Tuesday, February 28, 2012

WAR BY ANY OTHER MEANS

_______________________________
 "We did not meet that standard
 with respect to the establishment 
of that site by a member of the
 Liberal research bureau,"

Bob Rae
Leader
Liberal Party
________________________________


Way back in June of 1990, the Young Liberals of Newfoundland and Labrador were on to a lucrative fundraiser. We had printed "Clyde Wells For Prime Minister" on one hundred T-shirts which we sold at the Liberal Leadership. Clyde was red hot and the T-shirts sold like hotcakes.  People were offering us way over the asking price for the shirts of our back!

They were so popular that we ordered more printed! Than the Premier arrived in Calgary. He was not as excited about our entrepreneurial spirit as the hundreds of anti-Meech Lake delegates. In fact, he was embarrassed and not pleased that we had exploited the situation for profit.

To some, the perception Clyde Wells was using his youth wing to promote himself and gloat over the demise of the Meech Lake Accord. Of course that was not the case. The leader knew nothing about the shirts until he saw one on the convention floor!

We had not thought to consult his office or the party about our venture. The shirts did not have the party logo emblazoned on it. If a third party had decided to produce the same shirt for sale, it would have been okay. We were the youth wing of his party exploiting a fractious debate for profit.

I thought of that today when I heard that some young researcher in Liberal leader's office was the person behind VickiLeaks30 and that his actions did not live up the high moral and ethical standards of the Liberal Party of Canada.  He was named, shamed and fired - thrown to the wolves!

Lets face it, the kid was so amateurish, so stupid, so driven by the political culture he works in, that he was blinded to the fact that his digital fingerprints could be traced back to his Parliament Hill office. His mistake....he got caught! The rest is stage play.

What a day to have an issue that you have been tweaking all week-end neutralized.  The Liberals can no longer claim the highroad. They can not feign outrage over robocalls - well they can, but the public will just shrug their shoulders.  The guy was doing this on public time under the noses of the rest of the office...wink wink.

The poor misguided shagger! Misguided because he is a sacrificial lamb, reputation slaughtered because we can not sacrifice the pretense that we are not aware of the dirty deeds politicians do. The illusion must be maintained.

The account was launched in response to the Conservative's introduction of an online surveillance bill.The staffer  posted a string of more than 90 tweets exposing details of Vic Toew's  home life and details  from Toews's divorce. It was closed down after a few days.

 I find it hard to accept comparisons of  this stunt to the robocall scandal where there appears to have been a concerted effort to suppress voting in dozens of ridings, which is illegal and an affront to our democratic values.

The Conservative's will be betting that the average political watcher sees it all as dirty tricks, that one is no better than the other.  Liberal admission takes the wind out of any call, from the grits at least, that Harper knew about the Robocalls. If the Liberal leader can claim that he had no idea what one of his underlings was doing, that same plausible deniability  must be accorded to Stephen Harper.

Politics really is war by any other means.


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