There's an old political story about a candidate in a tough race. The candidate is looking for dirt on his opponent and there doesn't seem to be any. He tells an aide:
"Ask him if he still beats his wife."
"But, that isn't true!"
"I don't care. I just want to see the bastard deny it."
It is the sort of cheap and dirty stunt that people have come to expect of the political class. Young Jason Cherniak has taken this important lesson to heart.
"Find the middle ground
Let's face it. People cheat in politics. It's not a good thing. It shouldn't happen. But it does. The rumour around TO (Let me be very clear; I am not suggesting that the rumour is true. I am only stating that it is out there.) is that Olivia Chow won because NDP supporters from across the city voted early and often at different polling stations in Trinity-Spadina."
Oh you have been so very clear Mr. Cherniak. You aren't saying the rumour is true. You don't know if it is true. You have no proof that it is true. And really, you don't care if the rumour is true. Because this has nothing at all to do with truth. This is smear politics. A hit piece of the nastiest sort. Congratulations Jason, you have just promoted yourself to the rank of Swift Boat Commander. And that would be a rank in the rankest sense of the word.
"I don't know if it's true, but just the rumour led the federal Liberals to fight for a new rule that voters must show ID before receiving their ballot. If nothing else, such rules at least ensure that people can have confidence in the democratic process."
Show us your papers, old man. Because only by forcing the voters to produce identification papers can we prevent politicians from cheating. We must act swiftly to save the sanctity of our democracy from rumours of malfeasance. Let's call it the Florida strategy. As a Canadian born, white male, I wouldn't be able to vote. I've never held a drivers licence and I don't currently hold a valid passport. Hell, I still have an old style health card with no picture. Does this ID require a permanent address? No home, no vote. Does the permanent address need to be a street address? Fuck you small towns and rural areas. Just how many people are we willing to disenfranchise to save democracy?
"That has to be part of the context in which people consider the current debate in Quebec over whether a woman who covers her face for religious reasons must show her face before voting. It is extremely important to respect the religion of all Canadians, but it is also extremely important to protect our democratic system from abuse."
Yes. It should be part of the context. I recommend we give rumours all of the due weight and consideration they deserve. And Golly, isn't it important to respect all those religions? Even the ones we don't respect. Lord fucking knows we have to protect all of democracy from the many hundreds and thousands of traditionalist muslim women, sure to swarm the polling stations in silent, spectral procession. And isn't that just the exact same thing as the rumour about the wife of a party leader stuffing the ballot box? The parallels are frightening. Lest we forget, "...NDP supporters from across the city voted early and often at different polling stations in Trinity-Spadina." Let's just smear a great swath of people for the sake of democracy. Harper could use a boy like Jason. But that's just a rumour.
"The question should not be whether Muslim women need to show their faces when, for religious reasons, they would prefer not to. The question should be how you can respect the religious freedom of women who make such a choice, without allowing people to take advantage of that respect and cheat."
Right. The question shouldn't be, should muslim women be forced to choose between their franchise and their faith. The question should be how can you respect their religious freedom when they're going to use it to cheat. Like Olivia Chow.
"I think a compromise position is fairly obvious. Have the woman show her face to another woman who can compare her face to the picture on her driver's licence. Unless I am wrong about the religious rule here, that would solve both problems at the same time."
And if we play our cards right, we can angle for national identification cards. Maybe even with those groovy rfid chips. That would be awesome. You could use them for all sorts of travel within the country, to get into government office buildings, open bank accounts and all kinds of things. Why there's no way to scam anything then. We'd know where you went and what you did all the time. And since it wouldn't be voluntary, nobody would have an excuse not to have one. And then the NDP couldn't steal ridings, damn you Olivia Chow and your rumoured duplicity.
"At its best, politics is about compromise. Let's bring down the volume of the debate and discuss it rationally."
I'm willing to stipulate that Jason is indeed compromised. But really, this cry for civility is worthy of a Blogging Tory. Let's bring down the volume and rationally discuss the spread of rumour and innuendo as serious cause for legislation. What a prat. Predictably he take a few smacks in the head for his efforts in the comments section, Gazeteer's is particularly good. So Jason insists on having the last squirm:
I'm sorry if you read this and don't like me reporting the rumour about Trinity-Spadina, but it IS a real rumour. It is not the same as accusing her of having relations with sheep, because that is not a real rumour that is circulating in Toronto. Further, I am not demanding that she deny it."
But it IS a real rumour. Yeah. It isn't like one of those made up rumours. Gosh you guys, come on. And further, ( a word that always adds gravity to a statement)he isn't even demanding a denial. How fuckingly magnanimous. 'Cos that would be embarrassing. Best just to leave that rumour out there uncontested.
You know, I really want to give Stephane Dion a chance. I want to believe that the Liberal party has put the excesses and sins of it's past in the past. I want to think that the political shenanigans have been sent out to pasture with the old guard. But when a creature like Jason Cherniak seems to represent the new guard and future of the Liberals, I worry. A quick look at Cherniak's page leaves no doubt that he is intent on making himself a political fixture, an ideological commode if you will. His posts are bordered with self love and clippings. He fancies himself a rising star. If he is the future of the Liberals, then I'll be keeping my voting options open. Provided I'm allowed to vote in his version of our democracy.
"One of my points in this post is that if you demand Identification from all voters, then you will no longer need to deal with rumours like this."
What. A. Fucking. Idiot.
One of my points in this post is that if you demand laws to protect yourself from rumours, you're a fool. Cherniak is too blinded by his own notions of cleverness to think things through. He is a spoiled, pretentious twerp with no grasp of how most people in this nation live. He furiously pats himself on the back and spouts this kind of crap, expecting to be taken seriously. Jason Cherniak, spreading rumours to protect us from rumours. Perhaps he should take a moment away from the mirror and examine a quote from LBJ:
"You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered." - Lyndon Johnson
The only way a fool like Cherniak might examine the implications of the legislation he promotes is if it were written on his mirror in lipstick.