December 11th, 2010

forums, me, non blog

[FORUM] Is what some leftists say about the right accurate?

This article seems to accurately represent the thoughts here in Toronto among opponents of Rob Ford and the reasons for his success.

A good place to start is here, on the website of the American Enterprise Institute – one of the many murkily-governed and business-funded think tanks dedicated to spreading kleptocracy in the United States and around the world. The author is Henry Olsen and the article is a pickup from National Review Online. [Olsen writes] |I reached out to Patrick Muttart, former chief of staff to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Muttart is perhaps the world’s leading expert on working-class voters in English-speaking countries, having studied their behaviour and attitudes not only in Canada and also in Britain, Australia and America. He has found that in every country working-class voters may form the base for successful center-left governments but are crucially responsible for the rise of center-right leaders like Harper, Australia’s John Howard, and Margaret Thatcher.”

There then follows a detailed analysis of what motivates aTHis nd interests working-class voters, with a focus on how to manipulate them into voting against their own economic and social best interests. Mr. Olson, quoting Mr. Muttart, notes the deep seams of optimism, fear, pride, anger at disrespect, belief in public order, patriotism, and concern about rapid change that motivate working class electorates. And he describes how conservative politicians can frame campaigns around these themes.

This is the intellectual underpinning of Stephen Harper’s “Timmy’s” campaign – and also of the Ford campaign, and of Mr. Cherry’s appearance to frame Mayor Ford’s term.

Conservatives are Tim Hortons, just like you. The Liberals and New Democrats are Starbucks – not like you. Conservatives are working class; progressives are the “elite.” Conservatives support the police and safety at home; progressives are with the crooks. Conservatives want to give you a bit of money off your taxes to help you out in uncertain times; progressives want you to pay more. Conservatives are proud of their country and will defend it; progressives hate their country and want to give in to our enemies. Etc.

Paul Martin and Michael Ignatieff were and are sitting ducks for this frame – perfect validators for it – which explains much of what has happened in federal politics in recent years. But these themes are now the common currency of conservatives at all levels of government throughout the English-speaking world.

It is Orwellian double-talk. The conservative agenda seeks to impoverish all of Tim Hortons’ clients and to transfer their savings and income to people who view Starbucks as pedestrian. The conservative agenda is about the most massive transfer of wealth from ordinary people to the elite since the 1920s. The conservative agenda leads to more crime. The conservative agenda is about subordinating our sovereignty to global corporate interests – including the sale of our key assets to foreigners – and to the foreign policy agenda of another country.

The [FORUM] question today? Do you think the author (Brian Topp) is right?