Something is afoot, and it’s not particularly good for Liberal prospects. I’ve noticed a building lather in the media about Dion’s leadership, and not much of it is flattering. We are in the midst of Dion being defined, the media is turning on Stephane. I don’t know if the new tone is a result of the attack ads, or relatively poor polling, but there is a new hostility with Dion that wasn’t there only a couple weeks ago. And the sources, the supposed “left-wing” media, should be of some concern.
The basic gist of what I am gathering from the media is this sentiment. There is some hesitation in Liberal ranks about Dion, he has failed to instill confidence and some MP’s privately question his leadership. I’m not sure if all this talk about whispering is warranted, there are always “nervous Nellie’s”, but this serves to undermine Dion’s stature.
Dion has failed to distinguish himself, which has created a vacuum, that the Tories are exploiting. There is a danger of Dion looking the “one trick pony”, on an issue where he surely shares the pie. Dion needs to breakout of the green suit and show Canadians more. The media, in the absence of self-created Dion momentum is filling in the gaps, framing him. My advice, Dion needs to make more news, which neuters a bored media looking for controversy.
Dion’s English has become a key concern, maybe over-stated, but none the less an issue. There really isn’t much Dion can do about this “problem”, in some ways it can be spun as endearing.
I really believe a lot of the negative press stems from Dion’s relatively weak performance in the House of Commons. You can argue the importance, but I think the media takes a lot of cues from the mood created. It is also worrisome that the media tends to seek out Ignatieff more and more as spokesman. Yesterday I actually heard him say “I haven’t decided”, when answering a question on whether the Liberals would attempt to bring down the government over the Kyoto bill. A small slip of the tongue, but it surely doesn’t cement the chain of command.
What I am getting at here, we can pretend everything is fine, but in mind there is no question that, objectively, the tone towards Dion has changed and this should be of concern. We need to ask ourselves why the sudden change in approach, is this a natural occurrence, or is this an indication of legitimate problems. I believe our prospects are best served by recognizing weak spots and finding ways to address them. Things can change in a week, and probably will, so my opinion is merely a relative snapshot, but I don’t like what I’m seeing. If we’re not careful Dion will be defined by outside forces and that framing will become a hurdle to any future success.