The optimist versus the actor: Liberal election fortunes brighten

Christy Clark is bound and determined to prove I am uniquely correct in predicting she will be re-elected May 14 as premier of some, not ...

Christy Clark is bound and determined to prove I am uniquely correct in predicting she will be re-elected May 14 as premier of some, not all, of the people.

That sage prophecy was made last August. Cascades of scandal, bungles and flights from the foundering Liberal ship continued unabated. All about me differed. I kept calm and carried on. Behind my wise old façade, admittedly, I did harbour some doubt.

But a couple of weeks ago the previously absent Gold-dust Fairy sprinkled some of the once-precious metal in Clark’s path, and the Ship of Impending Disaster visibly changed course.

Sea-sick with the sailing and mixed metaphors?

Take a pill.

Here is the promising bill of lading that pilot Clark now has in stow:

One, Gordon Campbell’s HST monkey on her back has finally hopped off and returned to honest work as an organ-grinder.

Two, Clark has been resoundingly cleared by independent commissioner Gerald Gerrand of conflict of interest allegations concerning the BC Rail sale – to the satisfaction of everyone but embittered wanderer John van Dongen, the Odysseus of B.C. politicians, and some internuts.

Here’s a prize for collectors of irony: Clark behaved so circumspectly that her very rectitude in absenting herself from BC Rail deliberations raised suspicions in small minds that she must be hiding something. The Vancouver Sun’s Vaughn Palmer shrewdly observed that “if van Dongen had set out to generate a report that would dispel the allegations of conflict of interest … he couldn’t have produced a more persuasive set of findings than these.” This may prove the eccentric van Dongen’s lasting contribution to B.C.’s political life.

Three, the furious, under-reported struggle by unidentified, pale little wordsmiths to seize the politically correct high ground for New Democrat leader Adrian Dix’s Wikipedia entry, the battleground being Dix’s past as then-premier Glen Clark’s left-hand man.

Literally, if not literately, minute-by-minute competing lords of the language pounced on the supposedly corrupt text, expunging negative passages, instantly restoring them, slamming one another left and right with gerunds, subjunctive clauses and lethal footnotes. That’s how important this is to the party ghosts.

Fourth, Christy Clark’s RSVP challenge to a talking-head-to-talking-head televised debate was declined by Dix, on the ground that Conservative leader John Cummins and the Greens’ Jane Sterk should be included.

How noble.

How principled.

How many voters felt that?

My unofficial, fictitious poll is: 19%.

The rest suspected Dix of tactical dodging. In the event, Mother Corp CBC included all four in the April 29 clash of titans.

Finally, the fifth business: Don’t underestimate one of Clark’s most powerful assets – Adrian Dix’s really exciting personality and unforgettable, widely recognized face. I don’t think.

And weigh this: Big reason for Clark’s unpopularity among women is that, forget arch-feminist ideology, many still resent ambitious women and prefer male leaders – a stoutly stated opinion that a woman caller made to CKNW’s Bill Good, who choked, being terrified of such unfashionable dissent.

Only naifs expect election campaigns to produce anything but windbaggery and rosy future figures plucked from thin air (no government will dissolve the debt): Spunky, bubbly Christy, carrying more party baggage than WestJet, will at very least capture more of the Reluctant Vote than we paid pundits expect. She radiates optimism, and there’s a fair need for it now.

But more than a saleswoman’s smile, she’s demonstrated personal integrity and unflagging courage.

How do I read Dix? He’s a consummate actor. He’s been impersonating a moderate. He’s foxed the media.

Never doubt: He’s the strategic front man for the big-state, anti-business, neo-Marxist NDP heavies in the back rooms. •

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