Appeared in Business in Vancouver – May 21, 2013
On May 14, in plain sight of millions of witnesses, Christy Clark drove through a stoplight.
The symbolic stoplight of her political career. The red light that was supposed to stop dead Clark’s bouncy, smiley-face premiership, mirroring her real-life drive through a light at 5:15 a.m. at a silent corner during her election campaign.
But the confident scenario of B.C.’s weighty political class somehow went ludicrously awry.
Dainty foot to the floor, Clark drove through the presumptions and predictions of B.C.’s all but 100% wrong thumb-sucking punditry, its pollsters unanimously crashing from lofty heights who should have started re-examining their wacky methodology before the polls closed, the anonymous Internuts and Twits using the supposedly rising influence of the so-called “social media” – beautifully described as the vehicle for people expressing first thoughts who never have second ones.
What the above suspects missed was that the metaphorical street along which Clark steadily progressed was Main Street. Not the mean streets where the New Democrats proposed more social housing subsidizing failure – some poignant and unfair, but some squarely authored by people’s own stupid choices – paid for by the successful, struggling heroically to pay their own mortgages (and in no mood for more taxes on the “rich” that would have hit many a unionized-worker household). Not the Chancellor Boulevards leading to the overwhelmingly leftist universities where nostalgia for the good old Soviet Union still lurks, as I, a present part-time student, can attest.
No, Clark, albeit with a trunk full of high-smelling Liberal political baggage that should have bowed the suspension, and to which she had generously contributed with personal bungles, bafflements and gassy budget balloons, drove along the Main Street where what are called “ordinary people” – a disgracefully condescending term but maddeningly difficult to replace – live. She spoke about collective values – not collectivist government. She talked about families – not the fashionable newly defined families, though she’s not hostile to them and is a single mom herself, but clearly she evoked the traditional family.
She connected. She felt. She conquered.
Clark played Franklin D. Roosevelt to Adrian Dix’s Al Gore. Her unspoken words matched FDR’s “nothing to fear but fear itself” – a demonstrably fatuous statement at a time when there was plenty to fear including fear itself, but a torch in a black decade. She would not know – and I’ve forgotten the author myself – the observation that hope makes a poor guide but a good companion. What else does fallen mankind need above all? What else has inspired our confused rise over millennia up a precarious and unexplored path, the footing loose and the summit cloud-wreathed?
And let us not overlook what I superstitiously call – I’m strong on superstition – The Curse of Carole James. I believe that when the New Democrat backroom thugs dumped this principled woman, whose fine character was perceived by the more loutish businessmen and penetrated even stone hearts like mine, the NDP brought upon itself a curse as doomful as that which afflicted Oedipus.
I am especially troubled by my own trade. Above all by the reporters who smeared journalism’s noble escutcheon by not ratting on the 8:01 Club – the Demerals, Liberal Judases plotting Clark’s defeat, delighting the New Democrats. What a fine time and cause for reporters to protect their sources! They had licence to betray. Should have.
The NDP laments that its message didn’t get through. Oh, but it did, it did.
Having repeatedly predicted Liberal victory since last August in these pages and elsewhere, if you think the undersigned will modestly pass up the opportunity to gloat, you greatly overestimate my character.
© Trevor Lautens, 2013