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Iggymania? Better: Iggy sanity


 

One thing Michael Ignatieff needs to do, if he is to have a better convention next spring than in 2006, is to demonstrate that his support has grown. Because in 2006, it hit a medium-high ceiling and didn’t budge past that. So the news that he has lined up new muscle is significant. I like the tidbit that Steve MacKinnon sided with Ignatieff before MacKinnon’s fellow New Brunswicker, Frank McKenna, announced he was out. Among Liberals who knew McKenna wasn’t serious, a disproportionate number were New Brunswickers. Among those who were easily duped, a disproportionate number were David Peterson.


 

Iggymania? Better: Iggy sanity

  1. It wouldn’t surprise me if Iggy ends up winning leadership because parties often look to last leader, decide what was wrong with him, and than choose leader who isn’t similar. Iggy would be come across a lot differently than Dion did, that’s for sure.

    I thought Valpy’s claim that Rae might not run was interesting. I wonder if Rae is being unduly humble around his friends, and does actually intend to run for leadership, or if he really does have doubts. If Rae doesn’t run, I find it hard to understand why he went back into politics, at all, and as a Lib.

  2. Paul, tried to comment on your Afghanistan post but comments are still closed there

  3. Paul – what are your thoughts on Doug Ferguson and is he the Liberal party decider in any way? Who calls the shots behind the scenes?

    I am shocked that the Liberals are not moving up their convention to have an earlier leadership vote – just because they’ve ‘booked the hall’. I thought the 9 month onslaught the last time was an absolute disaster.

    I’ve voted Liberally (federally) since I’ve been old enough to vote – but based on the last three election campaigns, I’m starting to wonder if they don’t learn anything from their mistakes.

    Who calls the shots on these kinds of things (e.g. Harpernomics or equating Bush and Harper) and why are they still allowed in the war room/party executive?

  4. Who calls the shots on these kinds of things (e.g. Harpernomics or equating Bush and Harper) and why are they still allowed in the war room/party executive?

    Are you kidding? It was the last minute actual offensive on Harper that saved the Liberal goose from being even more cooked. Those ads are probably the only thing the war room did right. The fact that the piss off Conservative Commentators so much show that they were effective.

  5. They could have been more effective. They were too ambiguous.

    More effective yet would be a Harper lie/flip-flop montage. The case that he was a ‘strong leader’ was a house of cards.

  6. The most effective behaviour for the Liberals would be to understand that the next election campaign doesn’t begin on the day the PM visits Rideau Hall, but that it’s already underway. Nothing they do during the statutory writ period will matter as much as their behaviour before the writ period. There is no ad strategy that can win a campaign if it’s lost before it “starts.”

    Scott B, I don’t think any one person calls the shots during a leadership campaign. To some extent a few of the senior people around Rae thought they did last time and were surprised to discover that they didn’t. These processes are fundamentally unpredictable, which makes them fun.

  7. I agree with Andrew. In general, the Liberal advertising was weak (at least the English ones). Not to say this was the main problem (it wasn’t).

  8. Quite true. I guess at this point it isn’t even about winning the next election but the one after that as well. The Liberals seem to have a systemic weakness that is not at all clear they are willing to address. I keep hoping for signs that they get it, but I’m not sure I see it.

  9. Paul, for Christ’s sakes, refrain from openly favouring or endorsing any of the candidates. Look at how your last choice turned out! :)

  10. I say, Go Iggy, I’m a small c currently large C conservative, but if Iggy wins, the important things will be conservative no matter which party wins. Thing is, Iggy will only get one shot to reclaim the center, because Jack! will certainly take and hold every inch Iggy gives on the left, and it will be a considerable amount. If he can’t do it, that will be the election which does see the LPC third and facing relegation.

  11. STOP THE IGSANITY!

  12. If Iggy wins, can anyone continue to hold any hopes that the LPC will keep the environment at the forefront of their agenda?

    I think that it is important to note the apparent shift on Harper’s side when it comes to that issue. To name Prentice Enviro Minister can only suggest that the PM is finally taking this issue seriously. It would be a mistake for the LPC to relinquish this policy to the back burner.

  13. Gentry, I console myself with the knowledge that my candidate for the 2002 Alliance leadership, Stephen Harper, has come along nicely. But surely my blessing will catch up and seal his doom too, before too long.

  14. The carbon tax was Ignatieff’s idea before it was anyone else’s. Those heated exchanges between Dion and Ignatieff at the debates were often about Dion telling Iggy a carbon tax was a dumb idea. It will be interesting to see how his position on that file evolves.

  15. If Iggy picks up the carbon tax banner, he would succeed in making a follower out of me. I could almost forgive him for his push on A’stan and Iraq. I am one of the few who truly believes that the LPC’s renewal should come from making the environment a central platform.

  16. Now, tell me again why Iggy can beat Harper? His record in government is …. what exactly?

  17. Has Elizabeth May declared her candidacy yet?

  18. “Nothing they do during the statutory writ period will matter as much as their behaviour before the writ period.”

    I guess I would say I agree with this from an image perspective, but disagree from a policy/legislative perspective. It seems to me that the electorate is supremely effective at forgetting what just went on in the previous session in terms of legislation, broken promises, what have you.

    However, the Cons were able to brand Dion, an image that I fell stayed with him. Similarly, in the 2006 campaign, it was the poor Liberal image before the campaign started, combined with the well executed 5 point plan from the Cons after the writ was dropped that gave the Conservatives the win.

  19. Prime ministers who had never sat at a federal cabinet table on the day they defeated a sitting prime minister to become prime minister:

    Stephen Harper
    Brian Mulroney
    Joe Clark
    John Diefenbaker

    I’m sure I’m missing some.

  20. I was extremely surprised at the weak Liberal advertising campaign on TV–in fact I mostly saw Tory and NDP ads (I thought the Tory “not a leader” stuff was really good, from an advertising perspective). The Liberals have a fundraising problem, and that needs to be fixed quickly.

    Also, wasn’t it a bit unusual for the Tories (or any party) to be doing the party ads on TV between elections? I don’t recall that from previous elections.

  21. And as for Rae maybe not running–could be a money issue, and could be he’s cutting his losses. Perhaps he’s thinking of making a deal with Ignatieff that Rae will support Ignatieff in exchange for a lot of influence at the cabinet table?

  22. Sunny, the CPC is rolling in cash. More than they can spend during a campaign… so I guess the idea is to ‘campaign’ outside the campaign. Hence 2 years of NotALeader and the week of sweatery feel-good before the writ drop (which I think it questionable for any government to do–it’s an end-run around the election financing laws).

  23. “The Liberals have a fundraising problem, and that needs to be fixed quickly.”

    It’s more than just a problem, it is a serious handicap. Until it is addressed, the viability of the LPC will remain on the line. Holding a leadership contest when you are under the threat of an election within the next 18 months is just plain suicidal.

    The only thing that could save them would be a brand new crop of donors.

  24. What I find fascinating is how Harper has just started pulling the rug out from one of the LPC’s favortite fundraising techiniques RE: Borrowing money and IOU’s for leadership races – hahaha perfect timing absolutely perfect.

  25. Liberals ran a brief pre-writ ad campaign against Harper in 2004 (remember stephenharpersaid.ca? There were broadcast ads too). The Ontario Conservatives ran pre-writ ads against Lyn McLeod in 1995 and against Dalton McGuinty in 1999 and 2003.

  26. So just which of Dion’s weaknesses will an Iggy leadership address?

    – An academic with limited political experience and limited political sense? (Not based on Iggy’s previous leadership campaign.)

    – A lousy Parliamentary tactician/strategist? (Yielding the LotO to Layton was a deadly error – better an election. Iggy’s parliamentary sense is an unknown.)

    – Too far to the left? (That’s probably the only one.)

    – Not willing to listen to advice in areas of weakness? (Not yet known).

    – Ability to reorganize the party? (Has no experience; must delegate.)

    And so on.

    ISTM that the one with the known Parliamentary sense, political rebuilding experience, lived-in-Canada history, etc. is Rae – but he suffers from the disadvantages of being an ex Dipper and of governing Ontario during a recession.

    But the really critical point is this: If Iggy wins and embraces the ‘new-status-for-Quebec’ platform that the soft nationalists who control the Quebec wing so want him to – will he, as Andrew Steele postulated at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081028.WSteele29/BNStory/politics/home , succeed in permanently destroying the Liberal party?

  27. “Prime ministers who had never sat at a federal cabinet table on the day they defeated a sitting prime minister to become prime minister:”

    Yes, but I meant compared to Iggy’s competitors in the race. If Rae, Cauchon, and especially Manley are in the race, don’t they have a better card (okay, maybe not Rae) to play if the ballot question next time is “who can turn Canada around?”

  28. LOL @ I console myself with the knowledge that my candidate for the 2002 Alliance leadership, Stephen Harper, has come along nicely. But surely my blessing will catch up and seal his doom too, before too long.

    He’ll be fighting his fourth election in 2012 or sooner.

    Re Ignatieff — isn’t his issue more getting 2nd choice support? Had his supporters been slightly less cult-like and off-putting, he might well have done what every other Liberal frontrunner has done and, well, won.

    ***

    Don’t know that the experience argument works against Ignatieff. Harper’s experience before becoming PM was… what exactly? He was a politician and … I don’t know if you use the terms lobbyist, activist, or public intellectual for his time as Reform policy chair and then as head of the NCC.

    Not the most hands-on set of experiences, but he’s done well enough.

  29. “Don’t know that the experience argument works against Ignatieff.” Harper is an experienced *politician* – in fact, calling him an “economist” (despite his Master’s) is really a misnomer. Iggy is not a politician. Neither is Dion. Rae is.

    The carbon tax, and Quebec recognition, were some of Iggy’s earlier bright ideas….

  30. Didn’t Laurier go straight to PM without cabinet experience? And then Borden, too?

  31. TobyornotToby —

    That’s what happens when your party is in opposition for an extended stretch…

    But Laurier had nothing under Mackenzie? Was he just not in federal politics by then? … Wait, no, he did — a brief stint as Minister of Inland Revenue.

  32. Note for impatient Liberals — it took Laurier nine years and two general election losses before he became PM.

  33. Yes, but I meant compared to Iggy’s competitors in the race. If Rae, Cauchon, and especially Manley are in the race, don’t they have a better card (okay, maybe not Rae) to play if the ballot question next time is “who can turn Canada around?”

    I don’t think Iggy will have any difficulty convincing delegates that he can play a better card than Cauchon, despite the latter’s experience at the Cabinet table. For better or worse, Cauchon has zero visibility in the ROC.

  34. Depending on the results on Tuesday, I don’t think “cabinet experience” will be a factor at all.

    I personally really like Rae, but I’m kind of glad to hear he’s thinking about not running. I’ve never been a big fan of Iggy–but I’ve never taken the time to know him, either. If he’s a centre Liberal and has the environment high on his priority list, that’s pretty much exactly what I think the Liberals should be looking for, so, I guess he fits the bill.

  35. “Gentry, I console myself with the knowledge that my candidate for the 2002 Alliance leadership, Stephen Harper, has come along nicely. But surely my blessing will catch up and seal his doom too, before too long.”

    You shoulda picked Grant Hill! He was such a great three-point shooter.

  36. “The most effective behaviour for the Liberals would be to understand that the next election campaign doesn’t begin on the day the PM visits Rideau Hall, but that it’s already underway. ”

    If the LPC only learns one thing from Stephen Harper, it is this.

  37. So that’s it. Another informed-democracy bites the dust.

    We have succumbed to several afflictions we’ve watched south of our border:
    * endless campaigns (instead of trying to govern)
    * attack ads that reduce the dialogue to a grade-school-yard name calling battle
    * who can design the best sweater-ads
    * divide & conquer rather than seek common ground and actually address issues

  38. Northern PoV i think you have too much faith in a past “informed-democracy” that was never around.

    I actually don’t see a problem with “attack” ads at all, only ones that are completely baseless and rouse extreme emotions (like suggesting a leader like child pornography or caused homelessness).

    But elections anywhere in the world are based on perceptions that are often formed in the 30 seconds that one watches a commercial. And frankly those perceptions can be as good as a person who has been following news stories a bit more and knows some of the issues. It is simply difficult to catch anyone’s attention span for longer than a minute or two, and unfortunately Dion did not campaign thinking of that.

  39. I think one reason that Liberals will like Iggy is his ability to fundraise for the party. General voters are thinking about issues, but party people have to think about the sustainability of the party itself, and wasn’t Iggy able to raise a fair bit of money for his leadership campaign (I recall Rae borrowed from his brother, and Dion still has a massive debt).

    If I seem focussed on the fundraising, it’s only because I’ve seen a huge difference in NDP campaigns from years past to now, and was surprised at the weakness of the Liberal campaign which was in no small part because of lack of funds. Unfortunately money makes a huge difference in attracting votes.

  40. Harper’s attempts at re-writing his own framing should be interesting – at least he has pals in the MsM who’ll help. Stocks in woolly sweaters just jumped 1.23 cents!
    Rae’s decision likely hinges on believing that the long-term nature of being in opposition/righting the ship will demand someone younger or in better health.

  41. Wells says…

    “I console myself with the knowledge that my candidate for the 2002 Alliance leadership, Stephen Harper,”

    Now we know why Harper did not win a majority..;)

    Alan says…

    “However, the Cons were able to brand Dion, an image that I fell stayed with him.”

    If read P.Wells election opus, Dion was the hardest to brand. The CPC learned to brand the leader from the LPC, it’s just a apart of politics hate it or love it.

    What is interesting from Wells election opus, was that the CPC where going to brand Iggy as close to Harper. I don’t think that can work now with Bush gone.

  42. dan in van says

    “Harper’s attempts at re-writing his own framing should be interesting ”

    It started July 1/08. The cabinet annoucement yesterday just reinforces it.

  43. Iggy by acclamation? I’ll believe it when I see it. Still, Rae needs a big splash at this point – Iggy has definitely mobilised quicker – he’s on the Marne.

  44. re
    comment by Peter on Friday, October 31, 2008 at 10:20 am:

    “I say, Go Iggy, I’m a small c currently large C conservative, but if Iggy wins, the important things will be conservative no matter which party wins.”

    Peter’s post reminded me that when in an election a party tries to appear something it’s not, the genuine article wins. So if Iggy comes on as a “conservative” Liberal, up against Harper (who’s pretended to be a Canadian-style conservative for so long that a lot of us appear to have fallen for it), Harper will win.

  45. I don’t know… I think Iggy can differentiate by advocating more progressive attitudes on non-fiscal matters (in contrast with Harper’s restrainted social conservatism). The Canadian political sweetspot seems to be centre-right on fiscal issues and centre-left on social issues. That’s where I would expect Iggy to go. It’s also worth noting that carbon taxes are in no way ‘leftist’. The Green Shift could be construed that way as it went beyond addressing regressivity toward transferring wealth.

  46. The Globe and Mail is also reporting that despite financial concerns Vancouver still is the likely spot for the Liberal leadership convention. I’d be interested to know who is deciding that Vancouver is still the spot, who they support, and whether or not that will help certain candidates. The rest of the dots should connect themselves!

  47. Michael Ignatieff would be a formidable leader for the Libs:

    a) He would turn the page on the Trudeau vision of Canada which is long overdue for the Liberal Party.

    b) He doesn’t think participating in a war is inherently bad, even one started by George W. Bush.

    c) He can be open-minded on tough labour strife, as shown in his backing of Margaret Thatcher in the bitter coal miner’s strike in England.

    If he can get past the Liberal leadership convention, he’ll make a worthy opponent for Harper. If I was Iggy, my first order of business would be to co-opt Justin Trudeau.

    I think all potential Prime Ministers should spend considerable time in foreign lands like Iggy did. It opens people’s eyes on what the real world’s all about as opposed to life in this coddled nation of ours, which often seems divorced from the real world.

  48. Andrew says…

    “The Canadian political sweetspot seems to be centre-right on fiscal issues and centre-left on social issues”

    So true…

    And I think you are right that Iggy could square these issues with the public. He would be strong leader for the LPC.

  49. Thankfully, I’m not an IGGY camp follower. That means I won’t follow him at any time, whether it be into EYE-RACQ OR EYE-RAN. It looks like it will be the Green Party for me, if Rae doesn’t get the support HE DESERVES.

  50. You know, IGGY looks too much like an acronym to take seriously.

  51. comment by Jack Mitchell on Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 2:48 pm:

    You know, IGGY looks too much like an acronym to take seriously.

    Jack, take a cautious approach … Lest ye be judged as acronymonious!

  52. So what does the acronym stand for?

    Is Grimace Great Yet?

  53. I Grow Green Yams?
    I don’t know..
    I’m still crossing my fingers for Manley.

  54. Intellectual Giganticism Graces Yellowbelly?

  55. I will not vote for a party led by Ignatieff or Manley. i was supporting Rae in the previous convention until i saw how good Dion was. I still support Dion and it’s a mistake for the Liberals not to keep him.
    However, if in their ‘wisdom’ they see it necessary to change leadership, I hope they don’t resort to selecting someone because he is known and who gets media coverage. Get someone like Dosangh or Gooddale. Or better yet get someone from outside who has a genuine sincerety in creating a better country, like David Suzuki or Romeo Dallaire. or even persuade Lloyd Axworthy to come back. Some who knows what Canad should be like and knows how to achieve that.

  56. Personally I think the Liberals have become irrelevant and it is only their traditional hard core support that sustains them. We read where they “campaign on the left and govern on the right”, which makes it hard to understand where they stand. We already have parties that are right and left, so why not go with the real thing. I would like to see the right side of the Liberal party join the Conservatives, and the left side join the Dips, thereby moderating both parties and presenting us with a clear choice at election time, and a clear winner, and no more post election blather from the losers about PR.

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