Quit Apologizing

August 1st, 2019 | RR

Whenever Justin Trudeau and his Liberals face a controversy or scandal, we see them double down. We don't hear much of an apology for scandals involving multi-national corporations in Quebec, openly biased judicial appointments, groping allegations, sexual misconduct and various ethics violations. Instead, we see a prime minister double down and blame the previous government or the “far right” for any of the mishaps that befall his government. After that, the mainstream media chokes down the fodder and moves onto the the next story like nothing happened. Meanwhile, the rest of us are stuck with opposition leaders so concerned with winning votes that they apologize every time some crazed moron on social media makes a stink about something someone on their team may have said, that can too easily be construed as racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist or offensive. Here we are, stuck with a bunch of weak apologists who erroneously think their apologies will give them better traction on their slippery slopes.

Our opponents don't want us to apologize so they can forgive us, they want us to apologize so they can claim victory. Being forced to apologize isn't about making amends and having our misdeeds forgotten, it's about giving our enemies the ability to say they were right and that we were wrong. In a normal world, we apologize when we know we were wrong, so we can move on and the people we have wronged can forgive us. Unfortunately, politics isn't a normal world and our enemies aren't thirsty for forgiveness, they're thirsty for blood.

The opinion polls might mislead you into thinking that Justin Trudeau's tactic of not apologizing and passing blame for his scandals is failing, but don't be fooled. The Liberals are already rebounding and the opposition parties—minus the Greens—are not gaining any real traction. The Conservatives breached 37% in a few polls, just a few times, before sinking back down to their normal 32-35% range. The NDP keeps puttering along at an average of 16%, while the PPC barely registers on the radar and the Greens keep erratically spiking up and down between 9% and 14%.

If these opinion polls are correct, the Liberals are slowly inching upward from their low of 29%. Three separate polls, Nanos, Angus Reid and Leger, all showed the Liberals at or below 29% in April and May. Today, those same polls and others show the Liberals averaging about 33%. By the time official campaigning kicks off in September, Liberal numbers will start hitting an average of 36%. By October, the election will be in a dead heat—or the Liberals will take the lead and begin inching back into majority territory.

"Our enemies aren't thirsty for forgiveness, they're thirsty for blood."

The truth is, Justin Trudeau's strategy of doubling down and refusing to apologize is working. Canadians aren't upset at his strategy, they're upset about his scandals and misdeeds. Once those scandals and misdeeds get explained away or forgotten, the Liberals will be back at the top. Trudeau's strategy of doubling down is effective among the Liberal Party's base and among far-left activists who will never have a soft spot for conservatives, no matter what conservatives do or say. Voters in the middle might be turned off by Trudeau's strategy, but given the right window of time, they too will be indirectly influenced by Trudeau's lies and the media's obsession with getting him re-elected.

The Solution

The only solution to this problem is for opposition leaders to stop apologizing. Too often, the fear of losing forces people like Andrew Scheer and Jagmeet Singh to apologize, throw their own friends under buses and pander to a group of media and Twitter mobs looking to draw blood. It's almost like these leaders don't realize what I mentioned above: politics isn't the normal world. Their opponents aren't looking to make amends or to right wrongs. They're looking to make their enemies submit and admit wrongdoing—mostly in places where wrongdoing hasn't even happened.

Case in point, the recent incident on the Justice Committee, where Conservative MP Michael Cooper read from a murderer's manifesto to make a rebuttal against a Muslim, pro-Liberal activist who made the claim—on record—that some shootings and acts of violence are related to conservatism. In an attempt to rebut the Liberal activist, Cooper used direct evidence from the horse's mouth to prove that one particular act of violence in Quebec was not, in fact, the result of conservative ideas. We know that Cooper's reading from the manifesto wasn't the real issue. The real issue was that Cooper pointed out a fact that directly contradicts the Liberal narrative that conservatism is linked to extremist violence.

The Liberal media's first instinct was not to attack Cooper's reading of the manifesto, it was to attack Cooper's “attack” on a Muslim activist and Cooper's audacity to tell that Muslim activist that he should be “ashamed” of himself. Those were the first headlines that emerged from the Michael Cooper incident—not headlines about his reading from a killer's manifesto. It was hours later, when the current headlines weren't effective enough, that Liberals and journalists began to find more evidence of “wrongdoing” on Michael Cooper's part.

It's also important to note that Michael Cooper, in fact, apologized after his actions and it wasn't enough for Liberals. They pressed for more.

It was then that Andrew Scheer acted, way later than Liberals would have liked, to expel Michael Cooper from the committee. That was, after all, the whole point of all of this. Liberals never wanted to right a wrong, to defend a Muslim from racism, or to save parliamentary records from the heinous and evil words of a mass murderer—they wanted to successfully defeat another Conservative. Even after Cooper was expelled from the committee, that wasn't enough for Liberals. Now they wanted Michael Cooper expelled from the Conservative caucus.

As published by Canada's state broadcaster:

A Liberal MP wants Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer to strip MP Michael Cooper of his role as deputy justice critic and toss him from the party caucus for berating a Muslim witness at a parliamentary committee last week.

A second Liberal MP said they want part of Cooper's comments, made while MPs were discussing the dangers of online hate, stricken from the parliamentary record.

Scheer recently dropped Cooper from the justice committee for telling Alberta anti-racism activist Faisal Khan Suri he should "be ashamed" after Suri drew a link between "conservative commentators" and the online history of mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette.

"The evidence from Bissonette's computer showed he repeatedly sought content about anti-immigrant, alt-right and conservative commentators, mass murderers, U.S. President Donald Trump, and about Muslims, immigrants living in Quebec," Suri told the committee last week.

Dumping Michael Cooper from caucus was a goal, but the overall goal was to get Andrew Scheer to, somehow, publicly admit wrongdoing by apologizing. Andrew Scheer caved, but not far enough. Scheer expelled Cooper from committee and then publicly declared the case closed. Luckily, Andrew Scheer gave a somewhat restrained and measured response by ending it with “case closed” and refusing to give into further attempts by Liberals and journalists to press for more.

We could argue about whether Scheer should have expelled Cooper from committee at all, but his refusal to dance with Liberals, after the matter, deserves praise.

You might notice that after Scheer declared the case closed, media and Liberals pressed for further action and called Scheer's actions inadequate. However, you should also notice that the matter has since quietly faded away. Had Scheer done or said anything more, it would have continued to make headlines. That was the overall intention of Liberals and their journalists from the start. They wanted to create negative headlines for Conservatives that subconsciously—or overtly—show Liberal victories against racist Nazis and white supremacists.

By ignoring Liberal calls and claims of “not enough”, Andrew Scheer successfully put the whole thing to rest. There is a good chance the issue would have faded away sooner had Andrew Scheer ignored the whole controversy from the beginning, without ever expelling Cooper from committee, but we will never know. Had he gone a step further and defended Cooper, it would have incensed journalists and compelled them to feign outrage and write brutal headlines, but it would have eventually faded away while strengthening Scheer's position among small, grassroots conservatives—which he needs to win.

Going forward, Conservatives need to learn there is no value in acting to appease Liberals and their journalists. Michael Cooper really didn't do anything terrible. To some, reading from the manifesto was too much, but still not worthy of a complete expulsion—especially because he apologized. Had Cooper not read from the manifesto, his rebuttal of a Muslim activist would have still made negative headlines. We all know it.

As we know, apologies aren't the point and they are never enough. Our opponents aren't looking to forgive us and to move on, they're looking to beat us down with our own apologies and retractions. Conservatives and other opposition parties need to stop apologizing, retracting their words, eating their own and trying to appease journalists.

Learn To Fight

Next time a Liberal tries to turn a mole hill into a mountain or accuse an opponent of wrongdoing where there is no real wrongdoing, go out on a limb and defend your positions. This is a message to Conservatives, New Democrats, Greens and People's Party supporters. This doesn't have to be solely a Conservative strategy. There have been countless times we've seen other leaders apologize and then have their own apologies used to beat them deeper into the ground.

When your friends try to correct the record by setting someone straight, don't punish them. If they need to apologize, let them, but leave it at that. When the Liberals try to distort your message and write their own deceptive narratives, speak the truth and show voters the facts. Believe it or not, facts are easy to find and flimsy narratives are easy to debunk. If we lead people toward facts, the truth will sort out the rest.

Conservatism isn't at the root of extremist violence. Conservatism is not synonymous with the alt-right. Not everyone who disagrees with a Liberal is racist, transphobic, homophobic or sexist. Instead of apologizing for saying something truthful, controversial or outside the Overton Window, explain the why. Andrew Scheer could have done that after accepting Cooper's apology.

Embrace the backlash, don't fear it. Only apologize when you've actually been wrong or stupid and then leave it at that. When they tell you that your apology isn't enough, call the case closed and move on like nothing happened. It works for Justin Trudeau.

In the end, it works because it builds respect. It sets expectations and those expectations eventually lead to a change in the opponent's behaviour. When we stop submitting and apologizing and retracting, our opponents will learn that their methods are failing. As long as we keep apologizing and retracting, our opponents will keep pushing.

© 2019 Poletical