Like many supporters of the Republican Party, I remain agnostic as to the matter of who shall be the party’s nominee for President. While I am on the record as believing that Mitt Romney would make a capable President and, while he remains the probable nominee, I am also friendly towards the other serious candidates for the nomination. I believe that Newt Gingrich has the best ideas of any of the contenders and I believe that Rick Santorum has the ability to win over the sort of blue-collar voters that the GOP desperately needs. Yet I also recognize that, for all of their virtues, all of our choices are also flawed. Romney has been, to put it mildly, an inconstant conservative. Gingrich’s personal life is a liability and his judgement has sometimes proven to be unsound. Santorum embraces a form of social conservatism that will turn off some voters who might otherwise turn to the Republican Party in the face of the failures of President Obama. I wish that we could create a hybrid creature who possessed Romney’s executive experience, Gingrich’s intellect, and Santorum’s fighting spirit.
Frankly, I don’t know if we even possess a potential candidate who could please everyone. Chris Christie would face the same questions about his conservatism as Mitt Romney faces today. Mitch Daniels lacks charisma and the personal issues that kept him out of the race last year are the last thing that we want to be talking about in September and October. Sarah Palin is too controversial and could not possibly be elected. Marco Rubio is too new and inexperienced. As satisfying as I would find it to shove Jeb Bush down the throats of the left, I think that there’s a sizable faction within the Republican Party who would rebel at the idea of a third President Bush in the space of twenty years. I like Paul Ryan and believe that he has the right ideas to save the country but, at the same time, I’m not sure whether he – as a young man who has never run a statewide race – is prepared for a Presidential campaign yet.
The truth is that, while there are many fine and admirable individuals within the Republican Party who could plausibly be the President of the United States, none of them have jumped out of the pack yet. What I would say to that is this: there’s still time. It’s February. Presidents are not produced overnight.
I do not believe that the Republican Party has anything to fear from an extended nominating process. Indeed, I believe that the opposite may very well be the case. If we can get this campaign to a place where it is being waged in the realm of ideas – if we can keep the sort of nasty personal clashes that have characterized the Gingrich-Romney fight at points to a minimum – than we may very well benefit from an extended process that sees the fight for the Republican nomination go all the way to the convention at Tampa.
A long and spirited fight, waged all of the way to the convention, might very well energize the party and prepare it for the tremendous battle that the fall campaign surely will be. The fortuitous action of the Supreme Court, in paring back campaign finance laws, means that the money for a General Election campaign will be able to be speedily obtained. If Republicans can – as I believe that they shall – find unity in the fall through our common opposition to everything that President Obama and his party stand for, then there is little to be feared in a long and hard-fought battle. How many times, after all, has the team that finished first in the regular season been upended by some upstart who had to scratch their way into the playoffs?
Consider the fate of three recent defeated nominees for the Presidency – John McCain, John Kerry, Bob Dole – all of them secured their own nomination early and suffered as a result of long periods of inactivity before the General Election campaign kicked off in full. In many ways, the Republican Party overall would benefit from being able to dominate news cycles throughout the spring and summer, instead of having a disliked nominee trudging through the back pages. A long primary campaign and uncertainty as to the eventual nominee would also frustrate any effort by the Obama campaign to use its initial financial advantage to conduct an early assault against the Republican nominee of the sort that President Clinton effectively employed versus Bob Dole in 1996.
An open convention would be the political event of a lifetime. The last time that an American party went into its convention without knowing who the nominee would be was before I was born, in 1976. The last time that one went into a convention with a real possibility of dark horse being nominated was in 1952, just a few days after my father was born. It would be fascinating, thrilling, and be likely to be the most intense television and social media event in recent memory.
It could go quite badly, of course. But it could also go right in an amazing way. One ought not to discount the value of a spectacle. It would allow the Republican Party a chance to showcase all of its stars with the entire world watching. If the GOP could ensure its ultimate focus was on the vital objective of making Barack Obama a one-term President, it could be a uniquely unifying event. That might, of course, require any and perhaps all of the existing candidates to, in a supreme spirit of patriotism, sacrifice their own ambitions for the sake of the Republic.
Now, then, if we decide that an open convention is in the best interests of the party, the question of how best to achieve it remains. I think that, if the we wish to prolong the contest and leave open the option of nominating a dark horse for the Presidency, the best option is to revive another very old and now mostly-forgotten tradition: the “favorite son” candidate for the Presidency.
A favorite son is a candidate who secures the backing of their home state delegation for the Presidency in advance of the national convention. The intention of such a campaign is not to see this individual nominated for the Presidency but, rather, to preserve the independence of a state’s delegation at the national convention. This was once a common practice but, in the modern era, has been dispensed with. However, I believe that in view of the short time remaining, the lack of a single alternative candidate who can unify the party, and the fairly limited resources of Gingrich and Santorum as alternatives to Romney, the best option available for creating the possibility of an open convention is to swiftly organize campaigns by favorite sons (or daughters, of course) in states where they can be found and where local law makes such candidacies feasible.
California, I believe, is the most promising target. A Republican seeking to be placed on the ballot for the California Presidential Primary would need to gather just over 50,000 signatures by March 23rd – logistically challenging but hardly impossible – and the California Republican Party has repeatedly shown itself to be much more conservative than the state of California as a whole. Also, this is a closed primary. It is also, of course, the largest primary and, while it is not a winner-take-all contest is is nevertheless one in which the winner – especially if they were to win by a large margin – would receive the overwhelming majority of delegates.
I’m not sure who might take on the role of a California favorite son. Congressman Tom McClintock – a strong conservative who has taken a publicly contrarian role before – is the first name to jump into my mind. I am certain that there are other possibilities.
No one needs to be reminded how vitally important this election is. For my own part, I am indifferent as to who the candidate we end up with so long as they are prepared to defeat Barack Obama. I recall what Abraham Lincoln once wrote of the Civil War:
“If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.”
Pragmatism must be our guiding star in this quest. Whether the final ticket is Romney-Santorum, Ryan-Rubio, or whatever it may be – we must take care to ensure that we have the best possible team with which to defeat President Obama. All other considerations – ego, ideology, and pride – must be secondary to our supreme objective in this fight.
Adam Yoshida is a the author of “The Blast of War.”
In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama advocated measures that would attempt to create more high school graduates by forcing all Americans to remain in High School until either they graduate or until they turn eighteen. In the same speech, he also lamented the increasing cost of post-secondary education and called for measures to be taken to bring those costs under control. Lamentably, given the man’s supposed brilliance and insight, he gave no indication that he saw any connection between the two notions. The truth is that much of our education system has been ruined and billions upon billions of dollars have been wasted because well-intentioned people, such as the President, have failed to grasp the elementary statistical principle that correlation and causation are not the same thing and, proceeding from this error, have implemented over the course of decades a number of wrong-headed policies that have both debased the value of most levels of educational attainment and radically inflated its cost.
People often complain – with much justification – that today one is required to get a Bachelor’s Degree (and often, these days, a Master’s Degree) to get jobs that, a generation ago, would have been given to people with some mix of a high school diploma plus work experience. This is because, a few decades ago, some well-meaning but not very clear-thinking people looked at some statistics and drew a poorly-considered inference. They saw that people who graduated from high school had, on average, better outcomes in life than those who did not. Based upon this observation they concluded that if more people were induced to graduate from high school then they would have better lives also. No one ever seems to have considered the possibility that it was the traits that allowed the original cohorts to graduate under unaltered conditions – notably work ethic and intelligence – that resulted in them having better lives.
So, armed with this notion that improving high school graduation rates would improve lives, the social engineers set out to get more people to graduate from high school. What they seem to have failed to consider at the outset – perhaps out of a naive faith in the goodness of people – was that it was a lot easier to reduce the standards of performance and behavior that people would have to meet in order to graduate than it would be to make kids who would otherwise have failed to graduate smarter, harder working, and better behaved. As a result of this the high school diploma, previously a useful credential, became basically worthless.
The social engineers committed an error akin to that of the twelve year-old would-be economist who concludes that we could solve poverty by simply printing enough money to hand everyone $1 Million. Certainly, the government has the physical capacity to decree whatever changes on paper that it wishes but it lacks the capacity to alter the innate value of anything. In handing out at a lower (or no) cost something that was previously dearly attained they sapped that thing of its value.
Rather than learning the correct lesson from their errors, the government and its friends in the rest of society responded to the progressive devaluation of primary and secondary education by placing a great emphasis on post-secondary education. The new goal became to make sure that every single child in America could go to college – a goal that, of course, negates the entire point of college in the first place. While it is absolutely true that universities have a very useful role to play in the life of our civilization, it is also true that we only require so many doctors, lawyers, accountants, biologists, physicists, and the like and it is equally the case that we only have so many people capable of living up to the demands of those professions.
Yet still, because we devalued the high school diploma (and, I will also note though this is a topic that could fill another essay, standardized testing), more and more employers were demanding a Bachelor’s Degree as a test of basic literacy and competence since the high school diploma was no longer a trustworthy measure of those things. As a result more and more kids were sent off to college without any particularly learning attainment in mind. They were sent to learn… something. Demand for college came to greatly exceed the supply and, as a result, the prices that could be charged soared.
This is one of the most basic economic laws: when demand is higher than supply it will put upwards pressure on prices. Yet, at the same time, earlier ill-considered actions had made it vitally necessary that people, for the sake of their own futures, go to college. It hardly seemed fair, under the circumstances, that mere economics ought to prevent poor kids from going while rich ones paid their tuition fees with the change from their couches. Once again the government felt compelled to intervene, stepping in to guarantee loans to children in amounts so large that they would have been enough for the young adults of previous generations to buy modest homes.
Essentially the government, through student loan and grant programs, decided to hand kids black American Express cards to pour whatever amount of notional money they felt like into an area where the demand already exceeded the supply. The result was a vicious cycle where more and more kids were encouraged to borrow vast amounts of money to go to college at higher prices which, in turn, forced other kids to go to college lest they be at a competitive disadvantage that resulted in them borrowing more money to get into the system which, in turn, resulted in the original kids borrowing yet more money to pay yet higher prices and so forth.
The end result of all of this is that we have an education system that costs a lot of money and supports a lot of unionized jobs but which doesn’t do a very good job of teaching anyone anything. Rather than focusing on reducing the cost and increasing the quality of the product offered, educational institutions have instead focused on raw increased in quantity. This has, hardly unexpectedly, also had the ill-effect of reducing the original value of a Bachelor’s Degree, resulting in the same phenomenon that sent more and more people to college in the first place now sending those same people off in the pursuit of Master’s Degrees of no specific value.
We need to do much more to fix the education system. The most important step in doing this will be to communicate to the public that the one thing that our schools do not need today is more money. For year after year the public has had the message pounded into them, primarily by politicians who prefer spending money as a substitute to substantive thought and by government bureaucrats and unionized employees who stand to benefit financially from the arrangement, this bizarre notion that all that is required to improve our public services is to shovel more money into the furnace. I have never been successful in getting an answer from a sincerely committed advocate of this approach as to what level of funding would be satisfactory. Deep down, I suspect that if we were to devote every single dollar in existence to the funding of public schools their most committed advocates would still lament the “under-funding” of education and recommend that we develop the technology necessary to cross into parallel universes in order to loot their taxpayers for the sake of our children. Money is not the problem. We have spent more money every single year for decades and our results have gotten steadily worse. What is required now is innovative thinking.
The entire education system that exists today, in terms of how it is funded, structured, and operated was designed to meet the needs of the 20th Century. We take kids and put them into groups of thirty or so and have them move according to the bells from one classroom to another at a regular schedule while they maintain a daytime schedule from monday through friday. This is a system designed to produce the next generation of assembly-line workers, not leaders and innovators.
Our future depends upon our talents. What we require is an education system that uses modern technology to offer maximum flexibility. What is required of us now is not a doubling-down upon a failed system whose roots lie in a distant past to which we shall never return but, instead, that we fully embrace the revolutionary potential of technology in order to assist in the education of a generation that will lead us into an unlimited future.
This is a revolutionary moment, not an evolutionary one. While ideas such as school vouchers, charter schools, and home schooling are all preferable to the stale conformity and expensive time-sink of the public education system all of them are still tethered to aged paradigms that no longer apply in this century.
Industrial-era systems of organization not only are no longer necessary in the information age, they simply no longer work. What we require is an education system that sets certain basic standards – in terms of English, math, science, and history – and beyond which sets people free to develop their talents and interests to whatever degree they wish and are capable. If everyone cannot, by education or other means, be made equally good at everything it is certainly true that almost everyone will, given the opportunity, discover that they are good at and truly love something. The question should not be whether we need smaller or larger class sizes but whether, in this century, we require classes at all. In the age of the internet, streaming video, and the tablet why do we require 100,000 different teachers to deliver basic math lectures? Does it not seem to be the case that most people would be better served by the availability of individual tutors and mentors.
If anything, given the fearful ratio of workers-to-dependents that we face towards the middle of the century, doesn’t it make more sense to get more people into the workforce earlier and to keep them there for longer, rather than keeping people indefinitely and expensively in schools in order to satiate a seemingly endless public appetite for meaningless credentials?
For that matter, if we are going to lavish tens of thousands – in many cases more than a hundred thousand dollars – on teenagers and people in their early 20’s, would it not be far more productively used as venture capital investments in new businesses and concepts than in earning them degrees in Art History? The speed of change, after all, is increasing – not slowing. Of the companies that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average today there is just a single one – General Electric – that was there a century ago.
Conservatives have too often allowed themselves to be tagged as being “anti-education” by those who simplistically believe that endless funding of the wildest education fantasies of public sector unions is the only “pro-education” position that exists. In truth, there are no greater opponents of real education in the world today than those who believe in imposing one-size-fits-all command and control-based solutions to problems that require highly individualistic solutions. If we really want to fix education than what we need is to embrace free market solutions that allow for individuals to learn according to the best of their own desires and abilities, not government-driven meddling where every single patch creates another bug which requires another expensive patch. After all, we would do well to remember, that when we tamper with education and thereby create an endless cycle of escalation in its cost and complexity we are not only taking away people’s money but we are also wasting years of their lives.
Adam Yoshida is a commentator and the author of “The Blast of War.”
During a recent visit to Austin, TX I had the singular pleasure of seeing a film at an Alamo Drafthouse theatre. Not only could I enjoy seeing The Ides of March in a comfortable setting, but I was able to order a beer and some freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies and have them delivered to my seat during the movie. If you think that sounds great – and it certainly was – your next thought is probably to wonder why you can’t do the same right here at home. It seems like a natural business idea: I’d certainly be willing to invest some of my money in someone who wanted to introduce the concept to British Columbia. The answer, as is so often the case when we ask ourselves why we can’t have awesome things here, is that it’s all the government’s fault.
Now, to be clear, this isn’t really the fault of the current government or Premier Christy Clark, at least not in the sense that they’re the ones who passed the laws in question. In fact, before the election of the first modern BC Liberal Government in 2001 and a subsequent modernization of our Province’s absurdly-antiquated liquor laws it was actually illegal here to walk from one table to another in a restaurant while carrying your own drink – a server would have to come to your table and collect your drinks-in-progress and move them to your destination for you, lest the establishment be fined. However, even after the modernization that took place shortly after the turn of the century (which also allowed a moderate expansion of private alcohol sales), we still have a liquor control regime that is excessive restrictive and which hurts both consumers and businesses.
The latest example of a good business struggling under the dictates of these ancient laws is the Rio Theatre on Broadway. The Rio, an older single-screen theatre that has traditionally shown a mix of first-run movies and older fare applied for a received a liquor license so that it could also function as a venue for live events. However, current laws prevent the theatre from continuing to screen movies, even on a part-time basis, while it also holds a liquor license. This is, in a word, stupid. The Provincial Government has the power to change the law in order to fix this idiocy. It should do exactly that.
This would be good public policy. What is a free enterprise government for if it isn’t going to help clear away useless regulations and laws that stand in the way of consumer choice and the success of business? Can anyone explain what public good is being upheld by laws which restrict people’s ability to purchase and consume alcohol in private venues? This is just some prohibition-era hangover.
While they’re at it, the Premier and the Government ought to look closely at all of our liquor laws.
It’s absurd to me that we, as British Columbians, often end up paying double for alcohol versus what we would pay in, for example, Washington State. There’s no good reason why, for example, a 750ml bottle of Grey Goose vodka in the United States should only be $2 more than a 375ml bottle costs in British Columbia or that a premium Scotch like Johnnie Walker Blue Label should be $289 here and $149 from some sellers in the United States.
Along similar lines, it’s crazy that we retain an antiquated system where most liquor continues to be sold through government-controlled stores, rather than simply allowing us to buy whatever we want from the local grocery store, as is the case in much of the rest of the world.
Some will argue that the Liquor Control Board generates revenue for the government – and that’s certainly true. But it’s also true that BC Liquor Stores are a costly and top-heavy operation, as is the case for pretty much all government-run entities. The government could sell all of its alcohol-related operations and allow the cost of alcohol to consumers to come down while still reaping plenty of money. Why not? That’s how most of the rest of the planet does this stuff.
This is one of those rare occasions when a good policy also makes for good politics. I have long argued that there is a need to communicate to the rising generation the case that can be made for conservative politics. The young, at least this generation, is reflexively ideologically libertarian – hostile to government control, in favor of individual liberty, and skeptical of the claims made by those who claim to represent the interests of the underclass – but votes overwhelmingly for the left as a result of decades of political programming at the hands of the culture and the schools. Too often they have been raised to believe that those of us on the right are otherworldly ogres when, in fact, most of us are just people who believe that we all have a universal human right to make our own choices and use our own resources however we see fit so long as it does not infringe upon the rights of others. Certainly, I will be infringing on no one’s right if I am able to buy a bottle of Whisky at Safeway or if I decide that I would like to enjoy an Old Fashioned while watching Doctor Strangelove on a big screen. This is a teachable moment where we can show people how the right stands for freedom not only in the abstract sense but also in practical ways.
What I would say to the Premier is this: as things stand right now, given the long duration of the present government and the bizarre resurrection of the BC Conservatives it is more likely than not that her government will be defeated at the next election. A safe strategy in these perilous days is likely to lead to nothing any better than a respectable defeat. What is required now is a year of reform – a vivid demonstration that this government still has energy, spirit, and vision. This seems to be as good a place to start as any.
Earlier this year I raised the ire of some by predicting that Mitt Romney would, based upon an examination of history, be the Republican nominee for President. Six months later I feel that I must, with some reluctance, recommit myself to that prediction. With the latest polling showing that then intense negative attacks on Newt Gingrich have eroded his chances of winning in Iowa the last realistic chance of stopping a Romney nomination has evaporated.
Let’s look at the latest polls. Ron Paul’s fanatical supporters are busy cheering the fact that they show their candidate with a statistically insignificant lead. However, their real importance is that they show Gingrich declining and Romney rising. Ron Paul is anathema to the overwhelming majority of the Republican Party. Paul’s rise in Iowa is extremely helpful to Romney because it will cause, especially if polls in the final days of the race show Paul in the lead, voters to trickle away from other candidates to Romney in order to prevent the embarrassment that a win by the clownish Ron Paul would represent.
The latest national polls likewise show that the slow decline of Gingrich’s numbers is allowing Romney to finally climb higher than the low-20’s cap on his support that we’ve previously seen. Having to write about the fact that the chances of Speaker Gingrich being nominated for President are declining pains me – it is certainly not without a basis in reality that I have previously been referred to as the “Asian Newt Gingrich” and I certainly have a long-term affection for the Speaker and agree with him on almost every issue of national and international importance. Indeed, I still think – all other things being equal – that of all of those campaigning to be President that Gingrich has the most obvious potential to be a great and transformational President. However, from where I am sitting it seems to me that the massive deployment of money and resources against Gingrich in Iowa have blunted his advance there and that overcoming such a reverse would require a lot of money or time and, alas, Gingrich has neither at this point. Without Iowa the chances of the Speaker winning the nomination rest upon winning South Carolina and then Florida and then defeating Romney over a marathon-length campaign and I just, from where we are standing today, don’t see where either the money or the institutional support for such an endeavor would come from.
Thus, without something like another miracle for the Speaker (something that I wouldn’t say is impossible, given that it took one for him to get to where he is today), Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee for President.
The reasons I enumerated in June for predicting Romney’s nomination remain, in my view, sound. The Republican Party has a long history of eschewing politicians who excite the party’s base in favor of nominating the early frontrunner who is typically the runner-up from the previous contest for the nomination. The only Republican nominees in that period to truly defy this pattern were Dwight Eisenhower (a World War Two hero who only barely won the nomination from the pattern candidate, Robert Taft), Barry Goldwater (who defeated Nelson Rockefellar scandal tarred his campaign) and George W. Bush (who was the son of a former President and was running four years after a weak cycle in which no genuine runner-up emerged). Well, I suppose that Gerald Ford might also qualify here but, insofar as he was an incumbent President running under unique circumstances he can be considered anything other than an outlier.
Mitt Romney meets both historical criteria. He was the runner-up in 2008 and he has consistently managed to regain a narrow lead in national polls even as one candidate after another has briefly managed to overtake him.
The truth is, as I have said before, that we could do worse than have Mitt Romney as President. While it may not thrill many hearts to hear a man described, as I would Romney, as having a record of competence in the public and private sectors and moral rectitude in his personal life, it’s definitely not bad. The Presidency is so singular and unique a job that no one really knows with certainty how one will live up to it until they actually get started.
I will say this for Governor Romney – I believe that he can do the job. He reminds me a great deal of Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. I believe that, like Harper, Romney is a careful politician of basically conservative instincts who has repeatedly compromised to navigate the hazards of a liberal electorate. Yet I retain hope that a President Romney, like Prime Minister Harper, will, especially if he has the aid of a Republican-controlled and Tea Party-oriented Congress, prove to be a capable steward of the nation’s affairs and be able to use his basic solidity as an asset in leading a careful and steady rightward march. It may be infuriating at times to fire-breathing conservatives such as myself, but it absolutely could be made to work.
Adam Yoshida is a the author of The Blast of War.
One of the primary reasons for the hurried construction of The Blast of War and its forthcoming sequel (which I hope to have ready for release in the next few weeks) A Land War in Asia is that much of the timeline I set forth for the hypothetical Third World War depicted therein takes place in the very near future and it has always been my hope to have the full work (which will, when complete, total in the range of 200,000 words) finished before any of it comes to pass. Of course, the altruistic motive for doing this is to illustrate the very dangerous path that we are presently on in the hopes that someone in power will execute a course correction. The more selfish motive is so that, when much of what I have written actually happens, I can point to my words and say, “I told you so.” In the latter spirit more than the former I thought I would take a few moments, as I procrastinate over the conclusion to A Land War in Asia to review a few of the predictions made in The Blast of War that have already been realized or begun to be realized in some form.
Let’s consider some news from recent weeks which point towards the fulfillment of a few of the prophecies I made in The Blast of War:
China’s boom will transform into bust, with global consequences:
Scattered bits of data – obviously the Chinese government’s official figures ought to be regarded with some skepticism – point an alarming picture. China has experienced a property boom much like that seen in the West a few years ago. The fall, however, appears to have marked the tipping point – with housing prices in most markets having begun to experience month-over-month declines. The Shanghai Composite is down 22% in 2011 after falling 14% in 2010. Violent protests in one Chinese village – Wukan – have escalated to the point that the central authorities have lost control there.
Asia’s problems will be complicated by the revival of American manufacturing:
I’m fond of quoting (in fact, I believe I invoke it in the book) Mark Steyn’s remark that, “China will grow old before it grows rich” but, as I have pointed out in the past, the arc of history augers ill for China in the medium-term as well. China’s newfound prosperity is almost entirely dependent upon the use of cheap labor to export manufactured goods to the West. This is not a long-term solution, in my view, because the rapid advance of technology will soon make local and automated production cheaper than even than the lowest-paid human laborers. When that day comes – and I think it’s coming sooner than anyone realizes – where will that leave China? It will make that nation a powder keg consisting of a billion and a half people, many of them young men doomed to never find wives as a result of that nation’s population policy, governed by an authoritarian government whose raison d’être has just vanished.
Europe will continue to attempt to patch over its problems rather than solve them:
One of my constant fears in writing has been that the European Union and the Euro will blow apart faster than I predicted, thus forcing me to either diverge my narrative from the real world or to conduct a massive rewrite. Instead, the European establishment has behaved exactly in the way that I predicted, refusing to confront its core problems and instead embracing one desperate patch after another. Like addicts who will do anything for a fix there appears to be no level to which the Eurocrats will not sink in an effort to preserve their dream of a European superstate. At the time I first made it I felt that my prediction that the European political class would resort to military force rather than abandon the Euro was perhaps the most far-fetched part of my story. Now I am not nearly so certain.
Britain will extricate itself from the European Union:
Here is one area where I feel that it’s possible that I missed the mark by just a little bit – though we shall see if that is the case in the end.
I have never believed that Britain would, in the end, agree to bind its fate to the continent. Its destiny ought to rest with the rest of the English-speaking peoples. I therefore feel that my predictions have been vindicated to some degree by David Cameron’s decision to use Britain’s veto to protect the City of London from the ravages of new regulations and obligations that might have been imposed by a strengthened bureaucracy in Brussels.
In my book I predicted that Britain would secede from the European Union. I still believe – and fervently hope – that this will be so someday. It increasingly appears that such a move would be a popular one among the British people. Indeed, since his veto Prime Minister Cameron has seen his Conservative Party once again overtake Labour in the polls.
Where I may have erred is in the matter of Cameron himself. I personally believed that Britain’s Europhile political class would never acquiesce in any move against the EU by the British government and that it would therefore require a political realignment to make such a thing a reality. David Cameron, he of the “Big Society” did not appear to be a likely candidate to make such a stand and perhaps, in the end, he will not be. But perhaps he will after all.
Obama will be re-elected thanks to a divided opposition:
Finally, though I have repeatedly stated that I think that President Obama will not be re-elected given his standing in the polls and the state of the economy some eleven months before the election, The Blast of War sketches out a scenario in which he might be re-elected even under conditions where he ought to be defeated. Specifically, in my book Obama wins the election with roughly the same 40% of the vote that George McGovern and Walter Mondale won while losing forty-nine states each. He does this as a result of the presence of two independent candidates in the race who split the vote with the regular Republican nominee. Given that Ron Paul, Donald Trump, and Jon Huntsman have all made noises about running third party campaigns, this is a possibility that ought not be dismissed too lightly. Certainly the Obama campaign and its many friends in the media, being fully seized of the severity of the situation, will actively work behind the scenes to encourage such an outcome.
Anyways, these are just a few thoughts. I suppose I ought to get back to work on Volume Two.
My apartment is filled with books. By my count, I have more than a thousand of them and, estimating conservatively, I’ve probably read about eight hundred of those thousand (a result of many of these books having been picked up in large batches either from used book stores or remainder sales and then later passed over in favor of newer fare that seemed more interesting). I’ve long taken pride in this, having forced friends to help me to shuttle dozens of boxes packed with them through four homes throughout my 20’s. If anyone in the social circles I run in qualifies as a bibliophile it’s myself. But, regrettably, like so many other things, I regret to inform you that, so far as I am concerned, that’s probably a thing of the past. In the last year, I’ve bought but a single physical book – the Parks and Recreation tie-in “Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America” and, at most, I’m likely to buy one more before the year is out – the annotated edition of Star Wars: Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn.
That’s not to say that I’ve stopped reading. Going through my list of Kindle books, over the last year I’ve purchased – and read – George W. Bush’s Decision Points, Ron Chenow’s Washington: A Life, Edmund Morris’ Colonel Roosevelt, Joseph Ellis’ First Family, Ronald White’s A. Lincoln, Manning Up by Kay Hymowitz, Mad as Hell by Dominic Sandbrook, 1920: The Year of Six Presidents by David Pietrusza, Eisenhower 1956 by David Nichols, End Game by Matthew Glass, A Bright Shining LIe: John Paul Vann in Vietnam by Neil Sheehan, Bismarck: A Life by Jonathan Steinberg, In the Plex by Steven Levy, Idea Man by Paul Allen, The Social Animal by David Brooks, The Secret Knowledge by David Mamet, Mr. Speaker by James Grant, The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, Yes, Prime Minister: a play by Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, One Minute to Midnight by Michael Dobbs, Then Everything Changed by Jeff Greenfield, The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, LIfe at the Bottom by Theodore Dalymple,, Carthage Must be Destroyed by Richard Miles, Gladstone by Roy Jenkins, After America by Mark Steyn, Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America by Chris Colin, In My Time by Dick Cheney, Willpower by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney, Confidence Men by Ron Suskind, An Empire of Wealth by John Steele Gordon, Lone Star Nation by H.W. Brands, The Blast of War by Adam Teiichi Yoshida (yes, had to include that), The Time Machine Did It by John Swartzwelder, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, and The Forever War by Joe Halderman. As a long-time fan of conservative-leaning science fiction publisher Baen, I bought from them advance reader copies of Extremis by Steve White, The Amazon Legion by Tom Kratman and A Rising Thunder by David Weber, which I plan to read next.
If you add up my total reading from the year, which includes a few re-reads of old favorites (I’m presently working my way through the second volume of William Manchester’s lamentably-unfinished The Last Lion) I’ve probably read somewhere between forty-five and fifty books over the last year. I bothered to write them all to simply make a point – if someone who is in the top percentile of all readers (and I think I pretty much have to be) can only be moved to buy physical books for novelty reasons (the Parks and Recreation book is big and glossy and seems to be designed to be physically appreciated and the annotations in the special edition of Heir to the Empire are difficult to read physically), then is there really much hope at all for printed works in the future?
Obviously the exact figures vary but, given an average Amazon price of about $10-$20 for eBooks coming from traditional publishers, let’s say that I’ve spent $600 on books through Amazon over the last year. By way of comparison, buying those books at retail – which I would have had to do in order to have them immediately (I am not a fan of waiting for books to arrive in the mail, once I have set to reading I wish to finish the book immediately), would have cost well over $1000, perhaps approaching as much as $1200-$1600.
The economics of it are simply too good for people who have to print physical books to compete. Sure, it’ll be years before you get everyone to convert over but it seems quite clear to me that the math adds up: the days of the ordinary physical book are over. They’re going to go the way of the vinyl record – a novelty item clung to by a handful who insist upon the superior qualities of (and are willing to pay a premium for) tangible media.
Insofar as this essay is already incredibly self-referential, I see no reason to stop now and will continue to set loose my thoughts. When I set about writing my first real book, The Blast of War I didn’t give even the slightest thought to attempting traditional publication. There were a number of reasons for this: I always intended to write it in a format (as a faux-history book) that would be difficult to place on the shelves, the time-frame in which it sought to tell the story was approaching too quickly for traditional publishing timelines, and the audience for the sort of work I was proposing was probably too limited for most publishers. But there was another overriding reason: publishing electronically would allow me to keep 70% of the retail price of the book (meaning that I make as much off a $3 e-book at a traditional author would off a full-priced physical book) and I could, the control freak that I am, retain complete control of the content of the book. Given these facts, why would I want to take on the hassles of selling physical books?
The other day I was wandering through the remnants of one of the last video stores in Vancouver, now shoved into the back of one of the last record stores in Vancouver – Zulu Records in Kitsilano. I never had much of a physical music collection – by the time I was a teenager we were already at the beginning of the digital era – but I used to have a large collection of DVD’s and, before that, VHS tapes. I was an avid customer of the video stores of days of yore – I had cards to rent at both Blockbuster and Rogers Video before I could drive. I used to walk half a mile up a hill to rent movies (and even the occasional television show) on VHS. Now the video store is practically extinct, over the last year and a half I’ve watched as the scattered survivors of the breed, like isolated Confederate armies and posts after Appomattox, have surrendered to history one-by-one.
As much as I admit that I use and approve of the change – how much easier is it to find a movie on Netflix or a thousand other digital services than to trudge to the store, search the racks to find a copy of something in stock, and then to return home? – I must admit that I find something about the process awe-striking. As an ardent capitalist I must admire how efficiently the market has found a solution – a product with superior qualities replaces in inferior one and life goes on – there is something strange in seeing an institution that had been something of an anchor point in a short life vanish off the face of the earth with such startling speed.
When will the end of the book store come? I believe that it will be much sooner than anyone expects. The readers who sustain them – those who buy more than the latest (heavily-discounted) bestseller will be driven to adopt the alternatives quite quickly – the economics of the matter are just too attractive for it to be otherwise. Already, in the United States, we’ve seen the Borders chain shuttered. I imagine that there we’ll see more of the same in the near future and, as they go, so will the vast logistical chains that nurture them become unviable.
That, I am not afraid to admit, I will mourn. I learned to read when I was three and, by the time I was eight I was a sufficiently proficient reader to end up carrying a chewed-up copy of Jim Garrison’s On the Trail of the Assassins to the 3rd Grade. I’ve had books with me – and generally carried one or more almost everywhere – for as long as I can remember.
There was a thrill – a sort of tactile pleasure – in the old world that is impossible to replicate. Recently, on a stroll down Granville Street, I noticed a painted sign on the side of a building advertising a bookstore that \no longer exists. When I saw it, I flashed back to a very distant past – I remembered that sign. I remembered that store. Once, on some Saturday or Sunday in the distant past – I was probably twelve or thirteen or fourteen years old – I spent two or three hours romping through that used book store and finding amongst it some treasures that I had never seen anywhere else. In particular, I recall that I acquired my first copy of C.M. Kornbluth’s Not This August there and chanced upon a hardcover first edition copy of Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising that, alas, carrying a price worthy of a Clancy first edition (that is to say, perhaps $30) was beyond my youthful means. That copy (or perhaps one from somewhere else, I don’t think I ever asked) would later show up under the Christmas tree. I suppose that such pleasures will now be denied to our children – that such scenes will be a distant to them as kerosene-lit Victorian Christmases seemed in my own childhood.
There was a thrill of discovery in old books that is difficult to replicate today. I do wonder if we should lose something there. As a child I learned so much from the books that I had available to me – the old copies of Jane’s Fighting Ships* that the Coquitlam Public Library stocked by refused to allow to be checked out, the worn copy of Herman Kahn’s Thinking About the Unthinkable that opened up a world of cold-blooded strategic thought to a young teenager. When information was harder to get, it carried a greater heft than it does today.
Alas, the times change and we ought to change with them. Given this, I’ve made a difficult decision – at the first opportunity, the books I’ve lovingly collected are going to be carefully stored away somewhere. It really just doesn’t do to have a collection of something so live and vital displayed that just abruptly halts in 2009 or so. I have no desire to be the resident of the museum. But I’m going to keep them and, someday (given my present circumstances, in a future distant from now) and in some other place, I’ll put them back out and use them to inspire future generations with the story of the worlds that came before them.
Adam Yoshida is a Vancouver-based blogger and the author of The Blast of War.
* Incidentally, if someone is trying to find a Christmas present that I would find charming and moving, I see that old copies of Jane’s sell fairly cheaply online these days. I’m not really partial to any particular year – I have always been fascinated by having the chance to read up on the service life of old ships, especially veterans of the Second World War that continued in service somewhere in the 1970’s or 1980’s, though.
I’m going to depart from my usual commentary to offer an endorsement of what I believe to be the best television show that (almost) no one is watching: HBO’s The Life and Times of Tim. While fact that the show’s third season premieres next month suggests that it has at least some fans I think that it’s still fair to suggest, at least using the Pauline Kael-standard of judgement (I don’t know anyone who watches the show, except for people I have specifically introduced to it), that its fan base is much, much smaller than it deserves to be. In light of this I feel that it is fitting and proper that I depart from my usual hobby of prophesying the end of the world unless my advice is heeded in order to get some more people to watch a show I really love.
“There’s no transitive property in having a slutty wife,” one character explains to another in response to his excitement at discovering that the man cuckolding him is an NHL player in one second season episode. If you don’t see the inherent humor in that line, the show probably isn’t for you. Created by Steve Dildarian, a former ad writer, the show is the story of Tim and his co-workers, friends, and acquaintances. Most of the problems in the life of twenty-something Tim (actually, I believe that Tim is twenty-five. I was initially going to fudge that belief for whatever reason, but there you go) are entirely self-inflicted, the result of his chronic inability to stand up for himself and his willingness to go along with the insanity of most of the world around him despite the fact that he’s just smart enough to see that he’s being taken on a road to disaster. “I don’t like where this is headed,” he’ll often comment as he’s being dragged from one fiasco to another.
I’ll tell you up front that the show probably isn’t for everyone. Several people who I’ve tried to sell on its virtues have been turned off by its poor animation quality. Others have a problem with the fact that much of the humor on the show is frankly deeply cynical and, well, kind of sadistic.
Take, for example, the second segment from the show’s pilot (each episode is broken into two short stories). Tim’s brash co-worker Rodney rents out a club to throw a bachelor party, but only Tim and his friend Stu show up because Rodney, as it turns out, is generally detested by everyone that he knows. Taking pity upon Rodney, Tim agrees to help make up stories of how wild the party was in order to make everyone who didn’t come feel bad that they missed it (with Stu agreeing to go along because he doesn’t “give a shit”). However, they fail to agree upon a story for Tim that evening, resulting in Tim coming into work the next day to find out that the story that they made up for him was that he got drunk and was raped by a bum on the grounds that that sounds like something that might happen to him. Tim then spends the rest of the segment first unsuccessfully attempting to convince people that the story is a lie and then, having decided that going along is the easier path, has the truth exposed by two NYPD officers who then coerce him into going on “60 Minutes” to play the role of a victim for a segment on “Bum Rape.”
Personally, I think that the above is hilarious (and the original segment – based upon a previous animated short that Dildarian created with the premise “what happens when your girlfriend comes home before your hooker leaves?” is great too) but, I can see how it’s not for everyone. Another wonderful segment features Tim and Stu going to see an eponymous “Unjustly Neglected Drama” from the 40’s that is described as being, “like an Arthur Miller play, but much slower.” Again, wonderful in my opinion, but if you have a hard time in seeing the humor in that, the show probably isn’t for you.
Yet, as I have emphasized that this is – and will always be – a divisive show, it’s still one that absolutely deserves to find a much larger audience than it has. Personally, I think that the show’s smart humor, unalloyed by the sort of false sentiment that is slathered on most other television shows, captures the spirit of the age better than anything else on television.
Adam Yoshida is a Vancouver-based blogger and the author of “The Blast of War.”
I ask for your pardon in advance. At the outset I had no desire to waste as many pixels as I have on the execrable and attention-seeking conduct of the so-called “Occupy” movement. With my new book, The Blast of War, exceeding my initial sales expectations I would probably be better off spending more time working on the sequel (which, nevertheless, I still expect to have ready and available before people start opening their new Kindles and Nooks come Christmas). However with their latest move here in Vancouver – from the Art Gallery to the Courthouse – they are much closer to me and their disruptions are a great personal and political irritant to me. When an ersatz revolution sets up camp a block from your home, I believe that individuals such as myself are obligated to make ourselves heard.
The Occupiers represent a brand of particularly-malignant political ignorance that, alas, cannot be ignored given how balefully destructive the effects of its poisonous mentality have been when spread throughout our society. In the end they are nothing more than a worse-dressed and less-hygienic resurrection of Huey Long’s bumpkin “Share Our Wealth” Louisiana populism. They have no higher conception of economics than a vision of wealth as some sort of sacred manna scattered from the heavens – or, I suppose, gifted upon us by whatever random deities they worship – that is being hoarded by a handful of greedy plutocrats. Having no concept of the sources of wealth and no evident ability to create wealth on their own terms, the Occupiers rationalize their own personal failures as being not the result of their own inadequacies but as an evil disruption of the natural order and, following upon their misunderstanding of the sources of prosperity, they harbor a magical delusion that the state can somehow simply hand more of it to them, as though wealth was something that existed independently of human exertions.
What we are faced with today – the real ill that afflicts our country and our society – isn’t the war between the “1%” and the “99%”. That notion is insulting and nonsensical, plainly designed as a slogan divorced from thought. If we buy into the notion that just the “1%” are guilty, what are we to make of those in the 98th percentile? Or, for that matter, someone such as myself who, while not amongst the richest here are certainly better-off than the average in North America and, therefore, are among the top 5% or so of all the people in the world? I may not be among the “1%”, but I’m richer than 95% or so of the people in the world (and, incidentally, anyone reading this is probably, at a minimum, better off than 90% or so of the world’s people), so what reason is there to believe that your revolution, if it was ever to leave the launching pad, would not target us as well?
No, my friends, the conflict today is not between those with and those without. I believe, in the worlds of Calvin Coolidge, that everyone is entitled the rewards of their own labor, be they ever so large or ever so small. Alas, that is not the creed of the occupiers and their ilk all over the world – they believe themselves to be entitled to reward without sacrifice. The war today is between those who take and those who make. It is between those who create wealth and those who feel entitled to it as a reward for their existence, as though it was the just inheritance due to them on account of their birth amongst the aristocracy of man.
That is what is wrong with society and the world today. We have too many looters. Too many free-riders. Too many groups and too many people who believe that they are entitled to a living independent of the value of their work. This is not a matter of rich versus poor – it is a matter of the productive versus the unproductive. The University Vice President of Diversity Management is as much a looter – and is just as guilty – as the man who accepts middle class welfare by claiming a fraudulent disability.
We may laugh at the pathetic antics of the occupiers today – but we should not ignore them. They are the outward manifestation of a malignancy that has already metastasized throughout our civilization. Their illogical and disordered thinking might be easily mocked – but they are still dangerous. They are merely the most vocal and gauche members of a vast class of looters whose unending war upon the productive now threatens civilization itself.
In their view of the occupiers and their allies – left-wing politicians, public sector workers, and the like – the rest of us are their slaves, expected to docilely provide them with whatever sums they require to spend on whatever they feel like. They think that the rest of us are like those granted Dhimmi status in those Islamic countries governed under the strictest interpretations of Sharia law – that we are allowed to practice our obscure and false religion of private commerce so long as we pay the required tax and accept a second-class citizenship. One can only escape this tax – called the jizya in Islam – through a religious conversion to the looter faith.
I wish that the Occupiers and their friends would reflect deeply upon the state of the world. Their welfare systems are collapsing for the same reason that those Islamic states that practices Dhimmitude have always suffered: when you wage war upon the productive, you give all but the most stubborn and bloody-minded people sound reasons to join the ranks of the non-productive. No free nation can, pace Abraham Lincoln, survive half-slave and half-free. In the end, we shall have to become all one thing or all the other.
“This is what democracy looks like!” the protestors like to scream at passers-by. They’re wrong. This is what the end of democracy looks like. When democratic government degenerates into a contest over looted spoils between rival mobs, dictatorship cannot be far behind. Self-government, like Calvin Coolidge once reminded us, means self-support.
Yes, as ridiculous as so many of the protestors are, they are very dangerous indeed. Our economic troubles of today are severe – but they remain manageable. What is to happen – what will people of this sort do – if we find ourselves enmeshed in an even worse crisis a few years down the road?
The other day the Drudge Report carried a photo from the New York. It was a sign that read “99% means civil war.” Those who support the movement ought to realize the essential truth of this statement. If this movement is allowed to spread uncontrolled – if it is allowed to violate the law with near-impunity and to use force to attempt to implement policies, in violation of the rights and the will of the majority of the people, that amount to nothing less than outright confiscation of property than the ultimate result will indeed be civil war. No greater evil could afflict our society and yet, if this movement and mentality is allowed to spread and allowed to believe that it might ultimately be allowed to seize power and implement the full measure of its creed, than what alternative will there be?
“The supreme function of statesmanship,” Enoch Powell reminded us, “is to provide against preventable evils.” No evil is more preventable than that which looms before us now. And yet, I fear, none is more inevitable without preventative action. If the mentality of the looters is allowed to spread unchecked, if we allow the continued growth of a vast dependent class whose ever-increasing demands tax the strength and spirit of an ever-decreasing minority of the productive, some terrible events will come.
Someday, if economic conditions are allowed to deteriorate and if nothing is done to decrease the growing demands and size of the looter class there will come a demand that is so unacceptable, so far over the line, that something somewhere will break.
“99% means civil war” says the sign of the Occupiers. What they fail to understand is that it would not be the war that they are planning for. If they, the looters, mean to appropriate the wealth of others to their own ends, the war that they get will not be some sort of Marxist-fantasyworld uprising of the masses against some overclass. It will be a war of all against all that will tear apart families and friends and in which their will be no true victor. And, ultimately, the decision as to whether we shall have such a conflict rests in the hands of those in the streets and those directing them, because as they threaten to make war to seize what others have there are those, such as myself, who will accept war rather than surrender it.
These are dangerous days. The times in which we live require leaders of foresight and courage. Someone, somewhere, needs to stand up for those who pay for civilization. The great silent minority of the people who toil day in and out an expect nothing more from the world than the right to enjoy what they have earned – they are the backbone of the world. They are tired, put-upon, and suffering. And, regrettably, as much has already been asked of them – and as they have freely given it – more must be asked still. If we are to survive and rebuild our economy and civilization along fair and just lines, this silent minority must resolve to be silent no more.
Adam Yoshida is a Vancouver-based blogger and the author of The Blast of War.
At the outset of this election season I had planned to vote for “None of the Above” for Mayor by casting my ballot for a third party candidate. My reasons for doing so were simple enough: I don’t particularly care for the positions of the candidate of the NPA, the only right-of-centre party, on a number of issues. I believe that for Vancouver to truly succeed this city needs a leader made of iron – one who will stand instantly and firmly against disorder and for the law. I believe that we need a leader who recognizes that adherence to fashionable and development-slowing doctrines will result in our falling behind our neighbors – especially our friends in Surrey who are increasingly moving from being the butt of jokes to citizens of the best-managed city in the region. I don’t want Vancouver to be second at anything – and we will be if we’re led by people who spend more time on navel-gazing debates over productivity-destroying bike lanes than in figuring out how we can get some of the most valuable real estate on the planet redeveloped as quickly as possible.
We need a leader who recognizes that compassion is not measured by how much money we throw at social problems but in approaching them from first principles rooted in standards of universal justice. Our first obligation should be to the citizens of Vancouver: there is nothing written on Earth or handed down from heaven that requires us to take in all of the derelicts of the entire country and beyond. We should have a government that spends its time figuring out how to build a stronger, richer, better city – the greatest in the world – instead of one that is constantly distracted and diverted by the parochial concerns of a handful of radical activists who care not a whit for the general welfare.
Vancouver deserves a leader who is willing to endure condemnation and calumny to defend the people. One who will act in the broader interest of the average citizen, the great silent majority of Vancouverites who isn’t represented by the shouters and screamers. Twice this year we have seen our city government fail the broad majority of the people, both times with severe consequences for some businesses and individuals.
A leader would have been prepared, based upon history and a sound understanding of the increasingly-barbaric characteristics of the crowds of people who took to the streets (and flooded in from the suburbs, I need not add), during the NHL playoffs. A leader would have acted instantly in order to stop the disorders from even beginning in the first place and, had that failed, they would have acted resolutely to contain and end the riots and to immediately see to it that the perpetrators were punished.
That isn’t what happened, of course. Our present Mayor, Gregor Robertson, equivocated, waffled, and dodged. He cowered as the city burned. While the streets of the city were littered with glass and streaked with blood, he spent his time trying to get his story straight. This man isn’t a leader: he’s a politician.
And that is the overriding issue of this election. I may not be – indeed I am not – entranced by Suzanne Anton. However, she has not been truly tested yet. Mr. Robertson has and he has failed.
I absolutely do disagree with Suzanne Anton on a range of issues – as I expect that all of you may from both the left and the right. I think that this city has wasted an absurd amount of money on faddish “green” programs – that she has supported from beginning to end – that do nothing for the environment but which have wasted tremendous amounts of taxpayer money. I think that she, and most in her party, have an excessively narrow perspective when it comes to the question of the future of the Downtown Eastside. I wish that we had a leader who would forthrightly embrace what we all know the future of the region to be – that block-by-block we will retake that part of the city, it being some of the most valuable land on the continent, and redevelop it – and make realistic plans for that. And perhaps it is true that, thinking as I do, I ought to be a candidate for Mayor myself – and perhaps someday such a choice will be offered. However, I should note by way of salute to Suzanne Anton and her friends in the NPA, running for office in a city of nearly a million people is a tremendously expensive undertaking and one that requires full-time commitment and endless resources. The future of this city, for the time being, rightfully belongs to those who show up.
Thus, we are left where we are left. There is no perfect choice for Mayor, but there is a clear one. If nothing else, the facts of the so-called “occupation” of the Vancouver Art Gallery ought to spell that out for everyone to clearly see. There is a maxim I am fond of quoting – “the supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils.” Nowhere was that clearer than here. Anyone with common sense ought to have seen, from the very first, that such a protest – illegal on its face – could only end in disorder and the destruction of property. The real costs, when they are all added up, will surely spill into the millions. And we do not yet know how many people will ultimately be injured as a result of it. A leader of vision would have known all of this at the outset and would have stopped this fiasco from ever coming to pass. Perhaps a Mayor Anton would have acted no differently than Mayor Robertson did – that question belongs to the realm of the counterfactual at this point. We know what Gregor Robertson did. We know, based upon repeated and public demonstrations of this fact, that the man is a craven, pandering coward and that he is unfit to lead our city – and that is why I’m voting for Suzanne Anton today.
Adam Yoshida is a Vancouver resident and the author of “The Blast of War.”
« Previous Page — « Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries » — Next Page »