I very much dislike citycaucas.com, a well-read blog focused on the civic politics of Vancouver. It’s not that they don’t have well researched information, it is the outright partisan pettiness of the blog that bugs me. Their latest missive on the (possible) revival of the long-thought-dead conservative Non-Partisan Association (NPA) is one example of this (the picture above is from that blog – the caption is mine.)
An example from this post demonstrates the vitriol:
This has not been a good summer for a couple of well-known politicians in Washington and Vancouver. According to public opinion polls, President Barack Obama is in the tank. Meanwhile, the man who fancies himself as the Prez’s protégé, Mayor Gregor Robertson, has also had a dreadful summer. The food cart program he promoted in the media with such fanfare is a bust. He was caught swearing at citizens when they dared challenge his policies. His bike lane program on Hornby is likely heading to the courts when all is said and done. And did I mention he was chastised for cutting off a local transit bus and going through a red light on his bicycle? Or how about the Green Party in Vancouver effectively announcing their coalition with Vision Vancouver and COPE is as good as dead. And let’s not forget the appalling mess that is the Olympic Athlete’s Village social housing. Is it any wonder Robertson escaped the city he governs and headed to his property on secluded Cortes Island to play some tuba with Andrew Weil?
There are some nuggets of stories in this rant, but then they are overwhelmed by the petty vindictiveness. I mean, do we really need to know about the Mayor’s secluded tuba playing? It clearly goes against their stated goal of the citycaucas franchise which is to “have a fun, but respectful dialogue about Canada’s major urban centres.” (they are trying to expand and go coast-to-coast).
Yet, citycaucas is an example of what has now become the new “journalism”. Daniel Fontaine, former Chief of Staff to Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan and the main man behind the blog, is now accepted by the local media as a legitimate source, sitting on panels on the local radio station CKNW with more reputable journalists such as Frances Bula.
What does this all mean? The tip of the iceberg I think. Welcome to politics and media played the American way. Can’t get Fox News? No worries, it’s here. Think the Tea Party has some good points? Well, it’s here as well — the “Ice Tea” party cometh.
We can be assured that our federal government – the government that practices a know-nothing strain of conservatism, according to Andrew Coyne (not a person one might call a liberal) – is welcoming this shift. According to the Globe and Mail it’s actually part of their larger strategy – Tory campaign college offers lesson in favours: Federal and provincial parties eager to get ‘conservative-minded individuals’ into municipal office. Amazing what you can do with a political base that is willing to dole you more donations than the combined amounts of all the other political parties. The New York Times said it best in an editorial on Karl Rove’s strategy in the American elections in 2006:
In the eyes of the Bush team, the United States is a polarized country, where there are fundamental divisions worth fighting over. A president – and a party – should not worry about slender margins of victory or legislative control. The goal is to accumulate just enough power to use the energies and passions of the base to effect ideological change in America’s laws and institutions, even if – sometimes especially if – those changes might be at odds with majority public opinion.
So, kick back with a nice, cool Ice Tea and enjoy the rest of the summer. The parties only just started.