Thursday, November 06, 2008

Something To Ponder

I just want to put this Gerard Kennedy quote from today up here, because it's a simple commentary, but it actually says something very profound about this party, about rewarding disloyalty and misguided priorities:

"Organizers tend to want to find a home pretty quick, for myself that's a big reflection on whether I'll run, and I think people understand that. I had no standing organization during Mr. Dion's tenure, that's not how I play the game"

You think it just the two big boys, but OH it's not, the new "renewal" darling just as guilty. I don't want to berate this point, because a sense of unity is important moving forward, but partisanship aside, at my core, the above commentary, which is entirely TRUE, makes my stomach turn. A sense of loyalty and/or integrity prevents someone from preparing in the shadows, the entire thrust of their energy dedicated to helping where they can, knocking on doors to win a tough fight ahead, no thoughts of personal fortune AFTERWARDS. We berate those that couldn't keep their eyes on the real prize, and yet a person who did just that is now at a decided disadvantage, because they were singular in purpose, for all the right reasons.

Here we are, that's fine, that's politics. But, this party is LOST when the internal dynamics work in this manner, where everyone not rowing will all their might for the collective goal is an ADVANTAGE. Setting the stage, laying the foundation, flying around ridings to get face time, whispering about the next campaign, making sure the other guy isn't getting an advantage, all this CRAP, that's my Liberal Party Of Canada. And, you know what? We, the grassroots should be crying foul, not simply shrugging the shoulders, falling in line, that's just the way it is, always has been.

"A party of purpose, not of power"

Some might remember who said it, what a shame to see nothing has changed. And NOTHING will change, because this is the Liberal template for victory.

31 comments:

Gayle said...

I guess they don't want me to join after all.

Sigh...

catherine said...

What do you think the alternative is? Getting support and running an organized challenge would seem to be a requirement for successful leadership. One obvious counter is for people to step up to support a worthy candidate who they think has been working for the team rather than him/herself.

But, did you have something else in mind for tilting the balance away from those who might put themselves first?

Steve V said...

Well, I think we have somebody to rally behind, if all the earlier criticisms about divided loyalties, "anonymous" Liberals, half hearted support, was genuine, or do we now just jump aboard the typical train in almost defeatist fashion.

MississaugaPeter said...

Fortunately for Gerard, I believe there are still plenty of good people out there.

Change that, I believe that the best folks still have not signed up for any of the declared candidates.

During the election campaign, Gerard repeatedly told those around him to stay focused on winning the NDP riding, and that if Dion was not successful this time, that Dion would get a second opportunity. Gerard was not waiting to stick a knife in Dion's back.

Remember, in 1996, Gerard was ahead of Dalton on the first 4 ballots, and lost to Dalton on the 5th ballot, well after 2:00 a.m.

Remember, in 1999, when Dalton lost to Harris, Gerard did not stick a knife in Dalton's back. Many expected Gerard to go after Dalton. Gerard did not. Gerard instead supported Dalton. Gerard expected to do the same with Dion.

Steve V said...

"During the election campaign, Gerard repeatedly told those around him to stay focused on winning the NDP riding, and that if Dion was not successful this time, that Dion would get a second opportunity. Gerard was not waiting to stick a knife in Dion's back."

And that is a failing somehow in this party.

Anonymous said...

Gk is finished. Its either iggy or bob end of story. The money and the organizers are already lined up.

Anonymous said...

The real reality is that the Liberal Party is finished with Rae or Ignatieff

knb said...

I want you to join Gayle, :).

Steve's right. The qualities that MississaugaPeter points out about Gerard are those that this party should be seeking. Those qualities are precisely the kind of change we need.

Steve V said...

"Gk is finished. Its either iggy or bob end of story. The money and the organizers are already lined up."

Yep, and notice nothing about rank and file Liberals. Renewal is in the air.

liberazzi said...

I am going to reserve judgement until I know who all the candidates are, but Kennedy is a possibility for me. Lets not award him sainthood just yet though. His loyalty towards some of his former supporters is questionable from what I heard from one of his former supporters. It was only prudent if Iggy or Rae kept their teams operational. It doesnt concern me. Lets not start another useless internal war.

Steve V said...

lib

Why wouldn't that concern someone, that operational teams were kept in place, which is entirely counter-productive. Then you frame "useless internal", but you're condoning that in entirety. Listen to ourselves, we're all corrupted into acceptance.

liberazzi said...

Because I am a realist. Was it not prudent for Iggy/Rae to keep their organizations together? If you dont like their behavior, then vote for Kennedy. Kennedy may have been noble, but it may cost him the leadership.

catherine said...

Not sure what you are saying, lib. A political party needs their people playing for the team, not for themselves, or it will never win. If all the "realistic" leadership candidates think they don't have to play for the team, why should they expect others to play for the team when they are leader?

Now, I don't have any inside information and don't know who was keeping what going when. I am just reacting to hypotheticals and other people's statements.

Steve V said...

"then vote for Kennedy"

That might not be possible, because of the wise prudence of keeping organizations together, which presumes you are going to lose, and you'll need it. That's why we lose, it's a self fulfilling prophecy and you say that's realism, when really it's part of the reason we're in opposition. Passive acceptance isn't a sign of educated maturity, it misses the point entirely, and it's part of the reason Canadians are largely indifferent to the Liberal Party, it's why the NDP have more donors than we do, it explains a lot. An elitist system will NEVER look attractive.

I noticed Martha was a tad miffed today, when asked about the leadership race, let the "pros" decide, at least a few get it.

liberazzi said...

Rae and Iggy did more than their part in the last election, so it is unfair to suggest that they did otherwise. There was however a good chance they were going to need their team again, due to the problems Dion was having, so they may have been just hedging their bets. I am sure Rae and Iggy would have preferred to be in govt rather than opposition.

JimmE said...

Dion won because he was not Iggy or Rae. So why might that not play out again? (With the right candidate)

burlivespipe said...

Let's not blow this up to something too big until all the cards are called. It was fairly evident that the members' choice at the last convention wasn't the over-all choice of the party movers and shakers. Dion ended with little support inside the room to withstand a long, expensive battle. I haven't heard other than rumours that the Iggy and Rae camps were extensively extending their powers behind his back - in fact, I think Rae for certain was very supportive of Dion; Ignatieff was supportive, from what i saw (not always read). Kennedy needs to draw on some of those who were holding back, and if he can offer the best strategy to rebuild and rejuvenate, that will win people, including some key organizers, over.
Leblanc has stepped in despite the intimidating forces to the left and right of him.
But how's his french now?

Hugger said...

I think it is interesting how many liberal party supporters seem to feel that either Rae or Ignatieff could lead them to victory in an election that is not weighted by economic circumstance.

Given Rae's baggage and the amount of air time it has recieved already, I think his brief window has closed. Ignatieff will always be tarnished by his past decisions and wisdom quotient.

Both have their own value to a Party I'm sure, but as leader, not so much. Feeding them to the Big Blue Machine will be similar to Dion and the Green Shift. The only sigificant variance could come from near catastrophic economic circumstances and then it wouldn't matter a great deal who was leader as long as they could smile, wave and nod. Refusing CTV interviews might help too.

In a fair fight so to speak, you are going to need someone who can dance, do a little side step, smile a bright smile and talk with authority. Someone who doesn't come to the game with a smelly gym bag too.

Anonymous said...

Oh here we go - a Gerard love fest again.

...sigh....

I'm thinking of not supporting the party until they become more democratic - this bringing a guy up the middle and the back room deals and mistakes like Gerard pulled off.....will only keep the party down.

Want people involved - make them feel involved. One member one vote - or no money from me.

Jerry Prager said...

First off, just because Rae & Iggy have a non-aggression pact doesn't mean that their supporters will follow their leader enmasse to the other guy.
Kennedy would have to build support from newcomers and a younger power base, which is certainly feasible, but it would have to be dedicated and aimed at solving the Canadian democratic deficit. It is also my particular obsession that if he focused his campaign on enshrining in the Charter the right of citizens to public water before the Con's and right wing liberals privatize water he will find a lever to pry Harper out into the open, where his real agenda: commodifying the commons can be seen for what it is. Because of what Kennedy did for Ontario's schools after the Harrisites nearly destroyed them, he has strength in Ontario.

Anonymous said...

So Steve - what happens for you if the LPC continues to be the party of back room boys and they manipulate the race to ensure one of their guys win or should there be a grassroots candidate that wins and the BR boys slaughter the progressive choice the way they did with Dion?

Anonymous said...

Finally reality hits!
The backroom destroyed Dion and they will do it again unless its a Bob or Michael outcome. Let's just elect a new fcking leader and get on with it.
Harper's already planning election 2010 as we Liberals bitch and complain ourselves into oblivion.

Steve V said...

Just to be clear, I'm not throwing Iggy or Rae under the bus, only that loyalty shouldn't preclude someone from having a fair shot at the nomination. If Kennedy operated as though Dion would continue to be leader, and focused on winning his seat, doing what he could for the party, it seems awfully distasteful that someone who acted in this way is now handicapped.

whopitulia said...

My own rule of thumb is not to accept any propaganda mind control coming out of the Liberal head office which amounts to the IggyBob coin toss scenario. I was thinking of creating an "Outsider's Survival Guide to the Liberal Leadership" but just haven't had the time yet. I don't know why anyone has this idea they can blackmail people into following their leadership choice. The narrow sighted mutual admiration society that seems to exist between the frontrunners and their supporters ends when the convention ends. Respect is earned and anyone who relies too heavily on gamesmanship and doesn't feel it necessary to work hard to earn the respect and support of average members (which includes sceptics like me) will never be able to win an election either.

In_The_Centre said...

Dion won because he was not Iggy or Rae. So why might that not play out again? (With the right candidate)

2006 - glass half full
2009 - tape the broken glass back together.

I expect both Ignatieff and Rae to simply focus on one policy issue, the economy, while the rest of the leadership battle between them will be about who can bring the most money and organizational discipline to the party. The next leader, fortunate or unfortunate, is about internal rebuilding. You cant sell a message of renewal and grand vision to the Canadian people if you cant even keep your own house in order.

I was a fan of Kennedy as well Steve in 2006, but out here in B.C anyways, most of his key supporters have lined up behind one of the two main candidates. This race is moving very fast and orderly.

-ITC

Anonymous said...

The next leader should be able to argue economic issues effectively.

Mushroom said...

ITC,

Kindly give me some feedback about GK's support in BC. Has Bruce Young and Raymond Chan gone somewhere else as of today?

Mushroom said...

"that's not how I play the game"

Not really a politician. This from one who spent many days in his campaign office during leadership in the summer of 2006.

Signed a lot of members then. Got many excited. When the big boys (including Dion) threw their political machines into play, we were second bananas.

What Obama showed is that renewal is a two track affair. You need both a Howard Dean and a Rahm Emmanuel. One to set up an organization for the party caucuses. The other to build a ruthless war room to overcome both the Clintonites and the so-cons. Once the Grits develop these two, then they will get it right. Now the left hand don't care what the right is doing.

Steve V said...

mushroom

Not sure that's fair, Kennedy was an insurgent candidate in 06, obviously he didn't have the muscle, which isn't a reflection on his being a politician. If you're saying that not organizing against a standing leader, assuming he would fight again, concentrating on the real task, is somehow naive or less skilled, then you frankly admit that the party is horribly flawed. Obama actually gained traction because of the grassroots, and he took on the Clinton machine, they bankrolled him, then the players moved, it wasn't the other way around.

Mushroom said...

Steve,

I am not referring to the 2007-2008 period. It was a period of missed opportunities. Of this Dion deserves a large share of the blame. Kennedy's message of renewal was not paid attention to and Gerard himself was arguably underused. Bringing him to the Shadow Cabinet in early 2008 when the Grits were hurt by abstentions was too little too late.

Note that Martha Hall Findlay was also an insurgent candidate with a much weaker organization. Both had good things to say. Comparing them to Obama is far fetched given the state of the Democrats in 2006 and the Grits at that time. I am not sure if you consider that we are where the US Dems are in 2004 and that this is the start of a possible two election cycle.

Steve V said...

mushroom

You're the one that brought Obama comparisons into the equation.

I'm well aware of the Dems predicament, I cut my teeth on Dean's site in 2003. Everything I'm arguing is beyond immediate satisfaction, it takes into consideration a long path. I suspect many others in the party aren't prepared to face that truth, but this is much worse than anything the Dems faced, there's was latent, ours is barely existent.