Not much is going to get done today at Queen’s Park, or on Parliament Hill for that matter, as political operatives nurse their considerable hangovers, waiting just long enough for the bars to open at lunch time. There will be much chinwagging here at Darcy’s or in the Sutton Place bar in Toronto as party hacks try to figure out why they lost key municipal seats.
In Toronto, by all reports, as many as 500 Liberal staffers took the day off to help George Smitherman not get elected. That has Tory MPP Lisa MacLeod calling for fines for truant Cabinet ministers, including the Premier whom MacLeod called one of the worst offenders.
All that work, and the voters of Toronto snubbed the former Health Minister and bon vivant. Ditto for voters, here, in Ottawa who tossed long-time Liberal activist Isabel Metcalfe for green meanie and bridesmaid but never bride David Chernushenko. This despite Metcalfe having several Liberal stars on a choke chain campaigning alongside her — including the verbally challenged Stephane Dion and herbal magician and snake oil salesperson Sheila Copps.
What they don’t get is dragging people like Dion and Copps and the McGuintys to the doorstep actually turns people off. Voters in Ottawa and Toronto are no dummies and they understand that these feds and provs have no place on the municipal hustings, especially people like Daltie, who at the moment, people in the province despise. But Stephane Dion? The mind boggles.
Working on municipal campaigns is a drug for politial junkies.
Look at our own mayor, Jim Watson, who bailed on being mayor once to get his feet wet at Queen’s Park, where he bailed again to come back here. The boomerang kid obviously prefers being a big fish in a small, politically correct pond. Who wouldn’t? You get your face in the paper three times a week schmoozing grannies.
A lot of political staffers like campaigns because they get to chum around with their rivals, fartcatchers of all stripes who love politics for the win, but not the end game. The normal work of government is hideously boring for political operatives, whose only fun between elections is playing cat-and-mouse with public servants and watching the cleaning staff wipe up their entrails.
It would be great if these folks spent as much energy learning how to actually govern without pissing people off, than they did cobbling together unrealistic or uninspired platforms.
I’ve always thought politics was really about nothing more than finding an excuse for ugly people to drink heavily and get laid. But it’s also really just about the game and who wins, not why the game is played.