Friday, January 11, 2008

Advice For Dion

One of the challenges Dion has to address, is the lingering opinion that he is "wishy-washy". That narrative feeds the bigger hurdle, the idea of weak leadership. I would suggest that Dion, or his handlers, stop with the forever changing stance on the need for an election. Saber rattling one week, more coy the next, gives the impression that the Liberals are scattered, poll-driven opportunists.

Yesterday, Dion went back to the previous posture, the one he adopted before the period where he was gung ho, after the period where he laid out his "demands" (hard to keep track):
OTTAWA–Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion is backing away from his tough talk about provoking a federal election at the earliest opportunity.

Talking to reporters yesterday, Dion was repeatedly pressed about whether he'd use his power as Opposition leader to trigger the defeat of the government soon after Parliament resumes Jan. 28.

"I have no plan to do so for now," Dion replied.

Instead, it now seems that the Liberals will be content to wait and see what's in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's next budget – expected in March – and then judge whether to topple the minority government on a budget vote.

It was only a little more than a month ago, in Montreal, when Dion told Liberal riding presidents to be ready for the plug to be pulled on Harper's government as soon as possible.

In fact, Dion told reporters that February represented a symbolic bar of sorts for the electorate, since it will mark the second anniversary of Harper assuming office in 2006. He appeared to be saying that the Liberals were ready to call an end to their controversial fall approach of abstaining on make-or-break votes for the government.

But it seems that there has been a change of mind over the Christmas and New Year's break.

The Star article points to Decima holiday poll to try and understand the different posture. I'm not sure I buy that reasoing, but then again, there does seem to be a definite co-relation between the polls and the Liberal rhetoric.

I don't think the Liberals do themselves any favors with the confusing statements, and it only feeds a negative impression of Dion. Dion's best chance in any election is too present himself as genuine and principled. The "moving the goalposts" routine that we have seen for the past 5 months work against that perception, making the Liberals look self-interested and calculating. If I could offer some advice, get a consistent posture and don't waver, no matter the wind's direction, at a given moment.

22 comments:

knb said...

Steve I read that article and reacted differently.

If I recall, when asked about an election, he said 2008 would be a new ballgame. But when pressed, he has always said that he'd would wait to see what was in the budget.

It's so much what he's saying but how it's being reported.

He appeared to be saying that the Liberals were ready to call an end to their controversial fall approach of abstaining on make-or-break votes for the government.

That's Delacourt's interpretation, not what he said.

I'm going to go back and see if I can find some of his earlier quotes.

Steve V said...

knb

I am going by what I heard first-hand, coming from a source that is about as high as you can get. Be ready for Feb, we will pull the plug the first chance we get. The media is well aware of this whisper campaign.

There have been mixed messages, dating back to August, and I'm just saying that it would be better if we toned down the rhetoric because it appears inconsistent, detail aside.

Anonymous said...

the Liberals are scattered, poll-driven opportunists.

I'm a fed-up Liberal and that's partly why.

I think Dion has shown to be "wishy-washy" in the way he "suddenly" changed his mind about appointing a woman to the Sask riding.

The only thing worse than "wishy-washy", is his backstabbing his own soldier.

I don't want that kind of person as my PM.

And it hurts me to say that.

ottlib said...

Of course he said be ready for February.

Before Outrement he was saying be ready for the Fall and before that he was say be ready for the Spring.

It is the nature of a minority government.

It should be noted that Stephen Harper made all of the very same noises when he was the leader of the opposition facing a minority government and it did him no long-term harm.

The reason is very simple. No one cares what the leader of the opposition says at the time he says it and they certainly will not remember what he said when the writ is dropped.

As for the narrative, the MSM does not need statements from Mr. Dion to keep it going so I would not worry too much about that.

Steve V said...

"It should be noted that Stephen Harper made all of the very same noises when he was the leader of the opposition facing a minority government and it did him no long-term harm."

Fair enough, but do we want to emulate Harper?

Anonymous said...

Actually Mr. Harper did no such thing...
but continue in your little Liberal fantasyland!!!

Steve V said...

anon

When you get your head out of your ass, get back to me. Harper threatened an election all the time, only to cower in a corner when the polls showed a Liberal majority. Remember the budget....

knb said...

Steve, I'll defer to your inside knowledge, but when you look at what he has said in public the way the media presents it is disingenuous.

What Delacourt was quoting is a speech that is available at the Liberal site. What he actually said was he doesn't know when an election will be, but everyone should be ready.

I take your point about the rhetoric, but there is a fine line between that and pumping up your team.

He's damned if he does and damned more severely, imo, if he doesn't. In the press anyway.

Steve V said...

knb

Shoot me an email, so I can explain something :)

Platty said...

Dion may want to wait until he can find someone who can surgically remove that size eight from his mouth before he even thinks about calling an election, or his mother, or his barber or his.....



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Steve V said...

platty

LOL. How is that whenever the Con incompetence is exposed, no matter the issue, you guys think you can say "13 years" and it all magically disappears. Hasn't really worked on the environment, has it?

Tomm said...

Steve,

The CPC government has an idealogy. It has a program. It is building a track record of achievement.

The Liberal Party of Canada will never find its footing until it actually re-creates itself, what it stands for, and how it would benefit Canadian's by being our government.

For Dion and the LPC to say $1 billion isn't enough, or that the government should spend the billion without the House approval, or that the inquiry is too narrow, or that troops should leave in 2009 not 2010, or that the PM shouldn't have supper with the Premiers... is all just wasted rhetoric coming from chronic complainers, not a government in waiting.

The public will not buy that in enough quantity to vote the Liberal's in. In fact, they will continue to slide down the slope, until the LPC builds platform and starts telling Canadian's how it will govern. The argument that the CPC will just steal the good ideas, isn't going to wash.

Canadian's are hungry for different ideas (e.g. the environment, the green economy, and global solutions) but aren't getting anything with meat on it. Why won't the Liberal Party of Canada actually detail an environmental plan that people can understand, see how it would work, and decide that it would be good for the longterm interests of Canadians.

How about law and order and societal justice? Show Canadian's a better way. Give them a platform and a pathway for a safer, better, more just society.

Tomm

Platty said...

LOL. How is that whenever the Con incompetence is exposed, no matter the issue, you guys think you can say "13 years" and it all magically disappears. Hasn't really worked on the environment, has it?

So your response to the Liberals ignoring this report is LOL?

And you're saying that there was no incompetence shown on the part of the Liberals here?

Or are you just ignoring the issue, much like Dion has done?



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Steve V said...

Tomm

Canadians are hungry for ideas, but please don't kid yourself into thinking Harper was elected on this premise.

"is all just wasted rhetoric coming from chronic complainers, not a government in waiting."

I could have said the same thing about Harper, during his entire tenure as Opp Leader.

Steve V said...

platty

What your mention is lost in the bigger Conservative fiasco, don't expect it to get much traction.

Anonymous said...

Dion hasn't said when he'll call an election - he's constantly stated he will wait for the right time - could be Feb/Apr - who knows.

Constant speculation is becoming a true bore.

Harper is the one who has mislead us - he's been campaigning (on our taxpayer money I might add) since the day he took office.

Might be nice if tried to act like PM instead of the constant strategy and campaigning.

Platty said...

Harper is the one who has mislead us - he's been campaigning (on our taxpayer money I might add) since the day he took office.


Another anonymous comment from someone who shows us exactly why they comment under anonymous.


Prime Minister Harper and the Conservative government has gotten an incredible amount of work done, all while operating with a minority govt. Do a little research before you start throwing around these childishh comments based on absolutely nothing.



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Mushroom said...

Steve,

I posted a reason for this posturing over at Jedras' blog. The by-elections seem to be a major influence.

Steve V said...

"Prime Minister Harper and the Conservative government has gotten an incredible amount of work done"

You mean cancelling, then re-branding old Liberal programs?

Steve V said...

mushroom

Do you mean the bounce from winning several of the by-elections?

Mushroom said...

Yes, and a stronger Liberal caucus with Bob Rae and Martha Hall Findlay on board.

By-elections also allow the Grits to replenish their coffers. Rae and MHF would gain a higher profile, sign up more members, have fundraisers where every Grit in the GTA can attend.

Unfortunately, it remains to be seen whether this will work at Desnethe-Churchill River. Will the new members who David Orchard signed up be that active?:(

Platty said...

You mean cancelling, then re-branding old Liberal programs?


No, I mean getting work done for the people of Canada.

Despite the Liberal's best efforts to do anything but government business.

Take another look at the list Steve.

Just imagine how much they will be able to achieve after they get a majority in the next election.

Life will truly be great..:>)

Have a good weekend everyone, I am out. Football is on!!



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