Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On blind loyalty

Chrystal picks up on one hilarious implication of Adam Daifallah's whinefest, as it suggests that the very National Post he's writing for is a fringe media source. But it's worth noting that Daifallah's argument does at least as much damage to his own credibility as it does the National Post's:
Third, and most importantly, the Tories had few outside defenders to help. Aside from MPs and Senators, party staffers and a coterie of Ottawa lobbyist-pundits with Tory connections, hardly anyone has taken a public stand for the Conservatives. The party simply does not have a critical mass of extra-political organizations and individuals who will come to their aid in times like this. In contrast, in the U.S., the Republican Party has a cadre of like-minded groups and people willing to charge to its defence on a moment’s notice.
The proroguing controversy is not really a left-right issue. Some on the right are quite upset about this move too. But the hard lesson for the Conservatives is clear — the Tories simply do not have a ready and able roster of media personalities, groups and activists to count on when they need help. The Tories will likely weather this storm. But unless they cultivate some outside help, next time they might not be so lucky.
So what's notably missing from Daifallah's complaint? Read his post in full, and try to find even the slightest suggestion that Harper's prorogation actually deserves to be defended on the merits.

Of course, this is a factor I'd mentioned some time ago. Simply put, one could never have expected a strong principled defence of Harper because the Cons' initial spin was based on declaring the issue unworthy of principled discussion to begin with. And even if that hadn't been the first line of messaging from Harper, there's awfully little reason to think there was any particular constituency (even among the numerous groups who normally echo the Cons' message at every turn) who would be eager to speak out in favour of arbitrary executive actions to shut down Canada's Parliament.

So Daifallah is making the argument that "in times like these" (seemingly meaning anytime they face negative publicity), the Cons are entitled to a blind partisan defence in the media and elsewhere regardless of whether the actions being discussed actually warrant it. And if they don't yet have quite the army of sycophants that they'd like...then Daifallah considers building one to be a more important priority than any effort to listen to the Canadians who actually have mobilized around the issue on the opposite side, or indeed anybody else who isn't willing to sacrifice their own credibility for the sole benefit of Stephen Harper.

In effect, Daifallah's post amounts to a lamentation that unlike their cousins to the south, the Harper Conservatives don't benefit from the existence of a massive zombie media empire devoted solely to amplifying their immediate message regardless of whether it's right or wrong. And the fact that Daifallah honestly seems to consider that both a reasonable expectation and a precondition for political success speaks volumes about the contempt he and his Con fellows have for the idea that genuine political debate might actually matter.

No comments:

Post a Comment