Two Quick Takes on Canadian Politics

28 Aug

Well, not Canadian politics exactly, but the politics and views of Canadians.  From time to time, I like to click through the Canadian political blogosphere.  It’s an interesting contrast to the terms of debate in America–both the literal terms (the Conservative party is more moderate than the Republican right; the Liberal party is further left of center ) and which issues are a priority north of the border.  And then sometimes there’s a bit of dissonance:

If I am being branded a social neo-liberal, then I suggest the right do their homework a little more. I am a small “c” conservative, and I utterly reject social progressivism, except perhaps in the case of hereditary rights. I do not believe in progressive taxation, nor social security for employment, nor government control of free markets. I do not agree with surrendering 33% of my income toward social progressivism. As a classical liberal I believe in the free market, with restrictions only on collusive interests and foreign manipulation of domestic controls.

That’s right, free markets for everyone except in the case of”foreign manipulation,” because markets stop at the imaginary line we call borders.  And domestic controls, which might be things like safety standards or, well, I’m not sure what–sounds like nasty market regulation stuff to me.  And “bah” to foreigners and this “multiculturalism” drivel.  I mean, is labor really subject to market forces? Free markets for me but not for thee.

This isn’t really classical liberalism; this is favor for some open markets at the expense of others (as a corrective, see: all the work of Will Wilkinson).

Then there’s Jason Cherniak asking “What’s Obama scared of?“:

My concern is that the supposedly charismatic man of change seems, ultimately, scared of competition. When he ran against Hillary Clinton, he successfully destroyed her campaign by arguing that she would somehow be cheating if she were to follow the rules and try to win the votes of what we call “ex-officio delegates”. Now, when it came time to pick the number 2, he went with bland and boring. It is as if Mr. Obama wants absolutely nobody to ever forget that he is the star and whomever else might be around him is all but meaningless.

Bland and boring?  Evan Bayh is closer to Mr. Vanilla.  Kathleen Sebelius, despite her impressive perch as a Democratic executive in Republican leaning state, isn’t exactly a rousing figure.  Joe Biden, on the other hand, has that uniquely Washington problem of occasionally stating exactly what he’s thinking.  Biden is a pretty strong and well-established figure in the Democratic party–and yet Obama chose him to be his running mate (a man who also, as the McCain campaign has reminded us, said that Sen. Obama wasn’t ready to lead).  Hardly the behavior of a primadonna.


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