& Sour Grapes!
"The report of my death is an exaggeration"
Mark Twain 1897
In the ongoing clown show that BC Politics appears to be, especially to those unfortunate enough to live on the wrong side of the Rockies, in recent weeks two developments stand out as truly weird. Well, on the surface at least, until one gives some thought to the motives of the people involved in each case.
The first was how Vaughn the Pawn, Keith the Smug Cynic, Les(s) "than gifted" Leyne, Bill "not so" Good and the rest of the BC LIEberal cheering section posing as journalists reversed their position on Carole James, erstwhile leader of the dreaded Socialists at the Gate, otherwise known as the New Democratic Party. This crew of sycophants who a few months ago could only either ignore or mock Ms. James had a communal revelation that she was the best leader that the NDP ever had, bar none! This was fairly easy to understand, as at the same time her leadership was becoming under threat and Gord's boys and girls in the media knew that the BC liaRs would hate to lose their secret weapon and best hope of winning yet another four years to abuse the province.
More difficult to understand though has been the wailing and gnashing of gums by so-called dippers who have formed their own Chicken Little Brigade and have been screaming from the rooftops that the NDP has blown its "opportunity" to form the next government or maybe to EVER form a government again. Somehow the fact that the Libs themselves are barely governing at the moment, most ministries being without a minister as most heavy hitters have announced their intention to occupy the Big Chair occupied for the last 17 years by the victim of their own recent coup. Of course this doesn't even take into account the ministers or members currently undergoing investigation or prosecution for one thing or another.
Ian Reid, formerly Chief of Staff to Carole James, has led the choir of doom with help from the likes of David Shreck and former cabinet minister Paul Ramsey. Though it seems that Mr. Shreck may be coming to his senses if one is to believe a recent post at his Blog Strategic Thoughts , Parties Tied 36-36 - bolding by kootcoot.
As expected there was a big jump in those who would vote for the BC Liberals following Gordon Campbell's November 3rd announcement. The Angus Reid online poll of 804 randomly selected BC adults conducted from December 7th to December 8th also revealed that the tie was reduced from 36 to 36 to 14 to 14 when those surveyed were asked which party they would support regardless of who wins the respective leadership contests. At 36% the BC Liberals are down 10 points from their 2009 actual election results, and the NDP is down 6 points. Both parties have to work to regain public confidence.
It may be disappointing for some New Democrats to see the disappearance of the 21 point advantage (47 to 26) the NDP enjoyed in the November Angus Reid poll. That poll was concluded hours before Campbell's announcement, while the December poll was conducted immediately after Carole James resigned following a month of bitter public infighting. For the NDP to tie the BC Liberals in the aftermath of its civil war is a better outcome than I expected. It offers hope that with the right leader, and a leadership campaign that isn't further damaging, the NDP may be competitive in the next election.
I don't know where Mr. Ramsey stands today, but as far as I can tell, Mr. Reid, in spite of promising to leave, if the "baked dozen" "won,"
My ultimatum to Kwan and the others is this: if you win I’m out. And I’m not alone.
has decided to stay and lead the chorus of doomsday naysayers over at his place, therealstory.ca. I don't know why his followers are so hysterical about the unlikely notion that going in to yet another election with Ms. James at the helm would lead to victory, but Ian Reid himself should look in the mirror. Instead of being like his former boss and blaming Jenny Kwan, bullies, and everyone else in sight or hearing, perhaps he should take some blame for the last seven years of Liberal raping and pillaging of the province. After all, as Chief of Staff he must have something to do with the lack of coherent policy positions, tendency to trail significantly her own party in the polls that plagued Carole James and losing two elections to a lying drunken crook, the last one a gimmee!
Over at his place I compared Mr. Reid to Rahm Emanuel, Israeli/Corporate Mole who helped Bill Clinton turn into Republican Lite and has helped President Obama lose almost all of his natural support through his advocacy for Zionists and financial institutions - with no visible hope of winning over the "blue dogs," Rethugs and TeaBaggers. Rahm also helped George Bush the Lesser - "he was an important player in the recent passage of President Bush's $700 billion financial bailout plan, helping to mobilize Democratic votes to pass the measure."
Of course when Emanuel Rahm isn't busy advising or helping elect Republican presidents posing as Democrats, or being a member of Congress he might take time off to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces as he did during Gulf War One. Then again he might roll up his sleeves and earn a quick sixteen million as a managing director of a global Chicago based investment bank as he did after leaving the Clinton administration.
I might not agree with Rahm Emanuel's motives or policies, indeed I would think most Americans would rather have the President's top advisor serve in the US Military, after all, the US was in (well actually running it) that war, too! Then his finacial background may explain why he apparently advised Obama that bailing out the fraudsters that put the world on the brink of economic collapse was more important than helping out the people losing their jobs and homes to these same crooks. But one has to admit he can help ELECT people and get policy enacted, and even get elected to Congress himself.
If Carole James couldn't convince a substantial number of (Provincial Council 84% is meaningless outside the backroom to most BCers) NDP members, much less enough voters in general that Carole James was the one with the Royal Jelly to lead her party to the promised land - Ian Reid should be asking himself why? So I take back my comparison of Ian Reid to Rahm Emanuel - Ian Reid IS NO Rahm Emanuel, because Rahm Emanuel is a winner. I may feel that he and Rahm both led their bosses in a direction I wasn't comfortable with, though in Rahm's case, he and his guys have won - though Obama could pay the price in 2012. I would rather see a US Democratic candidate or BC NDPer lose while at least representing the values of the party, than to turn into the other guys just to win - whether they win or lose.
For some balanced insight into the state of the two main parties today, I would recommend reading Making Sense of a Brutal Political Season in BC by the man that can actually do math, Will McMartin:
New Democrats wring hands and squabble
Unlike their BC Liberal opponents, members of the New Democratic Party seem unable to move past the internal fight that James supposedly ended with her resignation announcement.
David Schreck and Paul Ramsey, two prominent former NDP MLAs, have separately predicted (see here and here) that James' departure assures the BC Liberals of a fourth consecutive electoral victory.
That view is echoed by Kennedy Stewart, a professor at Simon Fraser University and one-time federal NDP candidate (see here.)
Why they -- and many other New Democrats -- believe this to be so is puzzling. How can it be that the party that has been competitive in nine of British Columbia's last 10 general elections (the exception being 2001), and formed the government on three occasions, is so badly fractured or paralyzed by James' departure that it won't be able to compete -- even with a shiny new leader?..../snip
The floodgates of dissent opened in Oct. 2010, after NDP MLA Bob Simpson offered mild criticism of his leader's speech at a convention of the Union of B.C. Municipalities. James responded by kicking Simpson out of her caucus.
Norm Macdonald then quit as NDP caucus chair, and shortly thereafter, Katrine Conroy resigned as caucus whip. Former NDP cabinet ministers (Bob Williams, Corky Evans, Dale Lovick) began to openly call for James' departure.
Matters came to a head at a NDP provincial council meeting in Victoria on Nov. 20. The good news for James was that she received a massive vote of support, 84 per cent, from the assembled delegates; the bad news was that 13 NDP MLAs refused to wear yellow scarves handed out to the leader’s supporters. Dissent now was out in the open for all to see.
The situation deteriorated for James on Dec. 1 when Jenny Kwan, a 14-year caucus veteran, released a lengthy public statement that called for a leadership convention as soon as possible. Public-opinion polls, wrote the Vancouver-Mt. Pleasant MLA, illustrated "Carole James' inability to capture the interest and support of British Columbians. At a time when the BC Liberal Party and the premier's personal approval rating have fallen to all time lows, the NDP under her leadership has not been able to capitalize on the BC Liberals' downfall."
James blustered and her supporters desperately ("she'll refuse to sign the dissidents' nomination papers!") tried to spin press-gallery reporters (the Province's Michael Smyth most notably wasn't biting) -- but her position clearly was untenable.
When I was last over at Will's post, there were over 160 comments from all sides of the raging debate - from those who figure that the NDP is dead as the dodo to those who think we can finally move on and get ready to take the wheel of the province away from the gangsters who've been running the show!
The only sure thing from where I stand, is that we are into and in for interesting times.