One Republican Congressman who voted against the Bush administration's bailout package yesterday said it was a choice between freedom and material comfort. He chose freedom. Others warned that what had been averted when the plan failed in the House of Representatives was no less than the onset of socialism. Lou Dobbs, who hosts a show on CNN that is largely devoted to bashing Mexican immigrants, hailed the defeat of the plan as though the date of the rejection of the bailout will be celebrated as a second Fourth of July.
Today's Republican Party is inhabited by people who genuinely believe that Franklin D. Roosevelt was a traitor, not only to his class, but to the American way of life. In truth, FDR was the saviour of American capitalism. Liberals and social democrats have often been called upon to save capitalism from its excesses, to mop up the mess made by the wild-eyed lunatics. Increasingly Barack Obama is settling into the role of a second FDR, reassuring Americans about their jobs and their savings. We have nothing to fear but the crazies themselves, I can hear him saying at his inauguration on January 20, 2009.
Since he took over the Conservative ship, Stephen Harper has been well aware that if the beliefs of the Canadian right, including his own beliefs, were actually presented to Canadians, his party wouldn't stand a chance. Harper's ideology is remarkably similar to that of the House Republicans who voted No yesterday. That is eminently clear when we peruse his career in the Reform Party and as the head of the National Citizens Coalition.
Every now and then, the craziness slips out of the mouths of even Harper's most trusted lieutenants as when finance minister Jim Flaherty said: "If you're going to make a new business investment in Canada, and you're concerned about taxes, the last place you will go is the province of Ontario.
The Conservatives are trying to make it to October 14 without anyone calling them on the wackiness of their ideas. Don't let them.
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