The Liberals have forgotten the KISS principle
The Liberal message last week after the announcement of the coalition:
Canadians do not vote for a Prime Minister. They vote for an individual Member of Parliament. Those Members of Parliament make up the House of Commons and for a Prime Minister to govern he must have the confidence of that House of Commons. Stephen Harper only won a minority government so the opposition, which is the majority in The House and represents 62% of those who voted in the election a few weeks ago, can take over after they vote non-confidence in the government on December 8.
The Conservative message last week after the announcement of the coalition:
We won the election, we earned the right to govern, and the losers are just making a power grab with the help of those evil seperatists.
Which argument won? Exactly.
It does not matter that the Conservative message is wrong. It does matter that it is a simple message, easy to deliver and it acknowledges the fact that Canadians are too lazy or too uninterested to really get the truth about most issues and the fact that even if they were interested the MSM in this country don't do facts.
Conservatives on both sides of the 49th parallel have perfected this, which is why they have been so successful in this decade. The Liberals have been terrible at this and the Democrats were until Obama came along. He at least understands that you need to remember the KISS principle.
As soon at the coalition was announced they should have changed the channel and went with a very simple argument. Pounding the Conservatives on the economy and their lack of help in the economic statement, while throwing a line to the Conservatives that included a simple explanation of what the coalition would do differently would have been a great idea.
What bothers me the most about all of this is the Liberals have shown no signs of changing. They are still trying to explain the niceties and nuances of our Parliamentary democracy to Canadians while blaming Stephane Dion for the current mess. As I stated yesterday he does share some of the responsibility for this situation but he is not the only one. As well, none of his erstwhile replacements have shown that they would be an improvement on this score. Bob Rae is still trying to sell the coalition. Michael Ignatieff just seems to be in a fog. I watched him yesterday on Newman's show and I was just left shaking my head. Thankfully, no one but political junkies watch that show so he did not make any real difference with that performance.
Liberals are going to have to come to grips with the fact that replacing Stephane Dion, whether it is now or in May, is not going to solve this problem. They are going to have to learn how to boil down their ideas into simple, believeable and punchy arguments. They are going to have to learn how to fudge the truth. They are going to have to acknowledge the fact that the days of trying to explain anything to an uninterested electorate are gone, to be replaced with the need to dumb down your arguments, and adjust their communications strategies accordingly.