Saturday, May 20, 2006

Criticisms of Liberal leadership candidates that bug me.
Part two of a series


Criticisms of Liberal leadership candidates that bug me, #2: Talking about Bob Rae's "defection" to the Liberals.

Dudes (Dude 1, Dude 2), Bob Rae did not defect to the Liberals.

Here's what I wrote in the comments on Fuddle Duddle in response to Dude II:
Rae actually didn't defect, at least if you use the English language properly instead of perverting it for cheap political points. I mean, open a dictionary. What Rae did was join. You can't call someone a defector unless they are switching from one party to another. Directly. Really. It's true. The only thing Rae defected from was political independence.

Now, as to your argument that Rae is an opportunist, well I think the burden is on you to "prove" that he is one, rather than asking others to prove that he isn't. How does one go about proving that a leadership candidate's motives are entirely pure and high-minded? Opportunist is such a lame insult, anyway. Who in the Liberal party isn't an opportunist, really?

If you want to criticize Rae for wanting to lead without having spent any years in the Liberal trenches, that seems entirely reasonable. But it's a tiny point in the large scheme of things, kind of like the criticism of Ignatieff that he lived in the United States for soooo long and just came back to Canada because he wanted to lead the Liberal party... It's like, Okay, I get your point, but maybe we should just get the chip off our shoulder and just consider the candidates by merit.
To which Dude 2 responded:
Oh my gawd, j.kelly, try chilling out a sec.

1. Defection, as defined by dictionary.com: "To abandon a position or association". So yes, Rae did defect from the NDP and then joined the Liberals.

2. Burden of proof? If you can read, you'll notice that I've been emphasizing the fact that Rae bought a membership a month before declaring. I don't think it gets worse than that.

3. And no, I don't at all have a chip on my shoulder. Perhaps this is your weak attempt to discredit an argument based on rhetoric.
To which I responded:
Okay, well my Oxford English Dictionary says to "defect" means "to abandon one's country or cause in favour of another" and that's the definition I'm more comfortable with, dictionary.com be damned. I'm sorry I brought the dictionary into this at all.

Anyway, using either definition, what you wrote was incorrect, ie. that Rae "defect[ed] for the purpose of becoming leader..." That's simply untrue -- it would mean he gave up his NDP membership in the late 1990s in order to run for the Liberal leadership in 2006.

If you want to criticize Rae for joining the Liberal party for the purpose of becoming leader, that's fine. I still think it's fairly irrelevant -- of course, I'm not a Liberal. Personally, I'm distrustful of people who join a party at a young age and stay with them their whole lives... You know, foolish consistency, small minds, yadda, yadda...
Bam!

Anyway, what is it with Liberals telling me to chillax and/or chill out? I'm totally chill. I'm like the chilliest. But what am I supposed to write about on my blog? How chill I am? Geez, that'd suck. It's just my opinion, man.

Ahem.

This has been: Criticisms of Liberal leadership candidates that bug me, #2

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