Friday, September 5, 2008

NDP Image Make-Over Destined to Fail

So I guess Stéphane Dion is the only major party leader who wants to present a genuine picture of himself that is consistent with how he’s been as a politician. Meanwhile, Jack Layton is following Stephen Harper’s lead in presenting a completely new image, despite this also being his 3rd election as party leader. Both he and Harper must really think Canadians have short memories. But I’m real curious what NDP supporters think about Layton trying to portray himself as being like Barack Obama when Obama is to the RIGHT of the Liberals. Maybe Jack Layton doesn’t realize this, but Obama staunchly backs Afghanistan, is against same-sex marriage and is all for private health care. Is that the direction Jack Layton is hoping to go in too? Jack Layton actually said he has the EXACT same environmental plan as Barack Obama who DOES NOT use a 1990 target for his 80% reductions target and who didn’t support Kyoto. What do his supporters think about this? Obama is definitely the best option in the U.S. but his policies are certainly not extremely progressive by Canadian standards. So where is Jack going with this new “hope” angle? The only hope Jack Layton offers this election is that of another Stephen Harper government. No one believes Jack can be PM so he really offers no change, no hope. Therefore, in the end, this image make-over will fail.

I predict Jack’s dreams of being PM on Obama’s coattails will fade about a week into the election period as he’ll fail to break 20% in the polls. Then he’ll be right back to bashing the Liberals. Ultimately, Jack’s strategy has always been about one thing a bigger caucus above all else. His goal is to be opposition leader, not Prime Minister. As the leader of the NDP I’m sure he prefers Stephen Harper as PM, because he knows a Liberal government will get the job done and he’ll no longer ever be able to use the “13 years” line ever again. The NDP would slowly disappear with Dion as PM so I know when it comes down to it Jack will do everything he can this time around to ensure Stephen Harper continues to be PM. No matter all the moaning he’ll do this time about how bad a PM Harper is, Harper suits Jack’s interests just fine - after all I remember Jack acting as if it was a "great day for Canadians" when Stephen Harper won in 2006.

You really want to “oppose” Stephen Harper Jack? Then work to defeat him this election instead of playing exactly in to Tom Flanagan’s strategy of making this election 1988 all over again.

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Cliff said...

We've been 'working to defeat him' for years while Dion and the Liberals worked frantically to sustain him through one confidence vote after another. This hasn't been a minority government these last few years, it's been a coalition government of Canada's two right wing parties.

The traditional campaign realignment to the left from the Liberals really isn't fooling anybody anymore.

But thanks for the textbook perfect example of 'concern trolling'. It's been entertaining.

Skinny Dipper said...

I don't think that Layton wants to copy Obama's polices. I think he wants to borrow some campaigning strategies and styles that have worked successfully for Obama.

By mainly going after Harper, Layton will be subtly informing Canadians that he wants to become prime minister someday. It may not be this election, but perhaps the next.

Layton does need to do a couple of things: 1. He needs to have a new message every day. In the last election, I found that some of his materials to be repetitive. 2. He needs to focus on getting the support of Canadians beyond his traditional base of support.

Layton can be a charismatic speaker when he has something new to say. This election, he won't need to bash Dion, Duceppe, or May to get his party ahead. He just needs to concentrate on Harper.

Danielle Takacs said...

This proves my point. Jack has ZERO interest in seeing Stephen Harper removed as PM. If we'd had an election last year like the NDP clammored for there would have been a greater chance of Harper winning, but he doesn't care, he just wants a bigger caucus over anything else. You'd think the NDP would want a governnment that would actually enact progressive policy but apparently not. The NDP instead has ZERO to show for its opposition these past 2.5 years - not one single progressive piece of legislation. Yet apparently Jack's fine with that and wants us to have more of the same.

Talk about "not fooling anybody anymore", I really wonder who the NDP thinks they are fooling. They have not cracked 20% in the polls ONCE since the last election and yet Jack wants us to believe he can be PM. He apparently also wants us to think that he's a clone of a politician from the U.S. who supports private health care, is against same-sex marraige and has WEAK environmental targets (that Jack says are the SAME as his apparently). Makes sense to you?

Cliff said...

"You'd think the NDP would want a governnment that would actually enact progressive policy..."

We do. That's why we don't want a Liberal government either.

Danielle Takacs said...

Well hate to burst your bubble but it will be Liberal or Conservative. Who passed more progressive legislation, the Martinn or Harper governnments? Who worked better with the NDP?
I thought the NDP supported the last Liberal budget, national child care, Kelowna, a saner foreign policy, etc... How about past Liberal minority governments, didn't they work well the NDP? Am I wrong?
Between the Liberals and Conservatives there's only one party that will actually pass progressive legislation and that should be obvious. There is ZERO chance of an NDP governnment and there's too much at stake to help Harper win again.

Cliff said...

Ah, so we come to the unlikely to the point of absurdity possiblity of a Harper majority being trotted out as a reason why progressives should once again take a flyer on progressive liberal campaign promises.

Your argument pivots on the fact that the only way to get progressive legislation is from a Liberal minority accomodating the NDP. Guess what, I agree.

This is an argument for more votes for the NDP, not the Liberals, because any Liberal majority would be a return to the blandly right wing with a slightly hipper rap style of Liberal majority governments that we're all so familiar with.

It was Stephane Dion who chose to betray working Canadians on the anti-scab law, Stephane Dion who described himself in an interview with the Globe and Mail as an 'economic rightwinger' and it was the Liberals who have repeatedly propped up Stephen Harper's 'neo-conservative' agenda, not the NDP.

And it's the Liberals, following their usual campaign strategy of hoping Canadian progressives just haven't been paying attention.

Anonymous said...

Liberal arrogance, thy haveth a name ... and it is Danielle.

Canadians will decide who the next Prime Minister is. And if Liberals keep projecting this sense of entitlement, it sure won't be M. Dion.

leftdog said...

What a typical bloody Liberal post(!) ... attacking the NDP from the same people who have been propping up Stephen Harper's Conservatives! Maybe you should focus your venom on the Tories ... where I come from we have a saying, 'Liberal / Tory, same old story'.

This post proves that in spades. Pathetic!!!!

Sean S. said...

Why should the NDP work to elect the Liberals? Really, its a bit tiring to keep hearing the same arrogant chant from members of a party that someone else should do the work for them and if they don't then they obviously want a Conservative government. Take a deep breathe, and realize that the NDP is looking out for itself and not Liberal interests. If the Liberal Party cannot convince voters that they are worthy of their vote than so be it, but they are never entitled to that vote.

Would NDP supporters like to see Harper gone, you bet. Do I think we would be better off under a different government, sure do. Do I think the Liberals are the answer. sure don't or I would vote for them.

Danielle Takacs said...

Leftdog: I think maybe 5 or 10% of my posts have been about the NDP, maybe less. Any post about the NDDP is always about how they are damaging the goal of removing Harper as PM so ultimately the focus is always on the Conservatives and arguing for their loss.

I've been very consistent - Harper needs to be replaced and I see what the NDP is doing as being against that. Dion's platform will be very progressive and even Layton has admitted that Dion would make a great PM.

So why is it so impossible for NDP'ers to work towards a strategy that would see a Liberal minority working with the NDP?

Is that not in the best interests of progressives? Isn't it obvious Dion would be better than Harper and isn't it obvious only one of them can be PM?

The arguments put forth hear sound very similar to those put forth by Ralph Nader's supporters in the U.S. Ironic since Layton is trying to ride the coattails of the Democratic Party candidate right now who makes the same arguments that the Liberals do about why the stakes are too high to flock to a third party. Why does Layton praise Obama who is WAY to the right of Dion? No one has addressed this.

ch said...

Layton praises Obama who is way to the right of Dion because politicians like to evoke the name of a (potential) winner who is exciting people and because Obama is not as far right as McCain. Also, the fact that polls show Canadians overwhemingly would vote for Obama is relevant. Layton can't do the same with Dion because Layton needs to get seats from the Liberals.

It is simple, if you keep in mind it is politics and the goal is to win seats and don't try to attribute some other motivation to it. I don't see any evidence that there is more than that motivating Layton in how he invokes Obama or Dion or Harper, although he may have a natural dislike of liberals that comes into play.

Same thing with votes in the HOC. Dion didn't want to force an election at a time when Harper would gain because Dion wants to replace Harper. I happen to agree with him on this, and would prefer if Dion had a hand in the election timing, but then I plan to vote Liberal and would like to see the Liberals gain seats. If I was planning to vote NDP, perhaps I would feel differently and would even think Dion and Harper were interchangeable. But I don't.

I'm not sure we will see Layton openly attacking Dion and the Liberals as much as in the past. I noticed when he did that recently, he got slammed a lot. It is easy for the media to simply say "Layton is doing what he always does in an election - attack Liberals". Sure he will still try to undercut Dion and the Liberals whenever he can because this is where his seats primarily are, but he will have to be less open about it. That's my guess. He also has to be seen attacking Harper, but he is not going to go for the jugular, like he did with Martin, because it is not to his political advantage. He took on Goodale as a crusade and was eager to repeat any Liberal scandal, real or imagined, but he'll give election spending fraud, attempts at bribing Cadman, and Harper breaking his own election law a pass.

Skinny Dipper said...

Here's an interesting scenario:

On election day, the NDP gets 44% of the seats, Conservatives 33%, Liberals 22%, Bloc 1%. With whom do you think the Liberals would work? I would bet my money on the Conservatives. Both the Liberals and Conservatives would do whatever they could to keep the NDP from power. That is why NDPers don't see the Liberals as natural allies.

Danielle Takacs said...

That scenario is 100% implausible though there is no evidence anywhere or the NDP ever breaking 20% and no sign of it either. I could talk about the Liberals winning all 75 seats in Quebec too, but I'm realistic. So that's the point, Layton can't be PM, he should just be up front about which possible PM he thinks he could work best with. He must know what the answer is. History has shown that in minority Liberal governments their primary ally was the NDP so your fears are unfounded.

ITB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A BCer in Toronto said...

We would have had an election last spring if the NDP had voted for the Liberal's budget amendment, a confidence motion. With their votes, it would have passed, and the government would have fallen.

What did the NDP do? They voted with the Conservatives to defeat the Liberal amendment. And the Harper government survived.

The NDP had the power itself to end Harper's government then. The NDP decided not to.

Cliff said...

*ahem* I call shenanigans. You're assumption that we all have no memories is actually rather insulting:
"The House of Commons voted 202-7 against a Liberal amendment to the budget which would have brought down the government if it passed.

The Liberals intentionally crafted the amendment to fail in order to avoid an election for which insiders say the party is not organizationally or strategically ready.

They laced the wording with criticism of the NDP as big spenders. As a result, the NDP – which wants to defeat the government – did not support the amendment.

To be sure their amendment failed, only a handful of Liberals showed up for the vote."

A BCer in Toronto said...

My bad cliff, I got the budget amendment vote mixed-up with the throne speech vote last fall :

OTTAWA — Stephen Harper's minority government has easily survived the first confidence test on its Throne Speech.

NDP and Bloc Québécois MPs joined with the Conservatives tonight to handily defeat a Liberal amendment to the speech.

Had it passed, the amendment would have amounted to a vote of non-confidence in Mr. Harper's plan for the country and the government would have fallen, triggering an election.

Apologies for the mix-up.

Cliff said...

Perfectly all right as it changes nothing.

From your own link continuing right after your quote cuts off oddly enough:
"However, the Liberals had no desire to spark an election, having just emerged from weeks of infighting and recriminations in the wake of three devastating by-election losses in Quebec.

Leader Stéphane Dion crafted the amendment in such a way that neither the Bloc nor the NDP would support it.

He has also ensured the government will survive the next confidence test as well — Liberals will abstain Wednesday when the main throne speech motion is put to a vote."

A BCer in Toronto said...

Oh, come on now Cliff. Yes, the Liberals crafted an amendment the NDP wouldn't like. We Liberals are dastardly in that way. Bad Liberals. Tsk tsk.

But you know what? Just because you don't like it, doesn't mean you couldn't still have voted for it. IF, that is, you REALLY wanted an election.

Wait! you think the media et. al. would say why did you NDPers vote for this amendment that you clearly don't support?

You'd just reply It's simple, with a smile. We voted for this amendment under duress. We disagree with what it says, but with those dammed abstaining Liberals, this was the only way we could get to an election and defeat this super bad Harper government. We've turned the Liberals dirty trick against them. Ha! Now we have an election and Canadians can decide, yada...

Easy as punch. The NDP had a chance to actually turn their rhetoric into action, to force an election, to prove their posturing wasn't hot air. They backed away, and kept hiding behind the shirttails of the Liberals.

Cliff said...

Excellent deflection. Except, oh wait. No it isn't really.

Your initial premise was:
"We would have had an election last spring if the NDP had voted for the Liberal's budget amendment, a confidence motion. With their votes, it would have passed, and the government would have fallen.

What did the NDP do? They voted with the Conservatives to defeat the Liberal amendment. And the Harper government survived.

The NDP had the power itself to end Harper's government then. The NDP decided not to."

So you want credit for the Liberals for trying to bring down the government and discredit for the dastardly NDP who are the only reason the heroic Stephane Dion couldn't rescue us from Harper earlier.

Except we've established with my example and your example, that this is utter nonsense haven't we?

The Liberals never intended to bring down the government then - or at time of the throne speech and in fact took care to ensure with absences and abstentions that Harper's rule was safe.

Points for having the balls to be a Liberal accusing another party of 'rhetoric', 'hot air' and 'posturing'.

That's some Olympic level cognitive dissonance there.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Excellent deflection. Except, oh wait. It wasn't really.

You said "So you want credit for the Liberals for trying to bring down the government" blah, I didn't say that Cliff.

I said nothing of the sort. Seeking such credit would be silly. Indeed, the Libs abstention strategy pissed me off mightily, as I made clear at the time. It still does.

So, now that we're done dealing with things you're falsely claiming I'm saying, let's move away from your attempt at deflection and move back to what my original point actually was...

...which is that the NDP could have brought-down the government, and foiled the Liberals abstention strategy that you and I both agree sucked, by voting for the Liberal throne speech amendment?

Why didn't the NDP do it, turn the table on the Liberals, and get the election they claimed so passionately to want?

Because they didn't want an election either. They just wanted to SAY they wanted an election.

Cliff said...

Resolved: "The Liberals are a pack of criminal scam artists with utter contempt for the Canadian people who are so irresponsible and selfish they must never be allowed to be in a position of power again."

So if voting for that wording in a bill brought forward by the NDP would bring down the Conservatives we could expect the Liberals to enthusiastically support it?

How remarkably selfless, almost saintly you are, if only we all could live up to such a shining example....

A BCer in Toronto said...

Burn, strawman, burn!