Wednesday, October 12, 2011

State Of The Nation

To my mind, if you want to chart an effective future course you must digest a realistic reality. It's fine to be optimistic, but that view tends to gloss over sober circumstances, which in turn doesn't contemplate what is necessary to truly realize your objective.

Today, Nanos provides that Liberal shot in the arm, the NDP falling back a bit, the Liberals rising, the Conservatives could care less as the opposition rearranges their deck chairs. Not a surprising result, if you look closer, much of the Liberals uptick is Ontario based. Whether that is a real move or just the election effect remains to be seen, but it is positive for the Liberal "brand" that McGuinty did well. On the flip side, this election revealed the same dangerous narrowing of Liberal support into urban pockets, as well as huge voter decline, so there is a mixed bag flavour to the result. Overall though, some spillover to federal Liberals is expected, just as spillover to provincial NDP from federal success was earlier.

Looking forward, here is what I expect on the federal scene, realistically. I see little opportunity for the Liberals to get any real traction for quite a while. The NDP leadership race is where the "action" is, it's intriguing to watch and it will continue to suck most of the oxygen out of pedestrian Ottawa. This obvious predicament equates to an almost relegated status for we Liberals and we will have to fight for headlines and attention. Mr. Rae can look formidable in Question Period, the Liberals can push items, we can do the mundane work of rebuilding, but it's hard to see any near term catalysts that will shake public sentiment.

I see a party reconciled to third place standing- and the accompanying attention that designation receives- until at least the leadership in 2013. As the Liberals build up for the convention, people being campaigns, ideas and reforms are truly debated (hopefully), only then we there be opportunity to mix up the new Ottawa order. Of course, this view assumes the NDP doesn't self destruct, or choose a poor leader, but that would be an external development. The NDP aren't some fad, which many Liberals still seem to believe.

The trick moving forward is to understand just how disinterested the public is at the moment, how little they pay attention to machinations in Ottawa, how scarce the opportunity to really change the landscape. Particularly, in a majority situation- without the constant threat of upheaval- most Canadians have tucked their political interest away, snippets here and there, but snappy lines by Mr. Rae in QP aren't resonating, I assure.

Liberals should quietly go about their business, so we are ready for 2015. However, I'm not expecting the polls to suddenly turn favourable, I don't expect to overtake the NDP anytime soon, challenging the Conservatives almost absurd to contemplate. Not optimistic or pessimistic, but perhaps realistic and I believe the correct mindset for the months, and perhaps years, ahead.


Along the same lines.

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