Bias laid bare: Jeffrey Simpson on Harper, NDP, GST

Jeffrey Simpson

As if there were any doubt already that The Globe And Mail’s chief political columnist, Jeffrey Simpson, was a conservative-hating soft-left elitist… check out this exchange from his online Q&A session yesterday on The Year in Federal Politics:

Jasmine Francis, Halifax: I was a bit dismayed when the Liberals decided this fall to prop up the Harper government and I was glad to see the NDP step forward to oppose Harper’s insane policies.

But that doesn’t seem to have translated into more popular support for the NDP. Why?

Jeffrey Simpson: Jasmine, you ask why?

It remains in power in only one Canadian province, Manitoba, and the government there is far more practical and pragmatic than the federal party.

Worse, and I say this with dismay, the NDP has become the “nasty” party, engaging in personal attacks, grasping at little weaknesses of their adversaries, being what the Scots would call “mangy,” rather than big-hearted.

It comes, I think, from always being in opposition, listening to yourself all the time, and living within an enclosed world.

You know Acton’s saying about absolute power corrupting absolutely. Flip it around: So does absolute lack of power all the time.

His analysis of the NDP? Spot-on. However, notice the part of Jasmine’s question he does not touch: “Harper’s insane policies.” He simply lets that go, not even touching this blatantly incendiary demagoguery, meaning one of two things: 1) he agrees with the assertion that PM Stephen Harper’s policies are insane, despite the fact that there is not a single rational human being on earth who could make that case; or 2) he privately found it over-the-top and foolish, but decided to keep it out there because it serves his purpose of subtly demonizing conservatives at every possible opportunity.

Still not convinced he’s an elitist prig? How about this exchange:

Emile Scheffel, Ottawa: Hello, Mr. Simpson. My personal perception of this Conservative government is an intense focus on optics at the expense of high-quality achievements.

The most recent instance of this, in my opinion, is the tax reductions in the mini-budget, where an equivalent income tax cut would have saved the average Canadian more money than the GST cut did. But the GST reduction is easier to explain to voters in a heated election situation.

To what extent to do you agree or disagree with this perspective, and how do you think the Conservatives will be able to revert from this pattern in order to create tangible improvements in Canada?

Thank you.

Jeffrey Simpson: Emile, I sat at lunch yesterday with a Harper minister — one of the few he listens to — and the minister admitted without the slightest hesitation or qualification that the GST cut had been completely political and that every bureaucrat in the finance department had opposed it. (He could have added almost every economist in the country)

Oh, so if bureaucrats and practitioners of “the dismal science” are against it, that means it was wrong? Typical liberal-elitist trick: when you can’t win an argument on merits, defer to authority. In this case, he makes it crystal-clear how liberal-elite thought differs from the rational-thinking public-at-large: the public understands that, if every bureaucrat in the finance department is against something, IT MUST BE SOMETHING GOOD!

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10 Comments

Filed under Media Bias, The Confusion of The Left

10 responses to “Bias laid bare: Jeffrey Simpson on Harper, NDP, GST

  1. TnT

    ever considered the idea that perhaps, he, like all other Canadians, are allowed their own opinion?

    I realize it’s upsetting to conservative supporters that someone in his position could have such blasphemous opinions, however, didn’t the globe and mail also give Harper the nod as their choice in the last election?

  2. OK, TNT: tell me, objectively, in as long a comment as you want, how Harper’s policies are “insane”. And who ever said I wouldn’t allow Simpson’s opinion? You seem to be oblivious to the fact, like most lefties are, that freedom of speech does not mean freedom from criticism.

    As far as the Globe’s endorsement goes in the last election: doesn’t relate to this post. I’m talking about Simpson here, not the Globe editorial board.

  3. Emile S.

    I’m sorry, Flaggman, this is a ridiculous accusation. Simpson wasn’t asked about the sanity of the Prime Minister’s policies; the question was about the NDP, and he answered it.
    As for his response to my question, I challenge you to point out how Simpson’s choice of words evaluated – positively or negatively – the bureaucrats’ opinions; he simply paraphrased what a Cabinet minister said.
    On a side note, if you don’t trust the opinions of bureaucrats, what do you say to the economists who agree with them?

  4. Emile: an accusation of insanity certainly demands addressing. Not addressing that claim certainly is suspicious.

    His answer to your question absolutely and very clearly endorses the opinion of the bureaucrats and economists. If you read carefully, all he says about the cabinet minister is that he said that the bureaucrats disagreed. The cabinet minister didn’t necessarily say HE disagreed with it! But it was Simpson himself, and not the cabinet minister, who added on the economists comment to buttress HIS point of view.

    And was the GST cut a political move? No doubt…but why does that make a difference, if it’s the right thing to do?

  5. TnT

    oh my. Flaggman, you seem to be missing it here.

    I often think of blogs, and forums quite similar to that old game we played as kids, telephone. You know, where a kid would whisper one thing, and as it passes through the line, the kid on the end would repeat something we never knew how the hell he got that from the original word(s).

    Now my response really has little to do with the opinion of Jeffery Simpson, so, I’m not really sure why, you are asking me to defend his opinion on Harper’s policies. How did the conversation go there? You immediately assume, that I agree with Simpson. It makes no difference as far as my comment is concerned.

    What I see is absolute scorn that Simpson, could possibly have such a opinion, even going as far as saying “there is not a single rational human being on earth who could make that case”. Come on! Now how obvious is that kind of nonsense? “Typical liberal-elitist trick”. “a conservative-hating soft-left elitist”, and oh, that goodie… “an elitist prig”. Now are you not guilty of the same very thing you are accusing Simpson of? Can we say that you are a liberal-hating hard-right elitist too? And what does that prove? Personally that proves an ability to hurl labels rather than focus on the content.

  6. TnT, all I’m “guilty” of is of holding the oh-so-revered Mr. Simpson up to some scrutiny. As a well-paid national public affairs columnist and influencer of public opinion, he’s more than fair game for criticism.

    You can call me whatever you want, as well. But I’m happy to defend my assertion that Simpson is a conservative-hating elitist prig any time, any place.

  7. TnT

    see, you’ve missed it again.

    Fine, hold him to scrutiny. Call him all the names you like. But until you get down to the content, all you say is sour grapes from a conservative.

    As a well paid national public affairs columnist, he’s free to say whatever he likes. Because, we live in a free society that allows free thought and speech. The same freedom, that allows you to differ with his opinion. But what I am getting at, is you are clearly not happy with his freedom to express his ‘conservative-hating’ opinions, would like to see that changed. Don’t you? Yes that is clear.

    So what? There are plenty of liberal hating prigs out there too!

    Get a load of this nonsense!
    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20071224/tories_fundraising_071224/20071224?hub=Politics

    ooooh the great liberal boogeyman! Send us MORE cash to get the commies… er liberals! Come on that is just unbelievable, regardless of what party you like. I find it equally as repugnant as the liberals who try to use Hitler and Harper in the same sentence. I just tune them out.

    Notice to any or all journalists who dare criticize the tory government in any way. You will be dealt with eventually. You “conservative-hating elitist prigs!”

  8. TnT

    btw, a very merry christmas and happy holidays to you, and thank you for the dialog.

  9. Merry Christmas, TnT.

    I don’t understand your rant at all. I’ve simply never, ever, called for anyone to be denied the right to say what they want. Did I say I want Simpson silenced? He can say whatever he wants, I can scrutinize it however I please, and you can rant against my analysis any time you want. But please, stop making stuff up to suit your own preconceived notions of conservative treachery.

  10. TnT

    Flaggman, let’s see if I can set this straight. Rather than address the content directly, even when the original poster you referred to set you straight (!), you attacked Simpson as a conservative hating elitist using liberal dirty tricks. As if you have to be some kind of a scoundrel to have such an opinion. How dare he! What dirty tricks?

    What absolute nonsense.

    And now what is this conservative treachery you speak of now?

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