I've read far too many posts blaming the Canadian voting public for last night's Liberal drubbing. That disgusting little narrative holds that they were too dumb to see through Mr. Harper or too weakminded to understand the brilliance that is Mr. Dion.
What an arrogant load of crap!
The Canadians who handed the LPC its head on a platter last night were the same Canadians who have trusted the Liberals to govern the country in the past. If they're good enough when they support us, they're every bit as good when they don't.
You have to win an election. Even the Liberals have no entitlement to govern. Liberals have a genuine advantage in that mainstream Canadians are ideologically compatible with the party. So, when voters turn elsewhere they've obviously rejected something or someone in the Liberal campaign.
You cannot win an election if you don't connect with the voting public. It was Mr. Dion's job every day since he assumed party leadership to connect with the voting public, to help them understand what the Liberals were offering and why they ought to support it. He went into this election already having failed on that score.
In terms of electoral skills, Dion was completely outclassed by Mr. Harper. Time and again when he ought to have brought the government down, he stepped aside and had his caucus shamefully flee the floor of the Commons. Had he brought the government down on any one of several, legitimate disputes, Dion would have had some control over the timing of the election and, more importantly, an ability to frame the issues.
The only surprise in Harper's election call was that anyone should have been surprised by it. Parliament had had the summer off and all the scandals and blunders of the Harper government had receded in the minds of the voters. This was Harper's one chance to not have to run on his record and clear issues. And he caught the opposition, particularly the Liberals utterly flatfooted.
We, the Liberal Party of Canada, did extremely poorly last night. We were completely outmatched and that was the culmination of a whole series of mistakes and blunders. We lost this election, the voters merely responded.