Harper, Ignatieff and “Big National Parties”

by matttbastard

Stephen Harper, in an interview with Peter Mansbridge, unveils the next stage in the Conservative divide-and-conquer strategy to destroy the Coalition for Change (and cling to power):

Harper called on all the “big national parties” to work together going forward, suggesting that he too was looking forward to a better relationship with Dion’s replacement.

“I hope the next Liberal leader, the first thing he’ll do, will be willing to sit down with me and have that kind of discussion.”

By know you’re all likely aware that “the next Liberal leader” is Michael Ignatieff, who, as many have pointed out, is rumoured to be “lukewarm” at the notion of forming a coalition government with the NDP (despite previously indicating in writing his support for the coalition accord).

Don Martin:

Mr. Ignatieff is better postioned [sic] to debate on serious economic matters, being no fan of interventionist Green Shift carbon tax schemes and more likely to share Harper’s forceful view on military matters and foreign affairs.

He’s expected to surround himself with the younger brasher MPs who rarely got the chance to shine under Mr. Dion and embrace fiscal policies that might not find favor with coalition-partner New Democrats or the Bloc Quebecois.

That’s undoubtedly why Ignatieff’s always been so cagey about the coalition, choosing his words with deliberate precision to ensure they will not come back to haunt him.

He has little intention of bringing the coalition back to life as a shared power grab except in an emergency, opting instead to position the Liberals as a single-party alternative government.

Mr. Ignatieff might even take Prime Minister Harper up on his offer, repeated in a CBC interview Tuesday, to contribute Liberal ideas for inclusion in the budget. OK, perhaps that’s the dreamer gene in me, but Mr. Harper did pledge to “look at different kinds of arrangements” with Mr. Ignatieff. Surely that’s an olive twig, if not a branch.

It should be clear by now that those of us who represent the 62% majority need to fight if we are to have any hope of making Parliament work.  Via The Canadianist, here is a tool to contact your MP and register your support, courtesy of the CLC. Tell your MP that you support the coalition.

It is especially imperative that Liberal coalition supporters make their voices heard.  Don’t kid yourselves: you can’t trust a man who is, as Impolitical puts it, “totally oblivious to and shameless about the turmoil he’s caused” to work with the Opposition (even a “big national party” like the official Opposition) in good faith, “olive twig” or not.  As Murray Dobbin presciently observed prior to the hurling of Flaherty’s now-infamous ‘economic statement’ stuffed in a partisan Molotov cocktail, “Stephen Harper’s ultimate objective is not just a majority government. It is to destroy the Liberal Party as a contender for power [emph. mine].”

One hopes Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal Party will keep that paramount consideration in mind before seriously contemplating any deals with a silver-tongued devil.

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Gov. Rod Blagojevich Arrested on Corruption Charges: “Just another day in Illinois”

by matttbastard

Liss on the indictment of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich:

I was in the car listening to NPR when the story broke, and my immediate response was to burst out laughing. He just wouldn’t be an Illinois governor if he weren’t breaking federal law!

Heh. Indeed.  And he also wouldn’t be an Illinois governor if he weren’t trying to deflect attention from his indictment by doing something selfless and morally upstanding at the last possible second (indeed).  Oh, and before you heed the baseless associative smear leveled by a growing chorus of bored beltway Villagers previously sleepwalking their way through a relatively uneventful transition and now gleefully squawking ZOMG OBAMA SCANDAL!!1one, please keep this in mind (courtesy Jake Tapper):

There are no allegations that President-elect Obama or anyone close to him had anything to do with any of the crimes Gov. Blagojevich is accused of having committed.

In fact, there are indications that Mr. Obama and his team refused to go along with the “pay to play” way Blagojevich is accused of operating, offering only “gratitude” if the governor appointed his friend Valerie Jarrett to take his U.S. Senate seat, much to the governor’s chagrin.

Of course, Tapper buries this seemingly important (if not imperative) caveat in the middle of a shit-stirring post provocatively titled “Questions Arise About the Obama/Blagojevich Relationship”.

Oh that liberal media (and its disingenuous utilization of the passive voice)!

Regardless, when it comes to making something (anything!) stick to Obama and/or his camp, sorry kids–there’s no there there. But what is there was summed up earlier today by Josh Marshall:

…I think everyone involved in politics or interested in political corruption in the country had to know that Blagojevich’s phones were tapped and probably his offices were bugged, and that Pat Fitzgerald had him under the craziest level of scrutiny. And he tries to sell the senate seat with that hanging over his head? That’s simply amazing.

Related: The Fix highlights the “juiciest excerpts” from the indictment (full 76 page criminal affidavit here); much, much more over at Memeorandum and Blogrunner (here, here, here, here, here *gasp* ah, fuck it — just keep checking the Blago topic snapshot).

PS: Fitz!

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Dear Ron Fournier

hillary-clinton-devil

This may come as a shock to you, but despite conventional wisdom and what Hollywood might have you believe, women–especially professional women–actually get along with each other. So, until you come up with some actual, y’know, proof of acrimony between Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton, as opposed to speculation and conjecture, tell your staff to stop phoning in lazy Page Six-style hit pieces in lieu of purportedly ‘serious’ political reporting. Also, please go see somebody about the ongoing Clinton Derangement Syndrome festering within the ranks of AP’s Washington Bureau; at this point, it’s borderline pathological.

love and napalm,

matttbastard

h/t Ta-Nehisi Coates

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Bob Rae Bows Out

by matttbastard

Fuck:

Michael Ignatieff has secured the federal Liberal leadership without a fight after his last remaining rival, longtime friend Bob Rae, bowed out.

Rae informed his supporters of his decision during a conference call this morning and is to make it official at a news conference later today. His decision came just hours after the Liberal national executive rejected his plea to find an expedited way of giving all party members a vote for Stephane Dion’s replacement.

Rae gave his supporters an advance peek at his statement, in which he said he still believes an open process would have been “a vital and healthy process for the party.”

But he vows to accept the party’s choice “without rancour or undue disappointment.”

No, the rancor and disappointment will likely be left to those of us who (perhaps naively) hold faint hope that Iggy will actually do what’s right for Canada, instead of accepting whatever watered down “concessions” Harper offers come January 27th.  

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Let’s Do the Time Warp Again

by matttbastard

Hacktacular Beltway gossip columnist Andrew Malcolm, partying like it’s 1999 (or perhaps whistling in the dark):

[Al] Gore’s said he’s done with elective office. But if he could simply talk Obama out of the job, technically there’d be no election. Just a granting. And Gore could become the first….

…white Tennessean to occupy the White House since the last one?

Recently, Gore’s been down in Georgia with his ex-boss ex-President Clinton helping to reunite the Republican Party and reelect GOP incumbent Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

Gore’s already got the Nobel and Oscar prizes and virtually every other possible prize except a couple from Cracker Jack boxes. He’s been making a ton of money with his enviro speeches and slideshows, for which he has an unusual set of contractual requirements. Plus, he already knows the White House layout. So is this one last Gore bid to be commander in chief on the cheap?

Probably not.

All right, certainly not. It might strike some as chuckle-worthy that Gore is traveling to the frigid Windy City to talk about global warming.

If by ‘some’ one means ‘Andrew Malcolm and his Class of ’00 ilk’, sure. For the rest of us who have , y’know, moved on from Bush v. Gore (and recognize that Bjorn Lumborg is full of shit)? Not so much.

Srsly. Al Gore jokes (in motherfucking 2008, motherfucker!) are the ultimate low hanging fruit, even for glib hacks in the waning twilight of their careers. But hey, whatever makes you and the rest of the Village giggle at cocktail parties (and earns Blackberry kudos from your former employer–btw, did you receive your talking points yet?)

SORE LOSERMAN!!!1one Wow. That did feel good.

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Feigned Disbelief and Political Theatre

by matttbastard

Steve Hildebrand responds to critics in an interview with Greg Sargent:

“I don’t regret any of it,” Hildebrand told me when I asked him a few minutes ago by phone whether he regretted the tone of his piece, which many found condescending and finger-wagging.

“My intent was exactly what I wrote,” Hildebrand said, adding that the criticism had “surprised” him.

Hildebrand also confirmed that the Obama team had had no hand in writing or approving the piece. “This was not collaborated with anybody in the Obama camp,” he said, and a source close to the transition confirms this.

Perhaps Marc Ambinder and Ezra Klein are correct, and this was all just a Machiavellian attempt on the part of the Obama team (does anyone really buy Hildebrand’s hard-to-swallow contention that he called an audible with this play?) to shift the Overton Window via political theatre. Sure would be nice to finally see imperative policy endeavors like withdrawal from Iraq, health care reform, and climate change firmly established as mainstream pursuits in the US public interest, rather than planks in a narrow communist socialist Marxist anti-American ‘liberal’ platform.

Still, even if this is, in Klein’s words, “a calculated messaging strategy,” I don’t believe Hildebrand should expect much online backup from the (unnamed) angry “left-wing” boo-bears unwittingly cast as foils in his Kabuki production if and when he makes a behind-the-scenes play for the (operational) DNC chair.

And maybe that was also taken into careful consideration.

h/t Ta-Nehisi Coates

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