Second Thots

Sometimes one has to step back, take pause, and have some "second thots"

Friday, October 13, 2006


Wisdom of the day

From John Ivison today in the National Post:
It is all well and good for his handlers to say people don't understand Ignatieff and that he is too smart to talk in 30-second sound bites. But no one thinks the Prime Minister is a numbskull, and he is concise and as constant as the North Star in his beliefs. This is the world Ignatieff elected to join when he entered public life and to bitch about it now is like the proverbial captain complaining about the sea.

I also might add that Mr. Ivison seems to agree with me about the potential cost of any future gaffes committed by Michael "We're Not Worthy" Ignatieff:

Another win like this and Ignatieff will be sunk.

Ignatieff is starting to enter some dangerous territory here. Not only can a gaffe seriously sink his credibility as a political leader, his people are suggesting that his problem lies in the fact that he's too smart for the rest of us. As Ivison so wisely points out, Harper has some brain power, too, yet he knows how to communicate effectively in today's political and media climate. I suggest Iggy start learning — and fast.

Where I might depart from Ivison, as well as other journalists, is their belief that Harper might have crossed the line or taken the focus off of Iggy. I disagree. The Liberals were uneasy about attacking one of their own on this and were probably ready to move on. Harper's comments continue to expose Liberal divisions on Israel. This has never been about swing voters, Quebec, polls, or other superficial considerations. The Liberals have always wanted to have it both ways on the Middle East and Harper is making them pay for it, as well as forcing them to explain to Jewish supporters why they should continue to support the party. This is about internal party politics as much as it is about public policy. Whether you like it or not, it's important. Just ask conservatives how important party unity is for a political movement in this country.

Oh, and for all those Liberals and journalists who don't like Harper calling a party anti-Israel, I didn't hear the howls of protest from them when Liberals routinely suggested that the Conservative party was anti-Canadian. Next.

The Toronto Star's Chantal Hebert, on the other hand, seems to think Ignatieff's performance in front of a large Quebec audience, where he made the gaffe, virtually cemented his hold as front-runner in the Liberal leadership race. Quebecers seemed to like what they saw, and his promise to open up the constitution in order to recognize Quebec as a nation is a winner in the province.

I suggest that none of that matters unless he learns how to communicate like a statesman. Right now, he's making Harper look like Churchill. Next.

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