selective and abstract. They certainly weren’t always, but if Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath today, much progressive opinion would dismiss the Joads out of hand as racist, anti-scientific fundies.

  14. Al in Cranbrook says:

    Why? Because one extreme leads to another.

    Some articles of the last few days:

    Rex Murphy re: The cover up of the New Year’s Day travesty in Cologne, Germany.


    John Robson on misplaced priorities…


    Facebook busted, but you won’t hear about this one on CBC. Despicable hardly describes it…


    NOAA “adjusts” temperature data for the last several decades, and behold! Global Warming confirmed. However, they won’t release the data to a congressional committee. Problem is, the “adjusted” temperatures in no way resembles satellite data over the same period…which apparently is beside the point.


    Listen to Cruz grill the head of the Sierra Club on AGW. His responses remind one of a Mafia don taking the fifth, repeatedly.


    The “progressive” left have dictated the narrative for decades. The “facts” have become whatever they tell us they are. Having done this for so long now, and gotten away with it, they don’t even care any more whether their “facts” in any way even remotely resemble the real world.

    I defy anyone to come up with one single headline or column on CBC’s site that runs counter to the global warming/climate change narrative. One! Dozens of items come up in the real world every day, many from bona fide scientists up to their necks in meteorology and related fields. Virtually all of them to be ignored outright by the “progressives” dominating the MSM, collective motto: News we’ve decided you don’t need to know.

    Now we’re starting to see the kick back, and it’s reflected in the rise of in-your-face characters such as Trump peddling a counter-narrative that rings all too true. People are sick and tired of being treated like GD mushrooms, fed bullshit and kept in the dark.

    The proverbial pendulum swings. Reality persists.

  15. Darren H says:

    what a load of shit. “Progressives” are just as obnoxious as conservatives.

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