Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Harper v. Ignatieff

I don't like either. Let me say that at the outset.

Harper is a frightening bully even when he has a minority. I can't imagine what he would do to this country if he had a majority. How many wars do you want to fight attached to the dying embers of the bankrupt American Empire? How much debt do you want to find this country in while he shovels money not to medicine but to wealthy corporations and party contributors? How much torture will our nation condone?

I want none of it.

Ignatieff, meanwhile, has his own concerns. He strikes me somewhat as an American style Democrat. His platform will be slightly smaller tax cuts for the wealthy, slightly more money for healthcare. It won't be great, but you'll have to say to yourself, "Well, it's better than that other guy and at least his party won't try to make church attendance mandatory".

Ignatieff, like Harper, supported the war in Iraq. If either had been Prime Minister at the time of the U.S. invasion, Canadians might still be dying in that country. It's bad enough they're dying in Afghanistan. One hundred have given their lives for a battle we will eventually have to decide we can't win. But with Harper or Ignatieff in command, they'd be dying in Iraq too.

There is, however, one major difference between the two featured here in an article about the recent fiscal update in which Harper tried to defund his opponents. No, it's not the "reaching out" bit. That's a scam and we all know it. It's this bit:
But Mr. Harper refused to accept any blame for causing the recent political crisis, or admit that controversial measures in his fiscal update were a mistake.

Instead, he said there was a conspiracy by opposition leaders to bring down his government regardless of what was in update.

That's right. The Prime Minister saw weakness and attempted to obliterate the other parties by bankrupting them, knowing his own wealthy donors would keep his boat floating as long as he keeps the tax cuts coming. When that triggered a revolt in Parliament, he took the measures away and yet took no responsibility for the galvanizing effect his cruelty had caused.

Compare and contrast, as my English teacher used to say. This is from an article Ignatieff wrote in the New York Times regarding his support for the invasion of Iraq.
"The unfolding catastrophe in Iraq has condemned the political judgment of a president, but it has also condemned the judgment of many others, myself included, who as commentators supported the invasion."

Unfortunately you'll find, if you read his apology in depth, that he feels the mistake he made was in underestimating the cost of the invasion, not in the fact that there was no legitimate reason for any kind of invasion in the first place. This makes him no better or worse than Harper in that respect.

And yet, at the same time, therein lies the difference.

Ignatieff can admit that he made a mistake. Harper can not.

If I have to choose between two ivory tower, American Empire supporting jackasses, I'll take the one who has shown at least a tendency toward teachability.

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1 comment:

Gene said...

I think this qualifies as a major difference.