Liberal rebuilding: cautious optimism, but also fear the party hasn’t yet hit bottom

A preview of our cover story this week


Photograph by Blair Gable

The cover of the issue of the Maclean’s that’s on newsstands today features my colleague Paul Wells making the case, which you will surely want to read, for a certain pugilistically proven Liberal for the party’s vacant leadership. Working in Wells’s corner, I provide a glimpse into the Liberal party’s internal rebuilding effort, leaning heavily on an interview earlier this week with Mike Crawley, who was elected the party’s new president at its convention back in January.

But beyond Crawley’s insider perspective, I spoke with many Liberals about efforts, after last spring’s election knockout punch, to clear the party’s collective head, and start getting back in shape for the next campaign, expected in 2015. Inevitably, quite a few telling observations ended up on the cutting room floor, so here’s a compendium of what I wish I’d been able to squeeze into the article.

To set the scene, Brooke Jeffrey, a former top federal Liberal official who’s now a political science professor at Concordia University, sees the rebuilding process now underway as much more promising than the hasty efforts that proceeded the 2006 campaign under Stéphane Dion’s leadership and last year’s disastrous run with Michael Ignatieff at the helm. “Mike Crawley has spent a great deal of time in the early stages trying to engage with members of the party,” Jeffrey said. “As a member I get endless emails from Crawley & Co. If you’ve got the members engaged, they’ll show up to work in an election campaign.”

Katie Telford, another former federal Liberal official, now a Toronto-based consultant and riding association president, also sees signs of the party reconnecting with its members, and also productive foment at the local level. But Telford isn’t convinced many Liberals yet grasp how dangerous it is to be relegated to third place.  “I actually don’t know that people realize how bad it really is,” she said. “People keep saying, ‘Oh, we hit bottom in the last election.’ I’m not sure that’s true. There are a whole variety of ways to look at it. One is the current caucus: quite a number of them if they wanted to could decide not to run [in next election] and retire with good reason—they’ve had long careers. Do we hold those ridings if they retire, or are those their ridings? That’s one way things could change quite quickly in terms of our numbers.”

As it happens, Telford heads the riding association for Parkdale-High Park, where prominent Liberal Gerard Kennedy lost his seat last spring to the NDP’s equally high-profile Peggy Nash. Kennedy told me he was deeply disillusioned with the Liberal mindset before the election, but now he’s tentatively upbeat. “In some ways there has to be an outcome from the Liberals’ humbling in the last election that could be quite positive,” he said. “My main attitude is fairly optimistic that those better conditions can be created, first within the party, and it might have some impact on how things play out in a few years. I think the party was fully part of that elite culture, that politics was mainly about manipulation from Ottawa, rather than collecting up a new direction for the country that was in touch with people.”

Humbly listening to the party rank and file and Canadians in general has to be healthy. But in the end voters want any party, and any party’s leader, to offer clear ideas, not just endlessly consult. Liberals won’t pick their next permanent leader until next spring, and a firm platform can’t be formulated until the new boss is in place. Still, many of them are pushing the policy files they hope will redefine their message over the next two or three years.

Ottawa MP David McGuinty, brother of the Ontario premier, calls for a more activist government role in partnership with businesses,  and for recognition of rising social tension over retirement security. “Number One is the economy. The smartest jurisdictions are those where there is a real symmetry between the public and private sectors,” McGuinty said. “The second front has to be pension reform. There is a massive divide in Canada, which is forming much more quickly than I ever thought. There is an awful lot of anger in the private sector about public-sector pension support. By that I don’t mean we should eviscerate public pensions. We need to have an adult conversation about public- sector pension reform, and about supporting private-sector pension reform.”

Does any of this even begin to add up to a combination of electoral clout and policy innovation that might threaten Conservative dominance in federal politics? It’s far too early to guess. In any case, the first order of business for the Liberals isn’t chipping away at the granite core Tory support, but winning back more fluid left-of-centre votes that swung to the NDP in 2011. And that raises a question few Liberals are even asking, at least openly, these days: Will some form of cooperation between the parties on the left, of the sort advocated by B.C. MP Nathan Cullen is his surprisingly strong bid for the NDP leadership, ultimately become unavoidable?

Allan Gregg, the veteran pollster and Harris/Decima chairman, told me polling leaves little that in theory a combination of the “progressive” vote would be potent (although his polling shows an outright NDP-Liberal merger isn’t a popular notion). “If you look at the research, you’ve got to believe that there’s a lot of people who do consider themselves progressives who really do abhor this Conservative agenda, that are saying, ‘There has to be a better way—my progressive ideals are greater than any partisan allegiance’,” Gregg said. “The fact of the matter is that twice as many Canadians identify themselves as progressive as identify themselves as conservative. There’s a significant plurality, possibly a plurality, to appeal to if you were the obvious progressive alternative.”


Liberal rebuilding: cautious optimism, but also fear the party hasn’t yet hit bottom

  1. Re: Allan Gregg’s comment

    “The fact of the matter is that twice as many Canadians identify
    themselves as progressive as identify themselves as conservative.
    There’s a significant plurality, possibly a plurality, to appeal to if
    you were the obvious progressive alternative.”


    ‘(although his polling shows an outright NDP-Liberal merger isn’t a popular notion).’

    And a third quote….by Chretien this time:

    ‘It’s no more the old Liberals and it’s no more the old NDP. It’s a new party.’

    And now my opinion…..we need an entirely new party, not NDP, not Liberal….but what people are now calling ‘progressive’…..only lets make sure it actually IS progressive, not just recycled ideology from the past.

    • It would be interesting to know which party is voting this down. LOL

      • If you click on someone’s name, it’ll give you a comment history as well as which comment they voted up or down. But I think this only works for Disqus comments.

    • It worked for Reform … er, Alliance… and the PCs. Though if it happens, I hope the Liberal viewpoint carries more weight than the PCs seem to in the CPC.
      What we really need is to get rid of FPTP. But to get that to happen federally, we’ll likely need a working example at the provincial level to allay fears… AND a party capable of defeating the CPC that includes it as core policy.

      • Well, since a different voting method has been turned down everytime the question has been asked, you’ll probably have to keep it as a fairy tale to tell your great-grandchildren. LOL

        • Probably. ;-) But all worthwile accomplishments (and far too many that succeed but shouldn’t) start as dreams…

          • Well a pizza parliament won’t be any different than a FPTP one, lotta quarrels and nothing getting done….we need to aim higher than the mechanics of it all.

          • Most proportional governments in existence today refute you.

          • Yeah, I’ve noticed how well countries like Italy and Israel are being run.

          • How about Germany? Finland? Denmark? Hell, simply most of the Nordic countries. Noticed them? What about Australia or New Zealand? Did they perhaps cross your blinders? No? Maybe Morocco, South Korea, Montenegro, Taiwan, Thailand, or Japan ring a bell?

            And then there’s that whole host of others that I haven’t mentioned.

            So.. once again.. most proportional governments in existence today refute you.

          • Yes, and most of those countries are having problems because they can’t get anything done, and move ahead.

            It would be like having a continual minority govt in Canada.

          • Except they’re not.

          • Well actually they are, but I wouldn’t want to detract from your nyah nyah response.

        • The STV system was approved in BC by 58% of the voters and received majority support in all but a couple of ridings. Even though the Liberal ‘majority, government was elected by about 45% of the voters during that same election, they deemed 58% support for STV insufficient. Thus the referendum was a loss for electoral reform, but to say it was ‘turned down’ by voters is incorrect.

          • Well, if you don’t meet the required level for approval….it’s turned down.

  2. The table that gave us this government was set by the Liberals.
    Combine a Chretien/Martin pissing contest with foolish, arrogant governance and here we are, forced to watch while Harper dismantles a big chunk of Canada.
    To counter Harper they brought in Dion, then Ignatieff, both of whom wet the bed and simply couldn’t get the job done.

    And now?

    I’m done with the Liberals. They’ve done nothing but enable Harper and the only way they’ll see a dime of contribution from me is if they stop splitting the left vote and merge with the NDP.

    You’re damn right I’m angry with them.

    • Pick, read what i said to BG. There are two sides or more to every story. I’m not going to argue the libs didn’t make big errors – i dispised P.Martin and Chretien was way to arrogant and corrupt at the end.Trudeau was the last true liberal, as i see it anyway. But i can tell you it is an article of faith amongst many liberals that Jack made the error of letting Harper in the door when he didn’t have to.
      It is all murky water under the bridge now. But if you want to keep on fighting old battles i’m sure SH will be more than grateful.

      • I
        can’t support Harper. Case closed. I will vote for the candidate most likely to beat the Conservative. But the Liberals haven’t a hope without money to sell their own brand – not the losing one Harper’s pockets bought for them.
        Look at the leadership from last April – Ignatieff, Dryden, Kennedy, Hall Findlay (who I liked) – they all failed to hold onto their damn seat! Bob Rae is a fine fellow and a good political thinker (it should have been him instead of Ignatieff), but that ship has sailed.
        The Liberals have been ineffective in holding this government to account. If Mulcair successfully pulls to the center and brings down Harper a few rungs through tenacity, effectiveness and good timing/luck, then where will the Liberals be?
        Mulcair is no dummy and simply has to understand the fickle nature of the winds that blow through Quebec, and that he has a troupe of rook MPs that couldn’t possibly do a good enough job to hold government. Merging the two parties yields a decent block of candidates that could actually run a government – and Mulcair wields the hammer as surely as Harper did over MacKay.
        The Liberals need to swallow their pride and accept their fate – the cards dealt them a lower hand. Then being savvy, they will play a prominent role in shaping policy and government. If Mulcair takes the autocratic route, he will not last; I don’t think progressives will make the compromises conservatives did in sucking up to,and living in fear of Harper – they’re not wired that way.

        • Not really seeing where you’re going here.Should the libs just roll over and die – not going to happen, not yet anyway; should the parties merge – maybe one day, but not yet, too much bad blood. So as i said all we are left with is cooperation.
          It is probably true the libs can’t win again anytime in the near future. But what Mulcair has to realize is they can still play spoiler – in which case Harper wins; or they can play king maker or junior partner for Mulcair. It’s Mulcair’s call.
          My advise, NOT to try and fight on two fronts – against both the LPC and CPC. Hitler failed to learn that lesson remember. :) Just kidding Mulcair’s no A.H.
          Probably get interesting once the LPC chooses a new leader…personally i hope it isn’t Rae…but he would be the ideal merger candidate, even if he says no right now.

          • I think that without an influx of money, the Liberal decline will continue. Their brand is so damaged that some of their biggest names lost their own seats. Still they have some good horses in the stable.
            The NDP managed a step last election largely based on Jack Layton. In the process, they elected barmaids, kids and such that are unlikely to become long term party strengths. They don’t have the horses but they do have momentum.
            A merger would likely result in Mulcair as the leader. The “Liberals” within the new party would have to be content with playing an active role in shaping policy and forming a government.
            The icing is that the two should be able to find common center ground that is progressive in nature and will stop splitting the left vote. Having watched what Harper is doing and will continue to do, should allow them to focus on what they have in common,rather than their differences
            Harper is slowly turning the country and the longer the NDP and the Liberals flirt with bottoming out, the further the turn advances. There is ground to regain and the sleepy public would welcome a merger even if hard core Lib/NDP supporters chafe at the idea.
            The opposition shouldn’t wait for their parties to scrape bottom; merge in good faith now and there are plenty like me who will open their wallets and
            give just to get an alternative that actually has a chance of being elected

    • How about if we cooperate with the NDP and the Greens instead? In just 15% of ridings or so, and with the full support of said ridings, running an NDP/Liberal/Green candidate so everybody can be on the ballot. Institute electoral reform and a few other things that all progressive parties agree on as a coalition government.

  3. Really ? The last lonely “progressive” in the LPC was Warren Allmand.
    And he knew when he wasn’t wanted.
    The last feeble effort at a “progressive” budget by the LPC was the
    MacEachern budget of (I think) 1981. And he got buried under a steaming
    heap of blue Liberal.
    I don’t much care what the LPC does or doesn’t do but I’ll keep the fan on
    to clear the smoke.

    • Define what you mean by ‘progressive’.

      Everybody seems to have a different view of it.

      • What….? Now people can’t even ask questions without being voted down?

        • I voted you back up. There are a lot of jerks and uber partisans out there. Did the same to me for just asking BG a question.

          • Thanx!….voting down is one thing, but hiding it?

            Perfectly ordinary question I thought. I was just curious.

      • I think one can only go so far out in right-wing territory before their commitment to a progressive just society is nothing more than empty words. After 25 years of continuous tax cuts that only the wealthy benefited from, the richest 20% now pay the lowest tax rate of all groups. Considering Adam Smith, the father of free-market economics, favored progressive taxation, how progressive are so-called Liberals that support this regressive tax system?

        Canada’s tax system less fair than it used to be, study says

        • Oh I want something FAR more dramatic than quibbles over tax policies.

          • I think smart, fair taxation is the foundation of a strong economy. Like in the post-war Keynesian era, when we had progressive taxation, we had growing living standards and paid down debt from 100% debt/GDP to 17% by 1973.

            Dumb tax policy includes unfocused corporate tax cuts (Reaganomics.) These never “create jobs” for obvious reasons: corporations always spend the minimum amount on expenses, including employees. They just pass the savings on to investors.

            Smart tax policy would divide businesses (of all sizes) into three categories: ones that exploit our resources, ones that exploit our markets (e.g. retailers) and ones that sell value-added goods and services on the world market. Tax cuts for the first two is a waste of limited resources. But tax cuts for the last kind of business could make them more competitive (by lowering prices,) attract more of it and help build a solid economic engine.

          • People have been paying taxes for something like 7000 years now, and we are still squabbling about it.

            How much….and on what….and what does it get spent on? And in spite of the advent of democracy…we get very little say in any of it.

            Mostly it still goes on weapons and public display

          • It also takes money to make money: a country must invest in its human capital and physical infrastructure to grease the wheels of business (businesses, themselves, aren’t going to do it.) After 25 years of cheaponomics, we have amassed a $125B infrastructure deficit, living standards are declining, inequality is rising and GDP growth has slowed to a crawl (the 2000s was the worst decade since the 1930s.)

            A note on infrastructure: in the past Canada had visionary leaders: we built railways in the 19th century, highway, phone and power lines in the 20th to connect Canadians together. The 21st-century equivalent is broadband infrastructure for wired and wireless communication. South Korea, understands the economic importance of broadband to this century and has developed the fastest, cheapest in the world. (Canada has the slowest, most expensive in the developed world.) Sadly our present leader considers a transnational bitumen pipeline to be Canada’s future.

          • I’ll agree with all that….but people in the past squabbled as much about it as we do.

            ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish’.

    • ” The last lonely “progressive” in the LPC was Warren Allmand.

      “That’s just not true! [ mmm, well there is quite alot of truth in that statement. Still, it isn’t true, i hope]

      Yes and i can quote you plenty of libs who think the ndp are to be trusted almost as little as Harper’s tories. It is playing to both sides of those grievances that will ensure another Harper majority in ’15. Do you hate the LPC that much? If you do than you and likeminded liberals can remain on the outside crying for another decade or so. Meanwhile there will be no Canada that either of us recognizes left to save.
      Think about it. Mulcair is not going to win over even moderate left of centre libs like me with the NDPs position vis vis Quebec, and certainly no tories. Now, if he wants to cooperate on areas where there is considerable commonality – that’s different, now we can talk.
      The perfect is still the enemy of the good, even after all these years and dsappointments, on both sides.

      • Why is the comment window closed?
        So Paul is in JT’s corner…interesting. I must read that.I’m of the same mind. Is it online too? Or must i trudge all the way up to the bloody library? I could buy it, but the IDA is further way[whine]. Suppose i could jump on the bike and raid the piggy bank. How much is the mag now anyway?

        • Well it is the French turn, but JT has already declined.

          • I know, but i think he should undecline. It’s only a small thing maybe, but i’ve spoken to a few guys who wouldn’t normally give the libs a second look – perhaps they stiil wont, but JT did himself an awful lot of good when he took that bruiser down. It wouldn’t be hard to see perceptions of him as a bit of a moma’s boy changing considerably come election time. That, and his essential likeability and his pull among younger voters + his relative youth will be more of an asset than many of his detractors think – many of whom are oddly silent now.
            He’s never going to be his dad, but insome ways he may turn out to be a better man, and as interesting.And never let it be forgotten that the family name is still an asset, not just a liability.

          • He has very young kids, and has said no….so it would be a better idea to look elsewhere. If he wants to jump in later, he will, but people can’t force him into it because of his father.

          • I agree that Justin Trudeau would be the perfect choice for the Liberals to change direction and rebuild. His remark that he might prefer to live in a separate Quebec to Harper’s Republican version of Canada really resonated among Quebeckers. The Liberals need to focus on ON and QC to get back in the game. (In order to get ON they need to drive a wedge between ON and AB and demonstrate how Harper’s Economic Action Plan of exporting Alberta’s bitumen is destroying the value-added sector and ON’s economy — ON gave Harper his majority.)

          • All true. But i would rather he didn’t push a divisive message in Quebec. If it was wrong for Harper to talk about firewalls, it’s wrong in Quebec too. Luckily i think he was talking from the heart. I don’t hink he wants to give up on his father’s dream at all.

    • “And he got buried under a steaming heap of blue Liberal.”

      What’s worse is that the blue Liberals abandoned the Liberal party in the last election to give Harper 4 years of absolute corrupt power. (According to the G&M the blue Liberals were the missing ingredient in the Harper conservative coalition. They believed a Harper majority was preferable to a NDP-led minority.)

      I think the Liberals need to be centrists and throw the blue Liberals a bone or two, instead of being conservatives throwing centrists a bone or two. Hopefully they will choose this direction with new leadership. (Hopefully the ON Liberals will get rid of McGuinty, whose been stinking up the place for 16 years, and choose a new direction.)

      Now, more than ever, is the right time for the Liberals to be liberals again.

  4. Holy crap, John, how much more openly do you want me to be advocating for Cooperation? I co-hosted an event in February with a Liberal, a Green, an NDPer and Leadnow. I appeared on a radio show. I cheered my friends who did a TV gig (no way will I be on TV). I’ve had business cards made. I’m on these boards all the time in favour of Cooperation. Sure I’m a nobody financial agent, but I’m a Liberal!

  5. The reason the Liberals collapsed is because they have been progressive conservatives pretending to be Liberals over the past 20 years. Fact is Mulroney could only dream of bringing in the spending cuts and corporate tax cuts the Chretien-Martin Liberals brought in.

    According to the Political Compass in the 2011 election, the Liberals were 30% right and the NDP 10% left. If the Liberals want to get the centrist vote back they are going to have to become centrists.

    Now’s the perfect time after the free-market economics of Milton Friedman have been thoroughly discredited. The Liberals should lead the charge returning to successful Keynesian economics (that worked wonders in the post-war era and presently in northern Europe) instead of having to be dragged kicking and screaming like McGuinty who doles out billions a year in Reaganomics while lamenting a 2% surtax on those making $500k/yr.

    • uh…Keynesian economics is the reason the US is doing so poorly right now. Milton Friedman hasn’t even been tried, let alone discredited…the closest we got was Reaganomics, which worked pretty well.

      • Uh… give me a break. During the Keynesian era (1945-1973) modern living standards and the modern middle class were created. Governments had progressive taxation, sensible regulations, produced growing living standards, and paid their bills: in Canada we paid down debt from 100% debt/GDP to 17%. It was a golden age of prosperity unprecedented in human history.

        Over the past 30-year free-market era based on Friedman’s economics — reckless tax cuts, careless deregulation, failed privatization, free trade, and cuts to social spending — the very opposite has happened. We ended up with regressive taxation, skyrocketing debt, deteriorating living standards that all culminated in a global economic meltdown costing investors (“muppets”) and taxpayers trillions of dollars. (A disaster we have yet to recover from.)

        One can say the free-market reforms didn’t work because governments like the US didn’t move 100% to the right (certainly that’s what flakes like Ron Paul are claiming.) But that’s like saying a person who knocked himself out running headfirst into a wall made the mistake of not running fast enough.

        • Right, so the Carter years weren’t Keynesian at all, and neither were the massive stimulus packages rammed through under Obama. And postwar prosperity had nothing to do with the fact that it was postwar. And Roosevelt’s years, including the Great Depression, weren’t Keynesian either. Got it.

          I recommend this great vid to you:

          • Keynesian economics is based on using fiscal and monetary policy as a counterweight to the volatile boom-to-bust business cycle. It worked exceptionally well in the post-war era producing the mildest economic cycles in history. Then we had small deficits and surpluses and paid down debt from 100% debt/GDP to 17% by 1973.

            When the economy goes into a state of depression, however, the counterweight has to swing far. Like Krugman now, Keynes was calling for much deeper stimulus spending to restore aggregate demand to its normal levels (during the Great Depression.) Then, as now, governments balked. But Keynes got his stimulus when WW2 started: the spending on the war effort got the economy back on its feet.

          • One can try to blame Keynes for the high inflation of the 1970s. But Keynes was very mindful of inflation in his day. This inflation was caused by the opposite extreme: an overheating economy and too much demand (which leads to continually rising prices.) To apply Keynes to this circumstance, the counterweight has to swing far to the other side: contractionary fiscal and monetary policies are to be used. This is what the Fed ended up doing in the early 1980s to tame inflation.

            Free-market ideologues hate Keynesian big government and try to pin the blame for their failures on it. They recklessly cut taxes and run up big deficits and say that is Keynesian economics when nothing could be further from the truth.

            The proof is in the pudding: Keynes’ system worked wonders when put in practice and his explanation of the economy is remarkably consistent with the reality. The same cannot be said of free-market ideology.

          • An overheating economy? What a laugh. The 70s was marked by stagflation. That’s a stagnant economy with high inflation. You don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about. The 70s economy was the furthest thing from overheating.

            You can make up your own theories, but you can’t make up your own facts.

  6. “There’s a significant plurality, possibly a plurality, to appeal to if you were the obvious progressive alternative.”

    (1) I assume that should be “majority” rather than “plurality” in the second use of the word.

    (2) This is a limited time offer. Because:
    (a) I think the country is getting more conservative as the boomers age and begin to be replaced by younger, less selfish generations.
    (b) For all the inaction of the Harper Conservatives on many things (which I deplore) they are slowly shifting the political centre rightward. It’s glacial, but it’s happening.
    (c) One thing Canadians tend to gravitate towards is “the devil you know”. This was the root of the LPC’s loathsome “Natural Governing Party” schtick. Provided the Conservatives don’t do something completely idiotic like funnel public money to crony advertising firms, they stand to become the new “devil we know” the longer they’re in office.

    Given (2), and given that the LPC has not only lost its aura of inevitability but been seen to have been caught unawares in that regard, it’s not looking promising. I’d say it’s too bad, since I badly want a strong Opposition party to give the Conservatives a run for their money, , but I despise the LPC for the damage they inflicted on my country. I’d rather see the NDP emerge as the new alternative. That last election was sweet in many ways.

    • Disagree entirely. There is no compelling evidence the country is becoming more conservative, none at all. Take a look at the provincial elections that have occured since Harper’s majority – none point toward a consensus forming around a conservative narrative authored by Mr Harper. Instead we have pretty much what we have always had – the same voters who gave Harper a majority voted for Mcguinty, and probably next year for Dix in BC. It is imo part of the reason this country works, part of it essential genius.It also functioned well when the LPC ran the show.
      I have come to realize myself that what is undoubtedly true is this country has always been Conservative in part its nature, it is still there and perhaps this was the LPCs real hubris, to pretend it was all liberal, it never was.
      But i find you contempt for the concept of NGP to be hollow and empty, even unethical since Harper has openlyembraced the notion that Canadian values are conservative values [ barf…what a hypocrite!] a view you seem to endorse judging by your conclusion. A binary political landscape in this country would most likely deliver 3 or 4 out of every federal election to a Conservative govt. In that respect i find your revulsion toward the LPC to be disingenuous and commitment to a strong opposition doubtful.

      • Man, you lefties are a reactionary lot. I disagree with you on something, or state my revulsion toward the LPC, and I must be a liar (presumably because one can’t honestly disagree with you, nor feel anything other than fawning devotion toward the LPC). I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been called a liar/hypocrite/idiot on this site.

        Anyway, it’s reassuring. It shows tremendous weakness in terms of being able to render a cogent argument, which in turn suggests that the left doesn’t have a lot to back up its positions with…. which is kind of what I suspected.

        • What a pathetic cop out of a response. I gave you all kinds of evidence to back up my opinion and this is all you can come up with. I never once claimed you didn’t have the right to your opinion, i merely laid out reasons for why i thought you were wrong. You could have come back with something that disproved my thesis, but you don’t.Why?
          Yes, i called into question your sincerity, which i backed up with reasoned arguments – namely that a binary system rigged the system for future conservative NGP dominance of the national electoral field. And all you can do is bleat about how offended you are.
          Whatever! Idealogues rarely like to face the possibility they make be mistaken or biased.