Conservative Member of Parliament Rob Anders is widely considered something of a buffoon. Anders is prone to making outlandish, offensive statements and when he’s not doing that, he’s doing a pretty bad job at his actual job.
The probable virgin has been kicked out of parliamentary committees for falling asleep during meetings. He has a fondness for accusing anyone he disagrees with of valorizing Vladimir Putin and Mao Zedong. And he was the only MP to vote against giving Nelson Mandela honouary Canadian citizenship in 2001 (when Mandela died last December, Anders referred the CBC to an obituary that called the venerated anti-apartheid activist and first black South African president a “terrorist”).
But the oft-embattled MP — he’s survived numerous nomination and electoral challenges — is not without his fans. Chief among appears to be Calgary Sun columnist Ian Robinson, who devoted his Sunday column to fanboying over Anders, whom he calls “a wild man.”
He looks like he can bench press a Volkswagen Beetle — which, in a political world inhabited by doughy pencil necks, is pretty cool. He’s really pleasant and friendly in person. And yet he says wild and angry stuff all the time.
He says wild and angry stuff all the time? That’s not what most people want out of politicians. What kind of wild and angry stuff is he saying? Well, there was that time he compared the 2008 Beijing Olympics to the 1938 Berlin Olympics hosted by the Nazi regime, or when he sent a thank-you note to Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan with the message, “When in doubt, pull the trigger.”
It’s hard to know what Anders’s most memorable lines are, but it’s this special brand of honesty that leads Robinson to claim his favourite MP “lives in technicolour,” unlike those other politicians. So dreary, most politicians. Always hiding from the P.C. police. Not Rob Anders, though!
Robinson also loves that Anders is “one of those rare guys in government who actually hates government,” because “we need guys like that.” (Do we really need people in government who hate the institution they’ve chosen to be a part of? Who want to dismantle the state, but will in the meantime accept generous paychecks from the state? Seems counterintuitive to me, but I’m no Calgary Sun columnist, so what do I know.)
In defence of Anders and, undoubtedly, his own right-wing small-government politics, Robinson cites (and mischaracterizes) a Harvard study on government spending.
There’s a dandy paper out of Harvard that shows that when government spends money in a jurisdiction — on anything — bad things happen.
Really, Ian Robinson? When any government spends any amount of money on anything, “bad things happen”? This seems implausible, to say the least, but please continue.
The districts of powerful pork barrel politicians in the U.S. were studied. Because they got more federal money than other jurisdictions, the authors of the study expected the state economy to benefit.
They were wrong. The more federal money that poured in, private companies earned less and responded by cutting payroll, research and development and reduced capital spending by 15%.
Well, okay. The study looks at politicians who move into powerful positions (such as chairing important congressional committees) and the “spending shocks” those politicians often create in their home states. “Pork barrel politician” is a derogatory term, and a deserved one, that implies politicians commissioning spending simply to move money into the area they represent. Usually they do this in an effort to fund popular initiatives or to create jobs, but pork spending is not known for being thoroughly considered from an economic standpoint.
If a study looking into the effectiveness of government spending looks at a type of government spending infamous for being ineffective and then finds that government spending to be ineffective, it’s probably not reflective of any and all government spending, which is pretty much the exact opposite of what Robinson claims:
It looks as though the very act of government spending is bad for economies.
No, Ian Robinson, it doesn’t look like that at all.
What’s especially delightful about Robinson’s failed foray into economic theory is that even he acknowledges his hero, Rob “wild man” Anders, doesn’t think that much about his ideas.
Even if Anders never read that paper, and I doubt he has, he intuitively understands bigger government means smaller citizens.
He doesn’t need education, man, he’s got intuition! Education is provided by the government in this socialist hellhole country, anyway. Right-thinking men like Anders and Robinson should know better than to trust their brains to the government.
Robinson dedicated his column to Anders this week because the latter is facing yet another nomination challenge. Even though the Sun Media chain’s decidedly conservative bent isn’t a secret, it’s bizarre to see a columnist stan so hard for a particular politician. It’s especially distasteful to see a columnist defend Anders, specifically, seemingly because of the many horrible things he’s said and done.
Update: Some of Anders’ greatest hits have been compiled by
Deep Rogue Ram the Environment Canada Wildlife Service.
[Calgary Sun] [image via Wikimedia Commons]