About this dismal business of federal politics. The way I figure it, we're waiting for the Harper government to finally shoot itself in the head after shooting itself in the foot roughly every three months. We're also waiting for the Opposition Liberal party, which is already dead on the floor, to show signs of life.
My guess is it's pretty easy to arrange lunch with the Prime Minister. No doubt Stephen Harper often lunches with labour leaders and advocates for the homeless.
So it should be considered no big deal that, among those the PM has lunched with, is U.S. media billionaire Rupert Murdoch, who has probably done more than any single individual in recent years to push American politics sharply to the right.
It's interesting to imagine, however, why our Prime Minister would want to meet with Murdoch, whose Fox News TV channel has poisoned U.S. political debate and nurtured America's extremist right-wing Tea Party movement.
British Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown has come out in favour of a global financial transactions tax. Speaking Saturday in Edinburgh (his home base) to a G20 Finance Ministers meeting on the subject of bank bailouts Brown said "it cannot be acceptable that the benefits of success in this sector are reaped by the few but the costs of its failure are borne by all of us."
While I realize it is churlish to take so much pleasure in the whining and whingeing of the usually arrogant right-wing pundits, I just can't help myself. This gaggle of ideological nut bars rarely get angry because most governments in this country have been doing their duty in dismantling the democratic, activist state for 25 years. They really thought that it was impossible -- due in part to their own pernicious influence -- that the idea of government actually working for people could rise from the ashes.
There's an Alfred E. Newman quality about Tim Hudak, and I say that with great affection, speaking as one of Mad magazine's early devotees. (My collection of vintage Mads perished in a cottage fire years ago.) The resemblance became clear on that subway ride that was cancelled because his aides lacked a permit, leaving Hudak grinning manically in the back of the shot -- and even then only after some genius added circus music to the footage and posted it on YouTube. He has to be saying, What, me worry?
Andrea Horwath has led Canada's NDP into a new era. They've floundered over an absence of clear principles for a long time, which has been true of formerly socialist and social democratic parties everywhere. It's been a hard run, with the zeitgeist firmly in their face. But they maintained a sense that, despite their own behaviour, they still believed they were in the grand old traditions. It may have been delusional but it was an honourable attempt to stay anchored. Horwath marks the change. She's a right-wing populist, full out.
The Rob Ford debacle may be humiliating for most Canadians and Torontonians, but it also shows clearly how the Right manages to triumph frequently in the face of reason. Meanwhile, the Left is showing off its talent in grasping defeat from the jaws of victory.
It's incredible to most that a mayor who has done and said things that would make Homer Simpson blush has managed to maintain such amazing loyalty. Polling tells us his approval rating in "Ford Nation" is almost as strong as ever. It's not just the sympathy vote.