10 July 2015

Overcooked Ambition #nlpoli

Nameless Conservative Party insiders predict that without Ches Crosbie as a candidate, the federal Conservative party will be crippled in Newfoundland and Labrador in the next election.

Supposedly Ches could have raised $100,000 dollars already.  But without Ches, they won’t raise a penny. Volunteers will stay home, too.  

But here’s the thing: 

CBC’s  story on Thursday is essentially more of the same completely preposterous Ches-the-Saviour-of-the-Conservative-Nation fairy tale that John and Jane Crosbie have been shovelling since Canada Day.

The fact that the “insiders” are all faceless and nameless  doesn’t lend the Crosbie narrative any more credibility no matter how many of the faceless insiders CBC heard from or what they claimed. 

The truth is the party has had a hard time with volunteers and a hard time attracting voters since 2008.  There’s no reason to believe that Crosbie would have made a shred of difference to the party fortunes. 

In 2011, the federal Conservatives ran a string of candidates who may have had high name recognition but none of them were names to conjure with politically.  Peter Penashue turned out to be a spectacular political failure.  Trevor Taylor was a former provincial Conservative but before that he had run federally for the New Democrats in 2000. He lost masterfully against Liberal incumbent Gerry Byrne.

Mixed in there was Fabian Manning,  trying unsuccessfully yet again to win the Avalon seat, political staffer Aaron Hynes,  John Ottenheimer,  and businessman Jerry Byrne.  Far from symbolising any sort of revitalisation, the 2011 line-up was a string of political has-beens that didn’t pose a serious threat to any of the incumbents. Conservative voters disserted the party in 2008 and have showed no signs of returning to the fold.  

Take a read of the CBC piece and you get the sense that the faceless Conservatives are just members of the Crosbie bunch trying to breathe life into a story that actually died before last weekend’s puff piece by Michael Harris.  The Crosbies are the Newfoundland version of the Kennedy clan, Harris wrote.  It is impossible to lampoon such writing. We can only hold it out to aspiring journalists as we would with the career of Geraldo Rivera as a warning of how easily early promise can turn to farce.

In truth, though, farce is where the Crosbie revenge story has gone. It is Ricardo Montalban overacting, rich Corinthian leather and all. I’ve got a mind to run myself,  snarls John. 

He tasks me.  He tasks me and I shall have him.

From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee.

Jane Crosbie had no trouble telling Michael Harris that the federal party’s rejection of Ches as a candidate was “awfully insulting. I never liked Harper. You know Brian Mulroney called to say how awful it was.” 

You can hear the hiss from Jane.

‘… awfully insulting.”


‘”I never liked Harper” followed immediately by a name drop.

Jane and John had no trouble accepting Harper’s patronage during their stint at Government House, of course.  

The Crosbies are not the Kennedys.  They could not be them even if someone found a dead staffer under a bridge. No political clan of any consequence ever fell to making a public spectacle of themselves like this. 

The Crosbie ambition, once rare, is now overcooked much like the main course at the fourth rate dinner theatre that the Conservatives in Newfoundland and Labrador have become.