Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Vultures Circling

Say I'm going to take on Tiger Woods one-on-one in a world televised match to determine the "ultimate golf champion of the Universe."

Now, let's say I cancel the first match because I'm sick. Then I back out of the rescheduled game because I have some business to tend to. Then, I cancel because it's Jean Lapierre's birthday, a holy day for Liberals coast to coast. After a while, Tiger is going to think I'm afraid of playing him. Worse, our worldwide television audience is going to realize that I know I can't beat the guy.

Well, that's exactly what this latest move will make people think. This is probably the most desperate thing I have ever seen a party in power do and it's only going to propagate the feeling that the upcoming election is hopeless for the Grits. Go to Blogs Canada and look at two most recent posts involving "Liberals": James Bow, saying the party needs to be defeated in order to rebuild and a card carrying party member saying the Liberals' goal should be to form a strong opposition.

The Liberal Party is dismayed, dejected, and divided. The Conservatives can smell blood and Harper is looking more and more confident with each passing day, quite shocking considering how tentative he's seemed this past year on everything from gay marriage to Goodale's budget.

To make matters worse, important policies like the Kyoto Plan and the Foreign Policy Review are being brushed aside as "electioneering" and aren't being debated on their merits. With an election a month away, what could be more important than an honest debate on the environment and foreign policy? But we won't get it because of a grandstanding opposition and a government that continues to shoot themselves in the foot to overshadow their own headlines.

Honestly, at this point, it's hard to say what Martin can do to save himself. But I'm going to go out on a limb and say that trying to shut down the opposition isn't likely going to help. One of the most successful political parties in the history of democracy looks like a desperate, spent force clinging to power by the fingertips.

Sad times to be a Liberal.


Wednesday Morning UPDATE: Chantal Hebert has a good story on this in the Star.

24 Comments:

  • It would be terribly ironic if, after a dozen years of Liberals passing warmed up & watered down Reform policy (deficit elimination, clarity bill, tax cuts, debt repayment, etc.) Harper gets to pass a bunch of decent Liberal policies first thing.

    I nearly fainted over the flip-flop-flip of the Tories on Kyoto. I predict, ultimately, by either Libs/Tories, a version of the Alberta plan for Canada. Not far off what Martin has on the books now, if not so enthusiastic about buying emissions credits from Russia (and following in the wake of every newspaper editorial board in the country).

    Or the foreign policy review. It's decent, it really is. The whole beef up defense thing (for Continental Defense! not peacekeeping!) coming in a department of foreign affairs briefing? That's how to sell it. And I like the narrowing of aid efforts to focus on certain places. Will provide efficiency and help more people. And being the product of the bureaucracies of *4 ministries* it ought to have some staying power, such that the Tories will just dust it off and change the name.

    Getting the daycare bill and SSM in too are pipe dreams, but oh well. The latter's demise I can blame on PM, not Harper. Should have been done by now, and increased consultation per his ostentsible commitment to O'Brien will kill it.

    By Blogger matt, at 1:40 AM  

  • Are people terribly interested in foreign policy? If it does not involve Bush, no.

    Kyoto is too complex an issue and the two parties not polarized enough to get people all hot and bothered.

    Gay marriage, legalization of marijuana, ethunasia, George Bush get people hot and bothered.

    Talk about these.

    How do you talk about Bush you ask? Compare some of what Harper has said about Canada to what O'Reilly has said. People will connect the dots from there. Believe me there are dots to connect. Mention the moving to Canada thing and all the gushing things various Democratic backers have said about Canada. Use what magizines have said too. New Yorker calling us a "Northern light" a San Jose paper asking if Canada has room for an 11 province. The Liberals should have been using that "cool Canada" line for years now. Martin's advisors are clueless.

    It is time the government stand up for its self and play some smash mouth politics. I have never heard a Liberal MP mention the Harper quote about Canada being "second tier", "second rate", "smug", and "resentful".
    It is high time that changed. If one is going to trot out the hidden agenda line again, people are not going simply take the Liberals word for it. They will want to here some evidence and they do not want something half baked. The evidence is there use it. "Harper has called Canada "smug" "resentful" "second rate" and "second tier". Of course he wants to change Canada in radical ways. Only Canadians are proud of their country. So, Harper must hide his true agenda."

    If they want to play the unity card same thing. "Harper has called Canada "second tier", "second rate" and he has said the country's survival is "secondary" to gutting the powers of government. I vehemently disagree. Canada is first rate, first tier and country's survival is the Liberal's number 1 priority."

    It is obvious that Harper is using gay marriage to appeal to ethnic minorities. Hello Mrs Granger and her "Asia Invasion" comment. Why did Harper repeatedly defend her? Why did he refer to ridings such as Vancouver South as Urban ghettos?

    Remind people how much the Republicans (Bill O'Reilly, Dobson etc) hate gay marriage and all the glowing reviews in the States about how enlightened we are.

    Harper has written a policy paper calling for "theo Con" "social conservative" agenda. This is a gift. Every urban MP should know this paper and be able to quote it like a pastor the bible. Word of this paper must to find its ways to Universities.

    By Blogger Koby, at 2:47 AM  

  • That's kind of amusing Koby, your basic premise is that you have nothing worthwhile with regards to policy to offer Canadians so Liberals should run on "fear and smear".

    Apparantly Canadians are suposed to be mightly outraged that Harper essentially said he disliked the political direction of Canada. Well gee..ya think? He's "the leader of the opposition". IF he agreed that everything was on the right track in the country why would be even concievably be a member of an opposition party.

    If someone wants to throw out there the fact that he said Canada's becoming a "second tier socialist country" as an accusation - you ever think the fact that the petty curruption that the Liberals have engaged in completely validates that claim.

    That would be my response "Yes, I said under the liberal party Canada was becoming a second tier socialist country - the practice of patronage and corruption carried on by the Liberal party directly mirror the corrupt and reprehensible tactics of a bannanna republic."

    Harper disowned Granger, and she wasn't even on the ballot for that election.

    And if you actually read his essay you would note that he called for the gradual implimentation of a conservative agenda, and that Conservatives shouldn't do anything gradual but work to change people's mind over a period of time. Wow..so the leader of a Conservative party thinks people should work to promote conservatism - ya think? And he also thinks change needs to come slowly.

    That's real scary stuff, Koby good luck with that. Quite frankly, it is and sounds pretty desperate.

    By Blogger Chris, at 3:05 AM  

  • as usual Chris you have your facts wrong

    “Betty Granger is a riding president, a member in good standing. She’s somebody that other members I’ve talked to think very highly of, and quite frankly, she was the victim of an unfair slur story in the last election campaign." (Calgary Herald, January 15, 2002)

    “Betty Granger is party president in the Winnipeg area and o¬ne of a large number of party presidents that are supporting this campaign. So, I think this kind of thing is just kind of a low-level form of McCarthyism.” (CTV ”Question Period”, February 10, 2002)


    I am sure Canadians we love being called second rate, smug, and resentful. The second tier bit was just part of it. bannana Republic they would eat that up too.

    By Blogger Koby, at 5:47 AM  

  • I agree that this is all very desperate and I am disappointed to see that Martin's people feel they have hit that level. Martin should have dared Harper to call an election and said "bring it on". However, if you honestly believe that the Liberals would lose with a May election then maybe this is the one last chance to fix things.

    By Blogger Jason Cherniak, at 11:05 AM  

  • The Liberals went hard with the "Harper said" stuff last time and it seems to have worked. From everything we've heard, it sounds like they'll use pretty much the same strategy this time around - dig up some old quotes, wait for a new nutjobs to say something stupid and play up the "Scary conservatives" angle.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:15 AM  

  • The Liberals went hard with the "Harper said" stuff last time and it seems to have worked. From everything we've heard, it sounds like they'll use pretty much the same strategy this time around - dig up some old quotes, wait for a new nutjobs to say something stupid and play up the "Scary conservatives" angle.

    The Liberal's are playing a very risky game if they try that this time around. Conservative strategists are not going to sit on their hands and not respond this time, like the Liberals are hoping.

    This is a strategy which has a massive potential for backfire.

    All it will take is for the Conservatives to appear like they have a plan, one they can elucidate, and the Liberal's will look like a bunch of sour grapes lunging empty criticisms of the Conservative's.

    In fact, I highly suspect the Conservative strategists are hoping the Liberal's play the fear mongering game this time around, because they know they can make it play into their hands.

    By Blogger Mike Brock, at 11:31 AM  

  • Actually no Koby, my facts are exactly what I said they were. Betty Granger was dropped as a candidate during the election where she went off on her asian invasion comment. That's a repudiation of her remarks which were obviously inappropriate.

    Quite frankly, if you haven't any better plan than to try to raise people's fears with comments made years ago by minor players, under a different party - GOOD. It will simply demonstrate how desperate and intellectually bankrupt both you and other members of your party truly are.

    By Blogger Chris, at 11:47 AM  

  • "The Liberals went hard with the "Harper said" stuff last time and it seems to have worked."

    CG, don't forget that it *barely* worked last time 'round, and even then, it wasn't enough to save Martin's majority.

    You also had what could be called self-destructive behaviour on the part of the CPC last time; if that can be avoided, the "Harper said" stuff may be even less effective.

    By Blogger Jason Hickman, at 12:48 PM  

  • she was not dropped chris. She dropped out on her own acccord. Harper did not have anything to do with her dropping out. He was with the NCC at the time. As soon as he got back into politics, he went to bat for her.

    By Blogger Koby, at 12:58 PM  

  • The issue is not Granger, but Harper's support of her.

    By Blogger Koby, at 1:02 PM  

  • Calgary Grit: The Harper said stuff was parked on a website. Only a very small percentage of the population saw it.

    It was never mentioned in an ad, or in a speech that I saw.

    Kinsella was right, this should have been front and center.

    By Blogger Koby, at 1:08 PM  

  • Koby; Although they didn't directly use the "Harper said" stuff in adds, they sure did everything they could to paint him as an extremist. It was probably good they didn't use his direct quotes because then they could try and paint him in with his entire party. There aren't a lot of abortion quotes of Harper's floating around but they still ran with the "Stephen Harper will take away a women's right to choose" stuff.

    As for whether or not it will work this time...who knows? Harper knows it's coming and and, like Mike Brock said, it could backfire. Then again, if he can't keep some of his wacko MPs in line, it could work again.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:38 PM  

  • CalgaryGrit, did you really mean this:
    "To make matters worse, important policies like the Kyoto Plan and the Foreign Policy Review are being brushed aside as "electioneering" and aren't being debated on their merits. With an election a month away, what could be more important than an honest debate on the environment and foreign policy? But we won't get it because of a grandstanding opposition and a government that continues to shoot themselves in the foot to overshadow their own headlines."
    or was it just intended as a sound bite?

    In the comments you and Kobe have played follow-my-leader on how the Libs should re-run their last campaign. Remember, that was the one where they deliberately distorted their opponent's position on every matter of consequence, tried to be all things to all people, and avoided substantive discussion of issues at all costs. Oh, and financed the Quebec campaign by shaking-down ad agencies, but that is a traditional part of Liberal Values, right?

    I think Team Martin has to face reality - if they go for a re-run of the 'smear and fear' campaign, they are going to get equally badly smeared - how much credibility do they have now, let alone when Gomery finishes talking to witnesses? What, Joe Volpe is suddenly concerned about grandma and grandpa coming to live in the basement suite? I know you never go wrong by underestimating the public, but isn't this all just a little bit too craven, even for Liberals?

    Dean

    By Blogger deaner, at 5:00 PM  

  • i was kind of interested by the foreign policy review, but then i realized it probably won't see the light of day. then stockwell day came on the radio and started babbling about killing arabs or something. i think its better to face up to future consequences sooner than later. i'm kind of impatient that way and parliament can't really function any more anyway. that said, i'm pretty disappointed about all the bills that will get dropped.

    By Blogger robert mcbean, at 5:43 PM  

  • I agree they went negative last time. There is no doubt about that. However, their attacks were not focused and the Liberals did not provide evidence for some of their claims. Canadians are not going to take the Liberals word for it. The Liberals need to make Harper’s words do the talking. The most effective segment the Liberals ran last time was not even produced by them. It was produced by some documentary film maker interviewing Randy White.

    As for the abortion issue they got lucky. Merrifield’s comments in and of themselves were not extreme. However, scratch the surface and you would Merrifield was a staunch pro lifer, who among other things was solidly against stem cell research. Why was this never touched on. Are Herle and gang so incompetent that they did not know this?

    As for abortion, Harper has said the Conservative Party will not table legislation on abortion, but that he would allow private members bills and he would not instruct his caucus how to vote. However, he has also said that it is a provincial matter, presumably making any such potential vote unconstitutional.

    That said, confused policy is often good politics. By talking out of both sides of his mouth, Harper has managed keep his critics at by and “theo cons”, such as Mary Ellen Douglas, Ontario President of Campaign Life Coalition, happy. “I am happy to see that the Conservatives recognize that abortion funding is a provincial issue. We have been telling our provincial politicians that for years, but they keep insisting that the issue is federal.” From watching what has transpired in the States, Marry Ellen knows that the best way of taking away abortion rights is to have the Provinces do it in a piecemeal fashion.

    Why was Harper’s playing both sides of the fence not brought to light. Herle and company were asleep at the wheel again.

    The same goes with the pornography controversy. Harper took a big hit, but the Conservatives were able to amazingly pass it off as an overzealous staffer.
    Just a year before Harper mentioned the same taking point. “This same argument applies equally to a range of issues involving the family (all omitted from the Throne Speech), such as banning child pornography”. This should have been mentioned as should of Harper’s so called apology. (When asked whether he thought the line was in bad taste he said this. “What's in bad taste is the Liberal party's record on child pornography". ) The fact that Day was also sued for libel for saying that a lawyer who defends someone accused of molestation does so only because they are child abusers.

    By Blogger Koby, at 11:26 PM  

  • I agree they went negative last time. There is no doubt about that. However, their attacks were not focused and the Liberals did not provide evidence for some of their claims. Canadians are not going to take the Liberals word for it. The Liberals need to make Harper’s words do the talking. The most effective segment the Liberals ran last time was not even produced by them. It was produced by some documentary film maker interviewing Randy White.

    As for the abortion issue they got lucky. Merrifield’s comments in and of themselves were not extreme. However, scratch the surface and you would Merrifield was a staunch pro lifer, who among other things was solidly against stem cell research. Why was this never touched on. Are Herle and gang so incompetent that they did not know this?

    As for abortion, Harper has said the Conservative Party will not table legislation on abortion, but that he would allow private members bills and he would not instruct his caucus how to vote. However, he has also said that it is a provincial matter, presumably making any such potential vote unconstitutional.

    That said, confused policy is often good politics. By talking out of both sides of his mouth, Harper has managed keep his critics at by and “theo cons”, such as Mary Ellen Douglas, Ontario President of Campaign Life Coalition, happy. “I am happy to see that the Conservatives recognize that abortion funding is a provincial issue. We have been telling our provincial politicians that for years, but they keep insisting that the issue is federal.” From watching what has transpired in the States, Marry Ellen knows that the best way of taking away abortion rights is to have the Provinces do it in a piecemeal fashion.

    Why was Harper’s playing both sides of the fence not brought to light. Herle and company were asleep at the wheel again.

    The same goes with the pornography controversy. Harper took a big hit, but the Conservatives were able to amazingly pass it off as an overzealous staffer.
    Just a year before Harper mentioned the same taking point. “This same argument applies equally to a range of issues involving the family (all omitted from the Throne Speech), such as banning child pornography”. This should have been mentioned as should of Harper’s so called apology. (When asked whether he thought the line was in bad taste he said this. “What's in bad taste is the Liberal party's record on child pornography". ) The fact that Day was also sued for libel for saying that a lawyer who defends someone accused of molestation does so only because they are child abusers.

    By Blogger Koby, at 11:27 PM  

  • I agree they went negative last time. There is no doubt about that. However, their attacks were not focused and the Liberals did not provide evidence for some of their claims. Canadians are not going to take the Liberals word for it. The Liberals need to make Harper’s words do the talking. The most effective segment the Liberals ran last time was not even produced by them. It was produced by some documentary film maker interviewing Randy White.

    As for the abortion issue they got lucky. Merrifield’s comments in and of themselves were not extreme. However, scratch the surface and you would Merrifield was a staunch pro lifer, who among other things was solidly against stem cell research. Why was this never touched on. Are Herle and gang so incompetent that they did not know this?

    As for abortion, Harper has said the Conservative Party will not table legislation on abortion, but that he would allow private members bills and he would not instruct his caucus how to vote. However, he has also said that it is a provincial matter, presumably making any such potential vote unconstitutional.

    That said, confused policy is often good politics. By talking out of both sides of his mouth, Harper has managed keep his critics at by and “theo cons”, such as Mary Ellen Douglas, Ontario President of Campaign Life Coalition, happy. “I am happy to see that the Conservatives recognize that abortion funding is a provincial issue. We have been telling our provincial politicians that for years, but they keep insisting that the issue is federal.” From watching what has transpired in the States, Marry Ellen knows that the best way of taking away abortion rights is to have the Provinces do it in a piecemeal fashion.

    Why was Harper’s playing both sides of the fence not brought to light. Herle and company were asleep at the wheel again.

    The same goes with the pornography controversy. Harper took a big hit, but the Conservatives were able to amazingly pass it off as an overzealous staffer.
    Just a year before Harper mentioned the same taking point. “This same argument applies equally to a range of issues involving the family (all omitted from the Throne Speech), such as banning child pornography”. This should have been mentioned as should of Harper’s so called apology. (When asked whether he thought the line was in bad taste he said this. “What's in bad taste is the Liberal party's record on child pornography". ) The fact that Day was also sued for libel for saying that a lawyer who defends someone accused of molestation does so only because they are child abusers.

    By Blogger Koby, at 11:27 PM  

  • sorry about the triple posting.

    By Blogger Koby, at 11:29 PM  

  • Dean; I think we should have a discusion on real policy. I think that would be best for everyone.

    But I'm not naive enough to think that will happen. On the election front, I'm just speculating on how effective the likely Liberal strategy will be.

    What's best for everyone now and winning a campaign are two completely different topics which, unfortunately, don't always go hand in hand.

    And I've been just as critical about the "Stephen Harper will ban abortions" adds as anyone.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:43 AM  

  • Will zee Tiger Williams hit de Jean Chretiean golf ball into de Paulo Martin's nuts?

    By Blogger Walsh Writes, at 10:22 AM  

  • Actually, the Liberals did include the "Stephen Harper said" stuff (including the "second tier" one) in their pre-election TV ads in May 2004.

    By Blogger The Invisible Hand, at 4:55 PM  

  • Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!
    I have a debt consolidation program
    site/blog. It pretty much covers debt consolidation program
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    Come and check it out if you get time :-)

    By Blogger Billy, at 11:12 PM  

  • This can't have effect in actual fact, that is exactly what I consider.

    By Anonymous www.barcelona-3d.com, at 3:03 AM  

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