Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Memories of 2004

There are A LOT of differences between what happened last night and what happened almost 4 years ago in the U.S., but I can’t help thinking that how I feel today must be similar to how dedicated Democrats felt in the U.S. after George Bush won a second term with increased numbers in the House and Senate to go with it. I know so many Democrats were optimistic that momentum was going their way again in the final weekend and that they would come out on top in Election night. That the rest of the country saw George Bush as they did. In the end they were wrong and it really wasn’t that close at all on Election night.

Now Harper only increased his vote by 1% last night but there is no question he will see this is a strengthened mandate just like Bush did and I won't be surprised if Harper similiar refuses to really work with other parties across the aisle. Two years later though Bush was dealt a crushing defeat in the midterm elections for his dismal performance in office. We have a very different system (as winning more seats in the House means ousting the head of government at the same time), but I won’t be surprised if we end back at the polls in two years time ourselves.

I take heart in knowing that the Conservative governments of Bush, Mulroney and Harris also were extremely unpopular by the end of the second terms because the real disastrous nature of their policies and leadership came to be realized more with the passage of time.

It may or may not turn out in progressives favour like it did for progressives in the U.S. in 2006 or the Liberals in 1993 or 2003 in Ontario, but we should be under no illusion that it will take a tremendous amount of work to win back power and any assumptions that a simple new coat of paint will win it again are naïve at best. I certainly agree with what Wells says here on what would NOT be an appropriate fix (I will have more on this later). Liberals are not entitled to power we must work incredibly hard to win Canadians trust again and we must work with, and win over, many more progressives to be successful.

I will be back soon with a couple more posts on my thoughts on the way forward from here.

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Joseph said...

I was there, and your thoughts are fairly accurate. I would say the fact that he was held to a minority tempers the worst, though.

Imagine briefly how you would feel if Harper had emerged with a majority this morning. That is what 2004 in the US felt like.

You can untie that knot in your stomach now . . . the kick was imagined not real ; ).

You have very wise vision and excellent ideas. Keep up the good work.

Demosthenes said...

The Liberals spent two years getting swiftboated.

That's why this feels like 2004. Because the Dems didn't respond then, and neither did the Liberals this year.

One thing I do know: the Democratic response to getting beaten by the Republicans over and over again was shifting to the right. It, um, didn't work. It won't work for the Libs, either.