Depending on how you look at it, this week was either a new low point for Trudeau’s government or a high point for Liberals being Liberals. (As a matter of fact, it might have been both.)
Legacy media finally assumes the position and allows itself to be bailed out? All part of the Liberal plan. General Motors packs up and leaves? Hey, why not nationalize it? Oilpatch woes leading to people having to sell their houses because there are no jobs? Never mind that, because one rando out there marketed a hoodie with a picture of a noose and the words “Come West Trudeau” and ruined everybody else’s legitimate grievances! Well, at least CBC Comedy finally died — pending another bailout, of course. At least government-funded comedy such as The Beaverton and 22 Minutes can fill the void.
It’s time to call a spade a spade: The reason why Trudeau keeps giving us the slip is because he and his defenders are super organized (despite this being omitted from Wendy Mesley’s show), and we’re stuck swallowing our misgivings about Andrew Scheer. The reason why they are super organized and conservatives are not is because, as I observed in my last rant, the conservative movement has no organizing principle. And before you ask, no, lower taxes are not an organizing principle for the conservative movement. Lower taxes are just another goodie to be dangled in front of voters, and in many cases the way Conservatives in Canada go about, or want to go about, lowering taxes, aren’t very conservative. Meanwhile, the Liberal organizing principle is do anything, say anything to get power and then do anything and say anything to hold onto it.
It is possible for conservatives in this country to develop an organizing principle, and if Trudeau runs on carbon taxes in the next election and wins (a distinct possibility), they will be forced to. But for now, there is no backup plan, because while the Conservatives pay lip service to organizing principles, and principles in general, the dirty little secret here is that they really want to be the Liberals: A big, dumb, inoffensive blue tent that squeezes everyone else out and takes the path of least resistance. Unfortunately for them, the Liberals are just better at being Liberals, and it burns the Conservatives biscuits like nothing else.
But while the conservative movement has shown that they are not interested in the least in actually organizing around a principle, perhaps they could be induced to organize around something else: a symbol.
Now, a leader is supposed to be many things, but he or she is supposed to be a symbol above all. Our conservative leaders in this country are either utterly beige and forgettable dudes in blue suits, or else they are beige dudes in suits who have acquired a reputation for being freewheeling populists when they are obviously and clearly not. So forget about the symbol being a real person? What if the symbol was a cartoon character?
For those of you who literally do nothing unless it comes out of the left-wing playbook, don’t worry: our friends on the left have been busily appropriating, of all things, an NHL mascot. I speak, of course, of Gritty, the googly-eyed Philadelphia Flyers-affiliated muppet which has somehow been mis-“appropriated” by Antifa, and who has been lionized by Antifa-adjacent columnists like Chapo Trap House superfan John Semley, whose bizarre mashup of a column in the National Post a few weeks ago contained sentences such as (trigger warning) “And Gritty, in a surreal turn befitting Gritty himself, instantly became a token of quasi-ironic, quasi-sincere resistance; a wiggly symbol of contemporary obstinance that is already un-pin-down-able; a creature of defiant but low-key hostility on par with Melville’s Bartelby.” (BTW, John, Melville’s character was actually named “Bartleby“, but don’t let that pedantic point interfere with your pretensions to literariness.)
But don’t worry, because left-wingers that people actually read are praising Gritty, such as this article in the New Yorker which was written by a human who says, “With his gleeful, dumb stare, Gritty was like some overgrown, empty humanoid vessel, waiting to be instilled with knowledge of this world, an unformed mind up for grabs.”
Like you, I did want to write this Gritty nonsense off as some bizarre cargo cult, but then I started thinking: Who would be the “humanoid vessel” of the Canadian Conservative right? And then the answer hit me like a stack of propane tanks: King of the Hill‘s Hank Hill.
Like Gritty, Hank Hill holds a warm place in the hearts of Canadians, assuming they know who he is at all. Gritty is clearly an homage to Philadelphia Phillies first baseman John Kruk, who we Canadians got the chance to watch during the 1993 World Series, and for those of us who kept watching after The Simpsons had aired at 8 PM Sunday nights on Global, we were treated to beleaguered Texan Hank Hill’s attempts to impose order on a chaotic world.
If I were to write some Semleyesque screed where I tried to “claim” Hank before the left did (which would probably never happen anyway), I would probably note Hank’s clear sense of what is right and wrong, his appreciation for propane and mowers (which shows that he would understand the issues facing the oil patch and GM workers), and his willingness to stand and fight when threatened. Hank is able to find solutions to the most thorny problems, compromises when necessary, but only when necessary, and exudes commonsense. His unwillingness to overstep any boundaries when it comes to the opposite sex means he won’t be ensnared by #MeToo allegations, he is notoriously frugal, and his attempts to love, understand and teach his son Bobby despite the fact that “that boy ain’t right” is practically Jordan B Petersonian.
In short, if Hank was a real person, the CPC would be investing every bit of social capital in drafting him as an actual leader, but since they can’t, we might as well adopt him as a symbol. Imagine what Trudeau would do when confronted with protestors shouting “I tell you h’what!”