Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Here Liberal doom, there Liberal doom....

It seems like every single person with an opinion in national media appears to be talking about Liberal doom, John Ivison just the most recent of them.

Ivison's proposition is that Jack Layton's NDP stands the most to gain from Ignatieff being leadership, spouting off the catch phrase "going from one in six votes, to one in four," which he says about three times in the article and its attendant graphic. I've never been a big fan of Ivison, and not just for his opinions, as I consider his writing to be less than underwhelming. Unlike Chantal Hebert, who is a master of words (and also predicts Liberal doom, at least in Quebec), Ivison disappoints.

But, I digress. The article is interesting, I don't deny this, and it brings up good points. But it's just one of a series from writers after the by-elections, predicting total chaos for the Liberal Party, Conservative majorities, and how Ignatieff will lead the party to ultimate, dramatic defeat unless someone replaces him. It gets a little disheartening for Liberals, you know?

While I won't deny that some of the questions around Ignatieff's leadership are valid, they seem to be in overdrive once again, the harkening back to late 2009 and early 2010, after the horrible showing in those by-elections, talks of merger and coalitions, and Harper playing the piano, brought out the same doom and gloom attitude from the "Liberal" media. Only the prorogation started to switch the tables and draw off the media narrative to Harper, though not with nearly the ferocity that they went after Ignatieff with.

It's all understandable, of course The narrative right now is against Ignatieff, given that polling, popularity, and simple politics demands it. Even with Winnipeg North's capture, the loss of Vaughan made the by-elections a stalemate, meaning that the narrative against Iggy doesn't change - what was before shall stay the same, so to speak. No groundbreaking changes in fortune mean Iggy continues getting the sharp end of the stick. Eventually, it will change; but until then, we'll be facing the negative media cycle for awhile.

And, of course, there's always a worry of self-perpetuating prophecies. If the current negative narrative continues, then there is a likelihood that we will be facing a good drubbing next election. That's part of the problem with mass media; it has the power to not only drive narratives, but make sure their predictions come true. I don't want to call the public "sheep," but the more you hear negative things about Iggy, the likelihood of you developing a negative opinion increases. Following the direction of the herd, right? This goes for Liberal insiders, as well.

But, fear not, loyal Liberals - life is still relatively OK. We're in a relatively comfortable position in the polls, we just came off a relatively successful by-election set, and the next set ahead promises to be even better. Organizationally the LPC is starting to get its head out of its ass, and our finances are actually better than expected. Heck, we even seem like a united caucus. That's different.

There are issues, such as candidates (we're losing candidates, but I'll write about this later) and, of course, Iggy's horrible numbers, but these are things we can overcome. No matter what the media says, the Liberal Party is strong, viable, and we've got as good a chance as any to be victorious next election. Keep in mind that if we don't believe in our own Party and our own ability to make it stronger, the media is then the only thing in charge of the Liberal's fortunes. With articles and minds like Ivison's, I don't want that. Do any of you?


  1. A minority government with scandal after scandal plaguing them, yet their poll numbers are entrenched among the electorate. A seemingly disorganized opposition that can't get any traction from any issue, poll numbers never in their favour, and their leader's popularity numbers consistently low. The media constantly write about how they made the wrong decision, and that electoral doom awaits unless the opposition changes leaders.

    Sound familiar?

    It should, I'd describing the Paul Martin government years, and Stephen Harper's time in opposition.

  2. That's an excellent point, isn't it? The same goes for Chretien's first few years as Leader of the Opposition, and he had to contend with a much livelier NDP at the time too.