Saturday, October 10, 2009

Is It Really Just a Lack of Trust?

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.


Anonymous said...

I wonder what has happened to the Libs as well. Listening to an interview on CBC yesterday with Paul Martin didn't make it any clearer. He was asked what would be his first priorities if he were Prime Minister right now. He said he would put native people, the economy and getting people back to work as his priority. There wasn't one mention regarding the environment or how he would go about his priorities. You are so correct MOS. Why is it Iggy and his hord think we are stupid? He has missed the boat and he is smelling a little like rotting fish. A. Morris

Anonymous said...

The Liberal Party, is everything that Harper isn't, at least it's roots are.

The Mound of Sound said...

Well Anon, it's supposed to be. We seem to have lost sight of that.

James said...

Nothing whatsoever to do with leftovers from sponsorgate, I imagine? That's 90% of the problem your newly minted leader can't fix on his own. No, you're right, Ignatieff isn't helping. But if the LPC thinks we want the same faces on the other side of the house that caused a couple billion dollars to go flying into the great black hole of I don't know, it has more problems than just the wrong guy at the helm.

The Mound of Sound said...

Fortunately James the Chretien-era sponsorship scandal has faded with the fullness of time in the public's mind, if not your own. In fact you seem to have nurtured and grown it to rank delusional stature. It was a multi-year, $250-million programme out of which the Auditor General found $100-million possibly misappropriated of misspent. A good hunk of that has been quietly recovered. That this grew more than twenty-fold in your memory speaks volumes.

James said...

I was actually also indirectly referring to the long gun registry. But since you mention it, I give you this. You will note, this was just after the last election we should have never had. Doesn't sound like folks have forgotten it to me. Sure, the media might not be making headlines with it anymore, but that doesn't mean a thing. Besides, with Ignatieff and before that Dion providing 3 halfway good headlines a day, why point out a lot of the familiar faces are still there?

The Mound of Sound said...

Canada Free Press, James? What's wrong, can't you get enough delerium from Fox News or NewsMax? Do us both a favour, if you enjoy Canada Free Press or have any other nasty little habits, keep that information to yourself, OK?

James said...

That's what I love about you liberal loyalists. If the info's in your favour, where it comes from doesn't matter; you'll lap it up like it's going out of style. Let it say something you don't agree with, though, and it's a nasty little habbit. You get an A for consistency, if nothing else.

The Mound of Sound said...

James, my child, I'm a centrist. That steers me safely away from far-left publications and those on the far-right. I avoid them because they're unbalanced - just like those who frequent them. After all James, idiotic statements are written for a specific sort of audience, no?

comrade okie said...

Re Liberal party woes.

I believe it all starts with background and exposure to the real world, or lack thereof.

Given the Conservatives record to date, bringing them down in the publics mind should have been easier than picking the wings off a fly, if and it's a big if, the Liberal strategists understood the first thing about how ordinary people percieve economic issues. Secondly, if they hadn't made the grevious error of expecting Harper to behave like a Conservative Prime Minister. They expected him to balk at wholesale spending and give the people a dose of what they needed not what they wanted. He has done the opposite, which was to maintain the status quo for as many voters as was possible. No matter what the actual deficit spending amounted to. Figures can be played with for a while too, obviously. Long enough to get that majority, and then switch to Conservative Prime Minister mode.

That said, it sure didn't help that Iggnatieff has shown himself to be such an opportunist, flipping and flopping on issues to be on the popular side of things or to be positioned properly with money sources, regardless of whether he had to compromise true Liberal values or not.

Then there was the Coronation. It's still pretty fresh in people's minds.

All of which is a tally of Igg's judgement and trustworthyness. When you fail that test while up against someone like Harper who can't even be somewhat truthful during the Leaders debate preceeding the last election, then what hope is there for substantial trust and support?

I predicted the Liberal Party would become powerless if they didn't run with the coalition concept. Whether it was a good move or not, it showed the people that someone had some nads. Possibly the wrong issue to draw a line in sand over, but with more political savvy than they have shown recently, I think they could have ridden the wave of backlash with open and truthful dialogue backed by a clear accounting of Conservative spending, lies, treachery and abuses of priviledge.

Another huge mistake was the recent declaration of withdrawal of support for the government across the board. That should have been on an issue by issue basis.

Having said all of that, I am old enough to be wise enough not to discount any and all possibilities. At the back of my mind there is this nagging doubt as to whether the real power behind the Liberal Party actually wants to form government at this time. I also wonder if the very same real power controls the fortunes and manuevering of both parties and that all of this brinkmanship and nonsense we see in the house of commons isn't merely for entertainment value and to continue a facade.

Smart money backs both sides. Smarter money controls both sides.

The Mound of Sound said...

Unfortunately, even lamentably, C.O., you seem to have the situation pretty accurately mapped out. Would that wasn't so. Thanks for the input.