Brian Mulroney, Canada’s Mitt Romney

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A Guest Post by Canadian TAM Flaggman

There’s been a lot of hand-wringing these past few days among Palinistas over the former V-P candidate’s apparent defense of Donald Trump’s machinations and Ron Paul’s fanatical followers. These two positions are clearly harmful to the Republican Party, which makes it clear to me: Sarah Palin sees the GOP itself as the problem, not the solution, in this election cycle. When she warns the GOP against isolating Trump and the Paulites, she’s not endorsing a Trump independent run or a Paul presidency per se. What she is doing is firing a shot across the bow on behalf of the Tea Party, saying to the establishment: don’t you dare go dismissing constituency groups within the Republican Party. If it’s Trump and Paul now, it’s the Tea Party next, and that is simply not acceptable. This gives us pause to reflect on a little Canadian political history to see what can happen when the grassroots of a what is supposed to be a conservative party are ignored, humiliated, and isolated.

The 1970s and early 1980s in Canada were run, essentially, by Barack Obama, in the person of the America-hating incompetent-socialist demagogue leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Pierre Elliott Trudeau. When he finally got tired and walked away in 1984, he left the country pining for a conservative renaissance, and Brian Mulroney rode that sentiment to leadership victory in the Progressive Conservative Party, and a landslide in the polls later that year. Despite running as a conservative warrior, Mulroney was the ultimate insider, foisted on the party membership from the Toronto-Montreal legal establishment, and rather than peeling back the Trudeau experiment, he expanded upon it by further nationalizing the health care system, adding a 7% tax-on-everything, and leaving us with crushing deficits that led Canada to the edge of credit rating downgrade. In the 1993 election, with the Conservative-in-name-only Mulroney abandoning ship, and the socialist Liberal Party running on a platform to the right of the Progressive Conservatives, the results came in: the PC Party, the purported conservative side of what was essentially a two-party system, was destroyed. It held on to just two seats in Parliament, and never recovered. Stephen Harper’s Conservative government in Canada today is a result of the gutting and scuttling of that party by small-c conservatives in the ensuing years, forming it eventually into today’s ruling Conservative Party of Canada.

How does this relate to Palin’s comments on Trump and Paul? The key is what happened from 1984, when our McCain-Romney figure (Mulroney) took over, until 1993, when his party essentially disappeared. On two fronts, Mulroney ignored his base. In Quebec, Canada’s second-largest province, the big-government federalist encroachment so enraged the French-majority voters that they left to start their own separatist party that nearly ripped the country apart via referendum in 1995. In Alberta, Canada’s energy-producing behemoth, the big-government encroachment so enraged the rugged individualists of the West that they founded a new party, the Reform Party of Canada, which was essentially our Tea Party movement of the 1990s. (Not coincidentally, Stephen Harper was a founding member of the Reform Party after abandoning Mulroney’s PC’s.)

The splintering of the PC party, a direct result of the establishment placing a higher priority on centralizing federal power than on promoting the will of the grassroots, led to 13 years of corrupt and aimless Liberal Party rule, while the grassroots worked tirelessly to organize and establish itself as a viable national alternative under Harper. But now that a principled conservative party is in charge (not that it doesn’t have its share of RINOs, but that’s for another day), we have a principled government in Canada that, with the majority mandate earned in the 2011 election, is finally beginning to peel back the layers of federalist socialist intrusion into the lives of Canadian citizens.

So don’t dismiss Palin’s apparent defense of Trump and Paul-bots as nonsensical rantings or bitterness. The splintering of the Republican voting base could open up the danger of another decade in the wilderness, and Palin knows this. It’s not so much the loss of Trump-ites (of which there are few) or Paulites (of which there are a few more) she is concerned about. It’s the attitude of dismissiveness by the establishment that could ultimately result in the loss of the Tea Party constituency – and that would be a disaster for the Republicans. And the implication is this: if the Republican establishment tries to force an American Brian Mulroney on the grassroots, the Republican party will be be no more. And the rebuilding under a different name could begin at any time.

-Neil Flagg is a Toronto-based businessman, blogger, Conservative Party of Canada member, and TAM. You can follow him on Twitter @NeilFlagg

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23 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. [...] is my latest piece written for, which you will find here at its original location: “A Warning From Canada for the GOP”. Listen every weekday at 1pm Eastern to two hours of uninterupted independent conservative [...]

  2. Kat says:

    Flaggman what an AWESOME piece! Along with the message, I enjoyed reading the brief history lesson on the contemporary Canadian political landscape!
    I pray the GOP will listen to your advice but sad to say, I will not be holding my breath!
    Thanks again Flaggman….well done!

    P.S. Is there a warm part of Canada? I cannot handle the cold! :D

    • flaggman says:

      About 10 years ago, there was a movement by people in Turks & Caicos to have Canada annex them. I wish I knew what happened with that, because that would have been the only warm part of Canada in the winter! Thanks for your kind words Kat, and everyone below.

  3. _CarrieP says:

    Wow! As a Palinista, I’ve been shaking my head, trying to figure out why Governor Palin would ‘talk up’ the Paul-bots.

    I’ve heard many of these Paul-bots lie their way onto talkshows these past several months and spew their crazy, ‘non-sensicle’ rants delivered with the sheeple-like passion of Leftists at a Code Pink rally. There’s just no talking sense with these people! How could someone like Palin even consider giving them these clowns time of day, let alone waste her breath on them while being interviewed?

    But then voila, along comes your article!

    What a great analogy to the undercurrents brewing within the GOP here in the U.S. You provided an historical perspective and lesson on Canadian politics, as well as a very plausible and smart answer as to my Palin – Paul-bot dilemma!

    I walk away from this with a puzzle solved, more educated on politics in general – both nationally and internationally, as well as getting the satisfaction of being able to say, through a justifiable and content sigh, “I just love us TAMS!”

    You hit it out of the park! Thanks again for another Flaggman homerun!

  4. sandyl says:

    Excellent commentary Flaggman, thank you! Your perspective, as usual, is right on!

    If conservatives don’t take back this country, all the TAMs may have to move to Canada, but I’m with Kat—don’t like the severe cold. Hope you have a large couch for all of us :D

  5. Patricia says:

    Excellent post – thanks very much for your insight Flaggman.

  6. dwbinder says:

    Hey those canuks aren’t so goofy after all. Sounds like they finally came to the planet earth. A good lesson for RNP to snap out of it.

  7. ME_only says:

    Sir Flaggman, you have hit the nail squarely on the head. There are way too many people who listen to what a person says while using their own scenario for what that person means. It is like a two or three year old listening to his/her parents tell him/her to never touch the top of the stove. Gov. Palin’s speech was perfectly understood if a person had “listened” to what she said. As an addendum, I will bring up the fact that one could learn from history, whether it is our own or anothers. To ignore that history, you are doomed to repeat it.

  8. cactuswren says:

    CarrieP couldn’t have said it any better. Thanks flaggman!

  9. Great post! Palin knows exactly what she’s doing and saying. You hit it right in the bullseye. Thanks!

  10. BastiatFan says:

    You know, Flaggman, Palin’s recent remarks left me sort of scratching my head. But your excellent post really PUTS THE PIECES TOGETHER, and I think you’re exactly right.

    I hope we can look forward to more insightful commentary from you, sir. Proud to be associated with you as a TAM.

  11. norm1111 says:

    Great insight…and great piece….

  12. [...] Tammy Bruce posted a great piece from a guest blogger from Canada that touched on this subject: A Warning from Canada for the GOP: Don’t Ignore the Grassroots. The money quote: The splintering of the PC party, a direct result of the establishment placing a [...]

  13. jmm says:

    Thank you, OUTSTANDING!

  14. hatter83 says:

    great post

  15. Great piece Mr. Flagg!

    At present, as a last resort, I see a need to destroy the GOP and remake it if Romeny is the nominee and/or elected. More on that later…

    I tend not to think this was Palin warning the GOP not to discount TEA party. They always try to do that at every turn. I believe this is Palin trying to create in-roads to Paul/Trump supporters who might give her a second look in a future election, be it a last minute run in 2012, or the next 2016. (Heaven forbid BO gets re-elected.) This also sends a message to Bachmann, Perry, Santorum, Gingrich supporters, that they have a safe place to put their support once their candidate finally drops out. Statements like this also helps Palin to remain relevant as a pundit and as a cultural icon. Palin shows once again that she has great political instincts and thinks outside the box. I am glad to see her saying something meaningful once again, even if it is more just a way to build support for herself. I also like the way she can walk that thin line of publicly showing respect for other supporters without sounding like she endorses their views out right. She is a natural. None of the other candidates except maybe Gingrich could pull that off in a believable fashion.

    • flaggman says:

      Thanks Prince! Interesting analysis as well, although I think it may be a tad cynical in regards to the way Palin operates. If I could read those political cards she’s holding close to her chest, this is what I guess they would say: 1) she was set to run, but found the GOP establishment was rigging the game against her on many fronts; 2) she stepped out because the conventional road was all but blocked to her, but hoped to see one of the candidates in the race overcome the establishment, rally around Tea Party people and principles, and take over the race from Romney; 3) she has a Plan B on the backburner, that if no one can overcome the establishment and take over the race under Tea Party principles, she will damn the crooked primary system, jump in “sudden-and-relentless” style, and bully her way to the convention hall with the Tea Party behind her; and 4) if that fails, she’ll consider leading a “Canadian plan” after November, involving the gutting and replacing the GOP. I think her Trump/Paul warnings to the GOP jive with this theory. Of course, this is all just fantastic speculation from the mind of an amateur Canadian observer…(but we are pretty close to Alaska up here…)

      • he he, I agree with your reply 100%! For me I guess it’s always a tough balance between being too cynical and too romantic/hopeful. I would love nothing more to wake up one day with a president Palin, knowing full well she had it all thought through from the start. Looking back, the bus tour was a brilliant attempt to get the attention of potential financial backers, as well as test the waters as to the impact a campaign would have on her young ones. I can’t help but think that it was a family issue that brought the tour to a sudden halt. The family issue, and the fact that not enough finances were offered, combined with a scheming GOP finally did her in. Now, after months have passed, I respect Sarah more for keeping the door open as long as she did. It took a lot of guts to keep the door open that long, and to remain faithful that God would open the right door at the right time. Only when it became overwhelmingly very clear this was not his plan, did she withdraw. At least this is how I hope events unfolded. If a matured/reformed Gingrich or a rejuvenated Palin can’t get the nomination in 2012, then I see no other solution then to torch the GOP and make a new stronger party. One that can draw support from 75% of GOP primary voters and by extension 65% of the general vote:) I like the idea of the “Classic Liberals” CL’s in 2016! We still have a chance to TEA up the Congress in 2012! Foooooooore!

  16. This post has been Instalaunched — Glenn Reynolds put it up about 5 am Arizona time onto Instapundit.

  17. [...] WARNING FROM CANADA FOR THE GOP: Don’t ignore the grassroots. “The key is what happened from 1984, when our McCain-Romney figure (Mulroney) took over, [...]

  18. [...] from Canadian politics? This article, brilliantly written BTW, seems to think so. Please take a look and let me know what you [...]

  19. [...] Lesson for the Republican Party Posted on February 7, 2012 by Cincinnatus Here is an interesting article about the collapse of the Progressive Conservative party and the rise of the Reform Party in [...]

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