Friday, April 17, 2009

Tom Flanagan In Less Than Five Minutes

This line of attack won't play:

There is, however, a big obstacle in the way: Mr. Ignatieff can't force an election by himself. He needs the votes of the New Democrats and the Bloc Québécois to defeat the Conservatives on a vote of no-confidence. In other words, he has to reactivate the coalition with the socialists and separatists against which Canadians reacted so strongly last fall.

It's of a piece with the Tories "roll to the right" strategy lately, and we see where that's getting them. I doubt it would work anyway, but if your political opponent wants to tar you as a rebel and traitor, it probably helps that your latest book is an old fashion call to Canadian Patriotism. Most excellent timing there.

Flanagan gets one point right, though. Iggy needs both the NDP and Bloc to bring Harper down, and:

...why would [the NDP] rush into an election if the polls suggest the Liberals are going to do well? The NDP had its best results in 1988, when the Liberals were at a low point. In the six elections starting in 1993, the result has always been the same: When the Liberals go up, the NDP goes down, and vice versa. Jack Layton has worked hard in three campaigns to build up his party's caucus from 13 members when he became leader to 37 after the 2008 election. Will he risk those gains trying to put in power a Liberal leader who mirrors the Conservative leader on so many major issues?

What enflamed environmentalists about the NDP in the last Federal election has been vented upon their provincial counterparts at the beginning of this B.C. election in a particularly nasty fashion. And if anyone was paying attention, they would see a party/movement tearing itself quite loudly into its ideological parts, its green and brown wings. Jack Layton is going to want to lay low for the time being, and figure out how to stitch back what he has torn asunder. I see ways by which he could be convinced to keep the Harper government alive, the result being that we have a Federal government too weak to do much harm because it is simply too weak to act in any significant fashion. The nation staggers on for another year or so.

On the up-side, the NDP will become the party of Abstention. I am preparing rhetorical stink-bombs to lob their way, satisfied that they will make big stinky splat marks on the party's reputation.


Jeff said...

Let's say the Liberals decide this fall we're ready to go to the polls. If the other parties play ball, great, we've got our election.

If, say, the NDP decides then to prop-up the Conservatives, then fine. We get more time to fundraise and organize, and now the NDP is the party keeping Harper alive. Which would take their entire campaign focus of the last election (only we can hold the Cons to account, Liberals in bed with Harper, etc.) and throws is out the door. I'm not sure the BQ would be particularly served by supporting Harper in this scenario either.

So, either scenario, despite Flanagan's protestations, offer decent prospects for the Liberals.

buckets said...

There is at least one relevant fact left out Flanagan's argument that the NDP will be afraid of a Liberal surge: the regional basis of Canadian politics: if the Tories sag, the NDP will gain seats in BC and Saskatchewan and a few places in Ontario (Oshawa, for instance).

Robert McClelland said...

You two rubes are forgetting something. Harper isn't going to play any more games of non-confidence vote chicken while his numbers are so low. That means the Liberals will actually have to introduce a vote of non-confidence. Only a complete fool would believe one vote is going to tar the NDP.

Besides that, Harper could strike a deal with either Layton or Duceppe for their support; you know, the same way Martin did with Layton. That worked out quite well for Layton if you recall.

RuralSandi said...

I don't think it would work for Layton this time. He and his party have made such an issue of the Libs voting with the Cons - bragging and boasting about their principles (now, that's funny - Layton is a political *&# and has no principles) - if he backs down he'd certainly look like a fool. Layton has gone on and on about how he never again could trust Harper - if he went along with Harper then Layton becomes a liar.

northwestern_lad said...

"I don't think it would work for Layton this time. He and his party have made such an issue of the Libs voting with the Cons -"

Sandi... there's one big difference there between what the Libs have done and the NDP did back in the Martin government. Layton actually got concessions out the Martin in that budget, so they got something for their support. What did Dion or what has Ignatieff gotten for their support of Harper???

Personally, it would be a hell of a lot harder for anyone to critisize the Liberals for their record if they had been extracting consessions out of Harper for the last 2 years + of support. But they haven't done that. At least Layton can point to what he got for his votes.

And the comment about Layton being a liar, that's pretty fresh coming from someone who's leaders has made "clarifications" of his comments more often than a teenaged boy changes his underwear. So please watch where you throw those stones in that nice glass house of yours ;)

RuralSandi said...

Oh, but it is VERY different this time for Layton - you see, he's made such a big issue of not trusting Harper and wanted to bring Harper down on the issue of trust - he can't get away with saying Harper is now trustworthy.

Layton is toast.

Ti-Guy said...

I love the comments over at The Globe. Tom "Old Man Smell" Flanagan's columns aren't going over very big.

kevvyd said...

Even if the NDP is to become the "party of abstention" as you suggest (which wouldn't surprise me to be honest), I would suggest Liberals have no right in the world to lob "stinkbombs". We've had too many years of Liberal ass-kissing and cowardly grovelling in "opposition" to give them any credibility whatsoever.

bigcitylib said...

You're right, kevvyd, I must try to be fair.

Jeff said...


That means the Liberals will actually have to introduce a vote of non-confidence.Not a problem. We'll have lots of ready-made opportunities thanks to those probation report thingies. Which means it could well be on the economy.

Only a complete fool would believe one vote is going to tar the NDP.Tar? Possibly not. But it does take one quiver out of the NDP arrow, and it's an arrow the NDP has leaned-on pretty heavily in the past: the "Liberals propping up the Conservatives" arrow, the "vote NDP for real opposition" arrow. Kind of hard to make that charge if the NDP is backing the Cons while the Liberals try to vote non-confidence.

Harper could strike a deal with either Layton or Duceppe for their support; you know, the same way Martin did with Layton. That worked out quite well for Layton if you recall.And then Layton brought down the government before most of the measures in his "NDP budget", such as more affordable housing, could actually be implemented. But I'll grant you the point. While it did nothing for the NDP's stakeholders, politically it was a win for Layton.

A few things though. Despite the obvious ideological differences between the Liberals and the NDP, which you'll argue are much larger than I would, I think the bulk of the NDP's support base are more predisposed to accepting NDP cooperation with the Liberals than they would the Conservatives. I don't think a deal with Harper would go over super well.

Secondly, Jack has been making clear for months now that Harper can't be trusted and the Conservatives need to go right now. That's why he came out against the budget before it was even written. Because whatever was in it, they couldn't trust Harper. So to turn on a dime and say we have a deal with Harper, and I trust him to honour it? That just wouldn't fly with any reasonable person. Given the past rhetoric, it expose the rhetoric of the last months as the emptiest and shallowest of political hot air.

Ti-Guy said...

We've had too many years of Liberal ass-kissing and cowardly grovelling in "opposition" to give them any credibility whatsoever.Well, you're going to have to start trying or at least coming up with criticism that doesn't send progressive Liberals into paroxysms of eye-rolling because we're stuck with these two major parties for the foreseeable future.

T said...

99.9% of the comments on that story were pointing out how ridiculous Flanagans position was, how it was out of touch with reality. The same 4 or dead-enders were trying to defend the government of what does the Globe do?

They kill and erase all the comments, maybe the ones pointing out how the owners of globemedia are con friendly and thats why Flanagan and his ilk continue to get column space every week made them do it...regardless, smells like censorship since the discussion wasn't friendly to their ideology.

Ti-Guy said...

They kill and erase all the comments,I've noticed that before with The Globe. The article still indicates that there are 142 comments, but you can't access them.

A lot of online news publications fiddle with their content, which is the reason the rest of us should continue to refuse to pay for any of it.

...that, and the fact that they publish shite from the likes of Tom Flanagan et. al.

burlivespipe said...

The NdP did its best in '88 - fact. That the Liberals were crumbling then - false. Their face-plant came in 1984, you-had-an-option-sir and bang, came a Blue wave. In fact, entering the '88 election, Turner had the Liberals neck-and-neck with the Conservatives, even leading in a number of polls. That trend continued right until late in the campaign, which was highlighted by the fiery debates between Turner and Mulroney; Broadbent was a also at his peak and won over many of those PC votes that were against free trade but didn't feel comfortable voting Liberal. Check out the end result, the Liberals rebounded somewhat from its decisive '84 slapdown.
The truth and Tommy Flanagan have never met; apparently they reside on different continents.

Ti-Guy said...

American immigrant Tom Flanagan is a neoconservative. We must never forget what it is they believe, as their Godfather, Irving Kristol, famously asserted:

"There are different kinds of truths for different kinds of people. There are truths appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate for students; truths that are appropriate for educated adults; and truths that are appropriate for highly educated adults, and the notion that there should be one set of truths available to everyone is a modern democratic fallacy. It doesn't work."

The joke's really on them, though. The only different truth is the one neoconservatives cling to...that they are "highly educated adults," instead of the moral imbeciles and intellectual sloths they actually are.

Jay Currie said...

Were I in the Liberal warroom, once the stench of the Jackal was removed, I'd be saying either go for an early June election or wait a full year.

The go early option is not just poll related, though EKOS helps, it is also because Harper and the CPC are floundering, they have lost any hope in Quebec for the next year or so and their base is pissed off. The Grits would have two more months of lousy job numbers and, if you get the timing right, a real crunch about a week before Election Day when either GM or Chrysler tosses in the towel.

It will take a minimum of six months for the stimulus to turn this around - if it turns it around - so CPC fortunes should be rising a bit come Fall. Which is why you don't go then.

Can Harper buy off Smilin' Jack. Of course he can; but at a huge cost with what's left of his base. And he can also work hard to rebuild a Quebec presence. But that would take time.

Iggy has proven that he knows the power of coup d'etat. He took the leadership without a vote, now the interesting question is whether he is willing to play for all the marbles. A couple more polls like this last one and I have to think he will.