Ambiguity is the preferred option, based on past political experience. Last election, none of the parties accepted a deficit as inevitable, common sense the casualty, for the most obvious of reasons. This election, the stage is set for another denial fest, in the name of not rocking the boat, "laying low" so to speak. I get it, and you can understand the vagueness, given the media climate, given strategic consideration. However, I would submit that Flaherty's lastest fiscal update provides the Liberals with an opportunity to seize this ground, to update their own rhetoric.
I'm not sure if people have noticed, but whenever the government receives criticism for their horrible predictive record on the deficit, or the sheer mass, any discussion is accompanied with an equally dismissive characterization of the Liberal position. In other words, the Liberals don't really gain much when Flaherty doesn't offer a detailed plan for tackling debt, because we are offering equally "murky" rhetoric. This explains, and it's about time we realized it, why the Conservatives still enjoy a healthy lead on managing the economy, dealing with the deficit. Given the circumstances of late, we really shouldn't see any Conservative preference, it speaks to our own failure to emerge from the shadows.
The deficit numbers are a serious issue, that requires a mature and sober response from the Liberals, if they hope to "own" this turf in any meaningful way. The latest figures provide an opportunity for us, because there is a growing hunger to see someone recognize reality, rather than dodging and weaving on specifics. It isn't a "plan" for Flaherty to defer decisions for another day, that's a copout. That copout sticks if we echo that wishy washy stance, we give the Conservatives a pass by being equally evasive on specifics.
Again, there is risk, you can hear the Conservative rebuttals, in a sense you put a target on your back. But, the alternative is to voluntarily take a chief criticism of this government off the table by appearing similar. You can hammer the government for their numbers, the depth of the deficit, but it rings hollow at a certain point, if you cling to simple political considerations, rather than admitting the elephant in the room. Whatever traction the Liberals get from the latest Flaherty boner is fleeting, it lacks stamina because it's followed by a critique of our own inability to DEAL.
We can amend what we've said to date, without appearing as though we've changed our tune. These new figures and prolonged deficit have given us a free shot at a internal revision. I'd take it, because I believe the political landscape is finally ready for a little sober reflection.