Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fortune Favors The Bold

The sky isn't falling, but the cloud deck is low. To pretend otherwise is the equivalent of lying to yourself. There are many scenarios available for the Liberals, particularly when you realize that only 5% of the population needs to move, for us to be a viable option again. In other words, down but not out, but aware that the status quo is probably a recipe for defeat. If you were to sample the opinion of non-partisan observers, you would get some insight into the Liberals greatest challenge. That challenge is completely obvious to me, based on the feedback we see time and again. The Liberal Party is hampered by a lack of identity, Canadians don't necessarily "relate" to the party, it has failed to re-invent itself in the aftermath of it's fall from grace.

If you accept that our CORE problem is an identity crisis, then all energy should be directed towards countering that perception. Forget about references to the past, particularly with a leader that could actually use his lack of Liberal lineage to his advantage. While Liberals love to bathe in the past achievements, that brand is tarnished in the eyes of Canadians, it represents a mixed bag. Accepting the rejection, as more than just a historical anomaly that will naturally rectify itself, is the first step towards a rebirth. Forget about the "natural governing party", that lingering entitlement, and realize that the new realities effectively LAUGH at this presumption. The signs are everywhere, in various regions, the Liberals are becoming an afterthought. This is a dangerous reality.

I'll go back to the word BOLD, because that is nucleus of any potential. Bold does bring risk, but it also gets people's attention, it shakes up the status quo, it strives. Playing it safe relies on outside forces for success. Given that Harper has somehow managed to navigate his way through a serious recession, that should serve as a wake up call for those that rely simply on circumstantial turnaround. In my view, that dynamic has largely passed, and the reality is Canadians are becoming decidedly more comfortable with the Harper Conservatives- not fondness, but some acceptance. This means, if one is using odds as a guide, the probability of a medium long run for the Conservatives is the likely result. "Kick the bums out", that's not a winner for the Liberals.

If you abandon the "government's defeat themselves" as your primary thrust, you are left with ATTRACTION as your only option. This doesn't mean you don't stop attacking, but you realize that this is only part of the overall mix- you must undercut while offering an alternative, in tandem, with equal voice.

Yesterday, we heard another sobering report on the future of the Canadian economy. This serves as the perfect example of how the Liberals can redefine themselves with Canadians. This issue of the deficit and future growth linger in the background. The government is coming under increasing criticism for its vague plan to deal with a sobering reality. Their credibility on this file is vulnerable, but it can only be exploited fully if the Liberals gain a measure of their own. As a matter of fact, the questioning is largely muted, when people entertain the alternative, who's "plan" is equally vague and politically tame. The conversation is blunted, because you have mutual delusionary propositions.

What's the Liberal plan to deal with the deficit? What's the five year plan that will balance the books? And no, the ambiguous politically correct rhetoric isn't a plan, it's more of the same denial we hear from the government. You want to get traction, then lay down some rubber on the road. Tell us where you would nip and tuck, lay out a sequence of events, that considers ANY solution, should circumstances require. You want to position yourself as a different kind of politician, maybe a dose of honesty might be refreshing. Clearly, platitudes that dance around the elephant in the room aren't resonating, made all the more silly by the concurrent future expenditure announcements.

Instead of reacting, why aren't we shaping? Instead of living in fear, being pro-active is actually the best way to "turn it around". People crave an element of truth, it's absence is part of the reason for the current disinterest. People question what the Liberals stand for, seems to me that is rectified by standing for something. I'd start with the number one issue that is sure to dominate the next campaign. The odds are long, no matter the approach, so take no comfort in the timid alternative. I'd rather go down on a principle, than watch the SS "Wishy Washy" drift aimlessly on the horizon, waiting for some fortuitous waves.

36 comments:

MississaugaPeter said...

Steve,

The only way that the Liberals will get out of this rut is to analyze how Chretien and McGuinty got their first majorities, and act accordingly.

McGuinty tried to be the Not-Harris in his first election against the Conservatives, and it failed. Ignatieff trying to be the Not-Harper will get the same result.

McGuinty II and Chretien (and his Red Book which included scrapping the GST) won because they made a lot of promises. And they tried to fulfill as many of them as they could when elected.

Discussing austerity or realistic expectations or just promising to be a good manager of the public's purse ended in the late 1960's with the rise of the Me Generation and What Will You Do For Me Generation.

Steve V said...

Completely disagree. Chretien was elected because a massive "kick the bums out" flavor existed. Again, we need to stop looking to the past for our inspiration. There's a large measure of that with McGuinty too.

The question becomes, do we merely bide our time until this sentiment festers, or do we try and seize the agenda. I would argue, that we will lose the next election if we adopt the former.

The economy WILL be the number one issue. We can either look bland, or we can differentiate ourselves. I see this as the difference between a guaranteed loss, as opposed to a chance.

Mark Francis said...

Well, Chretien did the whole "scrap the GST thing" which really brought people over. It has, over time, contributed to damaging the Liberal brand.

McGuinty knew that the Conservatives were on the way out, and ran a hope-filled election portraying himself as a more-viable alternative.

In both cases, Steve is right. The electorate were looking for something else, and were given what they were looking for.

The Liberals these days need to do something else if they want power as Harper simply isn't that unpopular. He remains the default choice.

Now, some progress of late, I think, has been made denting Harper's armour. Not enough to grant anyone a boost, but Harper is starting to leave a bad taste in the mouths of more voters.

But the Liberals have not provided a viable alternative.

Myself, I have no idea what the Liberals stand for anymore. I had a better idea of their identity under Dion.

Iggy's Narnia skits certainly didn't accomplish anything.

Steve V said...

Mark

We're not attracting anybody, we're relying on people being repelled. I agree, progress on the "bad taste" front, and I would hammer that relentlessly. But, that is one aspect, it must be accompanied by a distinguishable alternative.

One of the reasons that Harper isn't wearing this recession (apart from the buffer of the "global" aspect), is because they seen nothing with the Liberals, except more of the same. You can't run around promising this and that, and then in the same vein raising alarm bells about our finances. Nobody takes you seriously, and that is part of the reason why Harper maintains. It is by default.

Northern PoV said...

The Green-Shift was certainly bold.

ottlib said...

"You want to position yourself as a different kind of politician, maybe a dose of honesty might be refreshing."

Stephane Dion did just that and got creamed.

As much as we would like to believe voters admire honesty they have proven otherwise more times than I can count. Example, despite being proven wrong every time voters still fall for the lie that you can reduce taxes and maintain quality social programs at the same time.

With that kind of mindset there is no benefit to being honest, particularly for the Leader of the Opposition, in between elections. Perhaps when the Liberals finally win an election the Liberal Prime Minister can try to have that adult conversation with Canadians but the Liberal Leader of the Opposition cannot because he would be ignored or worse.

The Liberals are doing what they must. They are hammering the government on their record and having their leader go around the country laying the groundwork for an election platform. He, of course, is being ignored but that is the lot of the Leader of the Opposition.

The Liberals are not going off half cocked in an attempt to lift their current poll numbers and Liberals should be truly grateful for that.

MississaugaPeter said...

Steve,

BOLDNESS does not work.

Dion's BOLD honest approach to politics, Dion's BOLD telling people what he believed in, rather THAN WHAT THEY WANTED TO HEAR, like Stanfield and Clark before him, does not work.

In 1993, missteps/misquotes/pathetic campaign by Campbell and John Tory, public-relevant PROMISES and great coherent campaign by Chretien and Awesome Team made the difference.

At about one month prior to the vote the Liberals and Conservatives were tied at about 35 points...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_federal_election,_1993

There was no "massive kick the bums out" flavor. That was the result, but that was not the reason for Chretien's victory.

In 1993, the federal deficit was running at about the same amount it is now (in real dollars).

Chretien did not win because he promised to slay the deficit giant. Chretien won because of a great campaign and a Red Book full of PROMISES (of which he was satisfied with fulfilling 78% of).

Mark Francis said...

Dion was bold, to a degree, but he lacked complementary qualities to carry it off, sufficient finances and was not surrounded with enough talent. He was also very effectively defamed by what may have been the largest attack ad buy in Canadian history.

Harper was bold. He gambled that massive attack ads would not backfire. He gambled that sparking a unity crisis over the Green Shift would not backfire. He is currently gambling that the current massive federal porkfest will help him more than it will damage him.

How is Harper doing? Seems fortune certainly can favour the bold.

I maintain that the bold move would have been to topple Harper over his last budget, and gamble that a competent coalition government would have gotten Canadians onside over time.

With that option obviously gone, I think the Liberals need to adopt a more blue-green platform, and push for fiscal prudence.

Anyway, we'll see what Rae does. Sorry. I meant to say Iggy.

Mark Francis said...

@MississaugaPeter:

We can't compare with Chretien and get anything meaningful to work with these days.

During Chretien's first election to power people were peeved at Mulroney for the GST, Quebecers backing Mulroney gave up and ran for the Bloc, and the PCs were vote split by the Reformers.

I could argue that the whole election booklet filled with promises bit has grown tired. Harris drowned us in that crap, and Harper avoids it in favour of attack ads and image politics.

I could also argue that the lessons of Chretien are more easily used by Harper: the Bloc is keeping Liberals seats at bay, the centre and left is divided among three parties, and the secret to power, as with Chretien, rests in Ontario, where Harper has a leg up these days.

ottlib said...

MF,

Stephen Harper has been bold, with regard to political strategy, as the leader of the government.

However, he has not been bold with regard to any policy ideas.

A key consideration since this whole post is about being bold with regards to policy.

Oh yes, and you mean Trudeau right. Because after all, if Mr. Ignatieff is pushed out by Mr. Rae, giving the Liberals three leaders in one calendar year, Mr. Rae would be handing the Conservatives a landslide victory next year.

I doubt Mr. Rae could survive such a fate so the Liberals would have a new leader for the next election in 2014.

Mark Francis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jay said...

It is really a shame that they appointed Iggy.

At this point all I see is a complete wipe out in the next election. Maybe thays what is needed. Then those who actually car and have a vision can rebuild the party without all the dead weight and none of the taint from adscam.

We probably would be better off right now had we kept Dion and forced out the bunch who had him pushed out and got Iggy appointed.

I am not even sure myself right now who to vote for. It won't be Harper. That leaves the NDP. I may just sit out the next one which is what I suspect is the cause of the poor results in the by-elections.

Exactly what do the Liberals stand for? Just doubling of arts funding?

ppffftt

Mark Francis said...

Harper has not been very bold with policy. His is image politics. he is vulnerable there, but has weapons to counter a policy-centric opponent.

However, I agree that policy is an important part of the path forward.

I'm joking over Rae -- though he's far better than Dion or Iggy. I'm not so sure Trudeau would do anything to invigorate the modern Liberal party. The name is as much a crutch as it is dead weight as it is a promise of greater things. I have not seen anything more than what I think are reflected glimmers of greatness in Justin.


Correction:

When I said "the centre and left is divided among three parties" I meant outside of Quebec: Liberal, NDP and Green.

MississaugaPeter said...

Mark,

Attack ads, spending other people's money, lying that the economy was not in a recession during the last election, are not BOLD.

But I agree with you that not taking power in January was the first of many Liberal (Ignatieff ?) mistakes this year. But Dion's inability to get a friggin video made was the real "first mistake" after the last election.

Gayle said...

Would standing up for the gun registry have been bold?

They would not have even had to give up any of their policy ideas to do that.

That said, I am waiting to see what they do with this in committee, and whether they allow the registry to be scrapped.

As for the Ignatieff thing - I never wanted him as leader in the first place, however he is the leader now. If you want to support your party you have to support the leader.

DL said...

"the centre and left is divided among three parties" I meant outside of Quebec: Liberal, NDP and Green."

Judging from their pitiful 3% performance in the byelections, I think its debatable whether the Green party is really a factor anymore.

I agree, the Liberals need an identity. I have a suggestion, look to Germany a model yourselves in the FDP (Free Democrats) also known as "the Liberals". They have a found a niche for themselves that would be perfect for the Liberal Party of Canada. They are liberal on "social issues" such as gay rights and separation of church and state and civil liberties, but they are also into totla laissez-faire liberalism and tend to favour big tax cuts, pruning the welfare state, deregulating business, attacking unions etc...they get their votes from professionals etc... and in fact their nickname in German is "the party of doctors and dentists". So why doesn't the Liberal party in canada simply fill the vacuum left by the Tories move to populism and be the party of Bay St. and of urban elites and professionals and other high income types.

Mark Francis said...

"Attack ads, spending other people's money, lying that the economy was not in a recession during the last election, are not BOLD."

Oh, it's bold. It all sucks, but it is bold nevertheless due to the risks involved.

Being bold doesn't have to equate to being visionary. Harper is boldly pulling out all stops to attain power. All or nothing. Save no powder for later. It's bold.

His is not a steady ship of state. He is taking huge risks.

Proroguing Parliament was a bold move, for example. It should have backfired on him, but he believed that he could hoodwink enough Canadians for long enough.

Omar said...

Chretien was elected because a massive "kick the bums out" flavor existed.

Chretien won because of a great campaign and a Red Book full of PROMISES (of which he was satisfied with fulfilling 78% of).

I think it prudent to remember that Chretien was also the beneficiary of the division that existed on the right throughout the 90s. Those hefty Liberal majorities were in great part the result of that political reality. Lest we forget.

ottlib said...

Stephen Harper has won two elections despite obvious charisma issues and the general feeling that he cannot be trusted.

So Michael Ignatieff should be able to pull it off. Mr. Dion would have been able to as well if he would have had support from his own party.

One of the underlying assumptions of this kind of discussion is the Liberal Party and its leadership are sitting on their hands and doing nothing.

That is hopelessly untrue.

Mr. Ignatieff's Sudbury declaration was not an off-the-cuff remark or hatched on the back of a napkin at breakfast that day.

That was a planned declaration and all of its possible implications were assessed. The Liberal leadership knew how that declaration would be played by the media (at least I hope so) but made it anyway because they believed it was a necessary step to becoming an actual credible Opposition.

That was a bold move.

Unfortunately, such a move was destined to only pay dividends much later.

As I have stated in my own blog I have seen hints of an actual plan to win the next election instead of just reacting to events, as the Liberals have only been doing since Adscam broke in 2004. I am heartened that they have finally learned to ignore the media and the public polls. They tell an artificial story and there is nothing the Liberals can do at this time to change that story.

Naturally, the Liberals are not going to show too much of that plan until the time is right.

Mark Francis said...

@ottlib:

"I am heartened that they have finally learned to ignore the media and the public polls. They tell an artificial story and there is nothing the Liberals can do at this time to change that story."

You can't ignore the media. You have to work 'em. But, certainly, don't obey them.

I agree with the importance of polls. You have to lead polls, not obey them.

But to do this, you need a well-postured narrative.

"Naturally, the Liberals are not going to show too much of that plan until the time is right."

That's a narrative which is very hard to latch onto because there's little to believe in. It amounts to 'trust me.' Unfortunately, like so many, I'm jaded and cynical, so I need a lot more than that.

MississaugaPeter said...

Omar,

Take a look at the polling data at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_federal_election,_1993

About a month prior to the vote (during the election), the Conservatives were even with the Liberals (35%-35%). Both sides were pretty even up to and during the first few weeks of the election.

The split and all the other stuff happened DURING a great Liberal campaign of populist PROMISES (in spite of record deficits).

The 35%-35%, one month later, resulted in a 41%-16% victory by the good guys.

Imagine the result if during the 2008 election Harper had not been an idiot and had PROMISED doubling funding for the Arts instead of actually PROMISING to cut funding.

Northern PoV said...

"I am heartened that they have finally learned to ignore the media and the public polls."
Thanks ottlib ...
It is not so much that they need to ignore them, but they do need to avoid knee jerk reactions to the latest poll or media pile on, and to focus on the longer term/bigger picture.

That is why I have admonished this blog from time to time for spending most of its energy navel-gazing on polls.

Steve V said...

"I think it prudent to remember that Chretien was also the beneficiary of the division that existed on the right throughout the 90s."

Thank-you, I'm so tired of all the circumstantial nostalgia. The Liberals will never have Ontario to themselves again, so past templates don't work.



As for the Dion analogy, then let your fear paralyze. You'll end up in the same place, just without a soul.

Steve V said...

ottlib

Will all due respect, your constant "soothing" take is part of the problem that haunts the Liberals. It's always don't worry, it's coming around, always seeing something around the corner, but never quite grasping the reality. You do realize, you've said the same thing since I started blogging. It's been the same line, with no need for any revision or re-think.

If the Liberals are waiting for Harper to implode, then I suggest we adopt a two election strategy, because the odds will never be in our favor. As an aside, I still gave the government the advantage last June when we hit high water. At best it was 40/60, because of the intangibles, now it's more like 15/85. We have a herculian challenge, so the calming mentality is frankly a joke. Hello.

ottlib said...

Steve:

I have been around politics for a very long time, probably too long. I have been on the inside and I have observed it from without.

Nothing we are seeing right now is new. We have been down this road before. Only the actors have changed.

So getting worked up over the current situation is useless at best and counter-productive at worst.

Jean Chretien knew that and that was why he was so damned successful. Certainly he had some things fall his way but advantages are only advantages if you know how to exploit them to maximum benefit.

Stephen Harper is similar in that way. He knows that virtually every thing that happens during the inter-election period is all smoke and very little flame. That is one of the reasons why he has enjoyed success. Fortunately, he has not been as successful as Jean Chretien at exploiting the advantages that have fallen his way.

As well, there is very little objective reality in politics. Virtually all of it is subjective. That is why so many things in politics are so easy to spin in any direction you want. Even when you are decide not to spin something you are still spinning it. It is just the nature of the beast.

Polls, by-elections and all of the everyday BS that is thrown at us is virtually meaningless. As I have stated before, if the inter-election period was really indicative of how things unfold in an election Paul Martin would have called an election, after four years of majority governance, last year.

That is the approach I take to my view of politics. You state that I deny reality by doing so but, with respect, you are wrong. All I am doing is denying how you see the reality of the situation and nothing more. In short it is an honest disagreement.

Nothing I have seen in the last few years has caused me to change my approach to looking at politics. If something comes along to make me change my mind I will let you know.

Koby said...

The Green Shift was bold, but a tax shift offered Canadians no short term tangible benefits and more importantly Canadians were completely unsure what goods and services would be taxed more. The Conservatives gave them an answer. It would be a "tax on everything". The Green Shift was always going to be a political disaster.

The Liberals need to be bold, but more than that they need to rethink their whole approach to public policy first. Under Martin and Chretein the Liberals abandoned universality, the heart of the Liberal brand, and favored instead means tested programs. This shift has been politically disastrous for the party. Means tested social programs do not win elections; the populace is not going to get excited about paying for a service that only a small percentage of the public can use. By turning every social program on offer into a form of welfare, the ability of the Liberals to offer anything other than tax cuts is very limited. Sure enough the Liberals, despite their vacuous rhetoric, have become virtually indistinguishable from the Conservatives on all but social issues and Ignatieff seems hell bent on changing that.

Of course, the one exception to such a dispiriting turn is the Liberals early childhood proposal. However, even here there are major problems. As with the Green Shift, it was unclear to the voters just what it was the Liberals were offering. The goal of the program was ostensibly to work with the provinces to set up an early childhood education program for children under 6. However, to the average voter this amounted to little more than a vague promise to provide more daycare -- which the Liberals said early childhood education was not --- at sometime in the future; voters could not figure out what this would mean for their lives.

If the Liberals reintroduce such a program in the future, they need to step on provincial toes and present it in a form in which voters can understand. This is what they should do. They should promise to provide all day preschool and kindergarten for every 4 and 5 year old in Canada.

Koby said...

I am with Steve on this one Ottlib. The lack of brand identity is real concern. Over the course of the last 40 years the Liberal success has been based on their being able to exploit regional differences and wholly dominate either Quebec or Ontario. Under Trudeau, it was Quebec. Under Chertein it was Ontario. This is just not going happen again.

Steve V said...

BTW, I very much liked Ignatieff's initial thrust to reach out to regions that are a Liberal wasteland. While that wouldn't pay any immediate dividends, it denoted a realization of the problems that plague this party. Unfortunately, his handlers apparently decided to virtually abandon this attempt, because it didn't fit into a short term strategy.

Steve V said...

ottlib

Fair enough, that's your prerogative. And, for the record, I'm not be defeatist here, I believe it's constructive. The view you put forth, IMO, is that no matter what, you declare all is well, it means nothing. No matter what confronts us, it is brushed off and you fall back on the same lines. I've been following this game intently for over 20 years, so we can debate experience, but I believe old templates are just that.

This thing isn't going to fall in our laps, you're not going to reinvent yourself during a 5 week campaign. That strategy relies on your opponent making missteps, where you can capitalize, rather than laying some serious groundwork. Any opposition is at a disadvantage, so we aren't unique in this regard. But, not addressing what you know is a weakness NOW, well, it's a probable loser.

There's to many Liberals who have been around to long. Sometimes I think the only solution is a complete and utter turnover, wherein we start from scratch and re-emerge from there. Chretien is dead. The glory years a mirage. Maybe it's because I wasn't a partisan, but I assure you Canadians don't have the same sentimentality, they see the Liberal Party as a tired, top heavy institution, that doesn't relate to the ground. There's your problem. Admit it, or it's Harper for another 5 years. It might be that reality anyways, but at least you're headed in the right direction.

We agree to disagree. I see this complacency as counterproductive in the grand scheme :)


Koby

What people fail to understand, the ROT started during the glory days, but people were to blinded by their entitlement to notice. I believe the Liberal Party lost its soul during those years, in many respects. We are paying for that legacy, that's the aftertaste that Canadians remember and haven't seen reason to reaccess.

Koby said...

What people tend to forget is the Liberals did quite well in BC during the 1960s and that "The West" only became a political wastland for the Liberals when fitting Quebec into the fabric of Canadian society even at the cost of treating the provinces differently became an all consuming passion for Trudeau. Of course, Trudeau was not the only one to fall victim to such sentiment. Mulroney also did not understand just how much asymmetrical federalism rubbed "Western" Canadians raw. This is still the case. Pandering to Quebec nationalists (see talk of coalition) will all but make it impossible to reestablish a presense in Western Canada. The only option for the Liberals in Quebec is play up social liberalism. Martin's Jean Laperriere root is not the answer.

Tomm said...

Steve,

I think your comments are very astute.

There is nothing wrong with Ignatieff, and quite frankly there was nothing wrong with Dion (if that's what you want).

The problem is that there is nothing within the Liberal Party to hang on to.

People supported the Reform Party with their money and votes because it spoke to them. Same with the NDP and the BQ (to a lesser extent). They did so with no expectation of Federal power.

The Liberal Party has to ask itself what does it have that people are willing to support without the expectation of power?

That is where it builds itself some roots.

marie said...

You want to position yourself as a different kind of politician, maybe a dose of honesty might be refreshing."

Stephane Dion did just that and got creamed, why? because not only did he have the media making fun of him, he had some members in his own cabinet tattling to the media.
I would think that the Liberals should know by now who the sources are tattling to the media are and do something about that. They have to learn that in order to be a viable team player you have to obey the rules and quit snitching or the medias words, being a source in the liberals cabinet.

I still think Dion would have made a great PM and his English was not that bad. Those who think it was weren't listening. I am french and let me tell You Stevie's french is a lot worse than Dions English is.

I don't exactly like ignatieff either but that's who we have and until their is a convention, that's who is the liberal leader and I will back him all the way. I have this thing about supporting the underdog and the heck with the ones that are leading. To support a leader just because they appear to be leading is childish and not something I want to do.

marie said...

The Green Shift was bold, but a tax shift offered Canadians no short term tangible benefits and more importantly Canadians were completely unsure what goods and services would be taxed more. The Conservatives gave them an answer. It would be a "tax on everything". The Green Shift was always going to be a political disaster.

I don't agree with you there Koby.
The problem with the Green Shift was that the liberal MP's did not take the time to study the plan to explain it their constituients.The media being as partisan as they are to the Reform Cons ran with the Harper Cons and the Liberal MP"s did nothing to support Mr. Dions stance. The Green Shift was a good plan and it went away as well as any attempt to slow down Global warming. NOw we have nothing and hopefully our young generation will show us the way to get back on tract.

Tomm said...

Ottlib,

The Liberal Party has to have roots. What does it stand for?

Why should I or you, vote for it?

I want a party/movement that supports those that need it but doesn't act as an enabler for those that just wish to ride the public purse. Is the Liberal Party a good choice for me?

I want a Canada that comes together as a nation on those things that unite us, but also allow regional differences for those things that enrich and differentiate us. Is the Liberal Party a good choice for me?

As you can tell, the answers to my questions are either "no" or "I don't know", because they haven't created the vision and programs that speak to what I care about.

The Liberal Party of Canada cannot generate grass roots enthusiasm, unless it creates the reason for that enthusiasm. The intelligence or qualities of its leader cannot be the basis for that strength. The leaders (plural) must reflect the values of the party.

Koby said...

Marie

The Liberals did a nice job boiling down what the tax shift was. "Less on what you earn more on what you burn." However, the Liberals were never going to be able to explain to the public just what is burnt and as a result how such a shift would effect the cost of any number of goods and services. Naturally some were convinced that this was simply a tax increase in disguise. But let me repeat what the kicker was. I do not care how big an issue people said Climate change was. No one I mean no is ever going to be excited over a tax shift. Making the central plank of his platform something that did not offer a single tangible benifit Canadians just went to show how hopeless Dion was as a politican and why he needed to be ushered out the door as soon as posible.

As for the election day results, your lazy Liberal MP theory does not explain much. The most plausible explanation for why the Liberal vote was down 944,350 outside of Quebec is also the simplest and most straightforward. Canadians do not like Dion or his policies, particularly his green shift.

Now I do not speak French and so can not say whether Harper's French is worse than Dion's English. However, to imply that Dion's strong accent and at times poor grammer did not hurt him outside of Quebec is obviously false. Of course it hurt him.

Frunger said...

I'd love to see the Liberals propose cuts to government programs, but it wouldn't be a very good strategy.

Everyone knows that Harper wants to axe spending, but he has no way of doing it without taking a hit from media, opposition, interest groups and other useless rent seekers that like to get paid for nothing.

Any cuts that Iggy proposes, provided it doesn't strike to the core of Conservatives beliefs would be adopted immediatly. Good for Canada, because they are probably useless programs anyway.

All Iggy would be doing is providing Harper cover to do what he wants to anyway. It takes away the ability for Liberals to fein righteous indignation when a couple of million dollars are taken away from some foundation lawers and government labour unions.

I think he should do it, for the sake of us taxpayers, but he'd just be handing the NDP an avenue of attack with no benefit.