Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Time For An Election?

I’m just throwing this perspective out there for consumption. Given all the internal strife within the Liberal Party, what is the best vehicle to rally people around a common cause, that elevates the discussion beyond the leaders troubles? I’m of the mindset that the issue of leadership will fester, any hopes that it will all disappear somewhat optimistic. With that reality in mind, could you not make an argument that the best thing for the Liberal Party is a fall election?

If there is one thing that binds Liberals, it is a dislike of Stephen Harper. While divisions would remain, the urgency of an election would have the effect of rendering the internal to the back burner, as everyone is faced with the prospects of another Harper government. An election would also give Dion a unique platform to look the leader, which he desperately needs at the moment.

To be frank, fundraising and organization aren’t about to show significant improvement for the foreseeable future. If those are the winning conditions, then we can assume the Liberals will not be voting against the government , possibly until the mandatory fall of 2009. There is a consequence to Dion if the Liberals resist an election, it provides plenty of time to make changes. Knowing that an election is months, if not years away, does that not open Dion up for a more realistic scenario, in which he is replaced?

Even uber-apologist Jason Cherniak admits that the next December meeting of the Liberal executive promises to be a raucous occasion. The anti-Dion sentiment will not go quietly, they may become momentarily dormant, but I suspect future incidents like we have recently witnessed. In other words, the stage is set for a period of Liberal disquiet and what happens in Quebec is anyone’s guess. Within this context, a quick election might not be the nightmare that some predict, In fact, there is an argument to be made that heading to the polls now is a shrewd move, all the obvious negatives aside. Thoughts?

13 comments:

lance said...

Uh huh. Because in the last federal election, people who had fought the leadership banded together, right? There weren't _any_ die-hard Liberals that took the election off, eh? Steve/Ted/Bart . . . . :)


The Liberal parties history isn't one of "come together" in circumstances that paint the party as weak.

Cheers,
lance

Steve V said...

lance

If you assume that time doesn't address your contention, then what is the difference?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure an election would be such a bad thing right now. The Libs might even have a chance, because when you take a close look at the numbers (Libs & Cons roughly tied in the 30s) the current Lib number represents the lowest they might get, because 30% of Canadians will vote Liberal no matter what. On the other hand, the peak that Stephen Harper can hope for is in the mid to high 30s. He will never break through that, since Canada is just not a conservative country. There is no way that more than 38% of Canadians will ever support a conservative party. If the bloc are in a freefall and about to dump their leader, we might see some interesting results indeed.

Steve V said...

Those new numbers speak volumes about Harper. If the reverse was happening, the Cons in freefall, the Liberals would be touching majority.

Kris said...

I'm still of the mind that despite all the talk of infighting and questioning of the leadership, the Liberals still have a good chance of forming government at this point. While Dion may be disliked by many when compared to Ignatieff or Rae, come election time, it will be a comparison of Dion or Harper, nothing else. This is one of the biggest reasons I agree with your post. The public may hear all sorts of bad things about Dion and leadership, but under the microscope of daily election coverage, I believe Canadians definitely have the potential to choose Liberal over Conservative in a fall election. All Dion has to do is step up to the plate, not let it slide like Outremont.

Gayle said...

I think most Canadians are really not paying too much attention to all this. When an election does come they will pay attention.

The concern I have is the one expressed by Lance. It is not like some factions of the liberal party were not trying to undermine Martin...during an election. I think these people have proven that they are putting their own interests first. I fear that would continue during an election campaign.

Anonymous said...

Chris Matthews has a book out - anyway, he said that the best leaders have been those that don't try to do it all themselves and know how to delegate and use good people. He said the best leaders the US has had also have all been good listeners.

Well, Harper's failed on these two points and his "appeal" isn't any better than Dion's - so if Dion carries on and develops better communication and continues to listen like he does and show he can delegate positions to the best people and trust them - he's on his way.

Markus D. said...

I think the Liberals could fare quite well with a fall election. The way I see what Dion has to do is show who he is (compassionate, inclusive, trusting, visionary) and then quite simply contrast that with who Steven Harper is (mean, divisive, controlling).

Decisions such as canceling the funding for programs like status of women, the constitutional challenge, and the safe injection site among others seem to make this all quite clear ... I hope.

Steve V said...

gayle

"I think most Canadians are really not paying too much attention to all this."

Maybe the biggest story is voter apathy. Under normal situations, high profile problems translate at the polls. People either don't care, or they could care less.

anon

"Well, Harper's failed on these two points and his "appeal" isn't any better than Dion's"

Harper's fireside chat at the United Nations last week was fantastic. Composed, thoughtful, engaging, even fascinating, Harper looked every bit the strong leader. Where Harper continually fails, and reveals his political tin ear, he thinks he can avoid the media and "relating" and not pay a price. Lets hope Harper doesn't catch on, because his strategy is his own worst enemy.


Just to add what others are saying about the fall election, I guess the question you have to ask- will it get any better come spring, and if not are we prepared to go to 2009?

Gayle said...

"Maybe the biggest story is voter apathy. Under normal situations, high profile problems translate at the polls. People either don't care, or they could care less."

Or maybe people are just sick and tired of all the silly games. Maybe if Harper and company had not spent so much time and energy with their silly commercials, "new government" slogans, "liberals support terrorist" allegations, etc., people would pay more attention when something newsworthy actually happens. (Not that I think all this is overly newsworthy).

Speaking for myself, right now I am at least as interested in the Mighty Oilers making another run for the Cup as I am about the liberal party. (Hey, a girl can dream...:)).

James said...

I think we need to be cautious while the proper organization is still being put in place. Getting David Smith and John Rae on board are two big steps in the right direction. Give them a little time and a solid organizational structure will be there.

We also need to let Harper implode a little. His organization looks great at the moment and his PR machine is running overdrive. This makes me suspicious that he is seriously seeking an election this fall, despite the announcement he made earlier today. If avoid an election this fall and go to election closer to around spring time, his PR machine will be more diverted to handling questions surrounding his policies.

He will seem less the friendly, fireside chatting politician who likes to mingle with the media.

Steve V said...

"His organization looks great at the moment and his PR machine is running overdrive. This makes me suspicious that he is seriously seeking an election this fall, despite the announcement he made earlier today."

James I agree, but everytime they start to ramp up, they get cutoff at the knees by voter support.

gayle

"Or maybe people are just sick and tired of all the silly games."

There is no question that Harper and company have brought the discourse to a new low, and the tactics they employ inspire no one. It all just looks irrelevant to most people.

Go Leafs Go ;)

900 ft Jesus said...

I think an election would be good for the Liberals. With a new shadow cabinet, hopefully more united, they can actually tell us see who they are, what their priorities are - something fresh after 18 months of Conservative mismanagement, neglect, and corruption. (sorry, I couldn't resist. If the Libs come out strong in voice, it could capture people's attention. Everyone just seems so tired of the same old.