Sunday, March 01, 2009

Tiring: WK's Return To His Bad Old Ways

You know I've tried so hard to
keep myself from falling
Back into my bad old ways
And it chars my heart to always hear you calling
Calling for the good old days
Because there were no good old days
--The Libertines
There was a detente between the Harper Tories and the remnants of the Chretien regime that had (mostly) missed the blows of Gomery, the Martin purges, the RCMP investigations and far-off ambassador posts/exile. Most of the Chretienites may have felt shame for their part of Chretien-era shenanigans, and decided that belonging to a regime that had exchanged brown paper bags full of money for favours in Italian restaurants in Montreal was a sign that perhaps they needed to exit the public stage.

The only two real "survivors" of the regime were the two with the least amount of shame: Joe Volpe (yes, Mr. "I think those kids were impressed with my speeches" as an excuse for why 10 year olds were giving him $5,400 in campaign contributions) and WK.

WK, as you may recall, spent loads of time attacking the right wing of the blogosphere during and before the Gomery Inquiry, attempting to censor and rewrite the history of the Chretien days by actively silencing anyone with a blog who looked at him and the Liberal past cross-eyed (including myself). For anyone who forgot, this was his chief claim to fame in the Gomery Inquiry:
David Dingwall, the former minister of public works and current CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint, admits he crossed the line in 1995 when he insisted to his deputy minister, Ran Quail, that Chuck Guité be promoted to review all advertising and communications activities of the government.

Dingwall testifies that Guité came highly recommended. "He was universally acclaimed," he says.

Dingwall's chief-of-staff at the time, Warren Kinsella, wrote a letter at Dingwall's request to Quail asking that Guité head the review. In hindsight, Dingwall acknowledges that ministers shouldn't interfere in the hiring process of public servants.
Yes, that Chuck Guite. [insert your own conclusions here]

Anyway, in the ensuing dysfunction that characterized the post-Gomery Martin Prime Minister-ship and the schadenfreude period of the initial Harper win, WK appeared to make friends with those on the right that took no part in his character-bashing and those he didn't threaten to sue (and some he did, a la pax blogospherica with Norm Spector after repeatedly belittling Norm and threatening him with lawsuits). Canadian politics made strange bedfellows as WK linked to Pierre Bourque, advocated on behalf of Angry in the Great White North when (get this) Janke was sued for defamation and generally made a Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact with the moderate right.

Well, like the ol' "let's have a hudna and divvy up Poland!" party of the late '30's, this ridiculous pairing of moderates and hyper extreme partisan had to end.

WK senses he is near the halls of power. His symbiotic host, Michael Ignatieff, a half decent politician and world class intellectual, has a decent chance of winning the PM office with a Conservative party (and most of the world) unfairly paying for the excesses of the overindulgent American elite. This unhappy convergence of a so-so opposition and a hapless and disappointing government means that the remnants of the last successful Liberal regime may be rehabilitated, and their glory returned...(Hey!! Remember the nineties???? Seriously?? Ok, besides the fawning press overlooking a barely comprehensible, sexist, decrepit, corrupt old man making a mockery of Canada and purposefully neglecting western Canada as a scorched earth strategy??? GOOD TIMES!!!). As a result of Ignatieff's rise to leader, the honeymoon between the Conservatives and WK has ended, and the Game is back.

Which brings us to the present situation.

At this point, the Conservatives rightly sense that Ignatieff's weakest point is WK. Just as Obama's surrogates took some aim at the Bushies surrounding McCain, the Conservatives realize that the stink of a formerly disgraced regime may cling to the new prince because of his choice of Richelieu as his attack dog.

Thinking of WK, a quote from the movie "300" comes to mind, when Dilios says of Xerxes:
The god-king has betrayed a fatal flaw: Hubris. Easy to taunt, easy to trick. Before wounds and weariness have taken their toll, the mad king throws the best he has at us. Xerxes has taken the bait.
WK made it easy, shooting himself in the foot with his statements regarding Chinese Canadians:
[W] had written that he would be spending a few weeks in Ottawa and decided to celebrate “with some barbecue cat and rice” at a Chinese restaurant that was a favourite when he was a student at Carleton University.
Not smooth. The right pounced easily on the self-mutilated WK.

WK hit back wildly, making a mission of taking on TVO's Steve Paikan because of Paikan's choice of arch-conservative Kathy Shaidle as a guest on his program, threatening Paikan with telling on him to the responsible provincial minister (yes, a provincial Liberal). At this point, WK may have taken a moment to consider the negative fallout from continuing down a path where he was making an enemy of Ignatieff's future debate moderator.

(Aside: The only real upside would be to make Paikan far too timid in a real debate for fear of appearing biased, with public knowledge that he has a beef with Ignatieff's team, a la Republican attacks on Gwen Ifill, before the VP debate. But this is a dangerous strategy where Paikan is a far more dynamic and aware individual. And I'm probably giving W too much credit...)

But instead he doubled down.

It now comes to light that WK is alleged to have possibly threatened the Canadian Israel Committee for having some right wingers be invited on a tour to Israel. Which...just happened to coincide with his "resignation" from the Canadian Jewish Congress.

...And then to pile on the negative press clippings, MP Lois Brown dog piled on WK in the House...

...Simultaneously, WK also decided to attack Ezra Levant with a frivolous lawsuit, with precious little logic other than to silence right wing (or apparently) any critics of WK.

And now he is filed a suit against MP Christian Paradis for using W's name in the same sentence as Chretien's?
"The Liberal Party is back doing business as usual and has clearly not learned its lesson from the Sponsorship Scandal," said Paradis. "First Michael Ignatieff brought back disgraced Chretien backroom organizer Warren Kinsella and now he has welcomed a key Sponsorship Scandal figure into his inner circle."
This is the offending passage. I kid thee not.
I guess the larger game is that the Conservatives want to bring out the worst in the hyper aggressiveness of WK and his penchant for over-zealous, "politics as fist-fighting" partisanship. He is far too easily led into a brawl, when it seems obvious to the casual observer that this type of politics is out of style, and reflects badly on Ignatieff's judgment.

There is no cause for hysteria, and no reason for hitting out in every direction, but WK is and will continue because that is the only way he knows how. One gets the sense he was just itching for a fight for the last 3 years, and now sees rightwing enemies everywhere and anywhere, and the only way ahead is to bulldoze.

He's got a reputation. He's got a style. And with his blindfold and imagined rightwinger boogeyman pinata, he may just randomly hit the wrong person. With more enemies accumulating by the minute, and fewer Conservative or Liberal moderates on his side (ie: Cherniak and co) he may find himself short of backup this time.

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