Thursday, October 01, 2009

Politics is a skill, and a hard one at that

Jim Travers writes one of the clearest, most brutal explanations for why the Liberals find themselves floundering in the polls:
Three times they failed to stare at themselves while looking for a leader. Three times Liberals opted for expediency over renewal.

In each case the party was so consumed with crowning a winner that it ignored red flags waving. It was so sure in 2003 that Paul Martin would sweep the country that it didn't stop to consider shaky leadership campaign performances that forecast his dithering as prime minister. It was so sure in 2006 that voters would soon dump Stephen Harper that it spared itself the tough choice between Ignatieff and Bob Rae by compromising on the obviously inept St├ęphane Dion. It was so sure in December that Ignatieff was the new saviour that it aborted a leadership contest that would have hardened the winner and might have exposed the organizational and policy weaknesses now plaguing the party.
I find myself in the odd position of being kinder to the Liberal Party than a columnist for the Toronto Star, but I don't think Dion was anyone's decision -- I really think the party establishment assumed Ignatieff would win in Montreal, 2006, and was as shocked as anyone when Dion pulled out a squeaker.

That said, the entire column is worth reading. The last sentence should be seared in the the eyes of the Liberal leadership:
But should Ignatieff fail, blame will rest squarely on deluded Liberals who persuaded themselves that returning to power was inevitable and no more demanding than a beauty pageant.


That guy said...

Parties are built on ideas. Unfortunately, the central -- really the only -- idea that the Martinites seemed to have had was, "It's Paul Martin's turn to be Prime Minister." Since Martin's now gone, his place in that sentence has been replaced by X: "It's X's turn to be Prime Minister," where X is simply the name of the Liberal Party leader du jour. The fact that this is completely unappealing to anyone who's not an insider continues to amaze and befuddle.

Or, so it looks from where I'm standing.

Mike said...

Although it no longer meshes with my political ideology (I would want no government and no party), I am savy enough to repeat what I said back in 2006 and which I will paraphrase here:

If they had elected Bob Rae, he'd be the PM now and the Conservatives would be a sorry footnote in Canadian history. PM Rae would be mopping the floor with Interim Leader Strahl every day on question period.

I don't endorse the Liberals nor Rae, but even a jaded anarcho libertarian hack like me can see who was the best (and who genuinely scared the Cons the most at the time).

Anonymous said...

Bob Rae,WhooHoo thats a good one Mike and I laugh because I once voted for him.Never Again.