I usually try not to mix the personal with the political. I’ve talked at great length about the “coarsening of the political discourse”. I firmly believe that most politicians are normal people, and most people who disagree with me are decent people. I believe it is possible for an individual to hold a different opinion and still be my friend.
But it has to be said: Ralph Klein is an idiot. The Conservatives of Alberta would do well to cut him loose and put a real leader in his place. We know they have them. This is the province that gave us Peter Lougheed and Stephen Harper, after all.
Let me walk you through what Ralph did this week.
Step 1: during legislative debate around sharply increasing insurance rates, and the fact that the publically insured of BC are getting a good deal at this time, Ralph Klein likened any move to a publically run insurance system to “communism”, and that if the province went in this direction, it might require a Pinochet to “fix”. Here are his exact words:
It sounds like (former president Salvador) Allende in Chile, you know, when he took over all the coppermines and said the Americans are out, the government now owns all the coppermines, all the minerals, all the resources, all the mining …
Pinochet came in, Mr. Speaker, and I’m not saying that Pinochet was any better, but because of the only elected communist in Chile, Allende, and the socialist reforms he put in, Pinochet was forced, I would say, to mount a coup.
Link via POGGE.
Let us leave aside the blatant hyperbole for a minute. Let us also leave aside the fact that Ralph implicitly condones the brutality of the Pinochet regime. Let’s instead focus on the underlying contempt for democracy: “Pinochet was forced” to mount a coup? Because the people of Chile democratically elected a communist government? One has to believe that if the people of Alberta ever decided, in their wisdom, to elect an NDP government, he’d be first in line to beg the Americans or somebody else for a regime change. Clearly, democracy is only good if it agrees with Ralph Klein’s rather limited world view.
Step two: when your foot is firmly planted in your mouth, try to shove it in further.
Ralph didn’t backtrack from his comments. He didn’t apologize to the people of Chile. He didn’t do the politically sensible thing of just shutting up. No…
My comments last week were not meant in any way to express personal support or admiration for the Pinochet regime - quite the contrary… . My only purpose for making those remarks was to point out that socialism can often lead to unintended repercussions to society. Unfortunately, that’s what happened in Chile.
Link via POGGE.
Finally, step three, when backed into a corner by your flagrantly stupid remarks, defend yourself by posting a term paper you’d written on socialism while taking distance education at Athabasca University, for which he received 77%.
That’s Ralph Klein, for you: our Frat Boy Premier.
Bad week for Ralph all round. First this, and now he falls for a prank phonecall with the Terminator.
Clumsy is as Clumsy Does
I sort of embarrassed myself at lunch, yesterday. I went to a greasy spoon Chinese eatery at lunch and purchased my “usual” (sesame chicken, tofu & vegetables, fried rice and an egg roll with orange juice to drink) and sat myself down to eat it. I opened my bottle of orange juice and set it aside while I read the KW Record.
After getting a fair ways into my meal, I decide to have some of my orange juice but, for some reason, I had forgotten that I’d opened the bottle. Picking up the bottle, my first thought was: “orange juice: it settles at the bottom. Must shake bottle.”
Fortunately I stopped when the first wave of juice splashed over my hand and onto my pant leg. And doubly fortunately, the restaurant staff didn’t laugh at me as I begged for about two-dozen napkins to clean up the mess.
Triple fortunately, I was wearing a white shirt, but did not get a drop on it.