In 1904, American President Theodore Roosevelt, upon winning his second term, announced he would not be seeking a third term. He explained: “I feel very strongly that a public man’s usefulness in the highest position becomes in the end impaired by the mere fact of too long continuance in that position.”
In 2015, the Progressive Conservative alliance of Alberta government became in the end impaired by the mere fact of too long continuance in that position. Premier Jim Prentice became the lightning rod for the public’s discontent of a big blue dynasty that became at variance with its sole purpose of serving the citizens of Alberta.
Prentice stepped up to the control panel with much ballyhoo but was soon seduced by the perks of power. Euphoria turned into sobriety, then into fear, then became insatiable anger, unbeknownst to the inner circle of Alberta politics.
Euphoria found Rachel Notley of the NDP while sobriety found a partner in Brian Jean of the Wildrose, indifference found David Swann of the Liberals but anger remained with the PCs.
To many, especially small “c” conservatives, the machine became a party of the elite. The large “C” Conservative Party became the plush home for the elite. The latest budget of 59 tax increases and fees for the citizens, and no increases for the corporate entities just added fuel to the angry fires burning beneath the surface.
Party and policies placed a distant second to the urgent need of removing a political growth from government.
There are only two Conservative governments left in Canada, the federal government and the Newfoundland and Labrador provincial government, and after October 19 2015 it may be just the one in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper will say the Alberta provincial conservative vote was split between two parties, Wildrose and the PC, and the federal conservative vote is consolidated under the Conservative Party of Canada.
In Alberta, the progressive vote had three choices: the NDP, the Liberals and the Alberta Party, and some even parked their vote with the Wildrose as a strategic move, but most felt the best strategic move was to park their vote with the NDP for the next four years.
Federally, the “anyone but Conservative” vote is really split between two parties but the general populace is beginning to see the wisdom in strategic voting and following the polls will vote in their riding for the candidate best situated to beat a Conservative candidate.
My prediction: will see name changes for political parties with the word “Conservative” in their title to distance themselves from all that is associated with that word which appears doomed to becoming a derogatory term.
If I was a Conservative politician, I would start listening more, talk less, disregard those talking points and become one of us again, and stop being a lackey for the party hierarchy, boys in short pants, the prime minister’s or the premiers’ offices.
There are a lot of former Conservatives taking the ramp to political oblivion.
Harper might be wise to consider Theodore Roosevelt’s words about the impairment of continuance.