Thursday, November 16, 2006

Iggy Opens Mouth: Gaffes Emerge

After a few weeks of blissful silence, Iggy emerged from the box his campaign staff have kept him in yesterday, and immediately shot himself in the foot with his mouth:

"That's [appealing to NDP voters] fishing in the wrong pond. That's the wrong strategy," Mr. Ignatieff said yesterday.

"He [Bob Rae] doesn't realize that Liberals fight the NDP in election after election.

"What Liberals need is someone who can run down the middle with a progressive message, and leave the NDP in their own particular ghetto," Mr. Ignatieff said in an interview.

He argued that instead, he would win votes from the Greens with environmental policy, and from the Bloc Quebecois with social and environment policy and "a language of respect for what makes Quebec specific."

So Ignatieff is willing to write-off the NDP vote, and willing to come out and announce as much in Canada's national newspaper. That is bold leadership. Stupid perhaps, but bold.

Put aside the fact that, as someone whose vote swings back and forth between Liberal and NDP depending on the election, I personally am one of the (occasional) ghetto-dwellers Iggy refers to, and I will not vote for some four-eyed poindexter from Harvard who insults me. No, set that aside and ponder instead the logic behind the remark. Because the kind of environmental measures that Iggy would employ to woo Green Party voters, are very much the same kind of measures likely to attract NDP support. All things being equal, he should get a twofer with them. This being the case, Iggy must go out of his way to extract the votes he doesn't want (NDPers) from the votes he does want (Greenies)...via insults.

And why is Iggy willing to deliberately insult about 15 to 20 per cent of the Canadian electorate? Well, its to take a shot at his leadership rival, Bob Rae, whose pool of potential support would include a good section of this 15 to 20 per cent.

...which is a bit like criticizing Ralph Klein's policies by calling Albertans ugly, except that here the term "ghetto" has overtones of class and maybe even ethnic lines which must not be crossed; in ideological terms, NDPers are from "the wrong side of the tracks", or some such thing. In any case, they're not good enough for Iggy.

Byt the way, h/t to The John Lennard Experience.


Peter Loewen said...

You display a similar lack in your knowledge of the English as Lennard apparently.

Look, Rae's argument is futile. The most he can pull from the NDP is 3 to 5 percentage points. And that will come at the cost of many centre-right Liberal voters.

I know you don't like Ignatieff, to put it lightly. But you don't have to pretend to be insulted.

bigcitylib said...

You think its a clever idea for the potential leader of any major party to come out and insult fifteen percent of the electorate in a national newspaper? Doesn't that count as a gaffe to you?

Besides, Iggy's already insulted center-right voters with Qanagate. And I guess the Nationgate was an insult to every thinking being in the country.

Peter Loewen said...

It's only an insult if you - like you - obviously attribute the wrong meaning to the word.

bigcitylib said...

Iggy is saying NDPers inhabit (belong in?) a "ghetto". On what reading of the term does this come out a compliment?

indievoter said...

Great post. Iggy's not just gaffe-prone, he also excretes pheromones that are naturally voter-repellent. As for language skills, I wonder who will be able to effectively lecture Canadians on proper English usage as they flee from Iggy's toxic verbage.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Oh it's not a gaffe, the guy just doesn't have a clue. he does this time and time again!

Anonymous said...

I will not vote for some four-eyed poindexter from Harvard who insults me

It's not the first time he's used this insult.

Back in March 2005, Ignatieff called the NDP a 'ghetto' of 'anti-Americanism' (a quasi-McCarthyist smear, btw):

Here's the quote:

Liberals have always said no to anti-Americanism. Leave that ladies and gentlemen to the NDP. Little bit of free political advice - anti-Americanism is an electoral ghetto, and we should leave the NDP to wither inside it.

Hmm... 'withering' inside a 'ghetto': it's pretty clear from Ignatieff's own past usage that he doesn't understand the term in a neutral sense, at least not when he's discussing electoral politics.

I wonder, btw, how many Liberals in attendance took the bait of that particular applause line?

The whole speech is actually worth re-reading, for it gives a good sense of Ignatieff's many weakness, from his historical igorance to his shallow analysis of issues.

CuriosityCat said...

More IggyNonsense from the IggyNation.

But good indicator of where his real critical mass lies (to the right of the Canadian spectrum).

Anonymous said...

Interesting that blogger response to this "supposed" issue is confined to those that support the NDP or are Liberals that had no intention of supporting Ignatieff in the first place.

But as a centrist voter, he definitely won points with me today with the statement. The Green Party needs to grow so that the NDP can wither away and die.

Anonymous said...

Gah. You can tell ol' Iggy has experienced Canadian politics only through the partisan commentary he read at his desk at Harvard and by speaking only with politicians. Most Liberal and NDP voting Canadians maintain a kind of civil distance between each other in everyday discussions about politics. Other than that, the divisions aren't that tribal.

This man is hopeless.

Anonymous said...

By the way, when did "Centrism" become part of our political vocabulary? Oh right, ever since Iggy crossed the border.

"Centrism" is not a meaningful concept in Canadian politics.

Anonymous said...

By the way, when did "Centrism" become part of our political vocabulary? Oh right, ever since Iggy crossed the border

It is part of the vocabulary because the Harper Conservatives are the first true governing party in the last 50 years in Canada that are basing their governing decisions on pure ideological grounds (Similar to the Neo-Conservatives down south)

The Liberals and the old PC party have always won majorities based on the principles of pragmatism, which therefore appeals to the majority of Canadian’s who have no loyalties to political parties and are middle of the road on most issues.

Parties like the NDP and the new Conservatives are always a threat to democracies because they tend to polarize and divide the general population into extremes (Look at France with La Pen, George Bush down south etc..)

Anonymous said...

Parties like the NDP and the new Conservatives are always a threat to democracies because they tend to polarize and divide the general population into extremes (Look at France with La Pen, George Bush down south etc..)

The NDP as a threat to democracy: right. It's because they're so polarizing and extreme in their support for health care, the environment, students, seniors, veterans, workers, women, aboriginals and minorities.

They're practically clones of Jean Marie Le Pen.

And you're right to imply that Liberals never stoop to polarizing. The country was simply united in joy and harmony by those 'soldiers in the streets' ads in the last election campaign.

Strong work.

Anonymous said...

I still don't think "centrism" is appropriate for federal politics with five parties each of which contain a scale of political positions of their own. I think "centrism" assumes the Conservatives are the political right and everything else is the political left, when its more nuanced than that. Pragmatism or accomodation or compromise are the usual terms. Centrism just connotes the political immobility that characterises American poltics more than ours.

Anonymous said...

Bob supporters, always willing to back up the NDP. Way to go dippers!

Simon Pole said...

I cringed when I read the word "ghetto" in Iggy's comments.

If you did a google search of the names of prominent Canadian politicians -- the successful ones -- and the word ghetto, I bet you find a scanty record. It might be used in criticizing ones own group (it wouldn't surprise me if Trudeau used it) -- but to apply it to other people is just over the line.

Ignatieff just can't get the tone right. And in this case, it isn't even the Canadian tone. I bet no successful nationaly politician in the US would use that word either to describe a group of Americans.

Ignatieff just doesn't get politics.