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May 30, 2008

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I certainly wouldn't mind Republicans going the way of the Progressive Conservatives for a few years. Let's see, thirteen years of Democrats puts us at 2021 or so...

I'm not sure if that's quite what you want. The Red Tory tradition

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Tory

has been sorely neglected since the collapse of the PCs. The eventual development of the modern Conservative Party formed out of the merger of the Reofrm Patrty and the PC's rump has seen a more contemporary right-wing tradition take over. The dialectic continues here, too, I suppose.

What makes the Conservatives interesting from an American perspective isn't so much that they're conservative ... it's that they're responsible. This is most easily seen in the fact that Canada still has a budget surplus, but it's reflected throughout the government. Even regards same-sex marriage, Harper allowed a free vote and was done with it, unlike the GOP's posturing on the (non)issue in 2004.

And don't even tell an American about the Federal Accountability Act. I'm not saying it's perfect. It's flawed, and it has provisions carefully designed to hurt the Liberals. But its provisions will still make an American cry.

In other words, I'd be happy if the Republicans were like the Conservatives, but not because I agree with the Conservatives any more than I agree with the GOP on most substantive issues.

Rather, it's that I trust that the Conservatives are more than a lie-producing fear-inducing populist patronage machine, and can therefore be trusted with the machine of state despite my profound disagreements with their policies.

Ah, and one more thing: my impression of the Progressive Conservatives towards the end of the Mulroney period is that they were ... well ... incompetent. I'm not sure that they were as populist or blatantly irresponsible as the GOP, and the economic disaster that they wreaked on their country was quite a bit more severe than anything Dubya et al have accomplished. (Although they did avoid both pointless foreign wars and losing any major cities.)

But the situation towards the end of the P.C. era bears some resemblance towards the situation today, with the difference that the P.C. was utterly wrecked and handed over its political niche to a more-conservative but more-responsible competitor, whereas the GOP will continue as a going concern and will somehow need to reform itself from within.

I'm still unclear as to why the Lib Dems in Britain failed to outflank Labour on the left and become the main opposition party.

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