Buzz had to go, like it or not. Not because I have some cultish love of Jack Layton or the NDP, and therefore his voice needed to be silenced. It's ridiculous to think that Buzz will somehow not be able to continue to speak his mind because of this. He'll say nutty things, and the media will continue to pretend they're not nutty, just as they continue to pretend that Buzz is somehow a respected voice in the NDP.
But... Buzz's loyalties were divided. That much is obvious. There should be a vigorous debate within political parties, of course. But that debate should not include advocating voting for the other side. Otherwise, why have a party at all?
Rob may be right that Buzz was doing what was best for his union. Fine. That's Hargrove's right and his obligation. I think Hargrove in fact hurt the NDP and his union, but I'm not Buzz Hargrove. His duties as a union leader and as an NDP member have come in to conflict. This shouldn't have happened, but it did. The choice is simple - either keep doing his job as union leader, or give up his hobby as occasional voice of (and constant irritant to) the NDP. This has nothing to do with "blind obedience" to the NDP or anything like that. You can't be a member of a political party - any party - and advocate voting for the other side.
I respect that Hargrove wants to do what's best for his union, and for labour generally. But the interests of labour are not always going to be the same as the NDP, and I'm fine with that.
If you want a real example of cultish following, take a look at the reaction to Andrew Sullivan:
I support almost all of Bush's tax cuts (I support the estate tax) but also believe in balanced budgets and spending restraint (heretic!); I oppose affirmative action; I oppose hate crime laws; I respect John Kerry's military service; I believe all abortion is morally wrong and that Roe vs Wade was dreadful constitutional law (but I do favor legal first trimester abortions); I support states' rights, especially in social policy, such as marriage; I oppose the expansion of the welfare state, as in the Medicare prescription drug plan; I supported John Roberts' nomination and Sam Alito's; I believe in a firm separation of religion and politics, but I certainly take faith seriously and wrestle with my own. As regular readers know, I'm no fan of the far left. At some point, I have endorsed every single Republican president in my adult life.Quote from Glenn Greenwald. In fact, follow that link - it's an excellent discussion of the sickness that is modern Republicanism.
All of that makes me a "liberal." Imagine what it now takes to be a "conservative" in Brent Bozell's eyes.