False dichotomy - Macleans.ca

False dichotomy


Rob Silver responds to Glen Pearson’s response to Andrew Coyne’s suggestion.

The dichotomy Glen buys into is either you say nothing (the “safe option”) or you put out lots of smart, detailed policies (the “risky option”). The risky option is akin to political suicide and therefore the safe option must be followed at all costs … The real dichotomy is between communicating your ideas well – whether those ideas are bold or more of the same – versus communicating your ideas poorly.


False dichotomy

  1. I think msm does good job keeping Cons feet to the fire but they completely lose the plot when it comes to Libs. Cons are used to having everything they do challenged so they are more prepared for criticism and how to get their message across. Libs, on the other hand, are used to msm carrying their water most of the time because msm and libs are mostly in agreement about underlying assumptions of how world works.

    So when msm does give the Libs an occasional thumbs down, Libs think they are under assault and don't know what to do. That Pearson article gave us insight into Lib mentality – they can't be expected to hold a position if Globe gives them a negative headline or two.

    Time to man up Liberals, start competing and stop acting like stroppy children.

    • Wow…I’m actually in agreement with what Joylon said.

      I’ll take it a step further. The real problem here isn’t the MSM’s response to Big Idea proposals from Liberals, the real problem is the Lib caucus who simply cannot be counted on to back up their leaders and stand firm. The minute the msm starts criticizing, you can always count on anonymous-senior-well-placed-liberal-insiders to join in.

      That’s the difference between the Tories and the Libs. If there is such a thing as dissent within that caucus (and I’m sure there is), you very rarely will see any of the Tory members quoted in the press, attacking their own leader. I don’t know if its because they fear Harper that much or if they are genuinely more united than the Libs.

    • I think you make some fair points. Although i'd say you don't give the media enough credit for critcising liberals – certainly Ignatieff would kill for some positive coverage right now. But generally i accept the premise that liberals have become intellectually lazy. However it is a generalization and as always not the whole truth. These liberals may have forgotten what it is like to compete, but that's hardly true of all liberals. As for carrying their water for them – i think you're dating yourself a bit.

  2. Proposing new policy ideas, whether cleverly expressed or not, only makes sense if the public wants new policy. If what concerns the public above all is managerial stability and a relatively sound economy, then any new policy ideas are going to be off putting for voters.

    • It is interesting to note that Mr Harper's stated objective is to wrest the deficit under control without any new taxes.

      If the concerns of "managerial stability and a relatively sound economy" lead the public to grant the Harper government a majority, then the lack of revenue will undoubtedly lead to a torrent of government cost cutting. Will these cuts not represent considerable policy changes?

      Is the public fooling themselves by avoiding new policy ideas, yet potentially opening the door to a sea of change?

      • Well, if Mr. Ignatieff wants to counter this by arguing that he will cut the deficit by raising taxes he is welcome to try.

        • Your point being that it would be foolhardy for him to do so. I agree.

          But are we, the voting public, being foolhardy by gravitating to the guy who is not saying it?

      • Calling the public fools is never a good idea, if the Libs think they are wrong they have to figure out why the public has a misperception and then they have to prove it.

        Donolo is good for the Liberals, his job was to listen to the public, not judge it.

  3. "The real dichotomy is between communicating your ideas well – whether those ideas are bold or more of the same – versus communicating your ideas poorly."

    Yes. And using the word "dichotomy" seven times in the same short piece is a example of vivid, vibrant communication.

    Wake me up when Mr. Powers figures out how to communicate ideas more complex than a juvenile attack in 30 seconds.

  4. Sorry, that should be "Mr. Silver."


  5. Silvers is correct, maybe there is hope for the Liberals after all.

    But that would mean stop listening to rage a holics and sit back and develop a strategy, a full one, which inlcudes policy and communications working in conjunction. That takes more than a week, it takes more than 3 months.

    I will say again, choose Fall 2010, either budget or throne speech as the net window and start building towards that. Anything before that is an exerciss in masochism. Besides the government doesnt want to go before then anyway. Canadians might even decide that Iggy and the Liberals have changed their ways by then.

    The communciations eff up on the change of in OLO is just another example of how screwed up the curent office is.

    I wonder how many people will now say, Danis Coderre got more right than wrong?