I'm no happier with the malaise that has beset the Liberal Party than anyone else. I genuinely hate what's happening now and what's been going on for the last several years.
So what happened? It's not just one leader, we've had two who have utterly failed to connect with the Canadian voting public. Worse yet, we've allowed a guy with the charisma of wet cardboard to get between the Liberals and those voters. What is going on?
I'm kind of wondering if there hasn't been a mutual loss of trust between the LPC and ordinary Canadians? The party doesn't trust them, they don't trust the party. Then again, why should they?
Just what does the Liberal Party really stand for? Don't ask me, I don't have a clue anymore. All I see is a party obsessed with reclaiming power. A party that seems almost indifferent to the public, their welfare and their concerns. A party that has allowed itself to drift out of touch with the very voters who elected this party to government so many times.
It burns my backside when I read and hear Liberals dismiss the public as too dumb to get it, to appreciate the Liberals and their oh so sophisticated leader. That's the mentality that is killing this party. They're not too dumb. You're too goddamned lazy and too goddamned arrogant and too goddamned indifferent to reach them. They were just fine when they were electing Liberal governments but now they're shits? People who talk like that or write that drivel or even think like that should be slung straight out of this party and that goes from the bottom to the very top. When I read that crap I wonder why anybody would vote for this party.
Look, Stephen Harper isn't still in power because he's good. He's not, he's bloody awful. Being unable to topple Harper these past 18-months is tantamount to being unable to punch your way out of a paper bag. But he's come through unscathed, stronger than ever it seems. Our Leader and his brain trust have fumbled and bobbled and botched every opportunity. Harper has turned the tables on them. Time and again Mr. Ignatieff has puffed himself up and made fearsome pronouncements only to see Harper call his bluff. How many times do you think a guy can do that before everyone catches on? What is a politician when he's flushed his own credibility down the drain?
One moment sticks with me from the Frost/Nixon interviews. Nixon was describing what real political leadership means. He portrayed it as the ability to persuade the public to support something generally unpopular, something they don't like. It is the ability to gain their confidence to the point they'll overcome their own reluctance and fears. That's the public placing their trust in a leader. That trust is so hard to earn and so easily lost.
It was Michael Ignatieff's job as freshly-minted leader to go out and earn the public's trust. He didn't do that. Instead he pursued grandiose blustering that did nothing but undermine his credibility. It certainly did nothing for the country nor did it do anything for the Liberal Party. Mr. Ignatieff is now hip deep in a hole he dug for himself. If it wasn't for the residual strength of the Liberal brand he might be in up to his neck.
I'm not sure that Michael Ignatieff can ever recover his credibility but it's best to treat that question as moot. Fixating on that isn't going to get the Liberal Party anywhere. He's the leader for now but it is time he started acting like a leader of this party. Everybody's clamoring for clear Liberal policy, something Ignatieff has been ducking at his and the party's expense ever since he took over. Enough of that nonsense.
To turn around this fiasco will take clear policy that engages the Canadian public and a leader of the sort described by Nixon. You have to have both. We can formulate all manner of really good policy but it'll be for naught unless the voting public is willing to place their confidence in Mr. Ignatieff. That's a huge challenge for the current leader but this Party deserves nothing less and it's his obligation to deliver.
So Michael, pull your thumb out of your ass and start acting like you're someone who deserves to be the leader of this party, someone the public can and should trust.