Monday, June 07, 2010

You're The Problem Mr. Harper

I agree with much of what Jeff says on where the Liberals can go on this coalition question. On a slightly complimentary track, I would argue that this coalition debate is now morphing into a possible advantage for the Liberals, if played properly.

The Conservatives have an advantage on the economy. Notwithstanding recent events, the simple fact of a relatively strong economy internationally, evidence of a rebound, are inherent strengths for the government. If we plan to take the government head on, with the economy as central backdrop, we have a chance, but the odds are long and that's just fact. What the Liberals really require is another issue to take hold during a campaign, fight on terrain that is more risky for the government. Conventional wisdom, using the 2008 coalition debacle as backdrop, assumes that the government would love the opportunity to revisit all those attack lines during a campaign. I agree with that assumption less and less, in fact I think if we get aggressive, we can turn this issue around and in so doing, hit the Conservatives soft underbelly.

If you review the Conservatives chief liabilities, it always revolves around this idea of a mean spirited, divisive, partisan entity, that generally doesn't play well with others. This narrative is the LAST thing the Conservatives would choose as a dominant election theme. However, if the Liberals use this coalition question, arrangements, whatever, and turn it into a discussion that Harper is the problem, Harper is an OBSTACLE to the good government all Canadians crave. I don't claim to understand the entire mood of the country, but I'm as certain as can be, that if a politician can paint himself as a "unifer", that will bring us out of this petty partisan deadlock, he/she will find resonation, in a powerful way. I'll take it a step further, this discussion could be the spark that breaks the electorate malaise.

People hate the way Ottawa operates. Nobody pays attention, and the apathy grows every year. Given voter hostility to politics in general, pretty rich that Harper actually tries to argue he deserves a big mandate, when almost near universal opinion agrees he has resided over the most dysfunctional Parliament in our history. How many times have you heard a seasoned Ottawa observer say they've never seen it so bad, we've reached new lows in terms of discourse, respect, etc. The Conservatives can resist all they want, but a certain fundamental truth, "the buck stops there". The Conservatives set the tone, their the government, this clusterfuck is essentially their baby. It is the job of the Liberals to make this self-evident truth STICK like a panhandle tar ball. You don't reward Harper, you turf him!

You're the problem Mr. Harper, and we're willing to move past this current embarrassment, work with other parties, with the common good in mind. I picture a debate, wherein Ignatieff delivers the piercing line, in confident fashion, "we'll even work with the Conservatives, after your gone".

Rather than fear the "arrangements" discussion, let's embrace it, because when looking at options, it might just turn out to be a preferred narrative.

9 comments:

Jesse said...

Does this let us turn the way we've let budgets pass into a strength, rather than a weakness?

JimmE said...

After making all the excuses for Iggy, I'm done. Sorry, this not just that I don't agree with they guy but this fella does not seem to know thing one about politics. He has Effed away every advantage he has been handed. Iggy presently has an opportunity to kill the omnibus budget, show some spine, rid us of the present PM, & do a deal with the other parties to give the country one to two years stable government. If he wanted further proof the poll that shows greater support for a Grit-Dipper agreement is in his hands. So what is he doing with this opportunity? SFA that's what!
At the very least, he should be able to wrest something out of the present PM, but what does Iggy get for supporting this person? The knowledge that he is now seen as weaker leader than M. Dion by most Canadians.
Stick a fork in me, I'm done.

Steve V said...

Geez, way to stay on topic.

lma1 said...

Isn't the topic standing up to Harper and working with other parties to turf him? So why are the Liberals helping the Cons to pass the budget?

I'm done too. The weakening of the Environmental Assessment Act is the last straw for me.

Koby said...

As Tom Flanagan crowed after the 2006 election, there are certain issues that favour the Conservatives and the economy is one. No matter how successful the Liberals were in balancing the books and creating jobs, Conservative research suggested that when it came to economics people trusted the Conservatives more than they did the Liberals. Things have not gotten any better since then. Indeed they have gotten a lot worse.

The Liberals do not stand a snow balls chance in hell if the issue is the economy

RuralSandi said...

The news is out that the Conservative David Cameron and his Conservative finance minister are looking at and using the model of the "Liberal" plan in the 90's to clean up debt. Other countries are studying it too.

In other words, other countries know it was the Liberals that did it in the 90's and had nothing to do with Harper.

It's been on the news, so perhaps, indirectly, this will hopefully remind people.

So, Mr. World Stage Harper is not fooling world leaders at all.

Perhaps it's to stop being so obsessed with professional career politicians and look in another direction. Mike Pearson was not a career politician, was considered weak, but boy oh boy what he and Tommy Douglas accomplished because they respected each other.

Tof KW said...

Sandi, it's because it was Paul Martin (with an assist from Mulroney thanks to the GST) who brought our economy back from the brink - not Preston Manning - and everyone outside of Alberta knows it. UK PM Cameron has been meeting with Martin as of late, video of the two meeting was on CBC just yesterday. Suck it up Harper!

RuralSandi said...

Preston Manning????!! I said Mike Pearson and that comment was not about the economy, it was about minorities accomplishing something.

With or without the GST Canada was pretty much in the same position as Greece and it was the "tough love" that did it, even if the Cons and NDP say it was on the back of Canadians/provinces.

Fred from BC said...

Tof KW said...

Sandi, it's because it was Paul Martin (with an assist from Mulroney thanks to the GST) who brought our economy back from the brink - not Preston Manning - and everyone outside of Alberta knows it.

They also know the rest of the story: that it was Liberal Pierre Trudeau who drove the Canadian economy almost to bankruptcy, and Brian Mulroney (who inherited not only this huge debt, but record-high interest rates to go along with it, necessitating some further debt just to keep the country afloat) who introduced the two policies that brought us back from the brink: the GST *and* Free Trade.

(a bit more than an "assist", wasn't it?)

The Liberals had vehemently opposed both policies while in opposition, but turned around and whole-heartedly embraced them once in office; add to that the slashing of a few (14? 24?) billion dollars from health-care and the downloading to the provinces of a few billion more, and you have the Liberals proudly taking credit for 'fixing' Canada's economy.