Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dog Days

It's kind of comical in one sense. A leader keeps a low profile for a couple of weeks, during what amounts to the biggest NOTHING time of the political calendar, and it's "news". The reason it's "news", really a testament to the NOTHINGNESS available to scribes, so that could be irony. Anyways, another snippet today, to go with yesterday's inquiry- where's Iggy?

Conventional wisdom, the summer represents a political wilderness for opposition leaders. With that well known fact established, one can hardly get to concerned with a voluntary low profile period, a "recharge your batteries" time. It's especially irrelevant if said leader is using this time to develop a fall strategy, entertain policy directions, basically prepare. What better time to get off the treadmill?

There is one valid criticism, in keeping a low profile, Ignatieff isn't touring ridings that will be pivotal to our chances. Maybe you don't get national attention, but you get a pretty picture of yourself eating ribs in the local paper. You also don't hurt your fundraising efforts, if you can get people together for the Liberal "cause".

Apart from that, the real reason Ignatieff should maybe adopt a higher profile is so we don't have to read media items asking where he is, even though if he was somewhere they won't talk about it. It's strange, but it's true. Embrace the nothing period, or else nothing becomes something.


Anonymous said...

Except I think that there is more than "nothing" going on right now. I think that the LPC should have some press about the listeriosis report, and the program in Quebec that claims "hypersexualized" young girls cause their own abuse, or that new Gay Pride organizations are getting their funding cut because of the weight of the Christian Right in the Conservative Party, or that the money from the stimulus program going so far almost exclusively to Conservative ridings. And I dont think leaving Canadian citizen abroad when it is clear they are in fear for their lives is nothing either. I'm extremely disappointed that these issues are simply ignored by Ignatieff and the LPC.

Steve V said...

Well they did release something on the listeria issue yesterday, but it's been ignored. What does that tell you? Have you heard much coverage of the other parties on this matter?

I'm not saying you don't keep a profile, but I also think if you're going to have a breather, this is the time.

Anyways, it sounds like that's about to end, so...

Anonymous said...

How come nobody really knows where ignatieff is.......?

stooner said...

Taber claims Iggy was in Ottawa last week talking down the OLO staffers for having short work days and long lunches.
As Leader of the Opposition there are no 'holidays'. If the guy can't do what's needed for the job, move on.

Steve V said...

"As Leader of the Opposition there are no 'holidays'."


Anonymous said...

He was in London giving a talk about one of his books on Isaiah Berlin on July 8. One would think he took some time to visist his daughter who lives there after that.
It would also make sense that he check on the family home in Provence, France while there and maybe visist some of his wife's family in Europe.
So, that's 10 days and now he's back. Big deal.
My only question would be whether or not the taxpayer paid for his airfare and accomodations. None of his European trip was on behalf of Canada. Maybe the Berlin speech COULD be considered for the Liberal party since it was a Liberal gathering.
But, other than that one hopes he did not think he was entitled to his entitlements and stuck either the party or taxpayers for any of his personal holiday expences.
That's the only fly in the ointment I can see.

sjw said...

All the issues laid out by Anon@9:50AM are what I'd like to see the Liberals present in 10%er mail outs rather than the "Conservatives are terrible financial stewards in these tough economic times" which is basically what I received in the mail last week. While I believe the 'piss-poor economic management' message is valid and necessary, I really think it's long past time to start highlighting the more nefarious, ideological nature of this Conservative government. Where's Iggy? I'm more concerned with where the hell the strategists are who's job it is to advice the Leader and promote the party. Aren't we only 6-7 weeks from a potential election? You wouldn't fucking know it from where I sit.

Steve V said...

" Aren't we only 6-7 weeks from a potential election?"

There's a lot of work to be done, besides flipping burgers. If he's huddled, trying to attract candidates, getting our messenging together, our platform, the team, then it's all good in the end. The only worry I have, I'm speculating because we really don't know.

Just as an aside, unless this EI panel becomes a complete and utter disaster, there will be little impetus to force an election early this fall. I'd say the window starts much later in the fall session.

sjw said...

I guess there needs to be a happy medium between burger flipping and being hunkered down working on getting prepared. Joe Shmoe voter is not going to get any sense of who Ignatieff is and what he's all about if he doesn't hit the road and press some flesh. Big, well attended fundraisers are all well and good, but they do little but placate the choir. All last week and most of this week is Seafest in Yarmouth, NS. West Nova is a swing riding with a dink for a Member of Parliament. Should Iggy have paid a visit? It likely wouldn't have hurt. Now I know he can't be everywhere and attend every festival, but there are literally thousands of these small-town events taking place across the country this summer. I think Ignatieff would do himself a huge favour by attending a few. Hunker in the bunker during the week.

Steve V said...

It's a bit early to say anything conclusive on the bbq front. If we're sitting here in a month and Ignatieff hasn't travelled much, then I'll be more critical. I have a feeling we'll see more of a higher profile as the summer moves on.

RuralSandi said...

Stooner - if you're going to do some petty attacking - try getting the story straight first. It was not Jane Taber and it was a truly non-story.

Perhaps Iggy is getting candidates, policy, etc., and then plans to do the circuit in August. The biggest vacation time of the year is the last week of July and first week of Auguat - who'd be listening?

While we're at it - where's Harper, where's Layton, where's Duceppe and where's May? Where the hell are the media that they sit day in day out worrying about Iggy - considering everything going on?

sjw said...

Well, I hope so. Maybe Mr Ignatieff needs to be reminded by a member of his stellar strategy team that Canadian summers are short. Very short.

Steve V said...

The only real beef I have at the moment is that there is confusion. Nobody really knows, it's all speculation, so that suggests poor communication. Even here, we have someone who believes he was in Europe for an extended period, I've heard that wasn't the case. That shouldn't happen, it should be clear.

Anonymous said...

"I have a feeling we'll see more of a higher profile as the summer moves on."

I think this applies to all political party leaders. Who would host a fundraiser in the middle of summer?

Iggy will be front and centre once
the Summer Caucus Retreat is held. We should expect some fireworks there. Otherwise, let him enjoy the summer. Particularly that fundraising obligations would require the leader to live off a suitcase when Parliament is in session.

Anonymous said...

The fact that this is even a discussion and the fact that anonymous con posters are running around tagging posts with "when does Iggy get back from France?" comments says everything that needs to be said.

Would it have really been too much trouble to just issue a statement as to the leaders schedule on vacation, along with a message of what is being worked on organizationally (not talking big secrets here, "we're discussing policy, recruiting candidates, refining fundraising plans, etc, etc). Fill the gap or have it filled for you. Politics 101.

There is news this summer, some of which is making headlines, some of which makes my blood boil and could be great ammunition to make points to even a supposedly "distracted" electorate. Hint: those that care and are more likely to donate, volunteer, and speak to neighbors can't escape it even if they try.

Obviously Harper and company are nailing down their base during the "dead summer months" given the recent potshots at gays, immigrants, and the like. Even if Harper isn't in the news, his minions appear to be scoring their points. I guess that way when he dons his sweater again to a "re-engaged" wider audience, they'll rest easier.

I don't criticize often, and if August is busy this may all be forgotten. But right now, today, it bugs me - A LOT.

Fill the gap or someone else will. It's not that difficult. I don't care if it is July.

Steve V said...

That's the thing isn't it? Nobody seems to know what Ignatieff is up to, and that's why we get all this speculation.

On the plus side, looks like the "pause" is about to end ;)

Anonymous said...

When is the Liberal policy conference?
An organization which has "members" should once in a while ask the members what they think and what they believe the party stands for don't you think?
Nobody knows WHY they are Liberals (as in today's Liberal party) anymore.
Trudeau was 40 years ago and we still have old Trudeau backroomers calling the shots?
We should demand a policy conference before some backroomers start coming up with stuff we don't agree with but "have to campaign for because we paid 10 bucks for a membership.
Pay up. Shut up?

RuralSandi said...

Warren Kinsella set out articles from a few years ago - asking where is Stephen Harper.

Much ado I think

ottlib said...

And if Mr. Ignatieff were to be everywhere and making himself more prominent these same chatterboxes would be claiming he is a publicity hound and trying too hard.

The simple fact is no one except these folks, who obviously do not have enough accrued vacation time, do not care about politics right now. We in the East are more concerned about whether we will actually have a summer and those in the West have other problems.

As well, let us not forget that old political adage about staying out of the way when your political opponent is defeating himself. Since Mr. Harper made a fool of himself at the G8 summit the Conservatives have had nothing but bad news come their way.

The rancid meat report and the salvo from Jim Balsillie about Nortel may just penetrate the consciousness of Canadians, which is something I imagine the Conservatives do not want to happen.