Skip to comments.Liberals adrift (atttempted damage control by Canada's Liberals falling way short)
Posted on 08/24/2006 8:14:01 AM PDT by GMMAC
Thursday, August 24, 2006
That's what he said: "evil reptilian kitten eater." It was around noon on Sept. 12, 2003, and Don Guy -- the smart manager of the Ontario Liberal Party campaign -- cupped the phone and looked at me. "They just called us evil reptilian kitten eaters," he said, grinning.
I still did not fully comprehend what Guy was saying, but I would soon enough. In an e-mailed press release, the Conservative campaign had called Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty -- then three weeks away from leading his party to a big majority win -- an "evil reptilian kitten eater." It was not a turning point in the campaign, per se, as the Tories were already well along the road to defeat. But it was, as the Post's John Ivison wrote at the time, a "defining moment" in the 2003 Ontario election campaign.
Later on, we surmised that the "kitten eater" epithet was a reference to an obscure episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That same week, McGuinty had written on his campaign Web log that he enjoyed the now-defunct TV series. The Tories had been trying to make a joke, but the joke was decidedly on them.
In the intervening years, the Ontario Tory kitten-induced self-immolation has become synonymous with the dangers of modern politics -- and how a mistake in, or near, the Internet can cause permanent and profound damage. So, too, the Liberal Party of Canada's offensive anti-military television spot during the 2006 federal election campaign -- and, a few days before that, a Liberal party executive's likening of an NDP candidate to a dog. Blogs are occasionally fun, but blogs can be dangerous, too.
Which brings us, in a circuitous fashion, to the latest admission to the Canadian political blog burn unit, Thomas Hubert. Young Thomas -- and he reportedly is indeed youngish, in his late teens or early twenties -- is a former B.C. New Democrat who decided to become a B.C. Liberal. Until recently, he was in charge of communications for the Young Liberals in that province, and an active supporter of Liberal leadership candidate Gerard Kennedy.
Earlier this month, on a Liberal blog called Fuddle-Duddle, Thomas wrote this: "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. At one point, George Washington was considered a terrorist by the powers that be. History will remember Hezbollah as an organization that stood up to the most vile 'nation' in human history." Hubert's anti-Semitism was not noticed at the time because, one, few people knew he held an official position within the Liberal Party.
And, two, pro-Hezbollah (or anti-Israel) comments haven't been all that infrequent in the Liberal party, lately. From interim Liberal leader Bill Graham attacking the Prime Minister's pro-Israel stance as lacking "nuance" -- to Liberal associate foreign affairs critic Boris Wrzesnewskyj this week calling for Hezbollah to lose its designation as a terrorist organization (a designation applied by Jean Chretien's Liberal government, incidentally) -- the federal Liberal party has been walking perilously close to the edge of the abyss.
All of which may explain, quite frankly, why blog enthusiast Thomas Hubert was persuaded to join the federal Liberals -- and why, just this week, he wrote this in the comments section of influential Liberal activist Jason Cherniak's blog: "The Liberal party is stronger without these violent Zionists in our party. I am glad for them to cease influencing our foreign policy so we are free to promote Canadian values of peace. It amazes me that this community is so absurdly selfish. The only issue that matters to them is the defence of a 'state' that survives on the blood of innocent people. Shameful."
No, actually, what was "shameful" was Hubert's blood-libel anti-Semitism, and more senior Liberals' apparent indifference to same. Not until a few lesser Grits and pro-Israel bloggers (include, tangentially, me) objected to Hubert's wretched Jew hatred did anything happen. No demands for his resignation. No repudiations by Messrs. Graham or Kennedy.
Eventually, however, bloggers like Cherniak and Jonathan Ross -- plus leadership candidate Scott Brison -- succeeded in forcing Hubert's resignation. By Monday night, Hubert's anti-Israel Web site, The Long Walk, had gone for a walk.
Moral of this cautionary tale? There are two, actually. One, the Liberal Party of Canada is -- on this defining issue, at least -- seemingly adrift. It needs a leader, and it needs to reacquaint itself with what it once believed in. Quickly.
Two, what was evil and reptilian is what Thomas Hubert wrote. Any Liberal who doesn't agree with that isn't a Liberal. Period.
Warren Kinsella blogs for the Post and at www.warrenkinsella.com.
© National Post 2006
Snicker is right!
The liberal smoke screen in Canada is over.
( No more Olmert! No more Kadima! No more Oslo!)
Some diseases are eliminated by exposure to light.