“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
I’m not kidding, either.
If this extraordinary story isn’t an Onion-like bit of satire – and I checked, it doesn’t seem to be – the Harper guys are done like dinner. Dead.
Justin, here are your talking points:
“No wonder they were eager to shut down the House early. If elected, I will stop this. Vote for me, and I will force Canada Post to keep delivering your mail.”
It’s one of two possibilities. One, it’s a candid and honest admission by Justin Trudeau about one of Justin Trudeau’s shortcomings, for which he deserves credit. Or, two, it’s a bit of pre-conditioning – some inoculation – against future verbal gaffes. Which is shrewd, and for which he also deserves credit.
Either way, there’s no downside – and a fair amount of upside – to giving such a year-end interview. He wins either way.
As the cliché suggests, there’s always a but. Mine is this, drawn from one of my books, The War Room:
“To evaluate the effectiveness of a political story or advertisement, I always watch it with the sound off. That way, I’m forced to consider the visual impact for what is a visual medium. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, for instance, understand the power of image — he allowed the media to take many pictures of him during his twelve years in the White House, but never wearing the braces that he was forced to wear after being struck with polio. So, too, Ronald Reagan’s former advisor, Michael Deaver, who was obsessed with television images: “I have always believed that impressions are more important than specific acts or issues … I believe TV is a great boon to us in judging our leaders. It lets us see all the dimensions that, in the past, people could only see in person: the body language, the dilation of the eye, the way they perspire. We see them when they are tired, worried, under great crises. If television focuses on somebody every day, it shows all the dimensions.”
I didn’t like Ronald Reagan’s policies, and I didn’t like what Deaver did on Reagan’s behalf. But his observation about “impressions” is a credo I live by. It’s what I tell my clients, too.
When it comes to your public reputation, what matters most isn’t facts. It is impressions – the impressions of you that are built up over time by ongoing media coverage. Some judgments are made on the basis of a single story, to be sure. But, mostly, citizens form judgments after looking at, or reading, a lot of stories over a period of time. No single fact typically sways public opinion (which is why scandal stuff rarely sways public opinion, but that’s a post for another day). Shared impressions acquired over time, however? Those matter.
That’s the risk Justin Trudeau runs, here. Whether he and his team are aware of it or not, they are presently creating impressions about Justin’s suitability to be Prime Minister. Personally, I know he’d be a fine Prime Minister – but I like people who are iconoclasts, and colourful, and who take risks, and who refuse to be J. Alfred Prufrock. It’s how I’ve lived my own life, in fact.
But I’m not running to be Prime Minister. So, Justin and Gerald and Cyrus and a small group of others need to consider this:
What do Canadians want in a Prime Minister? If their near-decade of support for Stephen Harper is any indication, they have lately wanted a Tim Hortons-loving, hockey Dad Everyman. So, ipso facto, are the impressions being created by Team Trudeau going to help Justin Trudeau ultimately become Prime Minister?
Personally, my heart says: Please God, yes. My head says:
Quite a few of us immediately suggested that Dale needed to sue. Falsely calling someone a pedophile is among the most serious libels. It is libel per se. When Ford reaffirmed his words, Dale had no choice but to sue.
In so doing, they have (a) signalled they intend to do nothing, or (b) seriously undermined any case they may bring to the court.
Either way, Ford has won.
For Dale, who is an excellent journalist, it will mean his name and “pedophile” will live in the Internet ether forever. If he thinks the haters in Ford Nation won’t now repeat their hero’s words ad nauseum, ad infinitum, he’s dreaming in technicolour.
For the Star, they have lost an opportunity to stand by their writer – and to show all their staff that they will not let scumbags like Ford destroy a fine reporter’s reputation with impunity. In effect, they have implied that it is open season on journalists.
Like I say, Dale may sue now, but it’s likely too late. If you are going to sue, and if you are serious, always let your lawyer do the talking. Don’t turn it into a meeting of the fucking debate club.
Dale, and the Star, didn’t. And that’s a real shame.
So, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former prime ministers Brian Mulroney, Kim Campbell and Jean Chretien took a plane to South Africa to attend the public memorial for Nelson Mandela.
Also on the plane, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair. (Not on the plane, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.) Midway, the plane starts to dramatically lose altitude. The pilot comes on to say the Airbus is going down and the passengers have to jump. Problem: There are five leaders and only four parachutes.
Harper grabs one. “I’m the most irreplaceable! Canada needs its prime minister!” he hollers and jumps. Mulroney does likewise, and yells as he leaps: “I’m the one with the best legacy!” Mulcair grabs a parachute, saying, “I’m the smartest, and the smartest question period performer,” and follows Harper and Mulroney.
Campbell stares at Chretien, terrified. “Jean! There’s only one parachute left! What should we do?” Chretien is unfazed. “Relax, Kim. There’s a parachute for both of us, and one for the pilot and the co-pilot, too. The irreplaceable guy, the legacy guy and the smartest guy have all jumped using the flight crew’s backpacks.”
Old joke, but wouldn’t you have liked to be on that jet to South Africa, as the passengers (likely) exchanged pleasantries and (likelier) reflected on who jumped out of politics and who was pushed? On who is going and who is staying?
Campbell, of course, was pushed by voters. She led the Conservatives to their worst-ever showing in 1993, and left politics.
Mulroney won two big majorities, and quit before he could be fired.
Chretien wanted to leave in 2000, was pushed by Paul Martin, and pushed back, delaying his departure to 2003.
Harper and Mulcair, of course, are still in the game. But, as the jet buzzed towards Africa, they likely silently reflected on the whereabouts of Justin Trudeau, their opponent down on terra firma. And wondered whether Trudeau will do to them what Chretien did to Campbell and, indirectly, Mulroney.
Mulcair won’t jump. He just got the top NDP job, and he thinks he can win power by being the best interrogator in the House of Commons. He’s only auditioning for the job he already has. His party is going to lose plenty of seats in 2015, mainly to Trudeau. He’ll start eyeing the exits shortly thereafter.
Harper, meanwhile, sips his orange juice and ponders the next year and a bit.
If he stays, he runs risks aplenty. The sordid Senate mess can’t be controlled. It’s now in the hands of the Mounties, and they delight in dropping scandals on politicians. The media love it, too.
His caucus is restive, in some cases mutinous. One of his former cabinet ministers has authored a popular bill that wants to render him a figurehead. His backbench MPs have taken to grumbling to the media, much in the way that Martin’s cabal used to about Chretien.
And the economy — thought to be rebounding — is stalled, or (depending who you talk to) sliding. No one seems to think happy days are here again, or will be anytime soon.
Chretien and Mulroney, being the old pros on the plane, know Harper is unlikely to go anywhere. He’s surrounding himself with loyalists — Dimitri Soudas, Jenni Byrne, Ray Novak — and they know he’s too proud to let Trudeau, who he regards as an airhead, drive him out.
Harper and his inner circle think Trudeau is undisciplined and reckless. That he is all sizzle and no steak. They’ve soundly beaten three sure-thing Liberal leaders to date, and they firmly believe they can do it again.
They may be right, they may be wrong.
But, as his plane alights in South Africa, Harper can be forgiven for eyeing those parachutes.
I’m writing an entire column about that flight in this week’s Sun (which will be out on Wednesday, not tomorrow)! But you can have fun with it, too, right now in comments.
Harper: We’re, um, good to go!