Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ignatieff Backer Calls Chretien "Right-Wing Neo-Con Wingnut"

I know him only as "Ted." Whatever else he may be, Ted is a resolute supporter of Michael Ignatieff and the Neo-Liberal Party of Canada.

Earlier today I criticized Iggy's rebuke of Harper for taking Canada to the far right, pointing out that Ignatieff seemed hell bent on taking the LPC in the very same direction.

That obviously touched a nerve for Ted who furiously came out denouncing Jean Chretien as a "rightwing neo-con wingnut." Let's run that through, Ted. You mean the guy who stood up to Bush and refused to send Canadian troops to Iraq, that Chretien? Remind me, Ted, what was your man Ignatieff's policy at that time, before it became politically inconvenient? Oh that's right. Your man Iggy was all for the Iraq war, or am I thinking of another Ignatieff? Just like George Busyh, Dick Cheney, Steve Harper.

And, let me see, one of those seemed just fine with "enhanced interrogation techniques." Was that Jean Chretien, Ted, or was that your man Iggy again? Just like George Bush and Dick Cheney.

And which one of those guys lashed the Liberal Party to the Israeli assault on Gaza? Correct me if I'm wrong, Ted, but I don't think that was Mr. Chretien. Just like Bush/Cheney (and however quietly Steve Harper).

And who scrubbed the notion of a carbon tax from the Liberal Party policy book? Well Jean Chretien wasn't even around to bring his rightwing neo-con wingnut ideology to bear on that one, was he?

But Ted reminds us that the true meaning of the Ingatieff ascendancy is that, "The Liberal Wing of the Liberal Party is back and it is driving the Ralph Nader wing of the Liberal Party absolutely nuts."

You see, Ted, that's where you're wrong. The "Liberal wing" of the Liberal Party? Where did you get that, from Sarah Palin? That's just the sort of thing she was so fond of pulling out of her butt when she praised "real America." Maybe we should call it the "Sarah Palin wing of the Liberal Party," if only for the sake of accuracy.

As for the rest of us, Ted, you're not driving us "absolutely nuts" either. I had always understood this to be a party of progressives, the genuinely liberal wing of the Liberal Party.


Jim Parrett said...

A favourite tactic of the right is to accuse their opponents of the right's own weaknesses. Witness that Jonah Goldberg book. Unfortunately, some of the more conservative Libs use the same method. Chretien stood up to neocons. Iggy was, and perhaps still is, a neocon. Must drive Ted nuts.

Militant Dipper said...

Right on Mos! If the Neo-Liberal party wants to turn a blind eye to the realities in Gaza and Afghanistan maybe we are better off leaving it to the likes of Ted. If there was ever anyone whom I considered a true Liberal it was you Mos. Always a balanced moderate, centrist. Far more so than I. Now your being compared to the looney left and Ralph Nader simply for questioning Ignatieff's unwavering support for the current batch of war crimes being perpetrated by the state of Isreal. (my words not yours)Ignatieff's supporters are like rabid dogs. There is no doubt that Iggy has pulled the party to the right. The big tent is also alot smaller.

Oemissions said...

I like Ralph Nader.

Militant Dipper said...

I like Nader too. Oh my God ! Ted was right. There really is a nader-wing.

The Doctor said...

The Nader wing is called the NDP.

Anonymous said...

Where's Ted on all of this?

Oemissions said...

Doctor: misdiagnosis: Nader is an independent.

M@ said...

However, just like Bush, Chretien (along with his flunkey Martin) made same-sex marriage a reality in Canada. Page one from the neo-con playbook.

SteelCityGrit said...

Did you really just use the insignificant comment of an insignificant Ignatieff supporter in response to your insignificant blog post as an indirect hit on Ignatieff? The answer is yes by the way, so spare us the mock suprise.

Did Ignatieff "scrub[] the notion of a carbon tax from the Liberal Party policy book?" I guess so. He did what Rae and Leblanc both argued was necessary in jettisoning an issue we were recently defeated on. Is it not worth noting he was the one who put it there in the first place? Dion took the hit, but Iggy was the one who introduced the notion. The rest of the party blanched at his departing the Chretien environmental orthodoxy i.e. "carrot, not the stick." That garbage which resulted in us failing bitterly our disingenuous commitment to Kyoto. Where does that fact figure into your Iggy="neocon" matrix?

LeDaro said...

Hey MoS, Ted is a horse's ass. Don't worry about him.

Sounds like Cherniak signed under a different handle or a clone of Cherniak.

Ted Betts said...

My comment seems to have disappeared so I'll repeat it.

I have to say I'm a little surprised Mound. I disagree with your take on Canadian politics and certainly disagree with your preference for a Harper Conservative government over an Ignatieff Liberal government, but unlike some like LeDaro, I have always thought of you as just strongly principled, bitter and angry yes, but at least logical in your thought. So much so that I can only think that you have deliberately misread my comment.

Obviously, without a doubt, Chretien is anything but a rightwing neocon. Only Bob Rae ever thought that (yes, it's true, read his book). That point is so obvious that a reasonable and honest reader would have realized that it was a sarcastic comment.

You made another claim that Iggy was pulling Liberals to the right because he looked at any issue and did not base his decision on ideology but on what will get support.

Sounds very much like what Mr. Chretien did much of the time: made a practical assessment of what Canadians wanted, what he thought Canadians needed and where that intersected with his own principles.

To say that that approach to politics is a rightwing neocon approash is to say that Chretien is a rightwing neocon. He obviously isn't and it obviously isn't. You see? or does the anti-Iggy venom in your eyes blind you to logic and the English language?

LeDaro said...

Ok Ted, I was a little harsh on you on my earlier comment. However, calling Chretien neo-con you have really jumped the shark. I think the unconditional support of Israeli atrocities in Gaza by Iggy have blinded all you folks who support Israeli atrociousness blindly too. Hence you all have climbed Iggynation train even if it is headed for non-existent bridge and falling into a dark abyss. May be Iggy will wake up to the realities and change his mind but I see no hope for you and people of your ilk, Ted.

The Mound of Sound said...

I'm puzzled how your comment "disappeared" Ted. It certainly came through, three times I think, in my e-mail and I didn't delete it.

By the way Ted, I'm not "bitter" and I gave up the notion of "hatred" at least twenty years ago, so please spare me the amateur psychoanalysis. I am quite disillusioned with the current Liberal leader and his inability to reveal any sign, any inclination to being progressive and I am vocal in that which, I believe, is still my right.

There's a world of difference between Messrs. Chretien and Ignatieff and I think it's disingenuous to suggest they're of the same cloth.

When Ignatieff shows that he "gets" Canada, not from the American perspective that so plainly influences him, that he is (as he claims) progressive, I may reconsider.

I was never an ardent Dion supporter. When many of them erupted in anger at what they saw as Ignatieff's coup, I urged them to put aside their fury - for the benefit of the party - and at least give this guy a chance to earn their loyalty.

I wanted to give Ignatieff a chance to show that he really had changed his spots, that my trust would not be misplaced in backing him. He's not done that.

Look at the Gaza business. He didn't think that situation through before giving Israel a blanket endorsement and his blanket absolution for what was to come. He backed a war that Olmert didn't know how to win and didn't have the means to win. He backed a doomed proposition that could never achieve more than the collective punishment of the Palestinian people, of those innocents, particularly the children.

I don't know what kind of a leader that is but I've never understood that type to be a fit leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

What he did was impulsive, naive, politically calculated and patently unwise. Gee, does that sound a lot like his endorsement of the conquest of Iraq? Are there parallels in that?

In a world awash in guns and soldiers, Canada invested an enormous amount of wealth and effort and lives to mark out a different path, to bank the political capital that we could serve as an "honest broker" between parties in conflict.

Harper disgraced the country and its legacy by throwing this hard-earned stature to the winds. Ignatieff seems to value it not one bit more than his slightly more conservative rival, Mr. harper.

I have seen nothing in Mr. Ignatieff, pre or post-LPC, to suggest that he's willing to honour the vision of Pearson, Trudeau and Martin. In fact, what I've seen points in the opposite direction.

Now others might be willing to ignore that, to look instead at removing Harper from power. And yet, between the lines, they often give themselves away. It's not so much about removing Harper from power as it is restoring the Liberal Party to power an objective that is supposed to diminish or even eliminate petty qualms over policy.

Were I absolutely invested in restoring the LPC to power regardless of its character or lack of same, I would not hesitate to back Michael Ignatieff. I guess what it comes down to is that I'm not, at least not that much.

Would I vote for the LPC in the next election? I don't know, that remains up to Mr. Ignatieff I suppose. I do know that this would be the first time I haven't voted for the LPC and there were times past when I was seriously at odds with party policy.

This time things are different. I hope they don't remain that way.

Ted Betts said...


Let me apologize then for my amateur psychoanalysis. I made an assumption - a wrong one if you say so - based on the number of attack posts about Ignatieff vs the number of attack or even critical posts about Harper, and the evidence you give to say Iggy is pulling the party to the righ (eg. carbon tax vs cap/trade, claim that he makes decisions based on political calculations instead of ideology... these are not evidence of being on the right).

If you are simply disillusioned and not bitter or angry, then I will genuinely take your word for it.

But in so mis-reading my prior comment that you have to spend an entire blog post about it, you made me think you were mis-reading it deliberately. Frankly, I disagree with you on policy but I know you are a better writer than that.

And I didn't compare Iggy's views to Chretien's, just his approach. Neither one fits into an easy leftwing or rightwing box because that is not how they make decisions. In fact, other than King and St. Laurent, I don't think any two Liberal leaders have been anywhere close to the same. Trudeau would never have supported Chretien's distinct society motion, while Dion campaigned for it to be recognized in the Constitution. Pearson opposed Trudeau's "one Canada" and no accommodation for special Quebec status. Trudeau believed in state ownership of businesses, Chretien privatized PetroCanada. Laurier believed in free trade with the US and Britain; King and Trudeau wanted trade barriers. Pearson and Trudeau were not concerned about deficits, Chretien and Martin re-branded the party and their place in history for rescuing Canada from deficits. Chretien did nothing formal for the environment, Dion made it his cross to bear.

The point is, each leader necessarily brands the party differently on certain edges and directions. But they all remain true to the core of the Liberal vision for Canada, as particularly well articulated by Iggy himself at the 2005 policy convention.

"So what are the fundamentals to me? As I see it, the Liberal party has 3 essential purposes. The first, to protect and to enhance the national unity of our country. Secondly, to preserve and to defend our national independence and sovereignty. And third, most fundamental perhaps, to advance the cause of social justice for all Canadians. I'm talking of the moral basis, the ethical basis of our political action. First, national unity, then Canadian sovereignty, and last, social justice for every Canadian. Sovereignty, justice, the three fundamentals, and everything else ladies and gentlemen, is detail."

The best parts follow that but I don't want to take up too much space in your comments when the link is there for those who want to read more.

Iggy has been on the job for a month. Gaza is important but does a position one way or another affect the lives of Canadians? Is it the paramount concern for Canadians right now?

I also hear you on votes. I lost interest in being an active Dion supporter after a year and a half. That doesn't mean I wasn't going to vote for him. But your disillusionment seems more than just disillusionment when it comes to Ignatieff, frankly, but outright opposition.

If a statement on an event in a foreign country is the kind of litmus test you apply in deciding who to support and who to fight, then of course that is fully your right.

But progressivism is stronger and broader than single issues, and I hope you can keep an open mind as we get into the muck of substantive Canadian issues and chasm between the ideological driven pathologies of the Conservatives and the NDP on the one hand and the more pragmatic and progressive response of the Liberals (while remaining true to Liberal fundamentals and keeping close to the views of the population).

Ted Betts said...

(As for comments disappearing, I did not mean to imply you were doing anything untoward. I typed them in and then they disappeared. I think something happened on my end.)

The Mound of Sound said...

Well Ted, if Iggy is having trouble locating progressive issues, you might refer him to my comments on defending businesses, and jobs, from predatory banks in recessionary times ("Pulling the pin on good business").

There's an initiative he could champion that would help all Canadians.