UPDATED – ITQ Exclusive: Republican for Ignatieff speaks!


Last week, ITQ sent off an email to the contact address for republicansforignatieff.com, asking if the group’s creator would be willing to take part in a quick Q&A with macleans.ca. This morning, we got a reply. Full text — and ITQ’s comments — after the jump:

Thanks for your e-mail and interest in the site.

I should tell you right off the top that I am not a media savvy individual nor do I crave media attention for myself.  This is not about me it’s about Michael Ignatieff.

Our group is small (but growing) and members live in both the United States and Canada.

The site is what it is:  a modest attempt to show why Republicans want Michael Ignatieff to become Prime Minister of Canada.

We’ve received several thousand unique visitors – more than we imagined.

Speaking for myself, I can tell you:

–  I live in the United States.

–  Everyone, except my Mother, calls me The Colonel.

–  I am deeply invested in foreign affairs.

–  I believe energy security is the single biggest foreign affairs challenge facing America.

–  I first discovered Michael Ignatieff when I picked up a copy of Blood and Belonging in 1994.

–  Although I don’t agree with everything Michael Ignatieff stands for, particularly on social policy, I strongly support him on energy security and the war on terror, the two issues that matter most to me.  I suspect this is the case for most other Republican supporters of Michael Ignatieff.

–  I also admire Ignatieff for his willingness to admit hard truths that many Canadians are unwilling to accept, particularly the strategic importance of the tar sands, the need for coercive interrogation as a tool in the war on terror, and the irrelevance of Canadian foreign policy under the Chretien and Martin administrations.  In challenging the conventional wisdom of his own party, he reminds me a great deal of Tony Blair who took on the trade unions and the peace movement and re-invented the British Labour Party, culminating of course in his courageous support of President Bush in Iraq.

At this point, we have not, as a group, decided on an official spokesperson.

Over time, we hope to inform, educate and recruit more people to join us in backing Michael Ignatieff.

Thanks again for your interest.

The Colonel

Okay, so — any thoughts, commenters?

ITQ will confess to experiencing a momentary pang of doubt upon reading the above missive: Could R4I actually be … legit? Could a small — “but growing” — contingent of unabashed Bush/Cheney and now, it appears, Tony Blair apologists have joined forces to elect a torture-supporting tar sands supporter to the highest office in another land? Would someone with the moniker of “The Colonel” really misrepresent his or her true intentions? A second later, of course, she answered her last question, at least; well, of course they would. It would be a pretty lame piece of political performance art if they couldn’t stay in character for one emailed media response.

Not that we’re saying they necessarily are, in this case — I mean, stranger things have happened, although you have to wonder what The Colonel and friends have to say about Ignatieff’s subsequent  sorta mea culpaish essay on Iraq, which appeared in the New York Times Magazine in 2007, yet doesn’t seem to have made it to the R4I site.

As for his fervent support for the tar sands — well, notice the repeated use of that particular term, which, as the Tyee noted while covering an Ignatieff event earlier this year, is one that the Liberal leader seems to deliberately avoid, since it is almost exclusively employed by opponents of the project:

“It is awe-inspiring,” he said, adding that the controversial project boasts enough oil to last the rest of this century.

“We’ve got oil reserves there that are just staggering in size. It changes everything about our economic future. It changes everything about Canada’s importance in the world.”

Ignatieff’s comments came in response to a question from a woman in the audience, who used the term “tarsands” – a description used by opponents of the project.

“This is where a chill falls over the room because everybody expects me to say they’re terrible and shut them down,” said Ignatieff. “Absolutely not.”

Using the term “oilsands” – the description preferred by the industry – Ignatieff said the oil will allow Canada to stand up to incoming U.S. president Barack Obama.

“But the challenge is it’s dirty and we’ve got to clean it up,” he added.

The reference to Tony Blair having taken on “the trade unions and the peace movement” is also revealing, and would tend to suggest that, whatever the leanings of the writer, the intended audience is almost certainly that segment of the voting population that straddles the red-orange divide. Or, as Commenter Dakota would put it, the “Lib-Lefties”, although ITQ wouldn’t necessarily capitalize either L.

The one-off shot at the “irrelevance of Canadian foreign policy under the Chretien and Martin administrations” may also be telling, because even amongst left-leaning big-L Liberals, there are few who would lump the two together in that context; over on the other side of the aforementioned divide, however, there is a tendency to wave away such distinctions. (“Liberal, Tory, same old story”, anyone?)

Anyway, despite all that, ITQ is still not sure who the most likely suspect is, although honestly, she’s just not buying the Stephen Taylor theory at the moment. It’s just too pat. Her tentative best guess: a third party lobby group — probably, but not necessarily Canadian — and not one formally associated with any of the major political parties, but with moderate to strong NDP leanings.  Heck, it could even be those shadowy Sorosian skullduggerists who popped up during the last election, much to the consternation of the Conservatives.

So? What do the rest of you think now?

UPDATE: A card-carrying Shadowy Republican Operative, albeit not one who would describe himself as “for Ignatieff”, points out via email that there is, in fact, another possibility:

I do know a guy who was a Marine Colonel who cares about foreign policy and energy. Allen Weh, the former chair of the New Mexico Republican Party

Fits all your facts :)

Make of that what y’all will. And yes, I am on speaking terms with a Republican — more than one, even.  I do have a life outside this blog, you know.


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