Sunday, December 18, 2011

State Of The Liberal Party

With the fall sitting of Parliament behind us- the first since the Conservatives won their majority- perhaps a good time to analyze where the Liberals sit, now that the election rejection dust has settled. If I could choose one word to describe the current Liberal predicament "resilient" seems appropriate, both in terms of internal spirit, as well as outside evidence. There is no suggestion whatsoever that Liberals are headed back to power anytime soon, our future very much in question, but nor does the party look poised to fall off the map either.

All in all, this has been a fairly productive fall for the Liberals. Those of us who thought Rae would make an excellent interim Leader, perform well in Parliament, get much needed "ink" for a third party, make efforts to rebuild and raise money, he's been a success, no question. Liberals have rallied, they've shown up at meetings, there has been a flurry of ideas and useful introspection, they've opened their wallets to the tune of outperforming the Official Opposition, there is a healthy appetite for real reform. Liberals have managed to stay part of the political conversation, we've been nimble and effective in getting noticed, if irrelevance is a chief concern, we've beat back the beast with a certain gravitas.

The polls have been fairly consistent in their message, Liberals remain a very relevant in Ontario and Atlantic Canada. In fact, all polls show us competitive or even leading in Ontario, a remarkable showing for the "walking dead". What the polls tell me, the Liberal still have a "base camp" or two, the entire country isn't a desert, although the challenges are obvious and daunting in many, many regions. If expectations are measured, then the landscape looks somewhat inviting, if survival is your gauge, then the polls are cautiously reassuring. Don't get me wrong, things are BAD, but I see a walk before you run scenario ahead and within this any firm underpinning is welcome indeed.

Overall, I'm a dedicated pessimist on the Liberal front, you hesitate articulating any optimism because to often this translates to shortcuts and half measures, a delusional thought that electoral rebound is just around the corner. Truth is we still live in a very precarious world and realistic perspectives incorporate multiple elections if a return to the power is even possible. However, in the short term, given the devastating election implications, the Liberals currently sit in almost optimal condition. It's as if we've survived phase one of "renewal", whether or not that matters will depend on important future decisions, the real work ahead. I prefer to look a the whole process like a steep set of stairs, within that characterization, fair to say the first step gets a CHECK. A good post-apocalypse start for the Liberals, all things considered.

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