Sunday, June 19, 2011

Liberals Delay Leadership until May-June 2013 - Bah!

And anyone reading this blog over the past couple of days, months, and so on, will know that I'm none too happy with that fact.

However, because I wasn't a delegate, I can't complain. You snooze, you lose, I suppose. But I do wonder on what this result actually say's about the Party's current psychology at the moment. (Hint: we're very afraid.)

But, Stephane Dion's defense of the motion to put the leadership race in that timeline (beyond what the Executive wanted) was spirited as it was convincing:

They were persuaded in that choice by former leader St├ęphane Dion, who reminded delegates of the hatchet jobs done on him and Ignatieff by relentless Tory attack ads. Liberals, he argued, must not choose a new leader until they've amassed the money and organization needed to fight back against the inevitable Tory onslaught.

"The defeat has been very severe. The party has a monumental task to do. We should do it step by step," Dion said in a later interview, adding that "the only good news of this disastrous [election] result" is that Liberals have plenty of time to pull themselves back together.

If Liberals choose a leader before undertaking any rebuilding, Dion said, "The leader will be without any protection facing the Conservatives."

He predicted the Tories will try to do to the next leader what they did to him and Ignatieff, define the person "in a very negative way," as "an ugly, unsympathetic person, unable to be a leader, not a Canadian, willing to tax them like crazy."

He said Canadians will believe that unless the Liberal Party is ready to counter the attacks.

"And for that we need greater organization, good fundraising, good communications in the social media and the traditional media."
I don't necessarily disagree with Dion's telling, as he is right; the Conservatives will rip to shreds any new Liberal leader, and if we aren't prepared we're going to fall back to their onslaught, while the New Democrats laugh their arses off and gobble up the rest of our vote.

However, there's a few of considerations here:

1. A lot of fundraising is leadership driven, and scaring the bejeezus out of Liberals will only be effective for so long

2. The longer we sit without a permanent leader, the greater time the other two can say we are so moribund we have no direction, and let that idea settle with Canadians, further driving down potential donations

3. Restructuring our organization is a good idea, but it will take place under an interim leader, under the interim leader's direction and mindset, and with the interim leader's personality driving it - get the hint?

4. Even if we get everything done in time, fundraising and restructuring and all, the Conservatives and New Democrats will still likely have better organizations than us - at least one of them will - and it's likely we'll get shitkicked anyways, even if we are competitive, but leaving the kicking fresher in the minds of Canadians

There's also my paranoia surrounding Rae's ambition, and the likelihood that he'll stick on whether we do good or bad.

Why I preferred the 2012 leadership race was simple; the longer the time under a permanent leader, the longer time we have to fundraise with that leader; to restructure under the permanent leader's auspices; and the more time we have to combat the Conservative and New Democrat narratives sure to follow. These benefits right there made sense to me - waiting longer did not.

But, as I said before, it was out of my hands so I can't really complain. I'll roll up my sleeves in the meantime - after my tropical vacation.


  1. Historically majority Governments tend to last on average 4 years not the 5 years it can last for. (In some cases only 3 years). So having a leadership vote at the end of 2013 and a possible election in just 1 and a half years will give our new permanent leader less time at the job then Ignatieff and Dion. Not a lot of time for fundraising if you ask me. Although I have to say there is always one advantage to having a leadership race close to an election is because every time we pick a new leader our party gets a surge of support. The problem is that if we have a new leader right before an election the surge won't last long as the Conservatives will have a big war chest to stop it and they will want to use it right before an election. It would be better to have a surge in 2012 as we can fund raise and feed off of it , and the other parties won't mind us a lot (unless we are leading in the polls), because it would be a waste to attack a party a lot 2-3 years before an election, but if the election is just 1 year from now the Conservatives would want to destroy that surge as soon as possible.

  2. Exactly, vanillaman - that rounds it all up. However, we didn't end up going that sane route in the end. I think the Party's fears are driving it more than its rationality.

  3. I can't complain, but let me ramble on about why the Party was wrong.

  4. Scott, don't you know that the most constructive criticism comes from those who know their place but refuse to be quiet in spite of it?

  5. Those people who you speak of don't usually start by saying 'I didn't participate, so I can't complain' and then proceed to complain.

  6. The decision has been made, but I don't agree with it; it's out of my hands, but I have concerns. But the legitimacy of my position versus the legitimacy of the vote results is pretty squared away, don't you think?

    I accept that, in reality, I didn't take part, therefore I can't complain about it in a legitimate sense; but that doesn't stop me from voicing that complaint still.

    I mean, if you bowed down to every person who told you to shut up, where would you be now? Whether or not you understand your place in the hierarchy.

  7. My point is not that someone told you to shut up or that you didn't participate and therefore you can't complain. My point is that you, on your own judgement, determined that you cannot complain but then you do so anyway.

    If you think you can't complain, then don't; if you think you can, then do; but don't pretend to be against complaining and do it anyways.