Wednesday, February 7, 2007

"The Party" versus "The Caucus"

Well, Garth Turner surprised absolutely no-one (except, possibly, himself) by crossing the floor yesterday and joining the Liberals. As usual, the MP in question decided they would never be the kind of player they hoped to be within the caucus to which they were elected, stepped down "out of principle", and then at the first opportunity, jumped to a new party, trusting that the new party will form the next government and they'll get the clout for which they were hoping originally.

The familiar chorus from the floor-crossing MP's these days is as predictable as a Rush Limbaugh interview on gay marriage:
"I wasn't comfortable in that party/Their leader is (a dick/jerk/little hitler/imbecile)/They're being run by idealogues".
Worth looking at, though, is the assertion that these MP's make, that there's something wrong with the PARTY that they're leaving...

The Party is the national executive, the caucus, the leader, and the thousands of members from coast to coast to coast who vote on policy points and form the planks of the platform that you RAN on, and had no problem with at the time of your election as a Liberal, or Tory, or whatever. They're the people who spent insane hours at your campaign office, to whom you rarely deigned to speak except for a select few, whom you lent to other candidates (from that same party) to bolster their fortunes, whom spent hours knocking on doors, dropping off flyers, and making phone calls to undecided voters, all on your behalf.

THAT is the Party that you suddenly feel so uncomfortable with?

Look Garth, Belinda, Wajid, David, Scott... you all had a problem with your caucus. With the other people who managed to get elected under the same banner that you did. With the guy sitting at the front of the room, or his secretary, or his pals, or whatever. You wanted to be one of the people sitting near the front of the table. You wanted to be "on the inside". An advisor to the leader. Helping to set policy. Sitting at the cabinet table. Having your people spin you as a possible leadership heir. But it didn't work out, and you decided you'd have a better shot at your goals in another party because, quite frankly, you hate the people you work with and you've got no power and no hope for advancement. I get it. Nobody likes to go to work where they think the boss is a jerk and nobody likes them and the feelings are quite mutual. So you quit, and find something else.

But DON'T step in front of the camera and tell me you're quitting because you're "uncomfortable with the party's policies towards women", or because "Mr. Dion isn't a leader". Tell the truth.
Step up to the mic and say "I'm jumping because we'd need a 50-member cabinet for me to even get a sniff of cabinet on this side of the house, the leader and I disagree on just about everything, and I think (name 3 or 4 MP's here) are just total jag-offs."

Don't tell me you're uncomfortable with the Party, or its direction... because that discomfort wasn't enough to prevent you from accepting the help and money of the THOUSANDS of Party members who got you elected with their money and their hard work. And if you think you're uncomfortable with your former party NOW, keep bashing it (and those thousands of grass-roots members and supporters who worked so hard to get you IN), and see how hard those same people work, and how much they donate, to get you OUT of office.

- ES

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