Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Somehow, amazingly, it's never their fault

I'll not defend the conduct of CTV News in general, or Mike Duffy in particular, but for the love of all that's holy I wish Liberals would take their lumps like grownups.
Does it really matter how Dion was treated by CTV, particularly by Mike Duffy?

Actually, yes, particularly in a country where the RCMP might well have determined the outcome of the 2006 election, when it announced an investigation, in mid-campaign, into allegations of irregularities on the part of finance minister Ralph Goodale. It caused a sensation. The Liberals lost that election; no charges materialized.

Last October, the polls suggest the Liberal party's ascent stalled after the interview. While we cannot say if Dion's momentum would have brought his party victory, it isn't impossible.
Look, I was a fan of Dion's, but if Liberals want to know why they've lost two election in a row now, they really need to stop blaming external factors. Dion never really surpassed Harper in any meaningful way, and the big drop in his numbers came in early September, well before the Duffy interview. Indeed, it seems like the biggest impact on Dion's numbers came at the beginning of the campaign, as voters realized they might actually have to vote for the poor bastard. As for 2006, the upward movement in Tory numbers starts a week before the RCMP announcement. Dodgy, certainly, but I've never been convinced it was a primary factor in explaining the Conservative win.

Now, I'm of the opinion that the Party itself is to blame for this, for never really getting behind Dion and basically waiting for him to fail so that Iggy/Rae could have a go at it. But more than a few observers have put the failures of 2008 squarely on Dion's shoulders, so maybe they're right.

But the myth that somehow the RCMP, CTV, or some other boogeyman can explain away objectively bad politicking on the part of Liberal politicians is not helping matters. It would really help things if the Liberals would choose people of demonstrated political ability, instead of dubiously qualified academics.

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