Cold Hard Wonk

No sentiment but politics

Misdirected Strategy

Posted by JJ in Strategic Planning (Thursday April 5, 2007 at 2:57 pm)

The genius of Liberal strategy rolls on.

Jason Cherniak covers a rally in Toronto yesterday for Liberal Leader Stephane Dion. Bragging in particular about the good response to Dion’s speech — at a rally.

So what’s the problem?

Liberals are still trying to attack the budget
That ship has sailed. Polling suggests that the budget was very well received, and it’s unlikely in that case that there are many votes to be swayed. Those who had a negative impression of the budget amounted to no more than 21%, suggesting that only hardcore partisans were angered.

Let’s be clear: the budget was well-targetted at a group that has been long ignored: the middle class family. There isn’t a lot of political advantage to be taken from attacking the budget as the Liberals have been for weeks without moving the polls. What’s worse, the critiques: “overspending” and “GST cut is a worse choice than income tax cut” don’t really fit with the strong prongs of their campaign message: fairness, environmentalism, and “richness”. Stop talking about the budget and focus on important issues.

Liberals are still attacking politics
Remember when Paul Martin attacked Stephen Harper for putting political ambition ahead of the national interest? Canadians don’t. Why not? Because it’s hypocritical and transparent.

Politicians have packaging and headline-grabbing on the brain, and Canadians know it. Trying to demonize your opponents for playing politics insults the public’s intelligence. Liberals are also devoted to short-term flash at the expense of long-term pain: that’s why the Kyoto Protocol was quickly signed but never properly implemented.

Complaining that Harper is more of a politician than you are is childish, whiny and shrill, and the only votes it gets you are ones you already have. Stop it and think of some real reason to complain — the public won’t do that for you.

Liberals are now attacking themselves
Why take aim at the Clean Air Act when your own party has effectively redrafted it in committee? Do you really want to give the Tories more ammo?

But perhaps the most telling volley from this maginot line of press coverage is the following:

Dion brought up farmers and the wheat board to great applause - in Toronto.

Which leads to one dazzlingly stupid conclusion: Liberals think that Toronto is where they need to win votes.

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