Fight the real enemy


 

Adam Radwanski debunks one complaint about Michael Ignatieff and substitutes a better one.

Consistency, then, is not the issue. The issue is that Ignatieff is still mouthing the same platitudes he was mouthing back in January, when his leadership was barely a month old. That may change in the fall, or whenever an election campaign beckons … For now, though, one gets the sense that Ignatieff still thinks it’s enough to simply promise not to do what Stephane Dion would have done. That should concern everyone – not just Albertans – much more than where he happens to be when he makes his comments, because not doing anything means leaving the decision to others.

In the meantime, someone’s uploaded a couple bits from Ignatieff’s emphatically enunciated stumping at the Stampede this weekend.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeK6_uq2T3E&feature=PlayList&p=52617E7F4A1F9DFC&index=96

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-7k76y2ZLA&feature=PlayList&p=52617E7F4A1F9DFC&index=97


 

Fight the real enemy

  1. Before he morphed himself into a Canadian politician, Iggy was a public intellectual, a Harvard professor, an author of 16 books, a "thinking woman's crumpet", and our "sexiest cerebral man".

    So why does he continue to speak to Canadians with such lame platitudes? It's rather telling that journalists like Radwanski (who as Wells noted, could reasonably be expected to like the guy) have been so publicly disappointed by Iggy's mediocre performance, his lack of new positions and ideas, and his lack of substance.

  2. Before he morphed himself into a Canadian politician, Iggy was a public intellectual, a Harvard professor, an author of 16 books, a "thinking woman's crumpet", and our "sexiest cerebral man".

    So why does he continue to speak to Canadians with such lame platitudes? It's rather telling that journalists like Radwanski (who, as Wells noted, could reasonably be expected to like the guy) have been so publicly disappointed by Iggy's mediocre performance, his lack of new positions and ideas, and his lack of substance.

  3. Does he even know what time zone Calgary is in?

  4. Before he morphed himself into a Canadian politician, Iggy was a public intellectual, a Harvard professor, an author of 16 books, a "thinking woman's crumpet", and our "sexiest cerebral man".

    So why does he continue to speak to Canadians with such lame platitudes? It's rather telling that journalists like Radwanski (who, as Wells noted, could reasonably be expected to like the guy) have been so publicly disappointed by Iggy's mediocre performance, his lack of new positions and ideas, and his apparent lack of substance.

  5. Not surprising Adam is wrong and so is Aaron. It is not debunked, at least not yet. Ignatieff will have to be consistent with what he says, especially when challenged from his own caucus or from Blocists. What will Ignatieff do in the face of Bloc MP's accusing him of being in the pocket of big oil just as Harper is for eg.
    Dredging up a comment from 6 months ago in Montreal is nice but not worth much.

  6. Hmmm…..didn't realize we were in the middle of an election – they all do this in non-election time.

    Why are the media concentrating on Iggy when other things are happening – such as, Harper walking and crushing all over our democracy? Huh – why?

    • They call it news because it's supposed to be new.

      Harper's behavior isn't.

  7. The way Ignatieff's luck is running – Albertans will be blaming him for the Stampede being a washout!
    I too think it's time they got over their paranoia in Party Central – and started getting some substantive policy statements out. All the signs point to a September – October campaign – so it will give time for the message to sink in with the voters – and not sufficient time for Kody, Dimitri and Guy to come up with a real nasty negative campaign!

  8. Before he metamorphosed into a Canadian politician, Iggy was a public intellectual, a Harvard professor, an author of 16 books, a "thinking woman's crumpet", and our "sexiest cerebral man™".

    So why does he continue to speak to Canadians with such lame platitudes? It's rather telling that journalists like Radwanski (who, as Wells noted, could reasonably be expected to like the guy) have been so publicly disappointed by Iggy's mediocre performance, his lack of new positions and ideas, and his apparent lack of substance.

    • Yeah, it's almost like he's acting like Stephen Harper with his own mediocre performance, lack of new positions and ideas, and his apparent lack of substance.

    • While I do agree with you, Crit, I believe the reason he's been so lame is because of the Conservatives. If Ignatieff were to come out with a platform now of what he believes the country should do, it gives the Conservatives time to plan for the next (official) campaign. His reasoning behind it now is, I believe, act as a tough opposition leader, and discuss his ideas during the campaign. Watching the Conservative "Just Visiting" commercials, and having received the "Bloc supports child molesters" pamphlet (to be fair, I received an EI pamphlet from the Grits as well), it feels like the '08 Campaign never ended.

      Basically, I think he's just acting with caution; after Ignatieff talked about taxes the Tories having been bringing it up in QP whenever they can, so, wouldn't you be cautious as well?

      But maybe I'm giving him too much credit…

    • While I do agree with you, Crit, I believe the reason he's been so lame is because of the Conservatives. If Ignatieff were to come out with a platform now of what he believes the country should do, it gives the Conservatives time to plan for the next (official) campaign. His reasoning behind it is, I believe, act as a tough opposition leader, and discuss his ideas during the campaign. Watching the Conservative "Just Visiting" commercials, and having received the "Bloc supports child molesters" pamphlet (to be fair, I received an EI pamphlet from the Grits as well), it feels like the '08 Campaign never ended.

      Basically, I think he's just acting with caution; after Ignatieff talked about taxes the Tories having been bringing it up in QP whenever they can, so, wouldn't you be cautious as well?

      But maybe I'm giving him too much credit…

      • As I said regarding the silly hat criticisms, damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. The last election's battle of ideology has made every topic a hot topic, and this darned thing of a recession is just fanning the flames. Ignatieff has no ground to go where he won't get lambasted by another political party, except his persona. The only thing he can build on at the moment is his public image.

        So, the message is one that won't ring anything in anyone's mind to avoid any kind of confrontation, but what really matters here is what people see when they hear the message. Radical Mike? or Trusty Iggy?

    • I agree with MacCross. If Ignatieff were to propose policy initiatives, it would be ammunition for the Conservative war room. You would see a blitz of attack ads and simplified distortions: recall that Dion's Green Shift was portrayed as a carbon tax.

      And it's not as if Harper is outlining any bold new policy initiatives, is he?

    • Has anyone read Iggy's books? They aren't that good – pretty much the academic equivalent of lame platitudes – in fact his writing barely surpasses most journalism. Iggy has always believed he's smarter than he his – patronizing people is a symptom of that.

      • "…his writing barely surpasses most journalism"

        Ouch

    • Agreed, CR, he seems to have scaled back the insouciance. As MacCross says, this is likely a wise political move, but it does cut against the Trudeau Reborn myth I'd been banking on — that someday a Messiah will come who is so candid, so devil-may-care just-watch-me fuddly-duddly awesome, as to transform Canadian politics into something exciting and worthwhile. The reward would be commensurate with the risk, but Iggy (or his advisors) seem to have judged the risk to be too great, the opponent too unscrupulous, so the cape and goggles have been buried deep.

    • Agreed, CR, he seems to have scaled back the insouciance. As MacCross says, this is likely a wise political move, but it does cut against the Trudeau Reborn myth I'd been banking on — that someday a Messiah will come who is so candid, so devil-may-care just-watch-me fuddly-duddly awesome, as to transform Canadian politics into something exciting and worthwhile. The reward would be commensurate with the risk, but Iggy (as advised by his advisors) seems to have judged the risk to be too great, the opponent too unscrupulous, so the cape and goggles have been buried deep.

      • I don't agree that this is a wise political move for Iggy. By keeping his cards hidden, Iggy has raised significant doubts about the quality of his hand.

        • For you and me, maybe. But the vast majority of our fellow citizens would rather plod than run. He'll find a banal issue or two when the time comes, devil a doubt. At this stage I'm hoping he'll pull an Obama, look safe & comfortable during the election and turn out to be twice as inspiring when he actually comes to govern (if that comes to pass). Perhaps Ignatieff is one of those leaders who are unsuited to opposition.

          • At this stage I'm hoping he'll pull an Obama, look safe & comfortable during the election and turn out to be twice as inspiring when he actually comes to govern

            Would this be the Denial stage or the Bargaining stage? ;-)

            Seriously, I hope Iggy turns out to be better than what we've seen so far. Beyond the platitudes, which may or may not be working for him, he hasn't shown any evidence of having a vision for this country, let alone a compelling one. He gets points for not being S. Harper or S. Dion, but that's about it. Iggy needs to be able to persuade people that he's more of an idealist than an opportunist.

            Also, if Iggy is truly unsuited to opposition, he has no business being Opposition Leader. If this is the case, he should have stepped aside for Rae.

          • At this stage I'm hoping he'll pull an Obama, look safe & comfortable during the election and turn out to be twice as inspiring when he actually comes to govern

            Would this be the Denial stage or the Bargaining stage? ;-)

            Seriously, I hope Iggy turns out to be better than what we've seen so far. Beyond the platitudes, which may or may not be working for him, he hasn't shown any evidence of having any vision for this country (let alone a compelling one). He gets points for not being S. Harper or S. Dion, but that's about it. Iggy needs to be able to persuade people that he's more of an idealist than an opportunist.

            Also, if Iggy is truly unsuited to opposition, he has no business being Opposition Leader. If this is the case, he should have stepped aside for Rae.

          • At this stage I'm hoping he'll pull an Obama, look safe & comfortable during the election and turn out to be twice as inspiring when he actually comes to govern

            Would this be the Denial stage or the Bargaining stage? ;-)

            Seriously, I hope Iggy turns out to be better than what we've seen so far. Beyond the platitudes, which may or may not be working for him, he hasn't shown evidence of having any vision for this country (let alone a compelling one). He gets points for not being S. Harper or S. Dion, but that's about it. Iggy needs to be able to persuade people that he's more of an idealist than an opportunist.

            Also, if Iggy is truly unsuited to opposition, he has no business being Opposition Leader. If this is the case, he should have stepped aside for Rae.

          • At this stage I'm hoping he'll pull an Obama, look safe & comfortable during the election and turn out to be twice as inspiring when he actually comes to govern

            Would this be the Denial stage or the Bargaining stage? ;-)

            Seriously, I hope Iggy turns out to be better than what we've seen so far. Beyond the platitudes, which may or may not be working for him, he hasn't shown evidence of having any vision for this country (let alone a compelling one). He gets points for not being S. Harper or S. Dion, but that's about it. Iggy needs to be able to persuade people that he's more of an idealist than an opportunist. This requires specifics.

            Also, if Iggy is truly unsuited to opposition, he has no business being Opposition Leader. If this is the case, he should have stepped aside for Rae.

          • "Also, if Iggy is truly unsuited to opposition, he has no business being Opposition Leader."

            Either that or be PM, eh?

          • "Also, if Iggy is truly unsuited to opposition, he has no business being Opposition Leader."

            I'm sure he feels the same way. That's why he wants to be PM.

          • "For you and me, maybe. But the vast majority of our fellow citizens would rather plod than run."

            I don't know Jack. I can't tell if people want to plod along or are potently disenchanted with an era in Canadian politics marked by the sponsorship scandal followed by two PMs who were/are so clearly concerned with achieving/maintaining power for so the sake of achieving/maintaining power. To the degree that the primary criticism of Dion (besides he would cause a recession) was that he could not sell a popsicle on a summer's day, let alone his vision, I though their was a lot of room to for Iggy to have taken up the gauntlet that CR is now throwing down, to do some inspiring?

            And while commentators above are right that you can't give it all away in opposition, I am sure he could have at least established the broad strokes of where he was going. But, to the degree that he SH wouldn't want to take up a number of things that should be part of a neo-Trudeaupian vision (e.g., reinstating the court challenges program) he probably could get fairly specific. As far as opposition goes, I doubt it would hurt for him to appoint Rae as clear lieutenant to him shoulder more of the house duties to allow him to be out and about more.

          • I do hope you're right, sea&mountains, and I agree that Iggy has really missed an opportunity to transform our politics (though I hope he will get further opportunities and take them). Taking advantage of Rae would be a great start, as you say.

  9. As Norman Spector said, "they [his handlers] should let Iggy be Iggy". It's probably too late now, as he has been taking the safe, "speak in Liberal platitudes and criticize/nitpick everything Harper does" route for too long. Last January, I was expecting to see some combination of a "reincarnation of Trudeau" and a "northern Obama". But instead I see a smoother talking, better organized, but not as passionate, Dion.

    And it just seems silly to me that Liberal strategists would be so worried about how the Cons et al will react to specific policies. Your political opponents will ALWAYS spin whatever you do in a negative light. That is an immutable fact of politics. Besides, I get the sense that Liberal partisans are hungering for Iggy to dish up more policy meat. Iggy should deliver.

  10. The pressure is apparently mounting on them…
    On the other hand – word is that Iggy will be taking a vacation after he speaks at Liberal International in London Wednesday.
    I throw up for discussion – is this the time for an Opposition leader to go on vacation while he is still trying to define himself?
    I hope he has enough trust and confidence in his team to let them speak on his behalf this summer?

    • Good point. I think it tells us how serious a politican Iggy really is. Unless its handed to him – like the leadership – he'd rather be in France.

      Seriously big error on the vacation. By end of summer he's going to have lost whatever momentum he had. Then we'll get to see all those Liberal knives come out like they did for Dion.

      • Maybe Ignatieff is going home for awhile. Nothing wrong with the UK or US, their fine places to call home.