So how about a break from US politics, to take a look at the infinitely-more-boring Canadian politics?
When Stephane Dion won the Liberal leadership a bit more than a year ago, I think I was very optimistic about his victory. I wrote then:
"Despite being the underdog for most of this race, despite being outspent and under-reported, and despite the fact that he might not win the next election, the Liberals have chosen the candidate who I think most deserves the job, even if his political preferences don't match my own as closely as others would have. He's been a loyal member of the Liberal Party - MP since 1996 - and handled one of the least forgiving portfolios in government (intergovernmental affairs) with incredible skill and even passion. That he is an academic endears him to me, especially in contrast with the political process in the US which seems to bias against book larnin'....
The role of the party, now, is to make Dion as electable as possible in the time between now and the next election - if I recall correctly, this is what political parties do."
While I still remember why I was enthusiastic, and even excited about a Dion-led Liberal Party, it's difficult to remember who I was so excited about. That Stephane Dion doesn't seem to live here anymore.
Why the hell is Stephane "Greener than Gore" Dion supporting a budget that has mild-mannered Tyler Hamilton foaming at the mouth with rage? (Seriously. If you think I've been bleak lately, go read Tyler for a minute.)
You've really got to wonder what the Liberal Party thinks would be an appropriate reason to topple the government at this point. Harper brought his biggest tax and spending cuts already, and this budget (and probably the next one) will be weak tea in comparison. Dion has already agreed to take Afghanistan off the agenda. And he's happy to support a budget that shovels tons of new subsidies to fossil fuels and nuclear.
Look, I really wanted to be on Dion's side for the last year or so. I really did. And I think my writing shows that -- both the part I quoted above, and other things I've written. But when it comes right down to it, it's hard for me to be on Dion's side when he keeps taking Harper's.