Sunday, February 17, 2013

Liberal Leadership Race: Cutlery Edition

Much to my surprise, when Martha Hall Findlay launched her leadership bid she was immediately labelled a "front runner", despite a decided lack of real world evidence to support the designation.  Perhaps it was the almost seven years it took to pay off a past leadership debt, which spoke to the widespread genuine public groundswell for another run, we will never know.   Perhaps it was certain media entities already on record bashing supply management that arbitrarily elevated the "gutsy" entrant.  However, truth be told, Martha Hall Findlay has never had a chance of winning the Liberal leadership, no reasonable political observer would risk one cent predicting her ultimate triumph. 

Despite the fact MANY candidates have delivered a avalanche of hard policy, MHF has designated herself as THE person of substance in this race.  To my mind, MHF seems to be on a crusade to reconstitute the Progressive Conservative party- rather than anything resembling modern liberalism- but that is my own spectral consideration.  Apparently, the left and the right no longer exist in Canada, and yet nobody has any confusion over political direction when one contrasts a MHF and Joyce Murray for example.  But, I digress...

What happened yesterday at the Liberal leadership debate was unnecessary, contradictory, and low rent politics by any definition.  People seem to have short memories, because I've yet to see anyone trace back MHF's attack on silver spoon Trudeau to her campaign launch.  Fact is, Hall Findlay began her leadership run questioning Trudeau's upbringing:
But later, on CBC News Network's Power & Politics, she contrasted her experience with that of Trudeau's.

"I've lived my life in a very different…way than Justin has. I firmly believe that I bring a great deal of substance, intelligence, experience. I have huge business experience," she told host Evan Solomon. "I've worked as a lawyer on international transactions, I've run small businesses effectively and met payroll. I've run big businesses and managed large teams both here and in Canada and in Europe.
I thought this tweet yesterday summed up the "attack" on Trudeau quite succinctly:
MHF raises JT's class background then argues against a class-based way of looking at Canada. Worse than ridiculous.

Martha Hall Findlay isn't bringing intelligence and substance to the Liberal race, she's bringing low brow politics, with what amounts to a pathetic attack line.  Rather than challenge Trudeau on policy- as Garneau did- MHF does make it personal, to view it any other way requires leave of common sense.  The fact supposed wonder boy campaign manager Stephen Carter couldn't see this type of attack line would fall FLAT, also illuminating, in terms of his own political instincts.

Again, Martha Hall Findlay has ZERO chance of winning the Liberal leadership, that is a clear and honest reality.  Within that knowledge, it is entirely pointless for MHF to audition for future Conservative attack ads, her approach here is reckless and unfortunate.  Go after Trudeau on his policies, or lack thereof, contrast on the issues, but understand that playing the "silver spoon" card offers no internal benefit, unless simply throwing mud is her only purpose in this race.  MHF says she brings "intelligence" to the race, and yet yesterday represented the stupidest moment this entire campaign will probably see.  Enough talk of silver spoons, put a fork in it instead and dispense with the knife in the back routine..


sharonapple88 said...

The conspiracy nut in me wonders if Hall Findlay jobbed herself out to Trudeau, because he did have a good comeback to the question. Otherwise, as you outline, this doesn't make a lot of sense.

rockfish said...

Ask any 'middle class' Canadian, whatever that term means, how they think politicians matter in the whole scheme of things. It's kneecap attacks like MHF turned to in her desperation Saturday that leaves Canadians cold... Never mind the fact that, besides his worldly and fortunate son upbringing, Trudeau inherited the whopping sum equivalent to a nice bungalow in a nicer part of east Vancouver. Trudeau is proving ably and savvy when it comes to handling the next stage of leadership. MHF is demonstrating that she is up to the task of spending another near-decade paying off a bad decision.

Scotian said...

I was watching that debate in Newsworld, and I found myself first pleased by MHF and then disgusted, amazingly enough by her using the same underlying concept in two different ways. The impressed was when she made the point that Canada wasn't a class conscious society until recently and that we need to go back to the way we used to be, that comment got a rare applause from me sitting at home. To then her her discredit that point shortly afterwards by using class as a basis to attack JT, and in such a cumbersome manner to boot, well that really offended me, got a rather sharp retort back to the TV, and started a conversation between me and my wife about just how bad and stupid a move that was on multiple levels.

That anyone would think this was a smart move shows they have no business going anywhere near the leader's position. Not only because it is inherently offensive but because it also was clearly the wrong way to try to compete with someone with the history both familial and personal of JT. To try and paint someone as being out of touch because they were born with a silver spoon in their mouths you need to have someone that has not shown a history of service , of not mixing with those from other social/economic classes within the society, and that is something JT clearly does not fit the mold for, he is so far from being a Mitt Romney that way that it should have been obvious just how idiotic this would be for an attack approach. Worse, it comes off as mean spirited by the attacker, leaves you wide open for the obvious counter punch which JT hit back with, shows you as a small minded petty person for going there, and is a pattern of behaviour that many Canadians hate seeing in politics and politicians placing MHF in the negative caricature of the ugly politician while being unable to put JT in the caricature of the spoiled rich person unable to relate seeking power for their own reasons.

I was gratified to see the immediate and strongly negative reaction from the audience when she made this attack, and she is clearly feeling the heat from it going by her subsequent actions. I think it speaks well of the Liberal party members there that this triggered such an immediate negative reaction, not so much I sense from the target but because of the nature of the attack itself. That gives me some hope for the future of the return of some civility in Canadian politics again despite all the Harper machine has done to destroy such. This is not something I have had much faith in seeing anymore, the toxicity Harper brought to our politics being as horrific as it has been.