Monday, October 23, 2006

Blowback

I really have to question Dion's strategy for winning the Liberal leadership. In fact, in short order, it would appear that Dion is undoing all the goodwill that he has enjoyed these past months. In a race to be everyone's second choice, I don't see how negative politics help the cause.

People will remember that Dion attacked Kennedy at one of the summer debates, effectively calling him an empty shirt. Politics is rough, and Dion actually scored some points with this attack. However, the latest debates have now revealed a distasteful pattern, wherein Dion forgets his message and instead tries to tear into others (Rae is guilty as well- wasn't he the guy who pledged in the first debate in Alberta to never attack a "fellow Liberal" during the campaign?). You can understand Dion's tactics, but under the circumstances they are the polar opposite of what the Liberal Party needs.

If you took a poll of Liberals at the onset of this leadership campaign, I venture to say party unity would have been a top concern. Within this context, Dion's approach is particularly less attractive and begs the question- is this man the best choice to heal old wounds? Gotcha politics are standard fair between parties, but within the internal dynamics of a party they have negative consequences. Where is the big picture in the Dion approach? It would seem personal ambition trumps the greater good for the man who is so quick to point to his Liberal credentials and loyalty.

Obviously I am biased, but contrast Dion with Kennedy and you see that other avenues exist. Kennedy defended Ignatieff during the summer snafu, even though political advantage was easily attained. Kennedy even defended Volpe, calling him a "good Liberal", despite the maelstorm. During the debates, Kennedy has largely resisted the easy soundbite to make headlines, instead putting forth a positive message that speaks to unity. Kennedy understands that time doesn't stop at the convention and how the Party emerges will be a key to future prospects.

When this race began, all the pundits immediately concluded that we would see a bloodless campaign, simply as a function of multiple ballots and the need to look favorable. Dion's tactics seem to fly in the face of this logic, and you have to wonder if being labelled the negative candidate is really a winning strategy. Presenting yourself as a turnoff to other candidate's delegates through attacking their man seems like a loser strategy in my eyes. The environmental champion, that speaks with conviction, displaying wit and intellect is replaced by the arrogant know it all that snarls at everyone. You are starting to see blowback when it comes to the Dion re-invention, that had been so successful to date, and I wonder if we haven't already seen the high water mark for his campaign.

p.s- I don't mean to offend Dion supporters, whom I respect, but this is my humble opinion :)

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't think anything that Dion has brought up has been disrespectful. I think in a campaign this is all fair game.

I think we should be using this leadership race as practice for the upcoming election. All candidates should be prepared for others to raise areas of weakness for themselves.

In my opinion, no candidate has said anything disrespectful or over the line.

cdntarheel said...

Hi,

I agree with anon 11:17 in that you should not worry about offending people with this post. It's reasonable and you back-up what you say. Whether or not readers agree or are persuaded is another story.

Good stuff, as usual.

Anonymous said...

It is not what Dion is saying, it is when and how he is saying it that is wrong.
He does not display leadership by freaking out on the other candidates. He has totally turned me off from voting for him. Liberals do not want more wars. Dion does not stand for unity and I cannot support him.

petroom said...

Go have another say here:

Anyone-But-Iggy Web Poll

Enjoy.

CuriosityCat said...

Dion is a candidate for leadership, and has every right to raise, in any forum and at any time, very important issues which need to be considered by Liberals and Liberal delegates.

The issue of Ignatieff's advocacy of the use of force by American troops to impose an American solution on the democratic state of Israel and on Palestinians, is a serious departure from the Liberal Party's embrace of multilateral responses to international problems. Dion has every right, in fact, a duty, to question Ignatieff on this position.

Those who oppose Dion's raising this issue seem more concerned with the debate process than with the gravity of Ignatieff's militaristic solutions. Liberals should read the article Ignatieff wrote (google Why Bush Should Send in His Troops), and which Dion wants discussed.

And Ignatieff owes Liberals and Canadians an explanation: Is he standing behind this recommendation?

If he is, should Liberals elect a leader who supports gunboat diplomacy by America if an American president considers that American interests are at stake?

Ignatieff makes Harper look moderate on this issue!

Orchard said...

Steve V,

You seem intent on attacking Dion. I've been thinking about this and I want to ask you why you don't focus on Iggy or Rae?

On the question of party unity, I've laid out my beliefs and understandings for you on why Dion would be the best leader here.

Dion will always be fiesty and I absolutely support him. In fact, I think that being nice and polite and indeed, silent, on the question of Rae or Iggy as leader would be a terrible mistake.

Can we not make amends here and say that Dion and Kennedy represent the future of a renewed liberal party? Dion himself said that Kennedy has written some very interesting things regarding immigration and getting immigrants more successfully into Canadian society.

Can you not also say some nice things about Dion and perhaps also about how the two men complement eachother rather than conflict with eachother?

Steve V said...

Jeremy

Thanks for the response. I'm sorry if it appears I am "intent on attacking" Dion, but I don't share your view that Dion represents the future. In fact, the more I watch this race unfold, the more convinced I become that Dion represents the past. Dion's central theme is his experience, which I see as more of an obstacle than a net plus. If Dion were to win, I would support him, but now is the time to carefully think this through, and I have concluded that Dion is not the face for the Party if a return to power is the goal. A great Minister perhaps, but not someone who can unite the Party and present our strongest image against Harper. We agree to disagree :)

Orchard said...

It appears that the Kennedy and Dion teams are talking about an alliance for the December convention. Does that change your mind?

In today’s star Kennedy’s Ontario campaign chair Mark Holland is quoted as saying “St├ęphane's strength is in Quebec and it's francophone, Kennedy's support is more among anglo Canadians. Their policies work well together. It's a natural fit”.

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1161726632800&call_page=TS_Canada&call_pageid=968332188774&call_pagepath=News/Canada&pubid=968163964505