Friday, September 21, 2007

Dion Interview

Pretty interesting interview with Dion in Macleans. First the good- offering some longterm vision, which is a nice contrast to the Harper vote grab:
I think what this country needs is somebody who is committed to make Canada a champion of sustainable development. It’s not to be a tree hugger, although I like the natural environment. It’s to understand the 21st century. The big challenge of this century will be no less than the reconciliation of the people and the planet. To me, it’s first and foremost an agenda about the economy.

It’s a big challenge, but you have to have the conviction. Mr. Harper doesn’t have the conviction. He will come with programs that are so improvised he will be unable to implement them. He will spend, but it’s not a plan. I will have a plan for this economy that will make it sustainable for our children and grandchildren. In politics, you need a big ego and a lot of modesty. A big ego to think you are the one, a lot of modesty to do it with others. I think I have both.

I love the idea of "reconciliation of the people and the planet", because it has tenticles that speak to everything we do. As a matter of fact, that is the sort of progressive thinking that can help re-define the identity challenged Liberal Party. People are starting to understand that we need a balance, if Dion can tap into that sentiment, his message is very relevant and compelling. I guess it is a question of how you articulate that.

That bring me to this point, which I've heard before and I think it's wrong:
M: You’ve announced some policy, but nothing like a complete platform. When can we expect a bigger, more detailed vision?

SD: It is a bit frustrating for me. I have a team of policy people, many of them part of the caucus, and we would be so pleased to get out with more ideas. But we want to keep many of them for an election that may come. If we put out everything in advance, it will be difficult to come with surprises during the campaign.

On of the better by-election post-mortems was Jeff's blog on policy. Listening to another political roundtable today on CBC, the big criticism of the Liberals moving forward, "what do they stand for?" While I commend Dion for the "reconcilation" angle, we really can't afford to wait for the details. I know the conventional wisdom, but frankly, given the circumstance, do Liberals really have the luxury of sitting on ideas?

A good example of over-stating the election "surprise" theory is the McGuinty campaign. Did McGuinty really get a big bounce from the barrage of policy announcements in the early days of the campaign? I'd say any uptick we saw was more from Tory's missteps, than any momentum from the policy dump. Actually, people reacted with some cynicism- why now, trying to buy some votes? In other words, I don't think you can argue with certainty that it was best to wait until the heat of a campaign. Also, releasing point after point in rapid fashion tends to create overkill, and people can't digest fast enough, or keep pace.

Ask yourself what is the Liberals biggest challenge. In my mind, there is an identity crisis that needs to be reconciled, accompanied by a sense of urgency. The tacticians make a mistake in holding back, because that essentially ensures the status quo. Nevermind the general population, you have to energize the grassroots, throw them some meat to inspire. Love the concept, but maybe too clever in thinking the standard playbook is sufficient.


Koby said...

You are right. The Liberals do not have the luxury waiting until an election campaign to unveil new policy. They have to stop the bleeding and the only way of doing is come up with policies that will restore Canadians interest in the party. Besides, election campaigns are unpredictable and bold new policy is just as likely to get dismissed as an act of desperation (e.g., the Liberals proposal to ban hand guns) as it is to be celebrated. The other problem is that the blizzard of policy proposals unleashed by all parties becomes like white news after a while. Moreover, some policies need time to mature. Such was the case with SSM. As I have said time and again, based on what the polls said the policy was clear looser. The country might have been spilt, but likely voters where not. The older one is the more likely one was to vote and to oppose SSM. The success of policy lay in the fact that pundits, academics and even bloggers ran rough shod over the Conservative position and Conservatives sustained a good deal of collateral damage. Intellectually, morally and legally bankrupt, the critics ground down the Conservative position to there was nothing left but stinking carcass of lies, obfuscations and bigotry.

lance said...

Heh. Supporters on the right recognize this debate. Reform was challenged on policy. Reform would be release some and it would all end up as a Liberal law.

Result: Reform had no policy.

Chretien liked the split on the right and he wanted it to stay there.

It went on and on until the CPC just stopped releasing policy.

Result: the domination of the pre-Xmas writ.

For all the lip support Dion is getting this week the second guessing is proving that there is another word that describes the Liberals relationship with their leader.


burlivespipe said...

But what's the CONs like yourself's relationship to your leader? Is it Maxwell Smart to Hymie the robot, or are you some kind of serf who loves to be treated like crap...
Because if you didn't have any Income Trusts, just wait, Harper will rip your heart out somehow (like spending more liberally than Liberals isn't plucking a few arteries already)

Steve V said...

"Reform would be release some and it would all end up as a Liberal law."

Lance, some examples, because I don't recall much "lifting" from the far right agenda?

lance said...

I know there are specifics, but it was too long ago. Off-hand I can't think of one specific thing.

At the time the big complaint in the party was that the "damned Liberals kept moving the goalposts."


900ft Jesus said...

nice analysis. You nailed it down, in my opinion, problem and solution.