The Pundit(s) Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks

Well, I have to say I feel a bit sorry for poor Jonathan Kay over at Canada’s National Post newspaper.

Ever since his opinion piece on the death of Canadian conservatism was published on July 17th, the knives have been out in full force over there. Everyone from Terence Corcoran to Andrew Coyne have rushed to print rather ham-fisted rebuttals for fear that the notion might actually stick.

Corcoran, showing his true colors, proclaimed that Canadians were “not wealthy enough to gloat”.  Wow. What an absolutely amazing statement. Should they gloat if the opposite were the case?  I assume, knowing his opinions over the years, that the answer would be “yes”.  And how much is “wealthy enough”?  Not very neighborly Terence. And so much for shedding the “conservatives are greedy” stereotype.

Coyne, for his part, displays perhaps the most confusing piece of writing of his that I have ever read. Perhaps he should have emailed Terence, because he has a whole different set of explanations for this economic blip, not realizing that most of the ones he cites (that were under Canadian control), actually bolster Kay’s argument.

Pretty weak fellas, but hey, who can blame them?

Not only did one of their own “out them” all for abdicating their core responsibility as journalists throughout the years, but the process of even considering his opinion has hit a little too close to home.  And we all know that a cornered cat puts on a good show of force. (Tea Party anyone?)

Not one word of either rebuttal even acknowledges how their paper made a conscious choice to editorialize the news to promote their own preferred political agenda.  I suspect this indicates that they feel this is acceptable.

No, they were reacting to something else much more threatening.

The part of this that caught my eye was how Coyne needed to take the time to deny that the real engine behind modern day Canadian conservatism is wealth envy of the United States.

Kay was absolutely correct when he said that “the real dynamo behind right-wing ideology in this country (Canada) was always, at heart, wealth-envy of the United States…”

And the truth hurts.

Sure, there are people who vote conservative in Canada for social reasons, habitual reasons and a smattering of other reasons.  But the movers, the shakers and the wanna-be’s who run the show all envy the greener grass down south.  And if that lawn is dry right now from a drought, the movement has no oracle.  And THAT must be quite worrisome for such a minority.

The truth is, conservatives in Canada are lucky to number 40% of the electorate.  Sometimes they’ll do a little better than that in an election when moderates join them strategically , but the rule of thumb in Canada aid that about two-thirds of the country votes for a left of center option.  Put another way, only about one-third of the country identify themselves as conservative.

Worse, in the last federal election, it took only 22% of eligible voters to elect a conservative majority government. Would that sort of minority rule ever fly in the US?

Anyone who has read my stuff for a while knows that I have little interest in the sort of schoolyard “we’re better than you are” sort of silliness that is at the crux of the story.

What I do take an interest in, is how a conservative media outlet deals with a teardown of their own myth-building machine. How conservatives in general react when challenged with fact.

It provides us with an opportunity to observe how hard it is for them to explain why they think the way they do. And then we are led to the rather disappointing conclusion:

Conservatives don’t have a plan that works for the majority; they are not interested in building anything; and they are rarely, if ever, interested in a positive discussion. Yet, they want us to follow them over the edge…

It will be interesting to see how this shakes out at the NP and in Canada with regard to future economic indicators vis a vis the US and its impact on the survival of their minority conservative movement.

To be or not to be, that is the question…