Saturday, March 24, 2007

Bending The Pretzel


Yesterday, Dave got very upset about the following cryptic, but loaded, post from federal Liberal operative, and Dion backer, Mr. Jason Cherniak:

"Um... Isn't this an act of war?"

Mr. Cherniak was referring to the situation of the 15 British sailors and their capture by the Iranian Revolutionary guard.

In the comments to Dave's post which, characteristically, did not pull any punches for reasons that are very clear if you go read the whole thing, Mr. Cherniak then, apparently, wrote this:

"It was a question, moron."

All of which compelled me to respond thusly, especially after I went to visit Mr. Cherniak's site to ensure that I fully understood the context of his original post:

"Despite the question mark at the end, I read it, particularly given the use of the term 'Isn't' instead of 'Is', as an assertion that could be easibly denied at a later time and/or date.

And I believe that the comment at 12:12 pm above, particularly if it was, indeed, written by Mr. Cherniak, would support such a view.

Not to mention the update that Mr. Cherniak has now tacked on to the top of his original post.

Thus, I can only conclude that Dave, despite his inability to mince words, has a valid point.

And it is an important point, particularly if such a now denied assertion were to be used subsequently in any later attempts to alter the public's perception of a particular political party's position vis-a-vis any future changes in Middle East policy.

Now, all of this could be viewed as a bad thing, as some in the Canuckistani Bloggodome are already suggesting, but it could also be argued by others, I suppose, that it is the job of political operatives, come heckfire or highwater, to do their best to give their political masters time and room to manoeuvre.

Alternatively, there is also the possibity that I am entirely mistaken and that Mr. Cherniak was, indeed, only asking an innocent question after all.

But then, I saw the following, which was the lead paragraph of today's post from Mr. Cherniak:

"Let's face it. People cheat in politics. It's not a good thing. It shouldn't happen. But it does. The rumour around TO (Let me be very clear; I am not suggesting that the rumour is true. I am only stating that it is out there.) is that Olivia Chow won because NDP supporters from across the city voted early and often at different polling stations in Trinity-Spadina. I don't know if it's true, but just the rumour led the federal Liberals to fight for a new rule that voters must show ID before receiving their ballot. If nothing else, such rules at least ensure that people can have confidence in the democratic process."

Mr. Cherniak then goes on to finish the post by suggesting a very reasonable compromise approach regarding the identification of veiled Muslim women who wish to vote in Quebec's upcoming election.

However, it is just not possible to consider the intent of the paragraph quoted above as 'innocent'.

Thus, particularly given that Mr. Cherniak offered no actual evidence to either substantiate or refute the rumour he has just helped propogate, I felt compelled to comment, once again.

And this time I did so directly at Mr. Cherniak's place:

Forgive me for bending a second pretzel here, but I think a point needs to be made regardless the apparent reasonableness of the suggested compromise at the end of the post.

And, of course, in some ways the point is an historical one, the roots of which can be found here:

"Back in 1948, during his first race for the US Senate, Lyndon Johnson was running about 10 points behind, with only nine days to go. He was desperate. And it was just before noon on a Monday, they say, when he called his equally depressed campaign manager and told him to call a press conference for just before lunch on a slow news day and accuse his high-riding opponent, a pig farmer, of having routine carnal knowledge of his sows, despite the pleas of his wife and children."

Which begs the question, based on the first paragraph of the post under consideration - if someone were to start a rumour that a certain Canadian politician had won, oh say, a leadership vote based on the fact that he or she had non-conjugal, but very friendly, relations with barnyard cows, would the political party involved then subsequently call for the identification of every single one the livestock involved?

Hope that was clear enough, very or otherwise.

Please do not misunderstand me, the paragraph bolded above about the political leader and his or her possible interactions with barnyard animals, non-conjugal or otherwise, was not meant to be an assertion of fact and/or even the most wild-eyed rumour.

Because, after all, it was only a question.


For the record, you can find my original use of the LBJ example to try and explain the motivations behind a very different smear by rumour that was used to great political effect by a local apparent/alleged Liberal here. Which is somewhat ironic given the fact that a local political operative that once worked for the local apparent/alleged Liberals, one of whom is his spouse, is currently working for the very same federal Liberal that is backed by Mr. Cherniak. And that, just like the cow thing, is no rumour (although, unlike the cow thing, it is an actual fact).


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