Well the Liberals are certainly down and, judging from the sudden paucity of posts from Liberal bloggers, that has them down too.
Many respected Liberal bloggers are now calling for Iggy to begin releasing policy statements but his advisers, brilliant folks I'm sure, want him to wait for an election campaign. I have a couple of problems with that.
I think Ignatieff is overestimating his prowess if he thinks he can sell a complete policy platform in the brief span of an election campaign. He can't do it, he's just not that good in connecting with the Canadian public. He's better than Dion but not that much better.
Worse yet, I think if Ignatieff runs true to form, his policy platform will probably remain centre-right glossed over with a bag full of platitudes. Besides, who says an inexperienced, annointed party leader has the right to dictate party policy?
Unfortunately Mr. Ignatieff has shown that his judgment is fundamentally flawed. His position on Gaza, for example, was prematurely taken, naive and utterly inconsistent with Liberal tradition. In an awful conflict in which there were no clean hands, Ignatieff firmly lashed the Liberal Party to one side, absolving them of what turned out to be some pretty nasty war crimes.
Iggy was wrong on the Iraq war when he enthusiastically endorsed that hopelessly illegal invasion. I can understand that. He was then living in America and the mood at that time was pretty overwhelming. What troubles me is the character Ignatieff showed in changing his mind, in admitting he was wrong. He couldn't do it without trying to denigrate those who opposed the war from the outset as being disingenuously opposed, motivated mainly by a hatred of George w. Bush. Is this guy still stuck in high school? 15-year old kids do that sort of thing, not leaders of national parties.
On foreign policy, Mr. Ignatieff sees a "robust" role for the Canadian Forces, more peacemaking than peacekeeping. We've had a decade to see how well this peacemaking thing works out - in Iraq and Afganistan. Should a Liberal leader, one acclaimed to the post, be steering the party away from its traditional posture on this?
Ignatieff has been flat out wrong on his position on the Tar Sands. He claims to see Athabasca as the beating heart of the Canadian economy throughout the 21st century and has even proclaimed bitumen a key to national unity. What is this man thinking? Does he not know what's happening to our planet? Is he ignorant of what's already happening to the Athabasca region? If he mentions that at all, he glosses over it with empty platitudes.
On the environmental front Mr. Ignatieff has shown no spine, none whatsoever. He declared carbon taxing as dead, twisting the last election as a referendum on Dion's Green Shift. No need to talk about that any more, the public have spoken. That was a total and intellectually dishonest dodge.
Harper is going to the Copenhagen climate change summit with empty hands. He's done squat on global warming and our opposition leaders have been just fine with that. They've given him a pass, happy to duck the controversy themselves. That's leadership?
So, maybe it's time rank and file Liberals voiced their views on the issues of the day, stated their opinions on what the party policy ought to be. Why not right here, right now? Let's begin with the climate change conundrum.
What do you think Liberal policy should be on climate change? What would you expect of a Liberal government in terms of action on global warming?