Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Last 36 Hours

This was one of the best experiences of my life. Granted, it could have been a little better at the end, but I have no regrets and a tonne of people that I'm indebted to.

There's a lot to talk about and, as I'd prefer not to make posts that are ten pages long, I'll break them up. We'll do it a little backwards: I'll give you my initial thoughts, and then run through how everything worked starting with Friday morning. Kind of like an after action report. If you could care less about what it's like on the floor, don't worry about future posts.

I'm disappointed in the result. I believed--and continue to believe--in Ignatieff as a person and as an idea. His policies may live on in a future cabinet, but the idea of the man was clearly repudiated by the party on the convention floor. It's an interesting feeling. Look at it this way: of the 5400 delegates there, to say nothing of the thousands of volunteers, 3/5 backed Dion on the last ballot. 1/5 backed Michael from the beginning. Of the 8 leadership teams, 7 ended up backing the leader in the end.

We, those who worked for Michael all the way through, were really the only ones that couldn't claim victory in the end. That'll get anyone down. Of course, there's party unity and all that. But I joined the party to turn it into something I could believe in again.

That'll be tougher now.

Interesting point, though: while lobbying delegates NOT to vote for Dion, I would bring up the argument I first raised in this blog. Here it is again:

"The Conservatives have done a great job of "branding" the Liberal party as a corrupt, out-of-touch party whose goals amount to little more than staying in power or, now, getting back into it. And if that happened, say the Tories, it would only consist of "more of the same": patronage, old ideas, and not looking out for average people. Just look at their slogans: "Canada's New Government" and "Getting things done for all of us". All government press releases begin the same way: "Canada's New Government to VERB ----> ELECTION CANDY ---->NOUN".

Rest assured, the next election will not be about what the Tories have done; it will be about what their new government has done that the Old Government didn't do for average people. Worse still, the concept of the Liberal party has been turned into a general pejorative: people don't need to have reasons for not liking the Liberal party, they just don't. Liberal=Bad/Old. That's what the Tories have done. And that's what we are up against.

In order to even start, we cannot have a leader that can easily be painted with the traditional Liberal brush. They can't be an institutional politician. They can't be dismissed with a "more of the same" attack. Worse still, they must be radically different. The corrupt Liberal image has, in my opinion, become such a basic assumption that the best way to fight it is to do so radically."

We didn't quite do that and, sure enough... BEHOLD!

Let's just hope the strategy doesn't take off. There's hope, however: Dion's reaction to the whole strategy was quick and concise: "Like my father used to say when he was not impressed: 'Weak, mister, weak.' They have to find something a little better, I think." Perhaps there's hope.

It's nice to be able to breathe again, to sleep more than four hours, to sit periodically and to eat regularly. That said, I miss the constant energy, passion, and to-ing and fro-ing of the convention floor. Everything feels... slower, somehow. I'm sure that'll pass.


iBrett said...

While the Tories have taken every opportunity to label the Liberals as "old and corrupt," I doubt that their efforts will be as effective as you're forecasting. In fact, there's plenty of evidence that the "Canada's new government" mantra both on the national stage and international stage is becoming somewhat of a liability for the Tories––after all, you can only be new when you're "new." The timeframe on "new", methinks, has expired.

If all the Conservatives can do is continue their efforts to label the Liberals as corrupt and arrogant in the next election campaign, then Dion's job will be made easy since many voters, I'm inclined to think, feel that issue was dealt with adequately in the last election. Don't get me wrong, the Liberals still have to prove that they have cleaned up their act, but that job is certainly far from insurmountable. In fact, I think the Liberals are well positioned to demonstrate that they've learned lessons following the last campaign, and that it is a party that is again ready to govern.

I'd spend my time focusing on putting together a solid roster of candidates across the country and building a solid platform, rather than spend too much time worrying about Harper's overused mantra that the Liberals are tired and corrupt. Boy, I can think of a dozen ways to turn those labels around and stick them to him. :)

Just my two cents.

Sinal said...

Let's hope you're right!