Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Nobody waved goodbye

The Liberals deservedly took a near-fatal body blow last night, and Jason Cherniak is giving up political blogging. To be blunt, both of these interconnected events please me no end.

The Liberal Party, as a seasoned political commentator put it to a small meeting I once attended, is a spoils distribution machine rather than a party in the classical sense. The fact that it's now a decrepit and nearly bankrupt spoils distribution machine doesn't change its basic character one whit. The Liberal culture is one of political (and too often personal) entitlement, in which there is no difference between truth or lies, principles or expediency, vision or cynicism: where anything and everything is bent to political advantage.

In all this, Jason Cherniak has been a willing disciple. His behaviour during the past campaign has been nothing short of reprehensible--spewing one unfounded smear after another as he churned out Liberal talking points with the kind of smugness that's become a virtual hallmark of his party. His mendacious use of the "anti-Semitic" label is well-known: this time he threw all caution to the winds, suggesting that, never mind anti-Semitism per se, no candidate for any party should be allowed to run if they are too critical of the state of Israel.

Indeed, the only Liberal worth anything at all in this election was the hapless Stéphane Dion, done in, at least in part, by his sincerity and his principles, his honesty and his forthrightness, his thoughtfulness and his unwillingness to boil complex ideas down to sound bites and clever phrases. Of course he stumbled and bumbled, couldn't communicate well and so on, and I disagreed with his flabby performance in the House of Commons (which was really the performance of the entire Liberal caucus), but it was those personal qualities, anti-political if you will, that cost him dearly. And in the cynical ranks of Liberals whose only goal is power, he was quite simply a bad fit.

And talk about cynicism. In a very recent post, Cherniak called himself a Dion Liberal. Nope. The only Dion Liberal is Dion himself. Cherniak is just a Liberal, motivated entirely by ambition, a political animal of the stoat variety. And he will do very well, I suspect, in the backrooms where he is headed--before the entire worm-eaten house falls down around his ears.

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