The "big three" as I call them (the intolerant, the anti-intellectual and the undesirable) began to migrate to the GOP in significant numbers in 2008. These folks have remained in the party ever since, pushing it closer to their political agenda and off a political cliff. This is one American phenomenon that there should be no interest in embracing.
MPs watched in disbelief last Wednesday as Conservative House Leader Peter Van Loan faced-off against his NDP counterpart, Nathan Cullen, and Party Leader Thomas Mulcair. The altercation followed a fairly minor procedural argument. But it reflects a deeper problem. Since the last election, both the Conservatives and the NDP have pursued a strategy of partisan polarization.
The American electorate has sent the Republican Party a message: the Republican Party has to be inclusive in order to remain a political force. The post-election reaction from Republican pundits suggests that they heard that message. What isn't clear is whether they understood that message, or heard what they wanted to hear.
If Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan win in November the religious fringe of the Republican Party will solidify its place in Republican politics. The Party needs to lose, and loose badly, so it can remove from its tent the intolerant and credulous whose presence has begun to rot the bowels of a once great institution.
The good news is that, win or lose, President Obama has succeeded after decades of attempts in providing the type of healthcare the rest of the developed world provides. America's private-sector health experiment has failed abysmally and is on its way out. Governments outside the U.S. deliver medical care better and cheaper. The proof exists all over the world, except in the minds of partisans who would defend the indefensible.
It's just a toll booth on a bridge -- but it symbolizes the challenges to Canadians of living next-door to an increasingly dysfunctional American political system: The Ambassador Bridge over the Detroit River is the busiest Canada-U.S. border crossing, and shippers fear that the bridge's capacity will soon be overwhelmed. Unfortunately, The existing Ambassador bridge is privately owned, and the main owner -- Forbes 400 member Manuel Maroun -- does not welcome competition.
Nobody is in a position to review David Frum's new novel, Patriots. You're either going to hate it for all the wrong reasons, or love it for all the wrong reasons. Set in D.C., the novel centres around Walter Schotzke, a likably louche trustafarian who is about to be swallowed whole by the populist right. Sound familiar? If so, it's because it is: Schotzke is no Frum, but there are clearly some autobiographical elements in this novel, thinly-veiled, and ready to deliver carnage to everything the ultra-right holds dear.
Less than a year ago the thought of Tim Thomas donning a Leafs jersey would have implanted a CN Tower-sized grin across my face. But then he went from Tim Thomas, hockey god, to Tim Thomas, Tea Partier. This kicks down the mental door that separates two of my unwavering, and usually frustrating, passions; hockey and politics.
"Indignados" (the indignants) occupy city squares in Spain on a permanent basis, and now the Wall Street protests have taken root and will only grow in size and intensity. These protests, while poorly organized and rag-tag, will become the migraine of politics, not fatal but nagging and potentially dangerous.
The essential difference between Occupy Wall Street and street protests a generation ago is that the latter were for human rights and peace, whereas the motive of the former is mainly economic. Given that history can repeat itself as farce and tragedy, here are some recollections of the high points of the American protests.