Second Thots

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

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Liberals don't have much, so stick to basics

While I agree with TDH that Liberals have to stop crying about Harper, I disagree with TDH about potential remedies. The fact of the matter is that the Stephane Dion Liberals are sitting ducks right now.


Policy. You can't make it up in weeks. Good policy development takes months, and the Liberals probably don't have months.

Credibility. Even if they do have months, the obvious question becomes this: Why didn't the Liberals do this stuff when they had the chance?

The Liberals need time. They need time for Harper to falter. They need time for external events like the economy or Afghanistan to go wrong. They need time for Dion and the party to even start looking like they can or deserve to form government again.

What can the Liberals do? Stick with the basics. Make thoughtful critiques of the government. Emphasize policy areas where you think the government is weak. Pounce on mistakes of the government without the hyperbole the Liberals have engaged in for the past year.

Part of the problem with Dion is that he's faltering on the basics big time. He led with the environment, which was always a mistake because of his actual record on the file. He keeps calling Harper a right-winger while accusing him of stealing Liberal policies at the same time. How can both be true?

The media, who were once Dion's biggest fans, now look at this and start to do one of the worst things if you're a politician — they laugh at you.

Sticking to basics might not be much, but it's better than getting hammered on strategy or calling our current prime minister Attila the Hun. It's a bit of a no-brainer, if you ask me.


Help find the Liberal's missing "non-leader" and priceless French asset! Bonus points for actual sightings! Gory details at:


You're right that Dion needs time.

There are, however, two problems.

One: he's not going to get the time. Not from Stephen Harper -- those negative ads put him out of his comfort zone right from the get go. And he won't get it from the higher-ups in the Liberal Party -- they're looking for a way to create momentum to ride into a sure-fire majority government, and they don't want to offend anyone at the same time. That equals pressure from all sides.

Two: I don't think Dion actually realizes that he needs time. He's a mid-boomer at an age where it's very, very hard to change one's habits and accept a new way of thinking, and that's a handicap in a politician. Especially when it comes to things like language skills where he's desperately weak. (If Larry Zolf complains about it, it's definitely a problem.)


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