Friday, September 19, 2008

Warning: Venting Below

It's probably not best to blog when you're pissed, but I've sort of reached a threshold today, so I'd rather be honest. Just what in the hell is Dion doing today, or better yet, who is giving him such dreadful advice?? It's politically shrewd to talk about other issues, and let the Green Shift fade for a few days, afterall, it's not the only policy the Liberals are offering. No politician wants to be a one-issue candidate, and given the economic challenges, it's important for Dion to convey a coherent vision on other fronts, even though the Green Shift tends to bleed into other matters. What is a colossal error, political suicide of the highest order, to publicly try and downplay the importance of the Green Shift.

Let's face reality, whether you like it or not, the Green Shift is our MAIN policy plank. Period. That fact doesn't preclude moving to other issues, highlighting the totality of our plan, addressing a wide range of topics. However, this is the Liberal bed we've made, any talk trying to undercut the importance of the Green Shift is simply a ridiculous proposition at this stage. Bone headed is a kind characterization.

Whomever is giving Mr. Dion advice, doesn't seem to understand one basic fact- you don't get to turn back the clock, you don't get to change the playbook half way through the game, especially after you've spent MONTHS selling your idea. Besides, is it really that bad, is it really the Green Shift, or is it the inability to effectively sell it? The irony here, just look at the Green vote, it doesn't seem to be suffering because of a carbon tax, in fact it's reaching new highs(EKOS has the Greens at 13%, a polling high, Decima also shows them reaching new heights at 12%). If the Green Shift is the albatross, please explain how a party with no seats is in the teens, when it's main policy is a bigger carbon tax?

Let's cut to the chase, the issue isn't the plan, it's the messenger, and again, I will point to an analogous Green narrative. So, instead of backing down on your CORE idea, people should be focused on consolidating the environmental vote behind Dion. In my view, that is the ONLY way to get this campaign on track, the Liberals are simply bleeding too many supporters to other parties. Some harsh words for the NDP too, they're a joke on this file, more interested in scoring points than listening to what environmentalists are saying, completely exposed and vulnerable. In other words, go after the soft Green support and tell environmentally conscious NDP supporters to come on board, using the vast array of environmental support for context. Narrow the debate, it's Harper's plan or Dion's plan, shit or get off the pot, stark, desperate, whatever, make the pleas, instead of dithering, reaffirming negative perceptions.

The biggest problem isn't the Green Shift, it's the perception of Dion, until he is credible with the Canadian public, NO SALE. In "hedging", Dion's comments just feed the idea that he is an indecisive, weak leader. How anyone can't see that moving away supports exactly what you are trying to correct, is beyond me. Stupid, dumb, no foresight. Wow.

Ahh, feel better now.


JimmE said...

Thanks, could not have said it better myself.

Anonymous said...

Are these people giving him this advice the same people who were complaining that he wasn't letting them direct his campaign enough a few days ago. *&%$# Well no dam wonder he wasn't letting them direct his campaign. Their advice is terrible. Dion should continue to do what he was doing and they should step back or they will push Dion into the same situation they pushed Martin into. Sometimes its just time to pass the torch. That's why Dion got elected Lib was time for a big change.

sassy said...

And he was getting into a nice pace the past few days.

p.s. .. doing today, or better yet .. link?

Dame said...

Get the damn WHOLE Platform out !!
Inch by Inch it is not a strong look. I am sure the whole Thing will be balanced and belivable and positive ...forward looking ect.

Dion is barely shoving Up on My screen, the media collectively supress him .


Dame said...

Only Palin gets more airtime then Harper ..

Anonymous said...

Did you see the latest Nanos poll? Numbers are still not great because the centre/centre-left/left vote is so split and that means Harper could win again : (( It's Dion's trust numbers I was looking at. He has jumped 16 points since the poll was last taken. Dion is making the right moves.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Steve. I supported Dion because I consider him to be a different kind of politician. Allowing someone else to direct him -- to convince him to veer from his heart and soul -- is not smart. It will make him seem like any other politician. And that won't just leave him platform-less. It will break the hearts of his core supporters and leave Canada in the hands of the CPC for years to come. Dion was doing just fine as he was: genuine and real.


Anonymous said...


I understand your consternation about this, but I think the Star is playing gotcha with a single exchange.

I'm not saying it was wise, but it sounds like an exchange based on a question. It wasn't like he went up on stage and said, "I'm here to announce that as of today the Green Shift is not a part of the Liberal platform. Never mind."

From the vagueness describing the exchange, even in the article, it sounds like the Star asked a question (not provided) that was something like, "How do all of these recent announcements jive with the Green Shift being the overriding plank in the Liberal platform? Are you trying to dismiss it as the major component of your platform?"

I'm guessing there, but since the Star doesn't bother to describe the whole exchange, we just don't know, do we?

And if in that response, Dion said, "You describe it that way . . . I've always just said it is an important policy that is important for Canada . . ."

And, Viola!

You have a headline that says, "Dion claims Green Shift not part of Liberal Platform."

Regrettable headline, yes. But a screeching of the tires in reverse, absolutely not.

If this is what characterizes a liberal gaffe after the carnival of exploding boxes from the Conservatives, I think Dion can weather it.

I normally get quite worked up, but this article seems a little too vague.

CBC and G&M covered the same event, and the exchange didn't even warrant a mention in their articles.

I'm not saying the conservatives won't try to make hey, but I don't think it's worthy of major disturbance yet as long as Dion has a sensible response for the follow-up questions. And at this point, that doesn't have to be any more than saying, "Of Course the Green Shift is important for Canada and is a part of the Liberal campaign and policy. I'm not going to quibble on semantics. Next Question?"

Anonymous said...

Steve, I couldn't get your link to work. Is this the Toronto Star article? If so, could you tell what the exchange actually was between Dion and the reporter which led to this article? The other articles reporting on the same event did not have this spin. After all, Dion was announcing major funding associated with the Green Shift at that event.
I wondered if this was just Dion saying one phrase that was not particularly wise and it got written up in this way. The quotes of others not so taken with the Green Shift are nothing new, but were used to pad out this framing.
What do you think?

Anonymous said...

Catherine said what I said only much more concise ; ).

Steve V said...

Maybe I'm over reacting, but I sure feel better, regardless :)

It's more than this, to be frank...

Anonymous said...

Yes, Joseph, I see we had the same reaction to this article.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you sounds like where I was a week ago - remember I vented for about 3 days straight.

I am feeling much better this Friday than I was a week ago.

The liberals could be doing a lot better, and Dion is not the strongest campaigner - and never will be. That's just being honest.

But he is good at explaining things. I thought his explanation of the Green Shift on CBC's The Current the other morning was actually fantastic. It was the most coherent and compelling argument I have heard him give on the Green Shift.

And his solid, concise responses to her questions made me more confident that in a debate he can score points.

I think the campaign made adjustments this week, and I'm willing to see how that plays out. Some parts may work out very well and some parts of the change may not.

But I have no doubt the Green Shift is and will remain a critical piece of the message and policy. I'm willing to see this as a botched exchange, probably to a gotcha question (particularly since the Star didn't seem to find it particularly important to provide the actual exchange).

liberazzi said...

WK has made a big deal of it, but no other major media outlet has even CTV. I also agree that what he said was pretty vague. Not sure what the Star is on about. Maybe, since they are struggling and considered a Liberal paper that they are trying to change their tune to attract more readers? I don't know. However, the other outlets after seeing the headlines, might try and piggyback onto it now? We'll see. Dion managed to get himself out of a hole on his deficit non-denial the other day, so maybe he can correct this apparent stumble.

I am surprised by the dissapointing polls today. Overall the Libs have had a decent week, so it is a little odd since Harper has had a pretty mediocre week?

Steve V said...


I'm not doom and gloom here, just frustrated. We have to consolidate the progressive vote, that is the only path. I think I also make a fair point, it's not the Green Shift, and the Greens prove it, it's the strategy. There is a reason we aren't capitalizing on the Cons gaff-fest, and it's leader credible. Let's not change gears on policy, let's fixate on the real issue.

Steve V said...

"I am surprised by the dissapointing polls today. Overall the Libs have had a decent week, so it is a little odd since Harper has had a pretty mediocre week?"

People aren't impressed with Harper, but they are looking for a home, and that's why we can't capitalize.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you completely, there, Steve. There is no calling them on there many weak spots and horrid actions while forming the Government. I think CuriosityCat is on to something in trying to get Liberals to see that they need to frame the election in some meaningful way. It still seems like a lot of campaigning by checklist to me.

You know it also still burns me that Harper gets his freebie spin hour each morning on CBC with NO response - not by the Liberals, not by the Greens, not even the NDP.

How in this modern era can the other campaigns just let Harper spin his mythology with no response / fact check is beyond my understanding.

I just didn't want you to sink too low based on one bizarre article that doesn't seem to have a lot of substance beneath the headline.

Northern PoV said...

OK everyone take a deep breath

As a political leader you can live in a highly scripted bubble ... like Harper ... or meet voters and reporters face to face ... which takes a little courage .... like Dion is doing ... and occasionally misspeak yourself

Dion's English totally messes up the idioms

I am sure he meant to say "there is lots more to the Liberal platform than the green shift alone... it is you guys (in the media) that are saying that the green shift is our whole platform"

Calgary Junkie said...

In the early days after introducing the Greenshift, one of Dion's talking points was that he wanted the left to coalesce around his plan. Too bad he didn't keep hammering away on that point, as it the best selling feature of Greenshift.

Just keep repeating that Harper has no environmental plan. May's plan is too extreme (a carbon tax of $50 per tonne). And find something to nitpick about Layton's plan.

Anyway, Dion didn't follow that track, and so he is where he is, talking about the complicated finer details of the Greenshift.

Anonymous said...

All the Liberals have to do is start talking about the income tax cuts and other benefits only. When Harper starts to ask where the money for the cuts come from then point out the rest of the plan. The big problem is Harper focussing everyone on the tax portion before the election and until the Liberals start focussing people onto the benefits it won't fly.

Interestingly the tax cuts etc. are EXACTLY the right thing we need going into a recession and on their own would swing a lot of seats if they were not presented as part of a bigger plan. Good rant Steve!

Anonymous said...

This kind of thing feeds into the perception of Dion as an indecisively poor communicator. In the end, I don't even blame him though -- I still blame Gerard Kennedy for the state of things.

Now... if Iggy was the party leader... Harper would not have dared hold an election; he would have found himself outmatched, outclassed and outwitted quickly!

Anonymous said...

That Star article is nonsenses. Dion's a difficult communicator but he's not running away from the biggest stance he's made as leader. That's just not something Dion does.

Anyways strange article which no other media outlet seems to be duplicating.

Expect Lib poll numbers to tick upwards over the next few days.

Anonymous said...

They are running an ad on global that he is cutting the child tax 1200 year to parents...any wonder they turn against him...are they allowed to lie like that....They had dion at a news conference this morning on cbc. and they cut him off when he was just started and put on harper....what do you know Harpers satellite went down and they had to put dion back the meantime I wrote them a blasting note cursing them for removing dion and replacing him with harper...the media treats him so bad.

Anonymous said...


I just saw the Nanos update you mentioned. I think that is probably why you are upset because I know you respect their polling a lot.

There is still a lot of campaigning to go. Let's see how it goes.

There is nothing that convinces me that polling collapsed overnight so it just sounds like a good night of polling for Harper.

Let's see what might be done to pull the numbers over the next few weeks.

I agree the Liberals need to focus a message towards the "left" but I think that can come in the closing weeks. I think it would be unwise for the Liberals to cede the middle to the Conservatives. So far they've done a good job of advancing progressive policy and keeping their eye on the center.

I think that is good.

Anonymous said...

Actually, on further review of the Nanos release, I see some mixed signals, which could be taken positively.

The Liberal numbers dropped, but Dion seemed to have a very good night overall on all the leadership numbers.

Plus, with the tracking, it looks like there was a very bad number in there for a couple of night ago. So it will be interesting to see how that plays out when that one night drops out (I want to say it was 2 nights ago, but I closed the window already).

Anyway, I still think Nanos opinion that the Liberals have more potential for gain than the other parties is a big positive.

I'm out of here for now. Thanks for the thoughts, as always. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

It's too hard to tell how things will shake out. This campaign seems to be an odd one in that it is actually swinging voters around a bit, unlike ones that are foregone conclusions.

Steve V said...

It's not Nanos, as you say there are mixed results, Dion actually is higher now than since the campaign began. It's more the bleeding of support, it is crucial that we find a rallying cry, and not mentioning the Green Shift doesn't achieve that, especially when the voters you need seem to like the idea.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of recreating your frenzy, CBC does have an article up now about Dion on the defensive about Green Shift.

This is all correctable, but someone had damn well better be on the phones or in front of a camera quickly so it doesn't morph into a "John Tory" moment.

Wherever the first event is in the morning, or if there are remarks somewhere tonight, Dion needs to right this now.

By the way, the new ad is good.

Jerry Prager said...

Yes, what the 'f' is Dion doing, it is a major plank, hell it's a radical plank, and a good one. Fine, he can't articulate it well because of this hearing problem that foils up his English, but there was absolutely no need to all but disown the plank, Elizabeth May is fully prepared and capable of defending the carbon tax as an idea. So where did this come from ? Obviously some people here think it came from deep within the party. It doesn't seem to jibe with his own character, which suggests that he was grasping at straws offered up by those deep party faithful, just when he needed to be seen as stable compared to Harper. Presumably he'll come back to himself before Harper can escape the confluence of disintegrating events.

Anonymous said...

New headline on the Globe:

“Dion takes on Sask. premier about Green Shift”

“And on Friday, that shift of emphasis became fodder for political spin wars, when Mr. Dion said he never called the Green Shift the “central” plank of his platform, but rather the “foundation” of Liberal plans…During the afternoon in Regina, Mr. Dion was calling it a “fundamental” policy for the future of Canada”

Dion is NOT abandoning anything. The Tory graph about how many times he's mentioned the Green Shift in his speeches is already wrong. If the media is going to get into a debate on foundation versus central that would certainly be a sad state of affairs, but I guess I wouldn’t put it past them…

And two new ads:
one neg and one positive:

Möbius said...

I'm sure he's getting advice to minimize the GS plank. It's a bit late now. This was the Hail Mary pass, and once you throw it, you have to hope Doug Flutie will catch the damn thing.

"Stupid Ritz Trickz" will not be the top story tomorrow, this will be. I blame sabotage.

Anonymous said...

This all seems to have been spin by focussing on a few words in Dion's response and ignoring or downplaying the rest. The Liberal party has issued a reality check on this.

Steve V said...


Great analogy, too bad Flutie threw the ball.

And, this WILL not be the story, it's already forgotten from what I can see, unlike Ritz which is on EVERY website.

Omar said...

"Stupid Ritz Trickz" will not be the top story tomorrow..

It will be if Canadians keep croaking.

Gayle said...

Again, on Newman tonight, Rob Russo said CP are following a story on the listeriosis crisis.

They were talking about how Ritz was talking about the Green Shift and how listeriosis may affect his party when the point of the call was to deal with the crisis.

I do not think this one is over yet.

Steve V said...


I believe he said "stay tuned".

Anonymous said...

Northern POV, I've seen you post the same comment everywhere. I'm a CPC supporter, I was watching the exchange live on CPAC this morning, and it was OBVIOUS to me that Dion was told to back away from the green shift.

But apparently they forgot to tell him what to say if he was asked about it.

Little tip for you. If your leader is not good "on the fly", as Dion is in english, you had DAMN well better script a response for every concievable question out there.

And make him memorize them.

Omar said...

Again, on Newman tonight..

Is the half hour repeat of Politics not on at 7:30pm EST any longer? I've been out of the country for a week and noticed it wasn't on today. What gives?

Gayle said...

omar - just try the Politics site on the internet. The whole shebang is there.

Omar said...

So the half hour condensed is no longer? Interesting. I wonder why the change? It was still being aired a week ago.

Anonymous said...

I saw the clip,

Dions (sadly)appearing to back away from the Green shift.

The Blogging Tories are all going ape. No we don't care what they say, but they (and the cpc) aren't going to let this pass.

This (and the Ispos poll released tonight) is not good news. We can't afford this as we approach the mid point of a very short campaign.

Anonymous said...

What I find so appalling about this whole election is the Media & what they ARE NOT reporting. Why are they not reporting the whole truth when it comes to Harper? Not only does the Media ignore the CONS lies, they support it. For example, Harper makes statements like; Dion will cut of the $1200.00per year child care checks, raise the GST if elected when they know darn well that Harper is lying through his teeth. He basically does not know the difference from truth or lies.

I believe the problem in this election campaign is the MSM & their bias reporting. As far as I'm concerned, they have portrayed Mr. Dion as a loser & unless the Liberal team does something about it asap, they don't have much of a chance of defeating the CONS. I am fed up with the lot of them.

I will not watch CTV, Global TV & am getting very close to placing CBC on my don’t watch list as well. I will not read the National Post & the G&M isin't much better.

Anonymous said...

Maybe after hearing all the talk of Harper having a "hidden agenda" Dion decided he better have one as well. After all look how well the Conservatives are polling.
As for MSM "bias" it kills me every time that claim is made. Just because the MSM slipped up and said something good about the Conservatives over their constant bleating about everything Liberal does not CHANGE their bias from Liberal to Conservative.

Möbius said...

Great analogy, too bad Flutie threw the ball.

At least you were paying attention. Who remembers the guy who caught that pass?