Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Isolation Of Hostile Partisan Politics

Perhaps the current lot who wear the cloak of "Conservative" never learned the lesson about playing politely with others as children. Most of us learned that before grade school.

When I read this post over on Buckdog, and this article from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, I had to wonder just how many liberal voters in Central Nova would even consider voting for Mackay.

Okay, Mackay's campaign is obviously worried about something - fair enough. Let's put aside the ins and outs of campaign strategy and polls for a moment, and consider the Conservative lot in Canada.

From day one, Harper has made it painfully clear that it is the Conservative "way" or the highway. His party versus the world, for all intents and purposes. You either buy into it, or get run over by it. It has been that way since the Harper-led Alliance merged with Mackay's Progressive Conservative party.

Since 2006, and in particular since Stephane Dion was selected to lead the Liberal party, the Conservatives have taken this to a new extreme - essentially leading a constant campaign of attacks on their adversaries. Attacking and bashing at every possible opportunity.

Now, we find them in Central Nova trying to shore up their support against a rival they didn't anticipate by attempting to recruit the very people that they have spent the last several years bashing remorselessly. Every party has its 'fringe supporters' - people who mostly vote for that party, but can be persuaded to vote elsewhere. (Sadly for the Con$, it is this vote that is also the most likely to be paying attention to what's going on - not something that works in the Con$' favour in Mackay's situation)

Even if you are among that 'fringe' support, how likely are you to be willing to vote for the Conservatives? You already know how well the Con$ are going to listen to you or reward your vote. (most likely with another round of bashing attack ads, I'm sure) Why would you make alliance with someone that is just going to wallop you later?

In short, the HarperCon$ have made their own bed here, and across Canada. Their constant bashing of everybody else, and intransigent hostility towards anything and everything that they didn't invent leaves them subject to isolation. Just like the child who never learned to share toys with the rest of the kids, sooner or later, the Conservatives will run out of allies.

Harper has been successful to this point not because of his strengths, but because of the weakness of his rivals - he is fundamentally the Nelson Muntz of Canadian politics - successful only because he is a bully, but ultimately isolated.

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