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.