Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What's Happened to the Liberal Party?

Things haven't been going to well for the Liberal Party in the few years. They've tried different leaders. Last summer they send the leader on a bus tour that was  supposed to turn things around but that was to not. Today you have three columns that tell of Liberal woes.
Larry Martin traces Liberal problems way back in '93.
To find the reason for their woes, they might look back, strangely enough, at one of their successes – the election of 1993. That campaign, which gutted the Canadian political structure like no other, is known as the one that vanquished the old Progressive Conservative Party. The Tories came away with two seats. But it should also be known as the one that undermined the Liberals, who came away with a majority.
Although they won handily, that campaign effectively reduced the Grits to an Ontario party with a few regional add-ons. Post-1993, the party won successive majorities in 1997 and 2000, but in each it was an all-Ontario show, with the party registering unbelievable sweeps of 100 or so seats in that province.
That represented close to two-thirds of the party’s overall total in those elections. The warning signals were there. These majorities masked the Liberal Party’s geographical isolation.
Hardcore Liberal apologist, Susan Delacourt gives her reasons why the Libs are having a tough time.
Then Warren Kinsella weighs in with his assesment. Liberals were had once counted on painting Stephen Harper and the Reform/Alliance/Conservative parties as scary, but that doesn't work anymore.
Liberals lack strategy 
Five years after they lost power, there’s no change in sight
For starters, Stephen Harper - once the feared Reform Party outsider - is no longer feared so much, if at all. As with all prime ministers,
Harper has become pretty familiar to the rest of us. For a decade, the Liberals kept Harper and his conservative colleagues from power with frightening tales about what the right-wingers would do to social programs, health care and race relations.
But after five years, our social network is mainly what it was; health care is more or less intact; and the party with the most racially diverse caucus in the House of Commons is, well, Harper’s.

All the Libs have done since they lost the election in 2006 is to, with the help from their friends in the media, conjure up faux scandals to embarrass the Conservatives in hopes of finding the big one that would take them back to their right full place. Hasn't worked.

What are Liberals to do?  Well, former chief of staff to Michael Ignatieff, Ian Davey has some advise, offer some conservative ideas.  This coming from from a Liberal? Wow! I guess he sees that voters are sick and tired of the social welfare entitlement programs that spend tons of money and makes the size of government balloon. Oh, well looks like Davey's former boss hasn't taken that advise.   As long as Liberals keep spinning their wheels and navel gaze, the Conservatives can keep working getting things done for the betterment of the country and PM Harper can keep reaping praise like this one.
Stephen Harper earns biblical praise for pro-Israeli stand 
Stephen Harper is being hailed as a modern-day “Abraham” for his defence of Israel in a recent speech to a conference on combating anti-Semitism.
Scott Stinson sums it all up.
Under Mr. Ignatieff, the Liberals seem to want to have it both ways again: on one hand talking up the party’s deficit-slaying efforts under Jean Chr├ętien, and on the other speaking about the myriad ways they would spend the money saved by cancelling corporate tax cuts.
It’s as though the party can’t quite bring itself to step away from that key part of what it sees as being “Liberal” — the notion that the government will wrap you in its warm embrace — and so the leader’s summer tour included his stories of the floppy-haired kid who was struggling just to be a student and the elderly lady who couldn’t afford to care for her ailing husband. Mr. Ignatieff would thus talk about not just the need to curb the deficit, but also about “three core priorities for a future Liberal government: learning, care, and Canadian leadership in the world.”
 It was put most simply in this line from one of his speeches: “we need to get this deficit under control, and we need to invest in Canadians.”
 
The Conservatives have recently started making noise about the need for austerity and how the next budget will be one of belt-tightening. Voters could be forgiven for snorting at that and asking what took them so long. But here’s what Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said this week: “This is not the time for dangerous and risky new spending schemes that will increase deficits and raise taxes.” It sounds like the Tories will stick to that simple message.
It sounds like something Ian Davey might have suggested.