BTC: For whatever it’s worth


While anonymous senior, long-time, veteran Liberal, strategist advisors are clamouring for a new leadership race, various and numerous Liberal bloggers are lining up in support of Stephane Dion.

Whatever could this possibly mean?

Probably not much. At least so far as Mr. Dion’s job security is concerned.

In general, it’s difficult to make much of the debate between and amongst Canada’s political bloggers. If anything, it’s perplexing to see the partisan situation in Ottawa—everyone pick a side and commence yelling talking points at each other—mirrored by the bloggers that are, conceivably, supposed to offer fresh insight and scrutiny. (And no, thorough investigation into Garth Turner’s every utterance probably doesn’t count as fresh insight and scrutiny.)

But in this case the partisanship might be instructive. All of the writers linked to above are, conceivably, Liberal voters. Many have probably lent their time, money and effort to the party. And they’re not particularly impressed.

Sure, it’s a small sample. No, it doesn’t overrule how the Canadian public voted on Tuesday. And obviously it does nothing to change the reality within Mr. Dion’s caucus or the party apparatus.

But it is… well… interesting.

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BTC: For whatever it’s worth

  1. A majority of Liberal party members voted for Dion on the final ballot in that leadership convention.

    A majority of Liberal party hacks have done diddly squat to help him since then.

    Nothing has changed.

  2. hmmm…I was gonna comment but DR seems to have said it all….

  3. Time for a lot of putative puppet masters behind the Liberal curtain to resign – surely they can earn some bread joining the throng of Bag O’Hammers, Reid, Hurley et al. on the outside looking in – raking over the ashes of the Liberal party for profit!

  4. To be fair, though, a number of Libloggers have also written to condemn Dion. I have a partial list here.


    About your point re “fresh insight and scrutiny”: there *are* a fair number of Libloggers who recognize that the Party’s biggest problem is infrastructural in nature, which is something only being barely examined in the mainstream media. (Scott Tribe already has something to say about grassroots funding here: http://scottdiatribe.gluemeat.com/2008/10/17/my-take-on-the-dion-leadership-question-and-the-lpc/)

    However, the majority of Liberal bloggers (just like the majority of Blogging Tories) get their info sourcing the same way as the partisans (and, BTW, the rest of Canada) does: from an MSM anxious to feed the one-hour news cycle and winding up publishing a lot of speculative junk. Limited time and resources means they don’t *get* the direct information sourcing required to produce the “fresh insight and scrutiny” you seem to be looking for.

    However, this doesn’t mean bloggers have no utility. The discussion that’s going on in Liblogs has a use as a reflection of the turmoil going on in the Liberal grassroots.

  5. Has anyone noticed how the natural impulse is to blame the methodology with respect to the LPC not being able to communicate their message but they never seem to stop and deal with the obvious – it was the message that killed them not that they had bad salesmen. Let’s face it the LPC took the noble, grand vision for the future : where we as Canadians would save the planet bla bla bla – come on folks get real – ideals are wonderful things but you can’t pay your mortgage or feed your kids with them. The LPC needs to go back to it’s grassroots and actually listen to it’s memebership (this is very difficult for this party) I know I used to be a big time volunteer for them for years and if I told you how many times countless projects and working groups and reports were made to the big guys and you know what the results were – poof in the 13 th file (the circular one) just like Dion did with all the reports that he got when he first sat as leader – bam you never heard from them again. This is why I really enjoy the CPC the party honcho’s ‘ Listen To Us ‘ and actually do something with the feedback they get from us – I hope the Lib’s smarten up or I may have to start viewing the NDP as my partys main opponent.

  6. The Liberal parties biggest problem is the disconnect between what the grassroots want and what the party “establishment” want. Because the “establishment” didn’t get their preferred candidate as leader they decided to sit on the bench like a bunch of babies.. or worse, to throw the game.

    Personally I think the grassroots are trying to build a party around Liberal values while all the “establishment” cares about is the power.

  7. Face it – the majority of Dion supporters were hero-worshipping Kennedy supporters. Now there’s a ridiculous notion to have Justin Trudeau run for leadership.

    C’mon kids – this is serious stuff and serious times. You don’t vote because someone is young looking and because you’ve made a cult hero out of them.

    Kennedy, Trudeau and Martha are not ready or experienced enough yet – get over it.

    Kennedy and Martha showed poor judgment already.

  8. I have not been here before but I feel I have to keep the support Stephane Dion movement alive. If every first time leader who lost their first campaign had to leave Stephen Harper would not now be Prime Minister, and I’m sure everybody here could name a lot of other past prime ministers who would not have had their jobs. My reasons for saying that we should give Mr Dion another chance are many but first and foremost is that if he is forced out Harper wins the ad war. Moreover the backroom boys have had their own way for much too long and where did it get us, a divided party, now we have a leader who isn’t on either side of the Martin/Creitian fued, a leader who thinks outside the box, a leader we need for the 21st century. If the grass roots want anything to say in what goes on in the liberal party we have to tell those backroom boys to go home not Stephane Dion. To make my voice heard I e mailed Mr Dion and told him of my feelings, I hope all who support him will do the same. His e mail address is dions!parl.gc.ca
    Thank You

  9. Thank you, JMR, I just sent Mr Dion a message of encouragement.

  10. I see the Iggy supporters are back! Blaming Kennedy for Dion’s choices is completely bogus.
    What a novel concept, you cannot win a leadership contest, so you give your support to another candidate! Wow, Kennedy really made a radical decision there. Dion won because the majority of Liberal delegates did not want Iggy. Nothing has changed.

  11. Yes, you may be a bit confused.

    What these people are are “activists”. They’re people who passionately believe in something, and are willing to spend their time and energy making it happen. They’re willing to compromise, of course, but they’re motivated for something more than simply gaining power. There’s a philosophy, an ideal, a (gasp!) ideology there.

    I know you’re familiar enough with their names beside the words “Republican”, “Democrat”, “New Democrat”, or “Conservative”, but seeing them beside the word “Liberal” is probably shocking and confusing. It must be particularly confusing when you also pair “Liberal” and “activist” with “progressive”.

    And you wouldn’t be alone. These “progressive Liberal activists” are certainly confusing for all the apparatchiks that have no belief but power. You know the type: the ones who are clamoring for the party to “move to the center”? The ones who are obviously willing to throw any and every belief over the side in order to gain that power? The ones that live and breathe faction, and spend all their time stabbing the guy who ISN’T their faction leader in the back as Jane Taber’s “influential Liberal” or “highly-placed source” or whatnot?

    Now, for the Dems, these guys are critical. They’re what you call “netroots”. They do a lot of fundraising. They do a lot of organizing. They do a fair amount of (effective) free opposition research. They help propel candidates, interface with journalists, and directly affect the discourse in a way beneficial to the party and its aims.

    But for the Liberals, well… not so much. They’re to be feared, avoided, and smacked down if they don’t toe today’s party line. If the Liberals are to become conservatives in a vain attempt to chase the center–whatever that is this week–these are the people it will be alienating. They’re the people it desperately needs, but because they weren’t part of its glory days in the 1990s, it will discount them.

    And if various hacks desperate for a story start babbling about how 22% of the Canadian public is somehow a new “conservative consensus”, they’re the guys that those hacks need to marginalize, because they’re the ones that are going to call the hacks out.

    Then the Liberals can do what the hacks say, fail miserably just like the Dems did in the early part of the century, and the hacks can get MORE stories about how the Liberals didn’t do it right, because they didn’t do it just like the hacks said they should.

    And then the Liberals die.

    (Hey! More stories!)

  12. You have to be careful, though. If you aren’t, you get people like Sandi: who are clearly just apologists for their faction leader. They seem like activists. They might even write like activists. But they don’t actually believe in anything. It’s just a job.

  13. I respect Dion more than I did before the election was called, he should remain as the leader of the Liberals; by the time of the next election Harpers ego will have exploded the cons.

  14. The one good thing about this election is that it got rid of a lot of old dogs out of ridings where they would have squatted until they died in the traces. A few escaped the bloodletting – Karygiannis and Volpy come to mind – but it does mean that the leader – going forward – has more vacancies to fill with new blood – THAT WILL BE LOYAL TO HIM OR HER!
    They also have the work that Tom Axworthy and others did in policy development that incorporated serious input from the grass roots (I think Martha Hall-Findlay was also involved with that)…
    They aren’t starting from ground zero – and surely October 14th must have focused a few minds towards what has to be done to get them through the next couple of years – maybe less – bewfore they trip over another election.

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