Thursday, September 11, 2008

Politics 101

I shook my head when I read this Canwest news article on the acceptance of the four major Canadian political parties of a fifth to the pre-election debates on Oct 1 & 2. Initially the Conservatives and the NDP opposed the Greens' presence in the debates.

Personally, I'm a fan of the idea. I hope the Greens get a lot of votes, but not enough to win any seats. They should help split up the enviro-left vote a bit, and our united Conservatives will be able to slide up the right side into a majority government.

But this snippet contains a sparkling gem of the truth of politics - your opponents will find something bad to say about you, no matter what you do:

Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe, who has maintained he never objected to [Green Party leader Elizabeth] May's participation, pounced on the reversal by accusing Harper of being a flip-flopper.

"It's not the first time he's changed his mind," said Duceppe. "We said very clearly we had no problem being there if Madame May was there but we wanted Mr. Harper to be there also."

Let's try to understand the reasoning here.

  1. The Conservatives oppose the Greens coming to the debate.
  2. The Bloc thinks the Greens should come to the debate.
  3. It's safe to presume the Bloc regards those as wrong who disagree with their position. Otherwise, why have a debate, if not to expose the error of the other party and the accuracy of your own party's position?
  4. Therefore, the Bloc thought it was wrong for the Conservatives to object to the Greens' presence.
  5. Also therefore, when the Conservatives agreed to let the Greens come, the Bloc should have responded with thankfulness that the Tories had come to their senses.
  6. Instead, the Bloc accuses the Tories of changing their mind.
You just can't win in politics. "You're wrong!" "OK, I change my mind. Now we agree on the issue." "You're a flip-flopper!"

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