Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Liberals: Focus on the Conservatives

Much has been said about the loss the Liberals suffered last night and many have tried to figure out why.

The primary reason is simple. The Conservatives enjoyed the ballot box bonus that incumbents often enjoy. It happened to the Liberals in both 2004, when they jumped from 33% on the Sunday before E-day to 36% on E-day. It also happened in 2006 when it allowed them to salvage a hundred seats. It should come as no surprise that the Conservatives were the ones to enjoy this incumbent bonus this time. This bonus always happens with the desire for change amongst the electorate is low and by most accounts it was exactly that this time, which those pollsters who actually asked the question putting it at under 50%.

To blame Mr. Dion is downright silly. In retrospect that little surge by the Liberals in the last week had a negative side effect. It actually made Liberals believe they could win or at least keep it close.

That is non-sensical really. With no real strong desire for change it was predictable that the Liberals would lose.

So what now?

As the title says, focus on the Conservatives. They are going to be in tough this time. They are going to have to make some really tough decisions on how to handle the coming economic troubles that will not make anybody happy. As well, there is a very good chance that their nostrums for the economy will come straight from their ideology instead of sound analyses of the various problems, which could make things even worse for them.

The last thing the Liberals need to be doing during that time is choosing a new leader. They should instead spend their time hammering the Conservatives and getting ready for the next election in 12-18 months.

Mr. Dion has improved a great deal since his election to the Liberal leadership. Hell there was a marked improvement just over the 5 weeks of the election campaign. His efforts contributed to stopping Mr. Harper from achieving a majority government. He did this despite having the deck stacked against him. As I have stated before the media in this election went to unprecedented lengths to give the Conservatives a pass while crucifying Mr. Dion. They did not go to those lengths in 2000 with Mr. Day, which is the last time the media essentially destroyed a leader of one of the major political parties.

It is ironic that it is these very same media that is now leading the charge to have Mr. Dion removed. What he did to deserve this from them is beyond me. However, I would think that considering what we saw from the media in the last 5 weeks that Liberals would do the exact opposite of what they suggest. They do not have the best interests of the Liberal Party at heart.

I would also remind Liberals that new leaders of political parties never win elections just months after their election to that post. It is not very hard to see Mr. Harper engineering his defeat just weeks after a new Liberal leader is chosen. I can assure you in that situation Canadians will not elect the Liberals. Canadians will not elect an Opposition Party lead by someone who has barely had enough time to find all of the bathrooms in Stornaway. So what do we do then? Do we again turf out the leader and have another leadership race.

A leadership race at this juncture will take away resources that will be needed for an election in 12-18 months and deflect attention from the troubles the Conservatives will probably be dealing with during that period. The time for the internal struggles between the various leadership camps is behind us. Liberals should be looking ahead.

Of course, that is not what is going to happen. Since the departure of Mr. Chretien the Liberal Party has had a serious case of the stupids. My guess is that case will reach terminal levels over the next weeks or months and the Party will let Mr. Harper off the hook and hamstring its chances of winning the next election by having a destructive, time consuming and expensive leadership contest. Since Mr. Harper will be receiving a free ride from the Official Opposition as a result it would not surprise me one bit to see him win the extra 10-15 seats he needs for his majority the next time around.

If the Liberals focus they have a very good shot at winning the next election. If they allow the Party to degenerate into another furball then in all likelyhood the new leader will have four years to get settled into Stornaway as he helplessly watches Stephen Harper dismantle the Canada Liberals spent a century building.

3 Comments:

Blogger Susan said...

Exactly

October 15, 2008 9:11 PM  
Blogger MERBOY said...

GOD I hope they keep Dion... anyone with half a brain knows full well Harper would somehow call an election days after the new Liberal leader was selected... and guess who has no money to run a campaign at that point because they just blew all their money on a leadership contest...

October 15, 2008 11:33 PM  
Blogger The Mound of Sound said...

Sorry Ottlib but this is the Liberal Party where the rule is "lose and leave." It's a hard nosed party which is a key reason for its history in government. And merboy, the last thing Harper is going to do is call another election anytime soon. The voters would punish him severely if he tried. He knows it.

October 16, 2008 11:40 AM  

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