In Tuesday’s Sun: judge her by her enemies

Franklin D. Roosevelt had the very best line of all. “Judge me,” said the 32nd U.S. President, “by the enemies I have made.”

It’s true, too. Politics is sort of the opposite of real life: in the political game, you are measured not so much by the quantity of friends you have, but by the quality of your enemies. If you want to be adored, and see your name chiseled onto the side of a schoolhouse some day, become an astronaut. Politics is a vocation for losing besties, not gaining them.

A corollary of FDR’s bromide, therefore, is this: people who go into politics wanting to be much loved by many people (Paul Martin, John Tory, come on down!) end up leaving it with neither – neither the love, nor the people. You end up as an unloved loser, mostly.

Which brings us, this fine Spring morning, to Gerald Caplan, Judy Rebick, Michelle Landsberg and several other old people you have never heard of, and hopefully never will. On Friday, it was revealed Caplan’s cabal had written a missive to Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, saying that they were “deeply distressed” by the provincial NDP campaign. (The letter “was obtained by CBC News,” and everyone knows who helped them “obtain” it.)

“From what we can see you are running to the right of the Liberals in an attempt to win Conservative votes,” shriek Caplan, Rebick et al. “It seems in your rush to the centre you are abandoning those values and constituencies that the party has always championed.”

By the “constituencies that the party has always championed,” Caplan’s cabal meant them – that is, some surly, solipsistic socialist septuagenarians who wouldn’t know how to win a general election if their lives depended on it. They are nobodies, signifying nothing. They are – as the former Chief of Staff to Ontario’s only NDP Premier, Robin Sears, hilariously put it yesterday morn on CBC – “the grumpy caucus.”

Said Sears: they come out only at elections, claiming to be NDPers, to sabotage NDP campaigns.

The CBC, having exclusively “obtained” the screed from the hard-left losers, aggressively marketed it all weekend. But other media, including those who cover Queen’s Park daily, were unimpressed. “[A] quaint baby boomer drama,” tweeted Toronto Star bureau chief Robert Benzie. “Andrea Horwath probably wasn’t counting on much support from the CCF crowd.”

Exactly: the Ontario NDP leader was acquiring the right enemies. Horwath, knowing most of the votes are found in the political centre, has been aiming the NDP ship in that direction for many months, talking up balanced budgets and the need to make life less expensive for the average Ontarian. She’s been rewarded with a four-point boost in an Ipsos poll in the past week, while her opponents have either dropped or stalled.

But that’s not enough for Caplan et al., apparently. As Sears put it, they’re Presbyterian about their politics: they think salvation only lies in pain. They don’t wish to see their principles ever, you know, sullied by actual power.

All of this calls to mind a story this writer once heard about Stephen Harper. As he was labouring to bring together the Reform and Progressive Conservative parties, circa 2004, several emissaries were dispatched to warn him about his quest for power.

“You will never get Myron Thompson and Joe Clark to sit together!” said one. “You’ll lose them both!”

“Exactly,” said Harper.


Your Toronto politics morning update in helpful quotes: Tory “absurd and careless,” Chow “very, very favourably impressive”

  • National Post: “I’m not sure what distinguishes Tory as a front-running candidate for mayor. He has business experience, certainly, but so do many people, and it actually doesn’t apply to running a government as much as some suggest. The bulk of his campaign’s policies thus far have been shallow at best, reinforcing the notion that he has a talk-radio level of understanding of how the city operates. As pointed out by the Chow campaign, Tory just yesterday put out a statement referring to “shovels” that will “start digging in 2015″ for the Bloor-Danforth subway extension in Scarborough. That timeline, also mentioned in his “One Toronto” economic development plan, was so wildly unrealistic that the campaign had to acknowledge it was a mistake when contacted about it by the media. (Construction of the so-called Scarborough subway is still several years off, if it happens at all.) It wasn’t an unforgivable error on Tory’s part, but it was an absurd and careless one that makes me wonder whether he has anyone working for him with a basic grasp of City policy.”
  • Globe and Mail: “…with her new, moderate message, she has been winning over at least some Bay Streeters. “I thought she came across as less of an ideologue than I would have thought,” said Dave Samuel, a partner in the investment firm Birch Hill who set up a lunchtime session with her last month and now counts himself as a Chow backer. Another participant, a senior Bay Street lawyer, said he was “very, very favourably impressed with her, and I am a dyed -in-the-wool conservative.” She told the group that she is the only one of the leading three candidates for mayor to oppose the Scarborough subway project. She favours a cheaper light-rail line instead. “That is completely against the stereotype,” she says. “I am the one who has the guts to say, Don’t do it. Don’t borrow money you don’t have if you don’t have to.”

Labourers’ union smart approach: being proactive

This is interesting.  When the CBC and the Star were coming after LIUNA (mainly for the offence of Working While Italian), the union took a proactive approach – and contacted the police themselves. It’s referenced in the video below.

Reminds me of what Chretien did with sponsorship.  I suspect LIUNA will similarly benefit from being proactive, instead of reactive.  Companies/unions/NGOs with issues management challenges, take note.


Hey, Public Safety and RCMP: do I scare you?


“Bureaucrats, for example, bumped around a copy of a head-scratching open letter posted by Sun columnist Warren Kinsella on his blog. In it, he calls on Anonymous to get involved by attacking the Nova Scotia NDP or the RCMP.

Just the same, Public Safety passed it around internally, and then sent it to the RCMP. In one particularly telling exchange from the bureaucrats, one staffer emails the other to ask if they’ve “been following the news about Anonymous’ rampage,” and wonders “what can be done to stop such embarrassing attacks?” They note it was the lead story on CBC’s The National.”

Link here.

I’m suspicious about the source – Ling is a proven ding-a-ling, in my view – but I have to say that, if true, this little snippet makes me happy.  Any day this web site makes Public Safety and RCMP elf lords nervous is a good day.