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“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





Plague Vendor owns my tiny black punk rock heart, but God Almighty I love Western Addiction, too. Black Salt.  What a friggin’ tune.


Love this. Oh, and anyone who has cell phone numbers for his personal staff? Post ‘em in comments.  There’s no better way to torpedo a campaign for a day or two.

GIjoke


My Conservative friend (yes, I have some) posted something noteworthy on Facebook. It was a picture of a sign bearing the words: STOP MAKING STUPID PEOPLE FAMOUS. In this week, the Kanye West week, it struck a chord.
 
Most of the stuff one sees elsewhere on Facebook isn’t as noteworthy. There is the footage of the monkey with a machine gun, there is the footage of the cat snuggling with the baby deer, there is footage of people giving free hugs to strangers, there is (of course) footage of the IKEA monkey being the IKEA monkey in a tiny shearling coat.
 
There is a thread running through all of that digital ephemera. All of those videos – and all the other Internet memes – have been seen millions upon millions of times. They are more popular than any politician could ever hope to be. JFK’s inaugural speech? Ronald Reagan demanding that the Berlin wall be torn down? Nixon’s Checkers talk? Trudeau pleading for a “no” in the 1980 referendum? Not so important, anymore.
 
Stuff that is stupid? That’s important, now. That’s popular.
 
Politics, being made up of people, is as susceptible to popular trends as anything else. So, when stupidity triumphed, it was only a matter time before politics succumbed, too. It was inevitable.
 
Ipso facto, a Conservative MP actually likens her government to Christ. A governmental body invites Kanye West – an American, whom the President of the United States has correctly called “a jackass”– to be the headliner at the Pan Am Games’ closing ceremonies. The biggest city in Canada previously electing someone like Rob Ford, and in a landslide, too. And on and on. It is not an era where smarts seem to be dominating the proceedings.
 
Popular culture naturally celebrates anti-intellectual themes. That’s what popular culture is: anti-intellectual. It revels in it, positively rolling around in the muck left in the wake of Donald Trump (who is an asshole) and Justin Bieber (who is the shame of Canada) and Kanye West’s spouse (who is bigger than Jesus).
 
Ronald Reagan is definitive proof that an impressive IQ is not a prerequisite for high political office, either. The commander-in-chief was not the sharpest knife in the presidential drawer. Had he not been constitutionally limited, however, Reagan would have won a third term without breaking into a sweat.
 
His Republican successor, the aforementioned Trump, is now the leading contender in the Republican field. His racist, despicable remarks about Hispanics (and others) haven’t hurt him. They’ve helped him, in fact.
 
What does it all mean? Plenty, and all of it is depressing. Up here in Canuckistan, one gets the sense that Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair still attach some importance to thinking, and ideas, and whatnot. Both men seem to recoil from the show-bizzy aspects of the job. They know their limitations, and they stick with them. (Case in point: Harper modeled a cowboy leather vest at the Calgary Stampede once, was roundly mocked, and hasn’t done anything like it since.)
 
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, however, is different from Harper and Mulcair. He seems to be much closer to the popular culture than the other two guys.
 
That is because he seems to understand the lumpen-Zeitgeist better than Messrs. Harper and Mulcair do. In the lead up to his Liberal leadership win, and thereafter, Trudeau was singularly intent on making the point – over and over – that he was not an intellectual like his father. He is not, he said, “a faithful intellectual disciple of my father.”
 
That’s for sure.
 
On the one hand, it is not difficult to picture Harper or Mulcair debating the minutiae of economic or constitutional theory in a classroom somewhere, wearing corduroy jackets with leather patches at the elbows. It is more difficult to visualize Trudeau doing that.
 
Who is to say, however, that the Liberal leader is a lesser man for all of his populist inclinations? Who is to say what his adversaries consider his weakness is not, in fact, his strength? After all, in an era where Kim Kardashian can be celebrated on the cover of the Rolling Stone, no less, weird things can happen. Seizing the lowest common denominator isn’t ever anything to brag about, but it sure as shit seems to work.
 
There’s a paradox at work, here. In virtually everything they say about him, the Conservative and New Democrat leaders clearly insinuate that Justin Trudeau is not very bright. The Conservative Party of Canada is currently sponsoring a multi-million-dollar anti-Trudeau ad campaign, in fact, that makes that very point – he’s “just not ready” because he’s just not bright.
 
But will Trudeau have the last laugh? If the electorate are capable of electing the likes of Reagan and Ford – expressing genuine affection for both, even after illegal wars and illegal substances – isn’t it possible that they might just prefer Trudeau over Harper and Mulcair?
 
None of this is to say, of course, that Justin Trudeau is a dummy. He decidedly is not. One does not become leader of a national political party if one is stupid.
 
But by the same token, it is clear that Trudeau is not weighted down by complex thoughts. He believes that the people want something else, and he may well be right.
 
Characterizing the era as stupid, then, may be too harsh. Perhaps all that voters are seeking is simplicity. In this part of this Century, their lives have become inarguably complex, and they are receiving too much information all the time. So they naturally gravitate towards the option that is the most easy to understand.
 
Justin Trudeau, above all, is easy to understand. In this way, he may best represent the era – and he may therefore get to be Prime Minister along the way, showing all those pointy-headed intellectuals that they may be smart, but they’re not always right.
 
 


…and the news is not good.

From just the past few days:

And so on, and so on. Increasingly, stories and opinion columns reflect three themes: (i) the Tories are up, (ii) the Dippers are up, and/or (iii) the Grits are down.

From the lofty heights of top spot – from an unchallenged lead in the polls for month after month – to now, a rapidly-diminishing third place.  As the Globe guy writes, they are starting to look desperate, too.

My barber in Ottawa used to have a wonderful aphorism: when you have a problem and a solution, you have no more problem.  When you have a problem and no solution, you have a way of life.

Trudeau’s problems are starting to look permanent. Per my barber, he needs to find solutions, fast.  His problems, in no particular order, are:

  • An arrogant, insular inner circle
  • Lousy, ineffective advertising
  • Zero policy coherence
  • A decidedly unhappy caucus and collection of candidates
  • A strategy that is all over the map
  • A leader whose motivations – whose passions – remain a mystery wrapped in an enigma

The last two are the big ones.  As I’ve predicted for some time, at the end-of-Summer caucus, there’ll be angry demands that Trudeau get better advisors, there’ll be demands that he get some advertising that finally goes after the shortcomings of Messrs. Harper and Mulcair, there’ll be demands he come up with two or three policy priorities and not a Martinesque laundry list, and there’ll be demands that he start listening to his caucus and candidates.  Based on past behaviour, I predict he won’t do any of those things.

To me, the last two are the big ones, anyway.  What is the strategy? What is the plan? To attack Harper? To attack Mulcair? To attack neither? Talk about tax cuts? Champion the middle class? Advocate for change? Who knows.  In just the past few weeks, all of those things, and more, have been tried and discarded.

A former Liberal MP put his finger on the big problem.  “What is Justin’s passion? What is the thing he wants to do?” the ex-MP said to me a couple weeks ago. “We simply don’t know.”

We don’t.  With his father and Chretien, it was unity and a strong central government. With Harper, it’s economy and security.  With Mulroney, it was free trade. With Pearson, it was internationalism. You may not like some of those guys, or any of their priorities, but you at least knew where they stood.

With Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, we don’t.  And that, more than anything else, is why the headlines keep getting worse, with time running out.

 

 


Me, so I can hire a Yorkville plastic surgeon to eliminate those bags under my eyes! From tonight’s CITY-TV.

“Does vote-buying work? When does it not work?”
 


Also, Leger apparently used black for the Tories because they’re the dark side or something.


From the archives:

Because the media are in the shorthand business – and because social media renders everything bite-sized and/or stupid – some people have taken to comparing me to John Tory’s campaign manager, Nick Kouvalis.

I cannot believe I have to actually spend five precious minutes of my life on this, but apparently I do. So, as a public service, here are some of the ways in which I differ from Nick Kouvalis.

• Kouvalis has been charged, criminally, for making death threats. I have never been charged with anything, although I have received two speeding tickets in my life, for which I apologize.

• Kouvalis has been found guilty of several ethical violations by the professional marketing/polling organization to which he belongs. I have never been found to have breached any professional rules or standards whatsoever – although, I was on the executive of both the Canadian Bar Association and the Ontario Bar Association, which I suppose was punishment enough.

• Kouvalis has not written any books of which I am aware, and I do not know his educational background. I have written seven books and have degrees in Journalism and Law. The journalism one is from Carleton, however, which cannot be helped.

• Kouvalis brags about using dirty tricks – fake identities and whatnot – in election campaigns. I have written books in which I have said, among other things, that dirty tricks do not work – and I have fired youngsters who show up with same. I did, however, wave around a purple dinosaur on TV once to poke fun at Kouvalis’ friend Stockwell Day. I admit that.

• Kouvalis uses front companies to conduct “polls” to push voters one way or another. I have written books in which I have said that “push polls” should be banned, and that those who make use of them are hurting democracy. I am old-fashioned about democracy, in that I think it is a fragile thing, and worth defending.

• Kouvalis says that he is good at beating Liberals, and then went on to work for BC Liberal leader Christy Clark; he has said that John Tory wasn’t much of a leader, and then went on to work for John Tory. I, for my part, worked for many years for guys named Chrétien and McGuinty, and I have stuck by them, in good times and in bad.

• Kouvalis is friends with Rob Ford and ran his campaign in 2010. I considered Rob Ford to be a crack-smoking,  baldfaced-lying, drunk-driving jerk who belonged in rehab, not the mayor’s chair.

There you go. Those are some of the key ways in which Nick Kouvalis and I differ. There are others.

Oh, and Mr. Tory? You and Nick deserve each other.


 

That’s what has been going on, politically, for the past while. That’s how it is in the Summer, usually. 

That works best for incumbent governments. Nobody is paying attention, nothing to get too upset about.  But when things start getting active in a month (and they will), then what?

Comments open. Say something about nothing!


EkosJuly

  • Liberals should be unhappy they are behind in all but one region – and in that one region, the NDP is apparently gaining.
  • Conservatives should be unhappy because folks aren’t wildly happy about the direction of the country.
  • New Democrats should be unhappy because the Bloc is back, big time, and is going to steal vote from them in Quebec.
  • The Greens should be unhappy because they are fading everywhere.

I’m unhappy because it’s rainy today and I washed my car last night.  You?