Friday, April 29, 2011

Ignatieff has done well, and so has Jack Layton. . . .

I have been reading the Liberal Bloggers very closely over the past couple of weeks and have watched their reaction to the supposed surge in the NDP and the failure of their own party. And I must say for the most part I am deeply disappointed. There are a few Liberals Bloggers who have acted with grace and dignity. They are willing to accept the failure of the Liberal Party in this election, if indeed it occurs (which I am not convinced will happen). The better Liberal Bloggers are even still willing to shift the onus of strategic voting onto their own party.

For the most part however, the Liberal Bloggers have been acting like genuine rogues. Dr. Johnson said that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, but we can adapt this to present conditions and say partisanship is the last refuge of a scoundrel. They are angry at the very idea that the NDP would call them on their five year record of supporting Harper's government and they act as though it is untoward for a political opponent to campaign. They have attacked the NDP with as much vehemence as they have attacked Harper and acted as though the NDP has run a corrupt and awful campaign. They have begun to call the NDP names like 'socialist' etc, with the same kind of marginalizing tactics that the Conservatives have traditionally used.

But for the most part the NDP has run a clean, positive, and respectful campaign. Yes, they have pointed out that the LPC has supported the Harper government on many occasions. This is not a negative campaign, just a fact, and one that arguably demonstrates a closeness that many voters are uncomfortable with. The only thing that upset me about the NDP campaign was the attack on Ignatieff for his voting absences in the House. This struck me as too personal and not reasonable given that Ignatieff has been trying to rebuild a party brand, an effort that surely took a great deal of time and effort. But I am not overly partisan. I am willing to say this was a wrong-headed strategy and I wrote to Jack Layton personally criticizing him for this.

The saddest thing about the Liberal attitude is that it belittles a very good campaign on Ignatieff's part. Ignatieff has been treated harshly by fate and doesn't deserve this given the decent campaign he has run. He is eloquent, solid, well-spoken, good on his feet, generally respectful, remarkably energetic etc. Given the campaign he has run, Ignatieff deserves to be much higher in the polls and I have nothing but respect for him. He has said a few things that have been untoward, and a few of his candidates have been a little problematic. But that is true of every party. Unless you are going to act like Harper, then you are bound to have some problems on the ground. (And even with all his micro-management some of Harper's people have screwed up badly and corruption has emerged during the campaign.)

But the NDP has captured people imagination and if that pans out on election day, they will have quite a few more seats than they did. But Liberals should recognize the difficulties faced by the NDP in this process. They have nowhere near the resources of the other two parties, and when the campaign started they figured they had little chance to go over, say, fifty seats. As a result it is not surprising that some of their candidates would not be as politically sharp as those in parties that have had long records of success. But no decent Liberals should suggest that the NDP doesn't deserve any success because of this. The voters will decide that point. Anytime a party finds sudden success, it is bound to hit some potholes along the way. Over time they will deal with that or, if they don't, they will pay for it with voters.

I don't know. Indignation can be good if it is directed at genuine malice or corruption. But anger from Liberals at the NDP is sadly misplaced. If Ignatieff bounces back and has lots of seats and prevents a Conservative majority, I will be glad to cheer him on. If the NDP has a hundred seats I will cheer them on and expect a lot of shaky times as they adjust to that new found success. It is sad that more Liberals can't take the same attitude.


Anonymous said...

Considering how badly he's been attacked for several years I don't think iggy has been that bad but I do not think he had a vision other than not being Harper. Iggy needed the big idea, PR, destruction of the PMO, a bold new vision of Canada, something bigger than Harpers narative, he failed and his rants, swearing the last couple days shows he's totally lost it.

I do not believe Jack has been anything different than he has for the last couple of elections the timing was just right and the frustation level was too high. I do blame Jack for NDP disrespect his half baked cadre of potential MPs shows voters. People on holiday during an election, a candidate actually hiding in Vaughan, no one has actually see it/her/them Numerous other ridings where no ones is actually campaigning, its insulting that a cult of personality can get a stuffed panda elected in some ridings. Like there is no Canadian Goverment only the Harper goverment , there is NO NDP just Jack, that is wrong.

While a lot of them are old hacks at least the liberals attempt to get qualified Candidates, Jacks kids brigade of waitreses, comic geeks and college gammers is an insult. Jack like Steve has made a mockery of local representation , Steve because they are sock puppets Jack because they are simply not credible candidates who may end up ruling our country because they ran on a whim.

I don't think Jack and Iggy deserve any credit , this campaign was Harpers to win and he screwed it up.

Anonymous said...

I am so relieved I am not supporting the NDP in this election. I have been appalled at their tactics. Harper, I expect to behave badly. But why try to replace someone and behave like them?

kirbycairo said...

Dear Anonymous - you are either blindly partisan, a liar, or just plane blind. Amazing, just amazing.

kirbycairo said...

Anonymous #1 - You are right about Ignatieff's failure to have a 'big idea' etc. But this is not just the leader's fault, it is a long term failure of the Liberal party in general. (Of course you could argue that the buck stops at the leader and that is fair enough)

Your are totally wrong about the so-called 'disrespect' issue. That is just conservative spin. They have picked out a couple of NDP candidates who where just not very good and that is inevitable for any party, particularly in a smaller party that lacks resources. That was part of the point of my blog. It would simply be unreasonable to expect no such bumps on the road for a party that expected to get fifty seats at the most.

You are totally wrong in general about the quality of candidates in generally being half baked etc. I will take inexperienced young people with new ideas any day of the week than a bunch of jerks in suits who think they know everything and are just a bunch of sell-outs. THAT IS THE POINT! I want a new group of people. They will make mistakes but that is the road to innovation.

Furthermore the NDP has more women by far.

If you want to look for missing candidates look to the Tories. They are all missing.

I think your partisanship is clouding your judgement.

Owen Gray said...

Louis St Laurent said that the CCF party -- the predecessor of the NDP -- was a group of "Liberals in a hurry."

I'm not sure a lot of NDP supporters would accept that statement, but the truth is that the NDP provided the spark for most of Canada's social safety net -- and the Liberals (because they had the seats) passed it.

We are about to see if the two parties will change places.

Anonymous said...

I'm Anon 1
I live in a 905 riding where the ndp was missing for 3 whole weeks, did not show for the 3 of 4 debates and she was nasty ass bad in the one she did attend. She's just a kid in school and maybe in 10 years with some life experience she will be a reasonable candidate but at this point she has not earned a single vote, its all cult of Jack. I actually want a decent candidate and that's how I decide.

This is not unknown here ,last campaign had an old party stalward but the same thing happened, sweet bugger all campaign. Jack cannot say he's ready to run the country when the party itself can't run a decent campaign in more than 100 ridings.