Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Art of the Possible

People have to give Andrea Horwath full marks for putting into practice the famous quote by Otto von Bismarck: Politics is the art of the possible. Through her willingness to compromise during negotiations with the McGuinty government, not only has she avoided an election that few wanted, but she has also managed to extract some significant concessions from the Premier, not the least of which is a surtax on those making over $500,000 each year, thus resurrecting a discussion that has been off the political agenda for some years now.

And my own political cynicism stands to be corrected. Wearied and jaded from watching the federal Liberals repeatedly debase themselves during the Harper minority years when the party would condemn and vote against confidence measures but always ensure there were sufficient members absent from the House to ensure the passage of the odious measures, I had erroneously predicted the same behaviour for Horwath.

The biggest loser in this entire process is, of course, young Tim Hudak, the increasingly hapless leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives who, in a reflexive move that yielded all of the power of the opposition to Horwath, rejected any possibility of compromise when the budget was introduced by flatly stating that his party would vote against it, once again demonstrating that he just doesn't have what it takes to be a political leader.

On a related note, while Hudak is busy recycling rhetoric from his Mike Harris years, advocating for smaller government, more tax cuts and a 'business-friendly climate,' the Wildrose Party suffered a crushing defeat in Alberta, despite all of the advance polls showing them on the way to forming a majority government.

One wonders if there is a message there for our Prime Minister?

BTW, for an insightful analysis of the Ontario compromise, take a look at Martin Regg Cohn's column in today's Star.

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