Thursday, 14 May 2009

Haven't They Learned, Yet?

It seems that the Conservative party of Canada is starting to concern itself with its political fortunes. Their poll numbers have been dropping precipitously since the revelation of the do-nothing budget in the fall and the corresponding rise in unemployment figures. The economy is in turmoil, unemployment insurance is under attack from both opposition members and party insiders, including the wife of the Minister of Finance, who herself has ambitions to be the leader of the Ontario Tories. The Prime Minister has been uncomfortably quiet on hot-button issues like Afghanistan, green projects, and cutting red-tape to release promised stimulus monies, and yet his party has decided that the time was apparently ripe to launch a series of attack ads on the newly-minted leader of the Grits. The new ads attack Michael Ignatieff as a cultural and intellectual elite who has been parachuted back into the country and obviously cannot converse on a genuine level with regular Canadians. Watch:

Haven't we seen this show before? Wouldn't you think that the Conservatives would have learned a real political lesson from the election campaign just waged south of the border? Voters in general have decided to forgo voting for the candidate with the stupid gene, and instead have decided that intelligence, education, ideas and calm temperament are far more important character traits than down-home folksiness and intellectual incuriousity. I don't feel the need to have a beer with my Prime Minister, (I actually don't feel that connection with Sweatered Stevie the Stiff either!) and I don't want him or her making crucial decisions from the proverbial gut. I want him or her to be an esoteric problem solver, creative thinker, articulate conveyor of thought and, frankly an Ivy-League education is a good resume item to help down that path. I want to believe that the people that I elect are smarter than me. If they aren't, then we are all in real trouble. Mr. Ignatieff has a great deal still to prove to the people of Canada before we entrust him with an address on Sussex Drive, but his intellectual prowess and real-world skill set gained from years of teaching, studying, listening and traveling abroad are advantages to his growth as the Liberal leader not character flaws. I think that the Conservative Party of Canada could find a better use for its funds and its "creative" department than these miserable ads. How about employing a few intellectual elites to help solve the economic crisis and other real problems facing this country? I am sure that a few of them could use the work.

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