“Warren Kinsella's book, ‘Fight the Right: A Manual for Surviving the Coming Conservative Apocalypse,’ is of vital importance for American conservatives and other right-leaning individuals to read, learn and understand.”
- The Washington Times
“One of the best books of the year.”
- The Hill Times
“Justin Trudeau’s speech followed Mr. Kinsella’s playbook on beating conservatives chapter and verse...[He followed] the central theme of the Kinsella narrative: “Take back values. That’s what progressives need to do.”
- National Post
“[Kinsella] is a master when it comes to spinning and political planning...”
- George Stroumboulopoulos, CBC TV
“Kinsella pulls no punches in Fight The Right...Fight the Right accomplishes what it sets out to do – provide readers with a glimpse into the kinds of strategies that have made Conservatives successful and lay out a credible roadmap for progressive forces to regain power.”
- Elizabeth Thompson, iPolitics
“[Kinsella] deserves credit for writing this book, period... he is absolutely on the money...[Fight The Right] is well worth picking up.”
- Huffington Post
“Run, don't walk, to get this amazing book.”
- Mike Duncan, Classical 96 radio
“Fight the Right is very interesting and - for conservatives - very provocative.”
- Former Ontario Conservative leader John Tory
“His new book is great! All of his books are great!”
- Tommy Schnurmacher, CJAD
“I absolutely recommend this book.”
- Paul Wells, Maclean’s
“Kinsella puts the Left on the right track with new book!”
- Calgary Herald
(Well, sort of.)
Sirius has announced that my buddy Charles Adler is hosting a new show with them starting next week - and I can now reveal that I will be Charles’ co-host twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays! Right here!
I will be the first contributor on the first show on Tuesday – and then regularly appearing twice a week after that. I’m pretty excited about it – and I’m delighted that my friend is back on the airwaves, too, emanating from his new home in beautiful North Vancouver.
Links to our show will be posted on this here website on a regular basis. Charles and I welcome your participation, and of course hope that you will tune in regularly. Here we go!
- Andrew Coyne has a column in this morning’s paper. It basically takes the position that what Stephen Harper is doing on values was done before by Dalton McGuinty. You can read it here.
- Among other things, he is wrong. Three reasons.
- One, John Tory’s policy would have had unhelpful consequences. It would have required that the Ontario taxpayer fund schools run by The Church of Satan, the Raelians, and The Church Of Scientology. At the time of the 2007 election, in fact, the Scientologists had two operating schools in Ontario. A lot of us didn’t want to see them receiving public funding, although John Tory apparently did.
- Two, it was a policy promoted by an opponent, and we opposed it vigorously, as we should. Among other things, we found his judgment about education to be suspect. Here, for example, is John embracing the idea of teaching creationism in schools. Stockwell Day, all is forgiven.
- Three, the solution to inequality is not chaos. If it is unfair that one religion is funded and others are not – and it is – the solution is not to transfer public monies to Scientologists. The solution is to state that you will be seeking a constitutional amendment to remove funding from the separate system. But Tory didn’t do that. He was the one who was attempting to stir up resentments and divisions between religious groups, not us.
- Anyway. There’s no point in fighting old battles – particularly since we won that battle, with the overwhelming support of millions of Ontarians, too. In conclusion, then, does Andrew think that those millions of Ontarians are bigots, too?
The NDP seems to be losing. How come?
By the time you read this, their barrage of anti-Trudeau attack ads may have put them back in contention. And perhaps Thomas Mulcair had a good showing in that final French-language debate, and he clobbered Stephen Harper. And maybe the party has figured out a way to get back to where they were — which was in the No. 1 spot, for many weeks.
But we doubt it. The NDP were losing ground last week, and they’re likely losing ground this week, too.
To some of us, it isn’t a surprise. Just about two months ago, this space offered up the following: “The New Democrats, flush from the victory in Alberta and a fistful of promising polls, have been dreaming about redecorating 24 Sussex. They seem confident, even cocky.”
Not so much anymore. The NDP war room has been AWOL from the start — and Tom Mulcair has sounded like Medicated Tom, not Angry Tom. His debate performance was the worst of all the leaders. And his party has badly stumbled over controversies involving candidates, on everything from keeping oil in the ground, to accusing Israel of war crimes.
In other words, the final weeks of the New Democrat election campaign strongly resemble the first few weeks of the New Democrat election campaign. That is, it assumed too much — that Tom Mulcair connected with voters (he didn’t), that the campaign’s messages were clear and were being heard (they weren’t), that running a classic frontrunner campaign was a good idea (it wasn’t).
To be fair to the Dippers, most everyone else thought they were going to win, too. People were saying “Prime Minister Mulcair” out loud, and plenty of us were talking out loud about transition to the coming democratic socialist rapture, too.
No longer. The Dippers are dipping, badly, and it is happening at precisely the wrong time. How did it come to pass? Three reasons.
One, Tom Mulcair has lost just about every debate in which he participated. For any other leader, in an era where no normal person watches debates anymore, this should not have been fatal. But for Mulcair, it was.
Remember all those glowing reviews Mulcair used to get from Ottawa-based journalists who still cling to the notion that Question Period is relevant? Remember that? They were in awe of the NDP leader, regularly regaling the rest of us with tales about his prosecutorial fury, his superior debating skills. They spared no glowing adjective.
As a result, the press gallery raised expectations that Mulcair would easily win every single debate. Mulcair and his advisers started to believe their own press clippings, too, which is never a good thing. When it came time for show time, however, Mulcair disappointed, big time. He sounded like he’d been sedated. His smile looked like it was plastered on, like the Joker in a Batman movie. And he was bested, more than once, by Justin Trudeau (the shame!).
Two, the NDP brain trust didn’t take any chances. They didn’t take any risks.
Here’s what I wrote about risk-taking almost a decade ago in my book The War Room (which still makes an excellent Christmas or Hannukah gift!):
“God gave us all necks so we can stick them out. Voters — and consumers, and citizens, and the news media, and just about any sentient being — are astute. They know when you are playing it safe. They know when you are being timid. When they sense you are being deliberately boring, they tune you out, sometimes permanently. Or, even worse, they will conclude that you are hiding something, that you have the much-feared ‘hidden agenda,’ and that you are accordingly dishonest. In politics, at least, it’s a paradox: taking no risks is in itself risky. So, in your campaign for votes or sales or support, it’s okay to occasionally take a few risks. Be a bit louder, be a bit faster, be a bit funny, be a bit more aggressive. Most of all, be more creative. You won’t always win, but one thing is for sure. You’ll never win if you don’t try.”
The NDP didn’t try. They played it too safe.
Third mistake? Mulcair did what Andrea Horwath and Olivia Chow did. He moved to the right, big time. On deficits, on defence, on doing just about anything in government: the New Democrat leader didn’t sound like a New Democrat, at all.
In his mad dash to get to the centre, he left behind his bewildered core vote — and he left everyone else bewildered, too. Election time, as Horwath and Chow discovered the hard way, is no time to toss out everything everyone ever believed about you. Among other things, it’s confusing. Ask Andrea Horwath and Olivia Chow: it also results in a lot of tears on election night.
At the end of all this, however, it is indeed possible the New Democrats will figure out a way to scratch and claw their way back to the top. But it’s more likely they’ll end up being what they usually are between elections in Canada.
Which is, just a parking lot for voters.
- Lots to cover this morning. So let’s get to it!
- First off, I’ve got a column in the latest edition of Post City. Here it is, in bulleted and italicized bits, but it’s here too.
- “Toronto is the centre of the known universe. Now all of us who have alighted here know that already, of course. Other Canadians, found hither and yon throughout the hinterland — eking out an existence that is nasty, brutish and occasionally short — probably aren’t as convinced. Growing up in Calgary, Alta., as I did, I was regularly presented with evidence that my neighbours were not super-big Toronto fans. “Let the Eastern Bastards Freeze in the Dark,” was one popular bumper sticker of the day. Nice. Another pithy aphorism of the time: “All that [Insert name of central Canadian political party here] know of Canada is what they can see from the top of the CN Tower on a clear day.” And so on. All of that stuff notwithstanding, the facts are the facts: Toronto, politically at least, is rather important. That’s why you keep seeing the federal leaders here all the time, doing all that they can to win your affections. Toronto will determine who forms the next government.
- The Conservatives: Folks in Toronto may not believe it, much less like it, but it’s true: Toronto is the place where Stephen Harper’s party won his majority in 2011. Before the writ was dropped, the Reformatories held 11 seats in the 905 beltway — but they would go on to seize 21 out of 22 on election day. The 416 area code worked out almost as well: Harper’s party hadn’t secured a toehold in Toronto since 1988. But when all the votes were counted, they’d taken nine seats in Toronto. That’s a pretty good toehold. Thusly, the Tories picked up 19 seats in the Greater Toronto Area, and that’s why they won a majority. It gave them what they needed. This time, it won’t be so easy. Harper derangement syndrome (HDS) has reached pandemic levels in Toronto the Good, and it is hard to think of a single 416 seat the Tories will be able to keep in the fold. That unhelpful factoid aside, Harper and his well-oiled machine are spending plenty of time in Toronto — announcing transit money, announcing tax breaks, announcing that Wayne Gretzky likes him — to hold on to what he has. Good luck with that.
- The New Democrats: A “senior liberal strategist,” as the species is known, leaned across the table at a Yorkville eatery: “The 416 is going from red to orange,” he whispered, “and the 905 is going from blue to red.” Sounds about right, at least based on the anecdotal evidence: that is, cheery orange NDP signs in all sorts of places you would not ever expect to see them — in front of sprawling multimillion-dollar homes in Rosedale and the Beaches. New Democrats are on the move in the old Toronto. They’ve attracted outstanding candidates, such as Jennifer Hollett (alum of MuchMusic and Harvard alike), and they’ve expended no shortage of effort here. The polls suggest it’s paying off. Plenty of eyebrows were raised nationwide, however, when NDP leader Tom Mulcair declared Toronto to be “Canada’s most important city” back in August. Mulcair shrugged about the resulting outcry: he knows, as does Harper, that all Parliamentary roads lead to Toronto. Thus, Mulcair has become ubiquitous in Toronto for weeks, offering to boost the guaranteed income supplement for seniors or launch his autobiography or even attract applause before a blue-chip crowd on Bay Street. If he can crack open Liberal fortress Toronto, Mulcair is well on his way.
- The Liberals: Not every move Justin Trudeau has made in Toronto has been well-received. His embrace of former Conservative MP Eve Adams in Eglinton-Lawrence, for instance, was an unmitigated disaster. So, too, his unsubtle meddling in Toronto ridings to parachute in supposed stars, such as Chrystia Freeland or Bill Blair — all of which shredded his solemn promise to have “open nomination” contests. Those missteps aside, Trudeau has been the most energetic federal campaigner in Toronto and environs — partly because he knows that, elsewhere in Canada, he simply isn’t going to win enough seats he needs to become our next prime minister. He is well ahead in Atlantic Canada, yes — but that region has fewer seats than the 416/905. So, he needs Toronto. Trudeau has welded himself to Premier Wynne’s side for weeks — and taken on her pollsters, strategists and many of her staffers to help oversee his campaign. The polls, as flawed as they are, suggest Trudeau’s Ontario-centric campaign is paying dividends: Ontario-wide, he has lately squeezed out the NDP, and he is poised to win back 905 seats that haven’t been red since the good old days of Jean Chrétien. Can Mulcair undo it all? Sure. But so far, so good. Also: nice hair. The hair is ready.”
- Mainstreet (and others) put CPC in the lead: I don’t know who this Too Close to Call guy is, but I like the way he thinks. Quote: “The fact that Nanos is the only firm providing daily updates is annoying. It means they effectively dictate a lot of the coverage about the horse race in this campaign. And this is a little bit absurd because Nanos only polls 400 respondents every day. So really, there is no point in comparing Nanos’ numbers of yesterday and today. I have nothing against Nanos – I consider them as one of the best polling firms in this country and regret they don’t poll more often. But it can create a false narrative…Why am I talking about this? Because Nanos has shown an important (and increasing) lead nationally for the Liberals for a few days. Therefore a lot of people believe that this is the current trend. A lot of people are discarding the polls showing a big CPC lead (namely Angus-Reid, Forum and Ekos) because they are slightly older.” And here is the Mainstream from this morning that he is talking about: “As the campaign enters the final two weeks, the Conservatives (37%) have opened up a substantial lead over the Liberals (29%). The Liberals have now also opened up a substantial lead over the NDP who have dropped to just 24% among decided and leaning voters.” But – but- Mainstream’s data is six days old.
- If I am asking you to read too much stuff early in the morning (and I am), here’s a simple slide from Mainstreet’s guys. Why do I believe they (and Ekos, Ipsos, et al.) are right and Nanos is wrong? Because of Nanos’ sample sizes and the sample sizes of others, because of Nanos’ record, and because of Nanos’ general methodology. But…whatever. I’m sick of this interminable Nanos vs. The World debate. You, however, may not be – so debate it ad nauseum in comments!
In 1988, an entire election was fought on trade. In 2015, I’d be willing to bet that a majority of Canadians didn’t even know the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks were taking place.
As of this hour, that is about to change, I think. And – barring any niqab/citizenship/barbaric practices shiny balls being rolled across the public agenda again – I think TPP is going to be the big story for the final two weeks. Thus, the party talking points, helpfully rendered with colour-coded bolding:
- Conservatives: The Harper government fought hard for this deal, which will open up markets to Canadian goods and services, and create jobs and prosperity for generations. A vote for CPC is a vote for TPP.
- New Democrats: This deal was negotiated in secret, in the middle of an election campaign, and will sell out Canadian jobs and sovereignty on a historic scale. A vote for NDP is a vote to kill TPP.
- Liberals: TPP was negotiated in secret, without transparency or a mandate, and we therefore don’t know what’s in it. A Liberal government won’t sign on until we have a chance to evaluate it. A vote for LPC is a vote to slow down on TPP.
It is in the interests of both the Cons and the Dippers to make TPP a big deal. As with ISIS, C-51, etc., their parties offer clear and diametrically-opposed positions. They will want to use TPP to force Grits into the mushy middle, so that no one really knows where they stand on a critically-important issue.
Here we go!
- Do you know what confirmation bias is? I’m certain you do, because all of my readers are smart. But here it is again, for those who need a refresher: “In psychology and cognitive science, confirmation bias (or confirmatory bias) is a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions, leading to statistical errors.”
- If there has ever been an election where confirmation bias is a pandemic, Election 42 is it. Just take a gander at the comments below every post on this web site, for the past 64 days – in which otherwise-sane people succumb to HDS (Harper Derangement Syndrome) or THD (Trudeau Hater Disease) or TPMSHBC (The Prime Ministers Shouldn’t Have Beards Consensus) and see only what they want to see, and shut out all information/opinion to the country.
- Here’s an example. Nano boss Nick Nanos tweeted last night that he had some “interesting” numbers to share at 6 a.m. today. So, I bet some folks actually got up bright and early to see them. Lo and behold! What Nick found “interesting” was identical to his previous poll, 24 hours before. Liberals 35, Conservatives 31.
- Nick and CTV/Globe can decide whether it was appropriate to sell that as “interesting.” But what was interesting to me is how, yet again, partisans selected only those factoids that supported their view of the universe. And discarded the rest.
- Maybe because it’s Monday morning, or whatever, but I’m fed up to the teeth with Election 42 confirmation bias. So, I implore you to come out and see and hear something that is real – and that is this event, tomorrow night, involving two people I’m privileged to know. I can confirm you will be glad you did. No bias.
- Threw a surprise birthday party for the missus last night. Lots of amazing folks in attendance, including our impressive local Liberal candidate. Lots of politics discussed. Here’s what I had to say, as said by others.
- Bullet one: What Benjamin Sharma had to say: “This election is fun. Both Conservatives and Liberals think that they’re winning.“
- Bullet two: What Stephen Taylor asked: “Who is right? EKOS or Nanos?“
- Bullet three: What Ipsos and all the others say: “Best Prime Minister: Harper (35%, up 5), Mulcair (34%, down 4), Trudeau (32%, unchanged) http://t.co/yJYimKIm1Q #cdnpoli #elxn42“
- My take? Once again, we are all looking at top line/horse race numbers with ridiculously small sample sizes. We should be looking at what has been happening in the “best Prime Minister” trendline. And those numbers – from every single pollster – show the same thing: the electorate may not like Harper, but they again think that he is a better choice for Prime Minister than the other two fellows. For a few weeks now, I have felt this election was a referendum on the leaders. If I’m right, Harper is slowly, incrementally winning that referendum.
- Based on the number of comments, and based on the amount of coverage, I don’t think a lot of people paid attention to that final debate last night. My hunch? Joe and Jane Frontporch are sick of this election. They want it to be over. They started paying attention after Labour Day, and now they think they’ve seen more than enough to make a decision. And what have they decided? See below, following my roundup of some of your (very few) comments on Face à face.
- Nicole: At a debate where four men and no woman spent a lot of time talking about how a woman should dress, reminding the public of [Trudeau's] clear support of a woman’s right to control her body will attract votes, especially from women. That is, in addition to those who would already support him because he has nice hair.
- Dean: Mulcair’s “all the leaders are against women wearing the niqab” did it for me. i’m done with the ndp forever. i was frustrated at trudeau for suggesting it was only immigrated women who wore the niqab, but mulcair’s complete disrespect and inability to see it as a choice did me in…maybe i am unique in that i have female friends who took to the niqab later in life and are very vocal about how much of a choice it was…but – giving him the benefit of the doubt that he does not truly believe what he says, i’ve conlcluded mulcair will say anything to win.
- Vancouverois: I somehow blanked out the most annoying moment of all — when Mulcair had the gall to talk about how you shouldn’t target a particular group, when as a Quebec Liberal he’s spent HIS ENTIRE POLITICAL CAREER helping the slow separatists (oh, sorry: Quebec nationalists) target the anglophone community of Quebec. The hypocrisy of it left me speechless with rage.
- Luke: I can’t have been bothered to watch this. From the Com’s synopsis, sounds to me like Harper must be a happy man. Trudeau and Mulcair pounding on the stupid niqab debate allows to Conservatives to continue to frame the debate around a topic they judge to be to their benefit. NDP and Liberals need to stop letter the Conservatives set the agenda and do so themselves. If they keep letting this happen, Harper wins. Again. Goddamnit.
- Fan590: JT continues to steam roll Harper and Mulcair. He’s ready for the job.
- Al in Cranbrook: Why is it so hard for moderators to simply ask a question without editorializing? And why is it that just about every segment ends with Harper being cut off before he can answer some outlandish accusation? Really getting tired of this crap.
- Mike: My ears are starting to hurt from all the dog whistling going on.
- And…that’s about it. Lots of comments under that open thread, but not many comments on the actual debate. But you want my take? I put it on Twitter, and I agree with Luke, above. I even wrote a book about the subject: conservatives are way better at emotion-laden “values” stuff than progressives. We progressives get tongue-tied when the subject-matter is values. That is fatal, because political decision-making is governed by emotion, not intellect – the gut, not the head. Despite having a smaller vote base – in Canada, in Europe – conservatives keep winning because they always steer the debate to emotional stuff, not pointy-headed intellectual stuff. Emotion > Intellect.
- The result? Check out Ekos this morning. I personally trust Frank Graves more than Nanos or many of the others. Frank is no CPC shill – he is a progressive in his heart; he isn’t out to do the CPC any favours, believe me. And, thusly, look what he has come up with, here and below. Key takeaways:
- The Conservatives have been in the Number One spot for 15 consecutive days.
- The Conservatives lead in every part of the country, save Quebec and the Atlantic. And they are surprisingly strong in Quebec.
- The Conservatives are now in the same range that they were at this point in 2011. And we all know how all that turned out.
- This slide tells the story. Read it and weep, progressive friends. Harper’s guys are smart. They threw out some values bait – niqab, barbaric practices, stripping citizenship – and progressives fell for it, hook line and sinker. Like the great Romeo LeBlanc once memorably said to me: When hunting bear, don’t get distracted by rabbit tracks.
- Progressives got distracted by rabbit tracks. Again.
Look, I’m sorry. I’ve reached Maximum Niqab Debate™ and so the Missus and Daughter Two and me are going to go cheer for the marooning of Matt Damon on Mars. (It’s his punishment for inflicting Ben Affleck on an undeserving world.)
So, as before, open thread. Add your comments and some of the best will form tomorrow’s KCCCC!
On y va!