If “the Redford Files” really are “authorized by the Wildrose Party,” as the blog-style attack website that appeared on the Internet a few days ago indicates, it is the best evidence yet the whole ramshackle far-right project is crumbling in the face of Premier Alison Redford’s Tory juggernaut.
The former Wildrose Alliance was never really the right-wing Prairie fire media made it out to be and its most devoted adherents sincerely believed after reading their own press clippings. But this little exercise in mean-spiritedness is nothing more than a puff of greasy smoke, a whiff of desperation.
The Wildrose Whatever’s game plan started to fall apart the day last January that Conservative premier Ed Stelmach announced he’d had enough and would pull the plug on politics. Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith and her closest advisors were gobsmacked, and the party’s rise in the polls, which was a real phenomenon though one that always came with a certain degree of exaggeration, never recovered or resumed. Nothing has changed since Ms. Redford succeeded Mr. Stelmach last month.
But this pathetic effort at RedfordFiles.ca – like the deceptive push poll the party financed last month – indicates Wildrose insiders now really fear their effort to move Alberta even farther to the right is on the ropes.
Cornered, they must have concluded their situation is so desperate they have no choice but to plumb the depths of the bag of dirty tricks given to right-wing operatives everywhere by such odious Republican strategists as Donald Segretti, Karl Rove and Grover Norquist.
Almost all political parties talk a good line about civility and generosity when things are going their way. It’s when they’re in a corner and feeling desperate that their true character is revealed. So neither the appearance in October of a thoroughly disreputable push poll, followed by the Redford Files website this month, are good indicators of the kind of character that underpins the Wildrose effort.
Indeed, RedfordFiles.ca is a blog-style pastiche of cheap shots stitched up like torn-up documents recovered from a garbage can and scotch-taped together for a scoop in a right-wing newspaper. What’s next, one wonders, a paranoid accusation that the thoroughly right-wing Ms. Redford is a secret Bolshevik? Oh, wait. That’s all but already on the site, whose anonymous author suggests the Conservative premier is “too RED for Alberta.” After that, Swift Boats for sure – or, in the case of the Wildrose Party, perhaps, Swift Bats.
In addition to its rather quaint attempt to red-bait the premier – here’s betting most Wildrose supporters nowadays identify the colour red with their beloved American Republicans – RedfordFiles.ca includes an obviously PhotoShopped image of Ms. Redford sitting with her controversial Chief of Staff Stephen Carter, tries to tie her to the Liberals (quelle horreur!) and (even worse, apparently) the NDP.
“Liberals feel at home in Redford caucus,” is today’s commentary on the return of Lethbridge-East MLA Bridget Pastoor to the party she started out with. “Federal NDP endorses Redford,” is yesterday’s posting, showing an image of a Tweet by Edmonton-Strathcona MP Linda Duncan suggesting Ms. Redford is adopting NDP polices.
Another post yesterday, in the style of a Western Wanted poster, accuses the premier of “total absence on the Keystone XL Pipeline … when her province needed her most.” Now, there are those of us who think the pipeline is not a particularly good idea, but one can hardly deny the premier’s frenetic efforts to sell it to the U.S. Administration of President Barack Obama, even if she was talking to the wrong politicians south of the Medicine Line.
In other words, RedfordFiles.ca is not only mean, it’s lame!
Just as they tried to brazen it out when caught using a push poll, if this should become controversial, count on the Wildrose Party to try to pass it off as just an exercise in good fun – sort of like the progressive blogs these normally tireless property rights advocates steal their best lines from. (Face it people, the “Redford Files” was funnier the first time, if I may say so myself.)
Actually, many of us in the centre and on the left had been hoping for a strong-enough Wildrose showing in the Edmonton area to split the right-wing vote and make a little room for an Orange Wave, or an orange ripple anyway.
If the Wildrose Party can’t do better than this, we may have to resign ourselves to another 40 years of Tory government!
This post also appears on Rabble.ca.