Monday, March 02, 2009

Missing the Plot

If you read that title, saw the party logo and expected to read a post lambasting the Liberals, you're mistaken and you'd might as well click out of the blog now.

Those who are missing the plot at the moment, imo, are a few bloggers that seem to spend inordinate amounts of time looking for something negative to say about the party leader. By extension, they are of course railing against the party. Some are Liberals and others are liberal.

Now, if you read this blog from time to time, you'll know that overall I have no problem with people expressing their opinion even when I vehemently disagree. I make no exception with the blogs I'm referring to. I'm not going to link to them or name them, because that is not the point of my post. My point has to do with whether or not they have an end game because even though some of these bloggers are people I respect, I really think they are missing the plot entirely.

If you have a disagreement with Ignatieff on a certain policy issue, fair enough, have at it and here's an idea...suggest a viable alternative! If however he simply wasn't your first pick as leader, do you think maybe you could take a longer view rather than focusing on the inane? By that I mean repeating the idiotic canards such as, hasn't lived in the country, believes in torture, supports Iraq, and the most ridiculous of all, he is just like Stephen Harper.

Seriously? If you believe that, really believe it, then you have not paid attention at all to who Harper is and what he wants for this country. Is Ignatieff everything to everyone? No. Was Dion? No. The funny thing is that some of these bloggers actually used to decry the fact that people in the party were trying to undermine Dion's leadership and that was doing damage to the party and our ability to win an election. That they don't see that they are doing precisely the same thing is quite remarkable really.

Look, I'm certainly not thrilled with every utterance Ignatieff makes. I'm really concerned about the oil sands stance for instance, but I'm willing to wait to see what else goes along with what we've read in the press. Why? Because I do think he is looking at the big picture and pragmatism my dear friends is part of that equation.

My priority? I want Harper and his gang gone as soon as possible. Like it or not, the only way to do that is with the Liberal party and the leader of that party is not going anywhere, period. Can constructive suggestions be made? You bet. Make them on your blog and if you're a member of the party, get in on the debates at En Famille. Talk about issues and put forward alternatives. Go listen to Ignatieff speak and challenge him directly.

Me? I'm working to get a Liberal government in power. Not just for the hell of it, but for the sake of the country as I see it. From what I've read on some blogs, you are obviously not interested in that, in fact some of you seem determined for that not to happen. One is even urging you not to donate. Brilliant.

It's one thing to have disagreements with a party but it's quite another to work against it. That imo, is not following the plot. That is getting caught up with the main character and his or her flaws to the point of missing the entire story around them. Not the best way to read.

It came out on the weekend that the Conservatives, (surprise!), are mining old footage and archives to get dirt on Ignatieff to construct negative ads. It then came out today that the Liberal party will be asking for donations to counter them. Sounds right to me, after all, wasn't one of the biggest complaints the last go around that we didn't fight back? Furthermore, not only are the Conservatives using their resources to put together these ads, they too are soliciting funds, through the Senate no less! If you don't see the irony in that...

I guess my final thought on this is, it's expected that not everyone will agree with everything a party does. It's also expected that not everyone will get the leader they want. I supported Dion. Disagreements and debate are healthy. Childish taunts and a refusal to deal with what is, is intellectual energy diverted from a larger issue and that in my opinion is tragic.

63 comments:

Cherniak_WTF said...

Disagreements and debate are healthy.
And my biggest complain under the Iggy regime is that they have been severely stifled...

As for alternatives, some of the shift that iggy has brought is a shift to the right, an ideology that is not progressive coupled with a track record that spells "Harper and Iggy" are too similar. Both have to go.

If it means railing against the party so that it can rebuild - so be it...

gingercat said...

Thanks for saying what needed to be said. To get rid of Harper we need unity.

I just want to add as well half of these people were incensed when Dion was being dissed by others. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, they do the same thing that they bitterly complained about.

Liz said...

The difference between saying bad things about Dion was that he was a duly elected leader. If the grassroots don't get to have a say in who the leader is, we are not bound to support him.

Ted said...

It is sad really. I am not sure what their endgame is either. Do they think to get rid of him? Really??? As ridiculous as that seems, I think they think there is an appetite for that among Liberals. They actually think Liberals will want another leadership already, that we prefer being bankrupt and perpetually in opposition.

But it is clear that, whatever we think about the process by which the inevitable came to pass with Ignatieff to become leader, grassroots Liberals, Liberal elites, elected Liberals, party bureaucrat Liberals, former Liberals, Liberals-in-Exile Liberals and Liberals every stripe are more united and increasingly united than we have been since maybe 1992.

A good friend once told me in 2006 and again last fall that, no matter who won the leadership, guaranteed that between 5% and 10% would leave the party right away for multiple reasons - because of who the new leader was, out of loyalty to the former leader, for some it was a long time coming and this was just a reason to leave. Nothing you could do about that. And I respect that and really don't have a problem with it. As Ignatieff gets stronger and stronger and the party keeps growing, they are being left with nothing but their bitterness.

But the key was what happens shortly after that. Do some of them come back? Does the new leader start to grow or start to shrink?

I think the polling and especially the internal polling and the fundraising numbers are already giving us a clear answer to these questions.

And despite the hopes of the Cherniak WTF and others, it is not looking good for Harper.

knb said...

c_wtf, rebuild? Start again? Really?

A shift to the right. Well, I guess that is true in that Dion was a part of the left in the party, but that didn't exactly work out well.

I'm ready for some progressive ideas out of the party too, but knowing that it is comprised of many people, I'm not ready to throw out everything and everyone so that it fits all of my wants precisely.

Harper and Iggy are not remotely similar and I know you know that.

Rail if you prefer, but I see it as an exercise in futility with no redeeming merit. It won't change what is and it certainly will not help the country.

knb said...

gingercat, that is true in many cases. I'm not sure what it means when you become what you criticise, but it can't be healthy.

Frankly Canadian said...

Well said, I get tired of the same people commenting the same complaints over and over agian. It is one thing to have an opinion that may differ at times, however to have an extremely bias stance on most of the issues that this party is faced with, that to me is overkill. I have seen the conflicts between many of these bloggers, who apparently fly under the same flag, and some of these conflicts go so far as to alter some peoples political philosophies. I thought their was a common belief in how Liberals viewed the role of the government, apparently not. I also wonder how many of these @#it disturbers acually vote Liberal?

knb said...

Liz...the circumstances were what they were. Actions were taken based on what we had. Ideal? No, but there is no turning the clock back and living in a time warp accomplishes what exactly?

C-Nuck said...

WTF is a dipper troll.

If he were a Liberal he would know about the debate and discussion at En Famille.

knb said...

Ted, your friend had a point about the attrition rate. I guess it's to be expected.

As you say, it's not looking good for Harper and I'm obviously okay with that.

WesternGrit said...

Great blog post! You pretty much said everything we have all wanted to say...

CWTF: What are you talking about? Stifled debate? The very fact that you are able to speak out loud and clear on this independent site disproves your argument. I have heard many former Dion and Rae supporters talk about how open to suggestion the Iggy Team is.

What do you mean by "progressive"? Our entire platform is progressive. The whole platform isn't even out yet. I've been on the campaign trail, and in "backroom" meetings with Michael. I know where he stands on the issues. He is a centrist, plain and simple. He is also a pragmatist.

To say that Harper and "Iggy" are the same is ridiculous. That's like a Conservative saying Layton and Ignatieff are the same.

You seem to have a real axe to grind... What's with "rebuilding" - we've been rebuilding for 4 years. We're not anything like the old Reform/Alliance... or the NDP. We are a mainstream "big tent" party, situated strategically at the center of the political spectrum. We have no fear of losing our huge, nation-wide, broad core of support. What we need to do though, is establish a "beach-head" in Conservative territory. We can govern as we always would... We just want to broaden the tent.

I don't think there is any doubt who our duly elected leader will be. Other's had the opportunity to organize and run. They didn't have the cash/organization in place. That is not Michael's fault. The "others" were also the ones who stood beside Michael as he accepted caucuses appointment as interim leader.

Quite simply, the grassroots had lots of time to have "a say", but the funds for other candidates just didn't turn up. Micheal displayed his incredible leadership skills (not to take anything away from the others - whom I respect and admire greatly) in building the organization he has. He certainly had a head-start - but so did Bob.

Since the concerns about Michael being leader are so minimal (a handful of bloggers, and a few ardent supporters of someone else), we don't have to worry about being another "PC Party"... Firstly, because the detractors are such a small group - and secondly, because we are a party of the center. We can hop all over that "center" and still represent the broadest swatch of voters. When the Cons lost all their "progressives" to our party, they were decimated. When we lose "red tories", we end up picking up on the other end of the spectrum.

Let's work to defeat Harper - that's what I'm doing. I'm sure I'll get some replies to this, but I may not even "engage" the conversation...

knb said...

Frankly Canadian. I think some did vote Liberal and as I said, I do have respect for some of them still, but there are others that I'm pretty certain never voted Liberal.

KC said...

If you have a disagreement with Ignatieff on a certain policy issue, fair enough... do you think maybe you could take a longer view rather than focusing on the inane? By that I mean repeating the idiotic canards such as, hasn't lived in the country... [and]supports Iraq

I was a Liberal until Ignatieff became the leader and don't hold back in being critical of him.

The problem I have with the statement I quoted above is that it assumes that we should only judge our politicians based on their policy positions as currently stated. I've been watching this game long enough to know that there is a huge disconnect between the things politicians do or say when they're in the spotlight prior to an election and their actions afterwards (for the record nothing he has said since becoming leader inspires me either).

For me their are other factors that come into play in judging who would be best to lead including judgment and character. It is beyond dispute that Ignatieff supported (even cheerled) the Iraq war and IMO that touches on judgment. It wasnt a minor lapse in judgment. It was the worst foreign policy blunder of this decade.

The fact that he returned so abruptly after years abroad (making the decision to lead the country before he even came back) I think touches on character--the arrogance of his character to be specific. Arrogance in my experience is perhaps the most dangerous characteristic in a politician. Whatsmore I think we need a leader who can be counted on to represent our interest. Given the disconnect between Ignatieff and this country I dont think he can be trusted in that regard. I know the cosmopolitan types think we shouldnt care about his absence but I think its incredibly relevant.

Throw in what I see as an obvious disdain for democracy in accepting the interim leaders post while standing for permanent leadership and for me we have a leader who is totally unacceptable on multiple levels.

So you can call these "idiotic canards" if you want; but I'm not going to rally around some guy who in my view has showed profoundly bad judgment and character because hes learned how to spew the usual platitudes. In my view the Liberal Party has made a serious mistake (for the future of the country if not electorally) and I dont need that crap on my conscience when he makes a mess of things.

Steve V said...

"a few bloggers that seem to spend inordinate amounts of time looking for something negative to say about the party leader."

Probably the most hilarious part, this belief that the grassroots feels slighted. It's just a few loud malcontents, within a medium that frankly elevates and distorts. If you want proof, then why is it that Iggy is packing every event with real, live, grassroots Liberals? If there is unrest in the land, why are more people giving money to the party? Why do we keep hearing about "energized", "upbeat"? I guess it's all elites and backroom types at these gatherings.

There are a few people that I respect, who have genuine concerns, particularly about direction. Quite honestly, the other half dozen, another clueless halfwit with a keyboard, nothing more.

For the Liberal Party, from what I've seen, mostly from a far, this is the most united the party has been for some time. I wouldn't sweat "working against" because it's all pretty much meaningless. Is there harm, because 8 people in Canada agree? Let's keep it real, that's why I take my cues from the street.

Steve V said...

Just to add, because I don't want to appear to lump anyone who goes after Ignatieff as stupid, or whatever, dissent is a good thing. Some are mature, some ask good questions, some are genuine, different perspectives are healthy.

LMA said...

"I'm really concerned about the oil sands stance"

A lot of negative blog posts and comments followed Iggy's reaction to the National Geographic spread. His comment about not needing lessons from National Geographic was certainly arrogant, and he said little else beyond a vague reference to cleaning it up. A lot of liberals and Canadians will be looking to any future PM to deal with this huge environmental problem, and, so far, Iggy is not speaking to them, hence the frustration. You suggest he is taking the pragmatic approach, but is it really pragmatic to allow this level of air and water pollution to continue? These are important policy issues and I hope they will continue to be addressed in these blogs.

RuralSandi said...

The funny part about it all is the fact that these are a handful of bloggers and in the end it's the general voting population that count.

About Dion and democratically became leader - some don't feel that way. Kennedy walked over and we'll never know who REALLY would have won. That walking over stuff isn't really democratic at all. Besides, that is so yesterday. He didn't connect so face it.

Dion was not my first choice, but I didn't trash him. I moved on to try to support him even though friends kept saying they couldn't understand him, that he just didn't get their confidence. These particular friends (wrong as it may be) decided not to vote in the last election because they couldn't bring themselves to vote for any other party.

Time to move on. Ignatieff is the leader now and whining won't change that. And, originally he was willing to go the whole leadership race thing - but a crisis hit and the Liberals had no money.

knb said...

KC, you are obviously entitled to your opinion. We disagree.

Cosmopolitan types? Okay, if thinking that world experience and aspirations to lead are assets rather than detriments make me that in your mind, so be it.

As I said, I don't support everything he's said or done, I'm just looking to the future and that includes the outster of Harper.

knb said...

LMA: You suggest he is taking the pragmatic approach, but is it really pragmatic to allow this level of air and water pollution to continue?

Absolutely not, but nor did he say that.

knb said...

C-Nuck, no, c_wtf is not a troll. To participate En Famille you have to be a member of the party and not everyone who votes or voted Liberal is a member.

We have respectful disagreements and that's okay with me.

knb said...

Sandi, indeed it is time to move forward. That doesn't mean buying everything that comes from the party, nor does it mean that no scrutiny is required.

Re-hashing the past, most of which was fully debated years ago, serves no purpose, imo.

Anonymous said...

Disagreements aren't meant to be about niceties. If I disagree with Iggy's stance on the oilsands, I'm going to say so, and I'm going to say so vehemently. Is it wrong to point out that Iggy once said "our country", with reference to the U.S.? This is just one example. The ends justifying the means is the conservative mantra, not the liberal one. Perhaps if Rae wasn't pressured to exit the leadership race, all of these disagreements would have already been aired out. At present, they have not; and, with that in mind, it is fair to point out to Iggy exactly who he purports to represent, his own political aspirations aside. (Please don't call me a troll.)

Anonymous said...

Trollboy said...
One more thing. The people at the liberal fundraisers are the elites and insiders. Believe it or not, comments on these blogs represent the street's opinion. And for now, it would seem that the streets are not happy with Iggy. If you think that the average dude on the street where I'm from agrees with Iggy's stance on the oilsands, not to mention other issues, then you are sadly mistaken. And these are people that would actually vote Liberal, not the ones that praise Iggy at a fundraiser. Talking about the "street" with an air of authority - your elitism is showing.

Big Winnie said...

The way I see things, Political parties are nothing more than a business, no different than say a bank (as an example). In times of trouble, or perceived trouble, decisions are made by the executives which may upset some of the "grassroots" members (read employees). In this case, Ignatieff was made leader of the Liberal party without following, what I understand to be, standard procedure.

I don't believe there was any malicious attempt by the party to circumvent the process; I think a decision needed to be made quickly and was done so.

I also believe there was an opportunity to nominate a candidate for the Convention in May but no one came forward. Why didn't anyone come forward?

Do I have concerns about Igantieff? Absolutely, but I want to see what he says/does to allay my concerns.

I like Ignatieff as a leader but had Rae, Kennedy or someone else been "installed" as leader, I would have supported them just the same

Ted said...

Anon 9:12:

I think you are deliberately misreading the original post.

It is not about individual issue-based criticisms.

It is about those particular Liberals - let's call them the Ralph Nader wing of the party - who are all anti-Ignatieff, anti-Liberal all the time and have an almost knee-jerk reaction to oppose anything the Liberals do. So much so that, if you read through them, they spend way more time attacking Ignatieff than Harper and are so disconnected with political realities as to think they are or should mount an effort to get rid of Ignatieff.

Those who have issues on issues, like you with oil sands, are certainly not the focus of this post or discussion thread.

What is more, if you've been to a meeting or talk with Iggy, he has the confidence to listen to different points of view and even attacks without getting defensive and thinking you not a Liberal, like some prior leader and his or her supporters. Indeed, he routinely invites criticism and open discussion.

Steve V said...

" Believe it or not, comments on these blogs represent the street's opinion."

Keep telling yourself that, because all the real world evidence suggests your delusional. Anyways, it's irrelevant, but find a few other stragglers to empower yourself, I find it funny.

"Is it wrong to point out that Iggy once said "our country", with reference to the U.S.? "

It is, when you don't acknowledge the thousand other times where he spoke of Canada, his native land. At Harvard even ;) If you're looking, you can always find something...

Trollboy, from a anon, who won't use his name. Who cares.

Ted said...

Trollboy:

You and CWTF, if he/she is even a Liberal, I'm not sure what it is with commenters like you.

Either you are so angry and hateful of Ignatieff and the Liberals that you can't even see reality or you are examples of that kind of person who is so disconnected with ordinary Canadians and Liberal grassroots that you begin to think only you are the grassroots. I'm not sure which.

I don't know how you can accuse Iggy of not connecting with the grassroots when his polling numbers are up generally but way way up among self-described Liberals.

I don't know how you can accuse Iggy of not connecting with the grassroots when his fundraising numbers are way up, not just from the old-school big donor Liberals that the party has relied upon forever, but small donors from all across the country donating small amounts - whatever they can afford - because they are fed up with Harper and see Ignatieff as a leader who can bring Liberal values back to government.

I don't know how you can accuse Iggy of not connecting with the grassroots when membership numbers are going up.

I don't know how you can accuse Iggy of not connecting with the grassroots when support is growing, not just in some areas of the country but all areas of the counrty.

But maybe I do know. You equate anonymous blogger commenters as being the "street" so I think that answers the question I asked at the top of this comment.

Steve V said...

Ted

Please don't introduce facts or simple comprehension to the equation, far more relevant to point to the margins and people with some deluded sense of self importance.

Anonymous said...

Please don't introduce fiction and complex gobbledygook into the equation, far more pertinent to point to the core and people with some deluded sense of being connected to what "commoners" are actually saying about Ignatieff's recent comments. (For the record, I was fine with him until the recent comments about the oilsands - the numbers you're pointing to don't reflect the growing alienation within party ranks. And don't treat this like a courtroom on one hand then outright dismiss me on the other, it's arrogant and disrespectful.)

Ted said...

Anonymous:

Not sure what you think is being disrespectful. No disrespect was intended of any critic. But I concede to being dismissive of those who are all attack all of the time regardless of the aide that provides to Harper.

I also concede that the "alienation of the grassroots" arguement is getting a tad old. I heard that in 2006 when Ignatieff signed up more new members and had more widespread support than any other leader. I heard it as the leadership race got started and there was an immediate jump in fundraising numbers and longtime Liberals coming back to the party after taking the last few years off. I heard it when he became leader and we saw an immediate and large jump in fundraising, membership and polling numbers. I heard it after he got Harper to cave and provide a much more Liberal budget and we saw polling showing 90%+ of Liberals supporting his position. I heard it when he started to try to reach out to all Canadians and make inroads with disaffected westerners alienated from the party for decades and his numbers continued to rise.

It is unclear to me where this "core" and "party ranks" are of which you speak, but cold hard facts speak to a different story. Polling of Canadians in general and Liberals in particular shows he has very deep and widespread and growing support.

KC said...

knb - Yet another red herring. I dont dispute that international experience is an asset and even a prerequisite to leadership. My concern with Ignatieff is thats ALL he has. He has had no substantial experience within Canada since 1976 when he was an assistant professor at UBC. For me thats concerning because it was before I was even born. How can we be sure that he will stand up for Canada's interests rather than capitulating to some internationalist view of the common good? Where does he get the audacity to think he should be able to lead a country he hasnt lived in in three decades? I can almost see the Tory attack ads now. A quick flip through 30 years of Canadian history followed by something informing Canadians that Ignatieff wasnt here.

I wont dispute for a second that the Liberal rank and file have rallyed around Ignatieff and concede that people like me are an exception rather than a rule. I was a grassroots Liberal and have watched one by one as my friends who took a stand against him during leadership have capitulated. I think I only know one or two other people who are stepping back like me. I also wont dispute that the poll numbers are up (slightly, and I would point out that Dion posted decent poll numbers from time to time during his leadership only to slip again).

I do think however that Liberals are a different breed than the rest of the country and once the other parties successfully define him his numbers will drop. Maybe I'll be proven wrong, but thats how I see it going.

Anonymous said...

Knb, I have no problem with Iggnatieff but I do have a problem with emails being sentto me every other day asking for donations. As you know the economy is really bad and some of us seniors have a tough enough time having enough funds to buy groceries and meds so no funds extra for donations. You know, we saved all our lives, did without a lot of stuff to save a few dollars for our retirement by investing in RRSP's to see them through retirements only to lose thousands of dollars. I am sorry but the political parties will have to look for donations from other scources than the average Canadian. The past two years under Harper has been very bad for ones health and the sooner he's gone the better ones health will improve.

Ted said...

The last three years have indeed been hard on seniors. My own mother lost a lot of money because of Harper's promise not to tax income trusts.

But there's the rub, as they say.

How does one defeat Harper and his money-making machine without raising money yourself? The unfortunately reality is that you cannot. The Conservatives raised more money last year than any political party in Canada ever has and at $21M they raised more than $7M than all of the opposition parties combined.

This is part of the new political reality. It is how Harper has kept his grab on power. It is how Obama defeated the Bush/McCain team. Reaching out for support from citizens.

If the Liberals want to defeat the Conservatives, they need money and to get money they have to ask.

But what they are asking for is whatever it is you think you can give. Have a spare $15 right now, that is a great assistance. Want to do a regular $5 per month, even better. Gone are the days when the focus was on fewer bigger donors.

knb said...

KC, given his prior vocation, just what would you like to see on his resume and how precisely would that make him more Canadian?

How can we be sure that he will stand up for Canada's interests rather than capitulating to some internationalist view of the common good?

I'm not really following you here. Internationalist view as opposed to isolationist?

To be honest, for me Ignatieff's strengths lie in bringing a long needed injection of realism into Foreign Policy.

I mean no disrespect, but have you read any of Ignatieff's work?

I ask because I've read many people making assumptions of how he will react to certain issues that have no basis in fact as far as I can tell. Assumptions are rarely useful.

Finally, the party is not made up of one man, even if he is leader. The men and women who make up the Liberal party of Canada are hardly going to relinquish it's values and traditions on the say so of any one person, not that I believe Ignatieff would push for that, but that suggestion is ridiculous in my view.

knb said...

anon @ 2:04, do you really get e-mails asking for donations every second day?

I'm a card carrying member and I don't. In fact I haven't even received the most recent one discussed in the news.

That said, I realise that not everyone can afford to contribute, especially seniors. If you can contribute your time, I think that can be more valuable in many cases.

E-mails that ask you for what you cannot afford can be annoying, but they are as fleeting as the delete button on your computer.

Support in spirit is also welcome.

KC said...

just what would you like to see on his resume and how precisely would that make him more Canadian?

SOME work in Canada over the last 30 years.

I'm not really following you here. Internationalist view as opposed to isolationist?

I expect the Canadian government to stand up for Canadian interest on the international stage even if that doesnt alway accord with the dominant view or the direction of the international community. Whether that means more engagement or less, or more or less on a particular issue will depend on the issue. Ignatieff's tenuous connection to this country over the last 30 years doesnt give me any comfort that Canada will come first for him in how he conducts international relations.

To be honest, for me Ignatieff's strengths lie in bringing a long needed injection of realism into Foreign Policy.

I mean no disrespect, but have you read any of Ignatieff's work?


I have. And to be honest I dont see a lot of realism in them. I see a lot of naive idealism about fixing everything that ails the world.

Finally, the party is not made up of one man, even if he is leader. The men and women who make up the Liberal party of Canada are hardly going to relinquish it's values and traditions on the say so of any one person, not that I believe Ignatieff would push for that, but that suggestion is ridiculous in my view.

Really? Because the Conservative Party seems pretty willing to bend over and take Harper's lack of conservatism in the way he has conducted himself so long as they're thrown some red meat once and a while and he keeps them in power. I doubt Liberals will be much different. The party has already surrendered its principled opposition to the Iraq war because it sees Ignatieff as the path back to power.

The party leader wields an insane amount of power in our country. That is part of my reason for pulling back from the party all together.

knb said...

SOME work in Canada over the last 30 years.

That would make him more Canadian?

We disagree on what his work represents. I don't see naive idealism. I see an intellectual argument of human rights and other issues grounded in the philosophy as people such as Charles Taylor.

No matter we disagree and I think I understand where you are coming from. I would offer this though. Your suppositions are such that they can be disproven by his actions. If/when that occurs, I hope to hear (read) your take.

As to your last contention or comparison to Harper...well forgive me when I say it barely warrants a reply.

There is no comparison between the 2 men, nor is there a comparison in their respective caucuses.

While the Liberals obviously are not beyond 'doing' politics, they haven't abandoned everything they have stood for. Harper is pretending to just that and his followers are giddily taking their marching orders in an effort to support him.

Harper doesn't support the Canada we know. Maybe time will convince you that Ignatieff does.

KC said...

That would make him more Canadian?

I dont really care to get into a semantics debate over what constitutes a "Canadian". I do subscribe to the admittedly controversial notion that a prolonged voluntary absence from the country should result in a loss of some but not all of the incidences of citizenship--ie social entitlements, consular services and (yes) the right to run for public office--until one has returned for some period of time.

What I would have liked to see in Ignatieff's resume is SOMETHING that could convinced me that he had one iota of dedication to and understanding of Canada. That he wasnt merely a citizen of the world with a Canadian Passport.

Your suppositions are such that they can be disproven by his actions. If/when that occurs, I hope to hear (read) your take.

Politics is very fluid. I wont preclude that something could happen to convince me that Ignatieff has the traits of a leader for Canada, or that the current government is so repugnant that it needed to be turfed regardless of the alternative. But he has a huge hill to climb.

As to your last contention or comparison to Harper...well forgive me when I say it barely warrants a reply.

I didnt compare Harper to Ignatieff. I compared the willingness of Conservative and Liberal partisans alike to bend principles for power. I suggested that large swaths of both will bend themselves into pretzels to support whatever dear leader decides. I stand by that statement.

Harper doesn't support the Canada we know. Maybe time will convince you that Ignatieff does.

Maybe so but for the time being Harper isnt going to great lengths to transform this country. He is constrained by his minority government and his desire to win the next election. But to the extent he is trying to change the country he is being aided by a Liberal Party reluctant for an election.

How Ignatieff deals with Harper's bill that introduces mandatory minimums for marijuana related offences is a HUGE test in my view. My guess is he capitulates on a bill that will impose a 6 month mandatory minimum on growing a couple of pot plants and giving some to your family and friends. If he supports such a bill any hope of me "coming around" on him is lost.

Cherniak_WTF said...

It is highly amusing to hear people say "lets defeat Harper" when we all know the Liberals had a chance a few weeks ago.
I though only Conservatives were hypocrites...

I have stated why I don't think that Iggy is a good leader. It's always the same coterie that seem to blindly support Iggy. There is very little difference between the Liberals or the Conservatives at the moment.

If people want to support Iggy, then so be it.
As if previously stated a head of lettuce at the head of the Liberals will likely defeat the Conservatives. Why? Because under Harper's (the economy is sound) watch the economy has been truly fucked.

For years, Liberal bloggers have commented on the stupidity of Connie only to emulate them of late.


Iggy would have mired us in Iraq and he's a Liberal that voted for the extension of the Afghanistan farce.

While there was talk about a coalition, Iggy was out campaigning and asking for donation - effectively undermining the coalition. This is a Conservative/Liberal budget.
It is a nose-stretcher to state that he will keep the Conservatives in check...

Iggy has defended the Tar Sands - in the most mind numbing way.

Iggy has stirred the Liberals into blind support of Israel, there was no nuance in statements.

Under Iggy, the Liberal party has been dumbed down to facile sound bytes.

Even today, some are applauding the blister from Iggy - a few weeks ago he had reassured that he had read the budget before supporting it. Now he seems surprised by $3 billion stimulus. Makes you wonder if he even saw it...

So Harper is on "parole"... then why is Iggy doing all the dancing?

knb said...

KC, I haven't read the new crime bill but if it is as you describe, I'm with you.

I have no idea how Ignatieff will react. I know he's fairly conservative re' drugs. He's supportive of InSite for example, but places a heavy emphasis on rehab.

I'll be watching too.

knb said...

c_wtf...there is no way to know that Ignatieff would have had us in Iraq. His support for that fiasco did not come from a political position, so I find that particular accusation fantasy to be honest.

I'm with you on the Israel stance. I don't think he has the party whipped up on this, but I disagree completely with his one-sided declaration.

Anyway, it's old ground. I don't see him dancing. I do see Harper panicking though.

Time will tell.

KC said...

Seriously knb? I'm sorry my MP made this argument to me before that we don't know if Ignatieff would have taken us to Iraq. I think its ridiculous. He clearly thought it was a just and prudent war. Given his statements on the conflict I think it is revisionist history at its worst to suggest he wouldn't go. Nothing annoys me like denials that one intended the natural inferences that are drawn from their words.

knb said...

He did indeed make the argument for it, but he was not speaking for a nation.

The responsibility of an intellectual or academic is not the same as that of a politician, let alone a leader of a nation.

I'm not being Polyanna here. I think there is a huge difference in how you approach issues based on your position.

I think the assumption that he would take the same approach is at the very least unknown (yikes, how Rumsfeldian of me!) and to make such an assumption, of anyone, somewhat arrogant.

That is probably one of the biggest issues I have with criticism of Ignatieff. People assuming he would have done X, and worse, assuming they know what he'll do in the future.

I'm sure I'm guilty of it too, in other contexts. Look I don't think Ignatieff is the be all to end all, I'd just rather have the discussion based on fact, not supposition.

KC said...

Its not arrogant or presumptive at all. A real academic would have explored all the dimensions of the decision. "yes the war is just in theory but there is no public appetite for war, its doomed to fail, and too expensive". If he said that I could cut him some slack. But he didn't. Thus the only conclusion is that he would have taken the country to war or he's a lousy academic with one dimensional thought.

In analysing politicians I have no problem with making reasonable assumptions. It is completely reasonable to assume based on Ignatieffs words that our soldiers would be dying in Iraq if he was PM in 2003.

knb said...

KC: A real academic?

Anyway, I still disagree. In his capacity at the time he was making a yes argument...but again, that was as an academic.

There is no logical leap, imo, to assume that he would make the same decision in a different capacity. Further, he would not be free to unilaterally make that decision.

I guess again we agree to disagree.

Cherniak_WTF said...

There is no logical leap, imo, to assume that he would make the same decision in a different capacity. Further, he would not be free to unilaterally make that decision.
How do you reconcile his stance on extending the Afghanistan farce? He went against general party lines and supported Harper.
Given that he seems keen on imperialist tendencies, it's hard to argue that he would do an about face...

FredfromBC said...

Cherniak_WTF seems to be the only one here capable of taking a step back and looking at the big picture.

(he'd make a good Conservative..;)

You guys (and girls) are all in denial. I've said this before, but here it is again: your problems all started with Paul Martin, and until you decide to tear down and rebuild the Liberal Party *from the bottom up* Stephen Harper will continue to beat you.

The short version is that it was stupid for the Paul Martin acolytes to backstab the three-time Prime Minister Jean Chretien just so they could get their own man in power (who turned out to be a disaster as a leader; what made anyone think that this guy had any leadership talent, anyway? Being a nice guy or competent MP is one thing...being an effective leader is quite another).

Mistake number two was to try replacing him with two party 'outsiders'. Martin supporters rallied behind Bob Rae while the still-disgruntled Chretienites chose Michael Ignatieff. The big problem? Two two factions despised each other so much that supporters of one would never vote for the other no matter what, and this is what allowed Stephane Dion (NOBODY'S first choice, clearly) to sneal up the middle and win the leadership (and I bet no one was more surprised than him).

Again, a disaster as a leader. But here on this blog were all you self-righteous little Liberal bloggers (yes, I'm talking to you KNB...and RuralSandi, and a couple of other hardcore Liberal/NDP types that frequent this blog) blindly supporting him anyway. Exactly what you're doing with Ignatieff right now...and exactly the WRONG thing to do.

Call it blind faith, rabid partisanship, desperation or whatever you like. Harper will continue to outmaneuver you (whether you choose to admit it or not) and retain his grip on power. In fact, he's going to win his majority next time, thanks in large part to people like you who can't see the forest for the trees...:)

KC said...

There is no logical leap, imo, to assume that he would make the same decision in a different capacity.

I dont follow this argument at all. So you're saying as an academic he ONLY considered the "human rights" or "security" dimensions of invading Iraq and ignored the myriad other considerations--cost, backlash, lack of domestic will, chance of sucess, etc. etc? Sounds like a pretty lousy academic to me. Academics should be thinking about issues broadly and shouldnt be advocating specific policy positions that they wouldnt implement themselves as leaders. Its one thing to pontificate generally about human rights and then act imperfectly once you come to power. I could understand that. But to take a very hardened position on a specific policy issue and then disavow your previous position because you were speaking as an acadmemic once you enter politics is pretty weak.

Further, he would not be free to unilaterally make that decision.

The Prime Minister can make the decision to send troops before the matter even goes to Parliament. And then when it gets to Parliament he can whip the vote. Power in a majority government (as the Liberals were in 2003) is incredibly concentrated in the PMO in this country--especially on issues of war and peace. Any first year poli sci student could tell you that. He damn well would have been able to make the decision unilaterally.

I guess again we agree to disagree.

I suppose. With all due respect, since you're the one who is saying that I SHOULDNT take Ignatieff on his word as an academic the burden is clearly on you to explain why not. You've done a piss poor job of doing so.

KC said...

hahah wow. Im no Iggy fan but I want some of whatever Fred has been smoking if he thinks Harper is about to win a majority.

knb said...

c_wtf Given that he seems keen on imperialist tendencies Really?

Dion in the end supported it too. Does he share these tendancies?

Look, he's way right of me on this issue as you know. I'm not defending his positions, I disagreed with them, I'm simply saying that we cannot know, therefore cannot assert with certainty, what he would have done as PM.

knb said...

Fred, I'm self righteous?

You really have to look up the meaning of projection.

Oh, and add delusional to that in terms of your prediction for Harper.

knb said...

KC, if you are consistent in your take him at his word comment then you cannot be selective in what words you accept.

Ignatieff:
The philosopher Isaiah Berlin once said that the trouble with academics and commentators is that they care more about whether ideas are interesting than whether they are true. Politicians live by ideas just as much as professional thinkers do, but they can’t afford the luxury of entertaining ideas that are merely interesting. They have to work with the small number of ideas that happen to be true and the even smaller number that happen to be applicable to real life. In academic life, false ideas are merely false and useless ones can be fun to play with. In political life, false ideas can ruin the lives of millions and useless ones can waste precious resources. An intellectual’s responsibility for his ideas is to follow their consequences wherever they may lead. A politician’s responsibility is to master those consequences and prevent them from doing harm.


All I am saying is that we cannot know the unknown. We can assume, but we cannot know. To make the comment that he would have done something has no more relevance than my saying unequivocally that he would not have.

I'm not trying to prove that he wouldn't have made that choice, I'm saying we don't know and that other factors, being a PM, come into play in the second scenario.

I can't relate to this particular choice in terms of scale, but I can tell you that I've been an employee with the luxury to think one way, then a member of management where my ideas had larger consequences and my past thinking had to be revised to incorporate broader considerations.

Steve V said...

Braindead from BC

Man, you're in for some surprises. What I love, the clueless partisan lecturing others about being clueless and out of touch. What a hoot.

KC said...

knb - I'll take Ignatieff on his word that he believes that to be a valid explanation just like I take him on his word that he thought the Iraq war was the right decision. Both however are completely bogus arguments in their
substance so I am being consistent.

We can't know for certain what he would have done but given his conviction that the war was the right decision it is not arrogantto assume that he would have went. Ignatieff is not in a criminal trial and not entitled to proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Like I said if Ignatieff was advocating for a broad, general theory the academic/politician dichotomy might hold water; but we're talking about a specific policy here which he vigourously supported and advocated for politically.

Refusing to support his candidacy for PM on the basis of his Iraq war stancee is not an "idiot canard".

knb said...

"idiot canard" ?

Did I say that?

KC said...

Yes. End of paragraph 4 of your post.

knb said...

supports Iraq, present tense.

Taken in context I was referring to some malcontent bloggers who repeat such phrases in a bellicose manner, without context, with no particular intention other than to antagonize.

You've decided not to support Ignatieff based on his past actions. We disagree on what that means for the present and future, but you have at least supported your position.

I stand by the comments I made about the individuals I was referring to, but I wouldn't include our conversation here in that.

Reasonable discourse and debate is to be encouraged. That's not what those I referred to are doing.

KC said...

Well Im not sure that I can see how that arises from the context but I'll accept your explanation. My sole purpose was to argue that there are valid reasons to not support the party during Ignatieffs leadership. The implication I took was that these are wholly invalid reasons.

KC said...

knb - Im just reading a Liberal press release saying they support and want to fasttrack C-15.

You can read about C-15 here: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/news-nouv/nr-cp/2009/doc_32339.html

And here is where the Liberals indicate their support for the bill and the fast tracking thereof: http://www.liberal.ca/story_15650_e.aspx

knb said...

Thanks KC. I've only taken a cursory glance at the summary of the bill.

Is it the same as the last session? It doesn't seem as wide reaching to me.

The 1-200 plants, provision could be problematic.

What stands out for you?

KC said...

The 1-200 plants part is definitely what stands out the most to me especially given how "trafficking" is defined at law. "Trafficking" would include giving some to a family member or a friend. Thats a pretty stiff and potentially life destroying penalty for ordinary Joe Sixpack who grows a few plants and sells a bit to his buddies.

But generally, I THOUGHT that Liberals had came to or were coming to the realization that the drug war has been a failure. Instead they're voting to dramatically ramp it up with little or no public debate. Lets be clear that this bill means a LOT more people go to prison. A LOT more lives will be ruined. A LOT more criminals will be created in prison. And at the end of the day drug use will remain unchanged, and the drug trade possibly MORE dangerous. I'm pretty shocked that the "Liberal" Party would be supporting something like this--presumably out of cowardice. It reaffirms for me that Michael Ignatieff is not a real leader.

KNB said...

I still haven't gone through it all KC, but I'm not sure I'm with you on this one.

I'll wait to comment too much, but this seems aimed at gang/drug activity, which is tough to dispute at the moment. (I heard somewhere that part of the gang war in BC has to do with a dearth of coke.)

If I remember correctly, even Comartin in on side with this isn't he?

KC said...

Really? Because nowhere in there are the mandatory minimums limited to gang activity. AIMED at gang activity maybe but the legislation clearly isnt restricted to it. What do they expect us to just "trust them" that Prosecutors wont use it against small scale mom and pop operations?

What a crock. Some "liberal" party.