Monday, September 08, 2008

Stephane's Defining Moment

The challenge facing Stephane Dion is to prevent Harper from framing the election on neutral issues.

Harper is going to play on the economy, arguing that Dion's fanciful ideas would only kick us when we're already going down on an international downturn.

The downturn, call it a recession if you like, is a global phenomenon - not Harper's doing, not the Tories' fault. All the big headline stories have come out of the US or Britain. Just one of those things but a spillover crisis in any case that needs a down to earth leader to fend off. "Down to earth" as in none of that nonsense about global warming or carbon taxes.

How will Dion refute that in a way that resonates with the electorate? He's already allowed the Libs to be neutralized on Afghanistan. Not only are the Conservatives comfortably off the hook but they also get to boast about revitalizing the armed forces. The Conservative scandals have died down over the summer and won't surface again until well after the election - if at all. Harper is going to have the gullible scared crazy about economic hard times. The last thing on their minds will be ambitious programmes to fight global warming.

If Dion can't reframe the election on issues on which the Tories are vulnerable or weakest, he's left to whine about Harper's lies. We may find them outrageous but don't expect the voting public to turn on the Conservatives over them.

Should Mr. Dion not go on the attack and effectively skewer Harper it's hard to see how the Tories will be defeated. One thing I'm sure of - if the Libs try to wage their campaign on the Green Shift, they risk spinning themselves into a corner to the delight of Harper and Layton alike.

I've always had serious reservations about Mr. Dion but now, at least, he has a chance to prove his defenders and supporters right. I sure hope he proves me wrong.


Anonymous said...

..."Harper's going to have the gullible scared crazy about economic hard times"....??
What the hell does that mean? Only stupid people vote Conservative? What about the 10 percent of us who actually "think" before we know..the ones who vote both Lib or Con depending on the circumstances? If Mr Harper gets his majority its because of that 10%...if Mr Dion wins a minority its because of that 10%. I'd call that 10% informed. The gullible ones are the 75% who made up their minds years ago and who continue to support one party. billg

wilson said...

Dion has been on the attack for months. Hidden agenda, rightwing, Bush, it's all there, again, like the last 3 elections, starting with Chretien.

It's not working. Libs haven't offered up anything Canadians are wanting.

That comes from years of Libs brokering Dippers and Reform/Alliance good ideas, and presenting them as their own.
They stand for nothing genuine, their own ideology.

Luke said...

To Anon 3:07;

Some people find that a particular party will have views so close to their own that they will vote for them 99% of the time. That's when people should get more involved with the party, like this blogger and others like him. Some people vote in the leadership conventions, and the election itself is more of a formality.

Although I do agree with you that it isn't only the gullible who believe the economy is in trouble. And for what it's worth, I'm going to vote for Harper, although I voted for Tony Clement in the leadership race.

The Mound of Sound said...

Bill, Parizeau knew the critical importance of the gullible uncommitted and even said so during the last referendum. Look how close that was and with the committed supporters of Harper and Dion in a virtual tie, the gullible - who happen to be the easiest to scare, inflame and manipulate - are more than enough to hand Harpo a majority.

It was this same crowd that Trudeau worked over during the '74 campaign with his "zap, you're frozen" line. Fearing wage and price controls, the union vote abandoned the NDP and rallied behind Trudeau. He trounced Stanfield and then - just a few months later - introduced wage and price controls.

It was a lousy thing for Trudeau to do and it'll be no better when Harper is finished pistol whipping the dolts.

Don't forget, it was this very segment of voters that was responsible for Bush's second term.

And no, Bill, I wasn't saying you're stupid. Misguided, perhaps. Stupid, absolutely not.