Wednesday, October 10, 2007

And It Will Die In The Senate

Frances Russel of The Winnipeg Free Press has a nice precis of the Lib strategy this Fall:

[The Federal Liberals] will not defeat Harper on the throne speech. They will wait for a defining issue that plays to their core strength -- and stay in sync with the majority of Canadians who oppose an immediate election and want minority government to work.

Back to the ole Rope-A-Dope for Dion and Co., in other words. Not a lot of fun, but fairly sound strategy. And remember, the Senate is our secret weapon. No matter what passes the House, it can lay there in the upper chamber like a beached whale, helpless under the weight of political ennui, to be finally speared through the brain at night when nobody is watching.

Worked great during the first session.

35 comments:

Ben said...

'Tisn't the 40th Parliament. It's the 39th Parliament, Second Session.

And yes, that's how the Liberals used the Senate last time, and that's how they'll use it again. Which is why there'll probably be a showdown over that, sooner or later... which may set up the elections for the 40th Parliament.

bigcitylib said...

Thanks for the correction. Exactly how do you arrange a "showdown" over some piece of legislation thats stuck in the Senate? Hearings can't be rushed. Due second thought, in the fullness of time, etc.

me dere robert said...

And remember, the Senate is our secret weapon. No matter what passes the House, it can lay there in the upper chamber like a beached whale, helpless under the weight of political ennui, to be finally speared through the brain at night when nobody is watching.

Don't you see that you're playing right into the hands of the Conservatives who are crying for Senate reform. One of the main Tory attacks is that the Liberals are holding up important legislation in the Senate.

Plus if you look at the facts most bills aren't being held up in the Senate. Are you starting to believe the Tory talking points?

Ben said...

Well... the ultimate way of doing it is just taking a walk to Rideau Hall for a nice, friendly chat with the GG.

But before that, well, this is where the proposed Senate reforms come in. And it can only be done so far -- if the Liberals stall on every bit of legislation, it becomes apparent what they are doing.

Plays into the narrative of Liberals as arrogant sorts who view power as an entitlement.

Not sure how this'll play with the public. If they're more with the Liberals, then these tactics will be a winning strategy. If they're more with Harper, then this will be a push factor for people who get frustrated and decide that it's worth giving him a majority to work with.

Diion is a Dud said...

ooohhhhhhh please stall legislation in the Senate.

The Red Chamber, stuffed with every Liberal fart catcher, bagman and thief is the perfect target for Harper.

The NDP will rip into it as well and bleed support & votes from Liberals.

Maybe even some Liberals with balls will stand up to anti-democratic Senate.

Please use this strategy.

Frik'n brilliant Liberal politics.

bigcitylib said...

d is d,

Yeah that worked great last time around.

And Ben, like many Conservatives, you see Senate reform as being some kind of killer wedge issue. Outside of Alberta is a total snorer, the purview of wingnuts and poli nerds only.

Ben said...

It's a sleeper issue -- it's something people don't care about until, say, some opposition party starts using the Senate to kill legislation.

bigcitylib said...

Ben,

Its a sleeper issue in that it puts people to sleep.

Ben said...

Hey, feel free to do it -- I'm just saying, it could blow up in your faces.

Anonymous said...

So you're out there, fighting against the conservative menace, all the while fully supporting an unelected body which flagrantly disobeys the will of the people via parliament, to satisfy their own political and partisan goals. This is truly disgusting. You whine about Harper's secret agenda, how he's Bush lite, and how he'd turn into a dictator IF he had the chance. IF IF IF. But IN FACT we see how your liberal dictatorship operates through the Senate.

Revolutions have started over less.

I pray for the day when people will say they voted Liberal with the same shame and embarassment as admitting to having contracted VD.

Anonymous said...

Has everyone forgotten that during the last federal election Harper used the Senate to make Canadians feel safe in voting for him? Remember, he said they would be the checks and balances to keep him in line?

We have short memories don't we.

Anonymous said...

Ya, and don't forget Harper does have the option of appointing 15 or so senators - he could do that to balance it up more - but no, he wants it this way so he can blame Liberals for everything including his own failings.

What a piece of work Harper is.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I have to totally disagree with you on this premise.

The Senate hasn't really killed anything in this past session. If anyone killed anything, it was Harper for pulling the plug at the mid-point. Why that isn't the forefront of Liberal arguments totally confuses me. I don't buy the "people won't understand" argument. If you TELL them the truth that Harper cut the legs out of reams of legislation by shutting down parliament early, they will understand. But if you say NOTHING, he gets a free pass, which is effectively what the Libs gave him.

But at any rate, the best defense is to keep working in committee to craft good compromise legislation. That is what actually happened last session, which is why Harper pulled the plug.

Just keep doing it because it's the right thing to do. And if Harper wants to scream that it isn't right, he'll be the one who has to explain why compromise is such a bad thing.

No need to hide behind the Senate, which is a stupid and ineffective strategy. I don't even think the Senate would "go for it" anyway; I haven't seen much evidence that anyone pulls their strings anyway, which is as it's intended.

Ben said...

I should just like to state for the record that I am planning no revolutions nor any stormings of the Red Chamber. ;-)

wilson said...

'Senate is our secret weapon. No matter what passes the House, it can lay there in the upper chamber like a beached whale...'

So you're saying BCL, is that the Senate will hold down the fort until the Liberals can get back into their rightful place, in power.

So you laugh in the face of democracy, saying, go ahead and vote you fools...it means nothing because WE, the Liberals, will have the ultimate say on how this country is run.
If we can't do it the honest way, we will do it ANYWAY.

So who is the real bully?
And who has the secret agenda?

The ONLY party that could force thru a secret agenda is the LIBERALS.

bigcitylib said...

Senates part of Canadian Democracy, Wilson. Besides, the Canadian people prefer their Conservative Minority govs. in thick chains. The polls ought to be making that clear to you.

Ti-Guy said...

Clear to Wilson? Ha! She's so dense and thick, she has her own event horizon.

Ben? Do you ever get dismayed over the fact that most of your political allies are retarded?

...it's a serious question, and I'm posing it in good faith.

Sean Cummings said...

Secret weapon, huh?

Perfect reason to reform the Senate or get rid of it all together. Cripes, what a fucking country.

bigcitylib said...

If Harper wants to get rid of the Senate, I would support that.

Susan said...

The time for an election is now, time to stop playing games and tell it like it is, Danny Williams style, ABC. This cat and mouse world Mr. H. has created is embarassing and boring.

Ben said...

Democracy gives a voice to all. Further, the anonymity of the internet makes some of us behave the way we wouldn't in person.

I think it has to do with perspective. When I was a leftie, I was very rude to conservatives because I didn't understand where they were coming from. Now that I'm a libertarian who votes on the right, I know where the lefties (as most of my friends still are) are coming from, I know where the righties (including the religious ones) are coming from, and I'm confident enough in my principles and ideas (classical/market liberalism) to stand and argue them, and poke fun at any and all. Fellow citizens, all.

***

But a lot of the stuff above is gamesmanship. It's like fans of a given sports team taunting their opposite numbers before a big game.

If y'all were face to face in a pub, you wouldn't behave like that. (Our host included, who has certainly baited enough conservatives in his time.)

Ti-Guy said...

"Classic/market liberalism"...shorthand for saying "History's two hard!!" and "I don't like complexity...it makez my brein hert!"

I'm astonished by the sheer number of unlettered dweebs who find a "theory of nothing" to be intellectually stimulating.

Ben said...

Yes, Ti-Guy, that's exactly it. I'm a classical liberal because I'm too dumb to appreciate the complexities of history.

Thank you for clearing up all of my political/philosophical thinking. I couldn't have gotten there without you.

Ti-Guy said...

I'm sorry...didn't the years you spent watching Matthew Perry teach you that sarcasm is no longer fashionable?

...because, if I'm not mistaken, I could have sworn that you...

Oh well. Never mind.

I'm too dumb to appreciate the complexities of history.

Yes, you are too dumb to appreciate the complexities of history.

Why do you think people gravitate towards irrational ideologies such as communism and fascism? Do you really think it's because...they're evil? Or is it possibly because the immoral laissez-faire idiots (who are classic parasites) can't convince people that their utopic thinking has any real meaning in the here-and-now?

Ben said...

Communism isn't irrational. It's based on a fundamental misunderstanding of human nature, and it leads to tremendous amounts of violence by state actors, but it certainly isn't irrational.

Classical liberalism -- an important strand of modern conservatism -- is based on the stunningly immoral proposition that given a framework of law and order, people are best left to be their own judges of what is in their own interests.

But hey, I'm very happy for people like you to go on asserting that everyone who doesn't think that an ever-expanding nanny state is the way to go is an immoral idiot with utopian delusions -- it makes the political left that much less appetizing a choice for the general electorate.

Go forth and call us all idiots, if it makes you feel better.

Ti-Guy said...

Communism isn't irrational. It's based on a fundamental misunderstanding of human nature, and it leads to tremendous amounts of violence by state actors, but it certainly isn't irrational.

Sorry, Ben, but a "fundamental misundertanding" is the very definition of irrational. The fact that you don't know that means you're irretrievably stupid.

Classical liberalism -- an important strand of modern conservatism -- is based on the stunningly immoral proposition that given a framework of law and order, people are best left to be their own judges of what is in their own interests.

And just exactly how long did this "classic liberal" period last? And were black people included, or were they...uh...otherwise occupied?

This little fantasy you Randroids indulge in ran out of gas a long time ago, but...thank God...for the American education system, where every morning is a brand new day, and America, no matter what it does, always wins.

Ben said...

Sorry, Ben, but a "fundamental misundertanding" is the very definition of irrational. The fact that you don't know that means you're irretrievably stupid.

No, it's a system rationally deduced from wrong premises. But that you're heading straight into insults shows a certain amount of insecurity about your own ideas, I'd have to say.

I'm not a follower of Ayn Rand, though I thought she wrote a few decent novels. Right attitude about socialism and socialists, but wrong attitude about personal morality and what we owe as individuals to those worse off in our society.

***

But really, Ti-Guy, you're embarrassing yourself. Stop, before you make yourself look even more ridiculous than you already have.

I'm just a guy who thinks we should have lower taxes, a less intrusive state, and a stronger military. You call that "irrational", "irretrievably stupid", "utopian", and the thinking of a "classic parasite"?

You can't just agree to disagree on a certain number of fiscal and social questions?

Wow.

Ben said...

Sorry, BigCityLib -- I should have known better than to engage with the 17th comment.

I made the mistake of assuming it was a question posed in good faith.

Will stick strictly to the topic in future threads.

Ti-Guy said...

No, it's a system rationally deduced from wrong premises.

The word you're looking for here is incoherent, not irrational.

But that you're heading straight into insults shows a certain amount of insecurity about your own ideas, I'd have to say.

Not at all. I just don't suffer fools lightly, especially little pissants with big mouths who think they're teh smart because they got an "A" in grade 10 math.

I'm just a guy who thinks we should have lower taxes, a less intrusive state, and a stronger military. You call that "irrational", "irretrievably stupid", "utopian", and the thinking of a "classic parasite"?

You can't just agree to disagree on a certain number of fiscal and social questions?


You got that right. Welcome to democracy and freedom of expression. By the way, I didn't call "lower taxes, a less intrusive state, and a stronger military" stupid. I called *you* stupid.

Now, if you care to support your beliefs and/or knowledge with real-world evidence, I'm all ears. If you just think it's acceptable to empty out your "beautiful mind" of the assertions (not arguments) that create your perfect world, then expect to be challenged.

Don't like that? Well, too fucking bad.

Ben said...

Oh, you're welcome to say what you like, of course. Free country and all that.

But I'm confused. You asked me a question about why certain people who support the political party I support weren't behaving all that well on this thread. I answered that I thought it was because they didn't have perspective -- that I don't behave like that because I've moved around some on the political spectrum, so I know why people of good conscience believe certain things are good, in terms of public policy, that I don't agree with. And also that there's just a certain amount of political gamesmanship, just like there is among sports fans.

I do think I'm smart, but that's because I am. Graduated magna from Princeton, took a master's at Harvard. I've got a high IQ -- that's a fact. On the other hand, most of my equally smart friends disagree with my views -- they're much more on the social-democratic line -- what we would call "liberals" or "progressives" in North America. They're not dumb. Some of them have higher calibre intellects than mine, and they have good reasons for believing what they do.

In fact, I dare say that a majority of them are a lot more in line with the politics of, say, our host here. Or yours, very possibly, though I don't know exactly what your politics are. (I'm guessing somewhere on the left, given your deployment of the "Randroid" label.)

At any rate, this has very little to do with whether or not it is a good political tactic for the Liberals to use their Senate caucus to delay legislation passed by the House of Commons, so I'll apologize once more to our host and promise to stay on topic in future threads.

Ti-Guy said...

I'm sorry, Ben. I'll plough through the rest of your blather later. But, this...

I do think I'm smart, but that's because I am. Graduated magna from Princeton, took a master's at Harvard. I've got a high IQ -- that's a fact.

...is too delicious not to mock. And what exactly have you done with your brilliance? Come up with a unified systems theory? Solved world hunger? Stopped bitching about your taxes?

No matter how many degrees I get, no matter how much money I make, no matter how much experience I accumulate, I will always know one thing...I don't know anything. Maybe that's a type of humility you should try and adopt.

...oh, right. You're American. Humility isn't something that comes naturally to you.

Ti-Guy said...

...and another thing...Higher education is the US is simply an exercise in knighting. I mean, George Bush has an MA from Yale, for God's sakes.

Ben said...

Ti-Guy,

Obviously you've been reading my blog.

I'm an unemployed twenty-something -- I freely admit that. It's even on my Blogger profile. *shocking*

I do know very little, and I am skeptical about how much any one person can know about the lives of others -- which is why I happen to think what I do about the place of politicians and the state.

You've called me dumb, among other worse things, in this thread. You're actually quite right. I was dumb to get into this discussion, I was dumb to reply, and I am continuing to be dumb (stupid, I should say) as I type this, because I really should know better than to feed the troll.

You win. Congratulations.

Ti-Guy said...

What? Was it something I said?

Ben..I'm just so damn tired of laissez-faire fanatics. Laissez-faire is really a theory of nothing and it's utopic. It requires perfect morality and perfect information to be coherent and it's singularly unconcerned with its own inconsistencies.

I'm sorry you're unemployed...I don't find any joy in anyone else's misfortunes.

Abdul-Rahim said...

The Liberals aren't gonna topple this government, they have nothing to take the lead with