Friday, December 05, 2008

Unravelling, or not, who knows

So, is the coalition going to survive or not? Anybody who knows at this point isn't saying, and people who are saying simply don't know. A lot of people are passing around this Paul Wells quote:
I hope I have made it clear since the summer that I have come to believe Stephen Harper is turning into a really bad prime minister. He is incoherent, vicious and unserious. His fall update was idiocy on stilts, and when he sent his transport minister out two days later to disown the work of his finance minister, nobody in the country blinked because nobody in the country takes what this government does as a government seriously.

All the opposition had to do was come up with a better alternative. They have failed. This is a depressing moment in our nation’s politcs.
Obviously I agree, but I think people are overplaying the idea that something actually happened yesterday. Or, more precisely, people seem to have convinced themselves that somehow the GG's actions were a failure of the coalition in particular, and of Dion in general. Wells is reacting to a couple of polls, but we already knew that Canadians found the prospect of a Dion-led government unsettling. (They didn't really warm to the idea over the last election, did they?) I've said from the beginning that I had serious reservations about this coalition, but it's not like Dion did anything yesterday to make it better or worse. He really wasn't a factor yesterday, and neither was anyone except the GG.

It may seem silly to some that one of the things the pundits can't stop talking about is the damn tape quality from Wednesday night, but it really isn't. Consider that Barack Obama's main goal during the election was to convey a sense of security, predictability, and more than anything competence. To do this, one of the things his campaign produced was a 30-minute, lavishly produced video that executed a transition to a live event (a technically difficult feat) and executed it flawlessly.

Stephane Dion had much the same task as Obama. He offered us a five-minute video of risible quality. Out of focus. Late. And he still mangled his lines.

This is an unfair comparison, but don't think for a moment it didn't have an impact.

From here on out, I expect this to go something like this: sometime in December we will hear a muffled scream and a loud thud from the offices of the Liberal Party of Canada, and an announcement will follow that Stephane Dion has decided to spend more time with the fishes his family. Bob Rae, having wrapped himself in the coalition's flag too tightly, will suddenly find a party that is asking, impolitely, that he and Dominic Leblanc step aside for Michael Ignatieff. Ignatieff will maintain the pretense that the coalition is still on, until the Conservatives present a budget in January. Ignatieff will ruefully announce that he's determined the Conservatives have changed their ways, this budget is good enough for the Liberal Party, and there will be no need for the coalition for now. The threat will nominally still be there, but Harper will have won the day.

The Conservatives will say so, certainly. But I'd only repeat myself to warn them: this incident, whether it costs them the government or not, is a damning indictment of their leader. The coalition may be less popular than Stephen Harper today, but that doesn't make your toad a prince. If nothing else, their party needs to find a way to move beyond the need to constantly be kicking the Liberals in the nuts. It may be fun, but it isn't government and the people can tell that.


Anonymous said...

Harper shutdown democracy so the Coalition couldn't bring in a stimulus package. Now you may lose your job but Harper will keep his.

opit said...

Don't you hate those unattributed sources ? I'm rapidly becoming a fan - but a guy can't be everywhere.
I don't do nearly enough running around blogland in my own country - but figure if you want alternate viewpoint to the tripe Verbena 19 at Wordpress and Galloping Beaver are worth a look.
Ergosphere, Oil Drum, R-Squared Energy Blog...hoo-hah! I don't see those listed everywhere.
BTW Unlike everyone else, I use the blog as a survey. My refined product is on the Links page.