Saturday, April 16, 2011

Head Scratcher

I need some convincing of the strategic upside for the Liberals here. As a matter of fact, the notion of bringing out past PM's to tour with Ignatieff smacks me as an horrendous decision. I recall the same decision in 2008, and man oh man didn't that rally the troops eh?

Look, I'm sure some in the Liberal camp are quite ecstatic about "their" man returning to the spotlight, in terms of nostalgia and camp affections. I have no qualms with former heavyweights "quietly" working ridings, as Mr. Martin has been doing, in that case a net asset. HOWEVER, when you have a leader who already struggles with carving his own identity, I'm not sure how having two more days of headline distraction helps the cause. Throw in a little know fact apparently- Canadians don't SHARE the nostalgia- and I'm more perplexed. The optics are incredible really, there is Mr. Ignatieff traveling with the man who already lost to Mr. Harper, the man Canadians voted for to replace him. No one will every convince me of the strategic upside in having Ignatieff on stage, in high profile fashion, in a way that reminds everyone of 2006.

As for Chretien, the press LOVE him, so the Liberals will get attention. Trouble is, Ignatieff will play supporting role, as reporters search for the Chretien one liner. Maybe a strong appearance bruises Harper, but it also doesn't particularly help Ignatieff's stature either, as he plays second fiddle, while the days of this campaign disappear. I'd add as well, while the press may have fond memories of our colourful leader, Canadians, I'm not so sure. Hey everyone, remember sponsorship! There is little net upside that I can fathom, and believe me, I've spent the last day trying to see the rationale.

Unfortunately, this move strikes me as a bit of desperation move, or more correctly I predict coverage comes with that frame intertwined with the former PM angle. Again, looking to the glorious and distant past for present inspiration, I've said it forever, it's a loser every time, and it's proven so every time. Dion did it, again, who did that motivate, Liberals, Liberals, the only one's with any affection stayed home in droves! Been there, done that, how many times do the Liberals have to make this mistake before they realize it doesn't work, it doesn't move votes, if anything it only distracts from your NEW shiny red book, with the NEW promises, unrelated to the past which nobody longs for. Every time I touch this subject, my fellow Liberals get angry, because THEY have a connection, it is their identity, their proud past, their party lineage. Trouble is, it isn't about US, it's about the electorate, and I will assure you, they feel very differently. Add in Ignatieff needing to make the headlines, the blast from the past, never delivers what is required for him and today's Liberal brand. As always, just my opinion and self censoring is for conservatives anyhow....


Steve V said...

Sound familar:

Tomm said...

It does seem desperate. Kind of like Harper getting Preston to pat him on the back or Layton getting McDonough to hold his hand in the air.

But to be fair, Martin and Chretien both have gravitas that is helpful for the Grits right now. Manley, McKenna and some of the other old guard have not been obviously present although they may be working the back rooms.

Scott MacNeil said...

Steve, Must say I disagree somewhat with your assessment here. First, the 2008 analogy is questionable. Different time, different place now... Iggy is not Dion and will not seem like such a shrinking violet when standing besides either Martin or Chretien on a stage.

Second, having Martin appear in Edmonton is not really a risk. It gains more media for an event that really is just a pro forma necessity. Lib's have virtually (positively?) no chance in Alta so bringing in Martin just raises chance he'll net more national MSM coverage than he normally would. Plus, given the lack of credibility surrounding CPC budgetary figures, is there anybody who's been there before better able to speak to the CPC's ledger book deception? Really don't think Martin's appearance will hurt Iggy here.

As for Chretien, ... we'll on that one I tend to agree there are legit concerns. But if it's done close enough to election day maybe the CPC spin machine won't have time to react(?)AND if Jean happens to fire of a salient zinger that resonates - who knows? Maybe it will be a plus?

Omar said...

The 'Big Guns' who the Conservatives can easily (and happily) spin round and aim at the Liberals for their own political gain.

"But to be fair, Martin and Chretien both have gravitas that is helpful for the Grits right now."


Steve V said...

"no chance in Alta so bringing in Martin just raises chance he'll net more national MSM coverage than he normally would"

And Martin will be the headline, the guy who lost to Harper. There is no upside here, I'll never be convinced in a million years, sorry my friend. This is Iggy's first visit to Alberta, he gets national attention regardless, now instead of his message, it will be clouded by some weird hands raised with Martin. Sure Liberals will be happy, but you're not moving on undecided or soft support, and I'm convinced of it. BTW, Dion's numbers were equal to Ignatieff, so perceptions of Canadians, not us, are identical. 2008 is an excellent, practical example of what a mistake, non mover, this decision is. Anyways, just my take, others can disagree, they always do when I dare challenge the past.

Steve V said...


People should go around and ask non-Liberals "hey, what do you think of Paul Martin, Mr. Chretien?" The "big guns" assumption might come into focus a little better. We're deluding ourselves, AGAIN.

bigcitylib said...

FWIW I agree with Morton's tweet: dragging along the old PMs suggests the notion of "team" over leader, which has long been an LPoC meme. It also gets coverage when, I suspect, coverage will start to wane a bit. Presumably all the major policy announcements have been made, and otherwise the story will be about the gaffe of the day. (Not just for Iggy, but all the campaigns)

Steve V said...

"dragging along the old PMs suggests the notion of "team" over leader"

Like in 2008?

Libs will get coverage, and Ignatieff will be overshadowed by long in the tooth Chretien. I can just see undecideds flocking our way ;)

We keep doing this, we've done it before, it has never worked that I can see. Watch the coverage, it's a double edged sword.

ricky said...

These are desperate times for the LPC party. Likely the most challenging time the party has ever faced.

Although JC and PM may not be people that will pull NEW people to the LPC, they may help HOLD, those you can't afford to lose.

The election is not about winning for the LPC, Its about surviving... Better grab JC and get him out there.
One Thin Hope for the LPC

Steve V said...

"Although JC and PM may not be people that will pull NEW people to the LPC, they may help HOLD, those you can't afford to lose."

Like in 2008? Or does everyone just want to pretend we didn't try this already. Liberals stayed home, these guys did nothing for nobody.

I also don't think this is about surviving, and everything suggest we will win more seats than 08.

Jerry Prager said...

Liberals stayed home in 2008 only after CTV released the tape of Dion trying to answer a question full of twisted logic. Dio had an uptick during thanksgiving weekend. That's why Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy were rewarded with Senate pork barrel positions- for spinning on behalf of Harper.

Katechon said...

I'm getting the feeling that the Tories will get a Majority....

Desperation in the Liberal Camp.

Vote splitting between Lib and NDP in crucial ridings.
--> Is there SERIOUS talks of tactical voting amongst the NDPs and the Liberals?

The post-debate trend in the polls seems to suggest a rising line for the Tories; this might indicate the way the 15% of UNDECIDED voters will vote in the end.

What do you think? Maj or Not?

Katechon said...

"everything suggest we will win more seats than 08"

-- Steve V


This is ludicruous. I thought you were a serious commentator.

You will win less that 77 seats this year.

This is what the polls are suggesting. And they have a tendency to underscore the Tories and overvalue the Liberals.

And yeah, JC and PM will stimulate the Youth Vote. lol

Gayle said...


It is so sweet of the con supporters to come out and encourage liberal supporters to be discouraged.

Give up everyone! Give up now! It is all over!

ha ha ha ha ha

Steve V said...

Maybe you should look at EKOS seat projector, or look at Ontario polls, dimbulb. Lol!!!!! Go learn how to add or check out an electoral map.

Gayle said...

Katechon is right. It is all over.

Give up now so he can go back to the CPC war room and collect his pay.

Gayle said...

Because, you know, he created his profile in March, so I am sure it has absolutely nothing to do with the election. He is just saying all this out of genuine concern for the liberals.

Clearly he is just trying to help.

bocanut said...

When the media starts mocking you all hope is lost.
Even Pierre rising up can't help the Liberal party now.

Omar said...

Who cares who is mocking what? The reality is the Reformacons are going to pull yet another minority, it will eventually be defeated in the House and after that defeat some sort of alternative governing body will take its place. Done and dusted. No Pierre rebirth required.

Cathie from Canada said...

Exactly right, Steve. For all those voters who have just started paying attention, it is a confusing message.
What Ignatieff needs now is a batch of new "my vision of Canada" ads.

Frankly Canadian said...

I guess I’m one of those Liberals who is going to disagree with you here Steve. I feel the support of other high profile Liberals and even Prime Ministers gives the party a unified team in which our best Canadian policies came from. Say what you will here about Prime minister Chretien stealing the headlines and spotlight, however he was the leader of the party that held two majority parliaments and endured Steven Harper in opposition. Many Canadians voted for a strong stable Liberal government, and I’m sure many Canadians would vote again for a strong Liberal government. The same Liberal government that stood up to the President Bush’s Republican pressures, and the same Liberal government who will put an end to this Republican style take over of our Canadian democracy and institutions. As for Prime Minister Martin, I seriously believe had it not been for the sponsorship scandal (which he had little to do with), Mr. Martin would have beaten Mr. Harper in that election, mind you had it not been for Mr. Layton self interests that elections would have never even taken place (but that’s another subject altogether). Yes I guess I’m one of those Canadians who believe in the party policies, platforms, and records of achievement, and not in which party portrays their leader as the strongest and most powerful leader. Lets face it Canada is not at war with any other countries and subsequence don’t need a Winston Churchill or George Bush (junior or senior) type of leader. However Canada is in a co-operative position with the United Nations to combat terrorism and other suppressions from various world dictators. For me I stand for the party that holds true to the issues that make Canadians, Canadian, and not the leader who we think might portray those values. And when a leader has to wear fuzzy sweaters and appearing in the local Tim Horton’s for photo ops, or to try to message himself as the only leader who supports our troops, I think who cares about the leader.

Steve V said...

"I feel the support of other high profile Liberals and even Prime Ministers gives the party a unified team in which our best Canadian policies came from."

Like in 2008, when we brought them out near the end of the campaign, and 800000 Liberals stayed home, giving us our largest defeat in history?

Ignatieff has drawn great crowds, fundraising has been way up, Liberals are already united behind him, we don't need a blast from the past to rally anybody. Just read the coverage, it's already happening, just like in 2008, it won't move one vote to our side. Liberals will all laugh at Chretien, he "still has it", our opponents will mock us, bring out old baggage and Canadians will yawn in gigantic fashion.

The optics are a loser all day long.

Steve V said...

What the Libs need to do is take the gloves off, the NDP are running ads, Layton is obsessed with us in his stump speech, it's time to start hitting back. I think this "rise up" idea, I like, because it challenges voters. People want vision, not a history lesson of past glories, FOREVER tainted.

Frankly Canadian said...

O.K. Steve I'll agree the optics are bad and it gives the opposition fire power for their message that it's over for the Liberals and they might aswell go home. However I'll stand behind a united party is a strong party. Besides it doesn't much matter what you give the Conservatives, they seem to find any reason to attack Liberals. On another note I'm surprised we haven't seen much more about Heleena Georgis today, tons yesterday but very little today.

Jerry Prager said...

I don't mind Martin defending his surplus, I think it peels the blue paint off the economic argument to reveal Liberal primer. Martin should also take on Adscam "I ordered the investigation. small group of gangsters guilty. Liberal Party sent into wilderess by Canadian electorate. Ignatief walks among the Canadian people, Harper hides because he has things to hide and Canadians know what they are. Wilderness time for the Tories.
Mulroney speaks, Chretien speaks, colour commentary.

Steve V said...

"I feel the support of other high profile Liberals and even Prime Ministers gives the party a unified team in which our best Canadian policies came from."

I recall many in the media saying they Liberals seemed very united, I've blogged about it as a plus heading into this campaign. I agree with you, I just don't think this is required to do that, nor will it motivate.


I think you just highlighted why this is such a dubious move. The very notion of a conversation about Adscam never works for the Liberals, it is pure poison as soon as it is uttered. Why remind people of a past, and why anybody thinks the guy who lost to Harper gives wind in our sails, continues to escape me.

I am hoping it goes well, I suspect it will be fine, but this isn't going to give any momentum. People want to mix it up, then we should be pumping this call to arms Ignatieff came up with last night. That theme could resonate, but it needs continued, persistent focus.

Jerry Prager said...

It's not Martin as PM it's Martin as finance Minister who has the respect of Canadians, even ones like me, who think of him as right wing: people like me know that Flaherty is smaller minded, meaner spirited and harder hearted. Martin is well placed to speak to that, and the destruction of Martin's financial legacy. I think the party (and the country) needs to start using truth and reconciliation practices, if approached from within that frame work, the move distances the Libs from the Cons further, and clears some moral breathing room around the Party.
A Party is always more than its recent history, democracy regulates parties through sending them into temporary exile and democracy regenerates parties by granting them reprieves. Liberals need to elevate the discussion, talk political philosophy, define ethics, let Ignatieff be Ignatieff within that context.

Möbius said...

I'm glad you said it, not me. Martin, a respected finance minister, especially amongst Red Tories, got caught up in the tail-end of sponsorship.

The other guy just reminds me of why I stopped voting Liberal.

ottlib said...

Big difference between now and 2008.

The presence of these two men were planned well in advance this time while in 2008 they were rushed out to assist a flagging campaign.

Or to put it another way. In 2008 you only needed to see the lack of crowds at Mr. Dion's rallies to know that Liberals were not engaged in that election. They trotted out these men to try to reverse that.

This time around Mr. Ignatieff is playing to huge crowds. Liberals are already engaged in the election so trotting these men out will probably just energize them more.

If these men can also remind undecided Canadians that Liberals have been able to competently run the country in the past it is a bonus.

Steve V said...

If this was planned well in advance, then I'm more concerned than previously.

Omar said...

Ignatieff would be an absolute fool not to be at the game in Montreal Monday night. Harper won't go because he'd get booed for sure and that he would not subject himself to. Ignatieff may get booed as well but if he did, he stands, gives a humble smile and wave, then carries on with his evening, impressing Quebeckers with his verve. It could be his St-Jean-Baptiste parade moment without the threat of flying bottles. Epic win!


rockfish said...

Totally different from 2008, my friend, so I have to respectfully disagree. It will be played by our rivals as the same but you don't think the Ndp wouldn't be trotting out Tommy Douglas if they had an opportunity? That Harper wouldn't use... well, lets face it Stalin doesn't make housecalls anymore.
Martin and Chretien may invoke bad memories for some, but for many people who once considered themselves Liberals, there was much accomplished by these two men. Never hurts to invoke our strengths while reminding people of the other choice's weaknesses.

rockfish said...

I'd just add that it would behoove Ignatieff and the team to start appearing, whether in key battlegrounds (more offensively than defensively) and commercials. That team of outstanding leaders -- Ken Dryden, Marc Garneau, Martha Hall Findlay, Ralph Goodale, Dominic LeBlanc, Justin Trudeau... have them surface together in Winnipeg, Victoria, Quebec City. Remind people that it takes a team to govern a great country like Canada, not a axe-grinding schnook with a narcissist complex.

Frankly Canadian said...

I totally agree RockFish, bring the strongest members of our team together in those key ridings. Show Canada that it takes a strong Liberal team to lead a great country like Canada!

Möbius said...

"you don't think the Ndp wouldn't be trotting out Tommy Douglas if they had an opportunity?"

I hope not, as he's been dead for 25 years.

Möbius said...

"Martin and Chretien may invoke bad memories for some, but for many people who once considered themselves Liberals, there was much accomplished by these two men."

And are these the people who's votes you're seeking? The game plan seems to be to collect non-Liberal, specifically NDP votes, judging by the platform so far.

Steve V said...

I note today that Martin is off stage with Ignatieff, he mentioned, but didn't share. Good move.

Steve V said...

Worst EKOS poll of the campaign, Nanos shows Iggy's leadership tailing off, it's a loser every single time!