I was surprised by the Liberals’ new “Fiscal Conservatives” ad because I’d gotten used to thinking of Liberal Leader David Swann as a nice guy who weirdly reminded me of Abraham Lincoln. And, you know, nice guys finish last, and all that…
It speaks a profound truth that should have been uttered aloud long ago. To wit: that when they get into power, so-called fiscal conservatives can be counted on to spend money like drunken sailors, leaving holes in the drywall and cigar burns in the carpet when they finally move out.
“Fiscal Conservatives” do it on purpose, of course. They spend our money as they do not just to enrich their corporate friends, but to leave the government in a position where it can no longer afford the social programs that separate decent civilized societies from the rest. Once they’ve left the government broke and gasping with their spendthrift ways, it’s so much easier to “drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub,” as American fiscal conservative Grover Norquist famously said. This makes it easier to keep the rich rich and the rest of us in our places, and that’ll have to do for an explanation tonight.
Then they have the unmitigated gall to blame it on “tax and spend Liberals.”
They get away with this partly because their friends own the media, but also because politicians of the Liberal and social democratic persuasion have typically been too polite to fight back with the appropriate vigour.
Enough consensus seeking, already! It hasn’t worked for thirty years, so why not quit fooling ourselves?
So it was a real pleasure, as well as quite a surprise, to see that Alberta’s Liberals under Dr. Swann had something to say about this obvious truth. I particularly enjoyed seeing our three Alberta stooges – Stephen Harper, Ed Stelmach and Danielle Smith – in the company they deserved, that is, that of each other.
Expect the spend-and-spend conservative crowd to go absolutely nuts over the clip’s statement that Alberta’s deficit is $10 billion. They’ll say this is a stretch from the $6.9 billion Premier Stelmach’s government claims it is. But we all know the government’s number is likely bogus. By the time the dust settles, the 2009 deficit will be closer to $10 billion than $7-billion, even if you don’t count the $1.3-billion-and-growing deficit the premier’s privatizers over at Alberta Health Services are busy running up.
Now, the last time I met Dr. Swann, I kept expecting him to put on a top hat and read the Emancipation Proclamation. He’s a serious, honest, very tall guy – it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine him walking 10 miles to return a penny. But fighting hard to uphold liberal values?
Hey, come to think of it, that guy he reminds me of was prepared to fight pretty darn hard to uphold what nowadays we’d call liberal values.
One TV ad won’t win this war. But it’s a start!