Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Big Picture

Jason Cherniak has a rather unflattering assessment of Gerard Kennedy on his blog. Fair game to criticize the various candidates, although you have to question the objectivity from such a highly partisan opinion. In other words, did we really expect anything but an attempt to takedown Kennedy, given Jason's close ties to the Dion campaign?

Freedom of speech aside, I think it important for Liberals to take a "big picture" approach to this leadership race, particularly ones who constantly remind us of their high profile. Personally, I think all the top tier candidates have great appeal and are assets to the party. With that sentiment in mind, it is critical that who ever wins emerges in the best possible light to fight the real foe. The emphasis should be on the positive, or at the least legitimate discussion surrounding the policy positions. It isn't helpful to attack someone, simply as a function of trying to help your guy. Criticism is one thing, transparent attempts to influence opinion is quite another. I read Cherniak as a clear case of the latter.

I realize I argue a fine point, and it does open up the possibility of being called a hypocrite if I write anything but positive fluff entries (which I won't). However, I guess my concern is more one of perception on this particular kind of criticism. Something about this post smells bad, it reeks of old school politics that nobody finds attractive. Hyper-partisanship runs counter to credibility in my mind, it's just simple propaganda. I have written positive pieces on Kennedy, Ignatieff, Rae, Dion and Dryden and I hope this affords me some latitude when I do decide to take a shot at someone (like Kennedy's lack of policy positions, which has since been addressed). I have read several bloggers who openly support someone (Cerberus and Calgary Grit come to mind), yet they are still, on occasion, able to argue with some perspective beyond their immediate preference. I think Jason better serves the party he lives and breaths if he takes a big picture approach and sees the campaign as a discussion amongst friends, rather than a "we must prevail" mentality. I also think people are more inclined to accept your criticisms as legitimate if they are presented without the constant stench of self-interest. Two cents.


Jason Cherniak said...

I've written positive comments about many of the candidates. Check out my interviews with Brison and Bevilacqua and comments on Martha (not her communications director). Also seach my blog for mentions of Dryden. Not sure what I've said about Iggy so far, but eventually there will be a very even handed post.

Steve V said...

So, in other words you have had nothing good to say about anybody who is a realistic threat to Dion.

Anonymous said...

Well put Steve.

I suspect JC's mostly preaching to the choire at this point. That self appointed policing was a real turn off.

And BTW, kinda odd that a Dion backer would link almost exclusively Ignatieff backing bloggers on its main page. No need to clarify his take on Iggy.