Monday, June 21, 2010

Libs Can't Take It Back

Coalition/merger talks in the last little while have tainted the Liberals for good, Andrew Coyne  has concluded.  They will never be the same.  They can't go back.
"There are some things you say that you can never take back. It doesn’t matter whether you meant what you said. You said it, and from that moment things can never be the same. This is how it is now, I think, with the Liberal Party of Canada."
Implications of coalition of the losers would be that voters would scatter.  Imagine Libby Davies and Pat Martin with a cabinet post.  Shutter the thought!  I think more right leaning voters would go Conservative.
"Consider first the implications of a simple coalition—a coalition struck not in the chaotic aftermath of an indecisive election, but anticipated well in advance. For left-leaning voters tempted to stray into the NDP camp, there is no longer any reason to stick with the Liberals, as they have been traditionally admonished, just to keep the Conservatives out: the coalition can see to that now. Indeed, as Chantal H├ębert has pointed out, all the more reason to vote NDP, to strengthen its hand in coalition talks. Meanwhile, right-leaning voters will consider the spectacle of a cabinet filled with the likes of Libby Davies and Pat Martin, and recoil.The same split between left and right will be played out within the party. The Liberal party is not a party that forms coalitions. It is one. It is not a party of the left, but of the left and right: a cumbersomely broad tent that, so long as the party remained in power, or near it, could nevertheless be kept aloft. The likelihood of an extended stay in opposition, with the attendant need to define itself more sharply, could be predicted to expose the party’s divisions. But so stark a choice as a coalition-merger with the NDP is sure to crack them wide open.
And as Liberal support continues to bleed away, this can only grow worse. The left will take this as further evidence of the necessity of striking some sort of deal with the NDP. The right can be expected to push back just as hard: though it is unlikely to prevail, it can probably forestall any decision until after the election. But what are the party’s chances in an election in which it is so painfully divided?"
 The Libs have to decided to unite behind their leader.
"One seasoned Liberal says it's not so much that Grits are lining up behind Michael Ignatieff, but that the alternatives are 'just not palatable.'' 
But it may be too late according to Coyne.
"It is a dismal fate for Liberals to contemplate. But by not firmly quashing any talk of coalition as soon as it got started, Ignatieff has lost control of events, as surely as he has lost control of the party. I fear it is too late now."
One thing Andrew Coyne I think forgot to point out was that all the Liberal members including their leader, Michael Ignatieff signed on to the coalition agreement with their partners in the NDP and the Bloc in 2008. It doesn't matter what they say about now, they can't get away from that one.  There will reminders come next election.  Count on it!  If not from the CPC war room, it will be from  bloggers.