"Smartest guy in the room"

We coyotes understand that reviewers of Stately Glob columnist Lawrence Martin's new book about Stephen Harper have latched onto the PM's venom toward small and large-L liberals as noteworthy.

It is, not because it's anything new, but because it helps begin to explain the current malaise in this country's political landscape. The fact that Conservatives' main rebuttal so far is to label Mr. Martin a "large-L liberal sympathizer", like that alone should fully explain and dismiss his findings, just underlines it.

The PM, portrayed by his fan(s?) as the "smartest guy in the room" is indeed a great one for convoluted trickiness. Yet uncompromising tactics ranging from within the pale to, ummm, less so, all aimed at, quote, "killing the Liberal brand", have done little but shoot up his feet, and the rest of the place. That's a problem, not just for his political fellows who lust after that elusive parliamentary majority, but for the country.

Us coyotes have seen plenty of smartest guys in the room screw up royally through lack of wisdom. I could get all semimythically pedantic here about the ginormous abyss separating "smart" and "wise", but just gimme that one for argument's sake. I'm busy making a point, here.

Which is that any political guy who's so heavily invested in the tenet that all other political stripes in a democracy are the work of the Antichrist, to be seared from the face of the earth with brimstone, is no friend of the nation. Kicking that warm, fuzzy little dream out to its (il)logical extreme, while no doubt heady to some party hacks, has little to do with democracy. Or the reasonable checks and balances on power that help sustain it. For the democratic experiment to remain on the level, conservative yin needs liberal yang. Or vice versa. We coyotes are hazy on eastern religious concepts. We come from someplace else.

The parliamentary democracy that has evolved over the better part of a thousand years works best when players are flexible. That means taking the time to understand other viewpoints, respect for those outside your policy hothouse, and seeing the good of the nation - and all the diverse people and viewpoints it comprises - as the big-picture goal.

We coyotes like to keep our yellow eyes fixed on the big picture. Ya kinda hafta, watching six millenniums' worth of evolving human shenanigans. It's that, or rump of skunk and madness.

One of that grande vista's truisms is that any one national leader seldom bears in huge ways on citizens' personal lives, unless he/she is truly, determinedly awful. Oh. And true awfulness can be attained by chasing partisan goals to the exclusion of everything else, including actual, considered governance. Considered governance which, one might think, would be the point of being a prime minister.

I'm just sayin'...

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