02 July 2008

Michael Temelini...

clearly knows nothing about local politics, as painfully evident from his stint with David Cochrane this morning.

We all know Tom Rideout's resignation is a story, Michael.  You don't need to spend the first couple of minutes of a short interview trying to convince us it is important to talk about it, even if it's just for a couple of days.

Then after some more useless comments, Cochrane had to throw Temelini a softball, a life ring, a "gimme" with his John Efford clue.

It was done professionally which is credit both to Cochrane's political savvy and his skills as an on air host. 

Well done, David.

But then - almost immediately -  Cochrane had to correct Temelini by noting that the reaction within the Liberal Party to the prospect of John Efford making a political comeback was decidedly "mixed". 

Ok.

If "mixed" is a euphemism for "no way", but that's another issue.

The point here is that Temelini was clearly still clueless when he took the Efford thing and morphed that into a general criticism of the "Liberals" for "seriously thinking" about bringing Efford back.

Efford is thinking of bringing Efford back.  Well, Efford and a few friends and supporters.

Not some monolithic entity called the Liberal Party.

Surely to heavens there is someone out there who CBC can use to comment on local politics other than Michael Temelini.

One prerequisite for commentary and analysis  - other than on Open Line - is that you actually know what is going on.

That's pretty much the most basic one.  If you don't know what's going on, then you really can't do much else if you've been called on to talk about what's going on and why.

In this case, it was appalling to have the host/interviewer clearly better informed about the subject on an order of magnitude that staggers the imagination. 

Think funny, f'rinstance.

Then think Rick Mercer versus your aunt's latest boyfriend with a few beers in him.

And in between jokes he just sits on the couch singing old Culture Club.

Badly.

And playing air drums on his thighs.

That kinda gap.

It's painful, man.

But surely to all that is merciful in the universe, CBC can find someone who can offer some decent comment on local politics.

We'll even take up a collection to buy the beer.

And for those who got through that rant looking for some political clues, here they are:

  1. Rideout looking at taking on Scott Simms in the next federal run.  (Mike, boy, the road spat was never the real issue in the Danny/Tommy racket.)
  2. John Efford is looking at running in Baie Verte, but then again you knew that already. 

-srbp-

Warm evening update:  Now that the early morning rant has passed away, let's take a more dispassionate look at the sayings of Professor Temelini, as reported by CBC News online.

Specifically let's take a look at this bit:

"People who don't like Danny Williams or his government are going to say, 'here's proof positive of this trend we're seeing that the premier is difficult to work with.'

"On the other hand, if Rideout did try to squeeze out more money, outside of the normal transparent process, maybe this is a victory for those who are opposed to pork-barrel politics."

Outside the normal transparent process.

Aside from the straw man Temelini builds here,  his second statement begins with an assumption that the process which existed  had Mr. Rideout played by the rules is not only the normal one but that this normal or usual process is "transparent."

He further qualifies his description of "transparent" by implying in the second half of the sentence that whatever Rideout did was "pork-barrel politics" and therefore worthy of scorn."

Now at this point we have to leave aside another rather huge problem with this entire presentation by Professor Temelini, namely that he has swallowed whole the position advanced by one of the parties in the situation without even a hint of inquiry, analysis, scepticism or thought.

And we can leave aside even that 800 pounds gorilla of problem to focus on the transparent process.

A transparent process, as the term implies, is one which can be seen not only by the people involved in it, but also by those on the outside looking in.  A transparent process usually has clearly defined rules which anyone can see and understand.  We might reasonably expect that a transparent process, especially one involving the expenditure of public funds in an area usually given to pork-barreling and other forms of patronage, would use a set of objective, technical criteria to establish merit. 

In other words, when it came time to hand out the road work, the individual cases would be assessed based on the condition of the roads.  The assessments would be done by experts, as opposed to politicians.  And, there'd be no extraneous considerations like what electoral district the road work was done in let alone what political party the member for that district belonged to.

Well, right off the bat Temelini's entire construction falls flat on its face.  In a transparent system, Rideout would not have been able to engage in the bullying he was accused of using.  He could not have employed any pressure.  He could not have coaxed, cajoled or demanded a penny.

A genuinely transparent system would not allow it.

If Rideout tried it, the whole thing would have been seen not just by the few people in the Premier's Office involved in making the decision but by reporters and everyone else.  Until Rideout resigned, no one outside a very small number of people likely could have told you how road work was decided let alone that there had been some fuss with Rideout over the allocation for his district.

So before we even get beyond the start, the whole thing falls apart based on nothing other than the generally agreed upon facts as presented by the Premier and by Mr. Rideout.

You can figure out that the position taken by both of them was a crock merely by examining simple facts and ignoring entirely ones emotional reaction to The Leader. Had Temelini done anything even vaguely approaching that, listening to him early in the morning might have seemed a lot less like an undergraduate lecture by the holder of the Mugabe Chair of Political Science at Harare U.

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