But the Liberals must be wondering if, by supporting such an affront to a signature policy strength, they'll finally reach the point where the damage to their brand for its ongoing acquiescence is worse than the sobering challenge of facing the voters this spring.
The balance between cowering on immigration reform and the perception that the odds are long for election victory.
Where the mental math should shift towards an election, is when you consider the simple psychology. There is a sense amongst many Liberals that we aren't ready, we don't have the money, we lack "readiness". Well, according to our readiness guru, we are prepared now:
"I would say that on the organizational side, we can handle an election from this point on," Smith said. "I wouldn't have said that a few months ago, but I can say it now."
Smith brushes off any suggestion that money is an issue. Sure, he said, the Conservatives have a big war chest, but the Liberals aren't destitute and once an election is called, all parties can only spend up to the legal limits. In the last few campaigns, that figure has been around $18 million.
The money is there, the organization seems to be credible enough to fight a campaign, maybe everything isn't perfect, but an honest question considers the "ideal" to always be wanting.
The biggest factor, this sense or fear in our ranks, unease with the leader, worry about "war rooms" and the slick alternative. Weakness is a self-fulfilling prophecy, because in my mind you make your own destiny.
I'm not afraid of Stephen Harper, because it is abundantly clear that Canadians know him well, and they aren't particularly impressed or inspired, outside of the faithful. I'm not afraid of the Conservatives policies, because I'm confident our message will better articulate the view of mainstream Canada. I'm not afraid of a campaign, because it's not like the Liberal Party is chalk full of election amateurs, people with no "expertise". I'm not afraid of Dion in an election, it actually provides an opportunity to break out of this negative cycle, demonstrate to Canadians that he is a thoughtful leader, armed with solid ideas.
I guess what I'm saying, when you weigh the pros and cons, it all comes down to confidence. I'm not afraid, so when Harper sneaks immigration reform into a budget bill, I have no qualms calling his bluff. Sure there is risk, but that is a constant within the present circumstance. If we are waiting to see the Liberals up 6% in the polls, the coffers full, Dion viewed favorably, the Quebec house in order, that day will come long after the fall of 2009. When you weigh the risks of inaction, the potential to be a "laughing stock" with an election, the answer is easy, if you feel confident.
I don't see much of a choice anymore, a situation of diminishing returns moving forward. With that said, I would rather embrace a campaign, than be forced kicking and screaming, worried about the unknown. Martin says "no guts, no glory", lofty phrasing, but don't discount our ability to make it happen, we are not passive observers within a pre-determined script.