Members, Not Executives, Must Lead the Way

The sky is falling! DANGER! PANIC!

Settle down, everyone. Relax.  As the old PC propaganda ads advised: remember to breathe.

We’ll be just fine.

As Alberta settles in to the realization that we made a massive blunder at the ballot box which allowed an anti-oil, anti-individual responsibility, anti-Alberta party to assume power of the province, those who don’t consider themselves to be far-left socialists have scrambled to ‘resurrect’ the centre-right.

There’s the flaw in thinking.

The political right is not dead.  Hell, it isn’t even on life-support.  What has occurred is a fracturing between two main groups: the Progressive Conservatives and the Wildrose.  What has resulted is a blatant lesson that must be learned.

In order for the centre-right to be revitalized in Alberta, there are some hard truths which must be recognized before any progress can be made.

First, the Wildrose.  Born out of a sense of disgruntlement with the ever-left lurching, entitled PC’s, the splinter group grew to become a legitimate force on the provincial political scene.  When Danielle Smith won the leadership of the party, instant credibility followed.  Her leadership went a long way in diffusing the ‘Christian, redneck white men’ narrative the party was tagged with early on.

But it didn’t eliminate it completely, thanks to dogged spin by the left as well as several acts of dumbassery committed by party members and supporters.  Almost from day one, the party developed a nasty habit of shooting itself in the foot at the most inopportune times.  Smith, who I know as leaning more towards the libertarian side of conservatism (and who I supported in the leadership race), couldn’t negate the Neanderthal-like public image the party had been painted with.

When you add the idiocy that managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the election battle against the Redford PC’s, what resulted was the perennial bridesmaid party: some good people, some great policies, but never really trustworthy in the eyes of the voting public.

Her exit from the Wildrose to the PCs – while leader, no less – cemented both the party’s place in opposition as well as her inevitable end to political life.

Now led by the capable Brian Jean, the party continues to have good people and great policies.  But it is hampered by Jean himself, who lacks headline-grabbing pizazz.  Ask a few people on the street and they’d be able to tell you that Smith used to be the leader of the Wildrose, but they’d be unable to name the current leader.

The party brand is tarnished perhaps beyond the point of repair.

On the PC side of things, we have the remnants of a decades-old powerhouse of a party that was so strong it survived many hits, including some very questionable leadership choices.  Out of touch, bloated, and drowning under the weight of their self-image of invincibility, the PC’s resurrection well has surely dried up.

No longer can the PC’s elect a less-than-conservative leader and expect to once again claim the top electoral prize.  The party itself has become a mere shadow of its past, with more and more leftwing progressives filling positions once held by small-c conservatives.

The current incarnation of the PCs is led by Ric McIver – inarguably a conservative.  The party, however, sees proud progressives such as Sandra Jansen at the forefront.  PCs like Jansen, who recently went on a ludicrous in-Legislature rant against ‘the right’, could never be part of any conservative rebuild simply because she would be poison.

But Jansen is just one of many progressives who have assumed control of the party.  Logically more at home within the confines of the Alberta Party or Alberta Liberals (do they still exist?), Jansen and progressives like her are PCs of convenience.  Until the party deals with this fact instead of deflecting with the old and tired ‘big tent’ lie, they will not evolve.

Today we see movements sprouting up with the goal of finding some common ground, such as the Dave Rutherford listening tour.  The intention is just, but the result uncertain.

Here’s what needs to happen.  The Wildrose and PC’s must each cull their memberships of undesirables – whacko nutjobs in the Wildrose, whacko progressive nutjobs in the PCs.  What must remain are centre-right individuals who share basic conservative principles and, perhaps most importantly, recognize that Alberta is going to be hit hard by the ruling socialists.

Conservatism itself is a broad spectrum of ideas, ranging from the so-called ‘social’ conservatives to libertarians to fiscal conservatives and all points therein.

A shared belief in our values must be at the forefront, with recognition that the conservative sitting next to you might be a different kind of conservative, but conservative nonetheless.  We must come together not in separate camps but as one unified force, working towards the common goal of saving Alberta from the clutches of progressive ideological claptrap.

This will only succeed if like-minded conservatives in each party put aside useless grudges and unify for the betterment of Alberta.  It cannot be led by the Executives in each party, but by the members themselves.

The sooner we realize this and get to work, the better off Alberta will be.

1 comment:

John Winslow said...

Herein lies the problem for Wildrose. The capable leader is NOT leading. He is, however, part of a two member team who are dictating from the top down. That being said....

You need to define "nutjob", since nutjob seems to mean socons. Of course this is far from reality. One might say the diehard progressives within the conservative movement are the "nutjobs". The vast majority of socons are more than happy to live and let live so long as they are not forced to abandon faith, morals, or conscience in order to do so. Unfortunately, the all or nothing progressives and libertarians, like She Who shall Not be Named, feed the left's hunger for, what Stephen Carter calls "negative myth."

So, while I agree with your premise, for the most part, alienating any conservatives, in any scheme to unite the right, would be a huge mistake.

Removing polarizing individuals from positions of power, i.e Marciano, Jansen, and a handful or others, without removing them from potential membership, would be necessary.

His Name Was Steven