Thursday, February 22, 2007

Liberals; the meek will not be elected

Many Liberals are satisfied with the policy direction Dion is taking the party. I am not one of those Liberals. That said, I do not wish to discuss the merits of any of the policy nodes right now. I only want to clarify some of points I have made in past about the Liberals electability.

Let me start by making a blunt, some would say bald statement: the Liberals can not win the next election on the strength of their platform. Part of the problem is that the Liberals do not have a good working relationship with MSM. Canada’s pundits are a very conservative crowd indeed and the lion’s share of the negative coverage in the last two elections was directed the Liberals way. The following numbers speak for themselves and these do not include the numbers for the Sun media chain, the Conservative Party’s press division. Declan from Crawl across the ocean summarizes.

“During the campaign there were 3,753 articles written about the election in the 7 newspapers studied (The Calgary Herald, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, the Toronto Star and the Vancouver Sun, La Presse and Le Devoir).

Of those 3753, 3035 mentioned the Liberal party. Out of those 3035, there were 40 with positive mentions of the Liberal party and 445 with negative mentions of the Liberals, giving a 11 to 1 ratio of negative mentions to positive (slightly higher than last election's 10-1 ratio).

Meanwhile, for the Conservative Party, the figures were 2730 total articles, including 144 positive mentions and 127 negative mentions, for a slightly positive overall slant (the positive mentions were similar to last election, but the negatives were cut in half).”

Another problem is that the Liberal party's aversion to controversy has carried over into its time in opposition. They have continued to come up with middle of the road, offend no one, please no one, interest no one, policies that are utterly incoherent at their core because they are designed to appeal to both sides of any political divide. Not rocking the boat is a sound strategy when one is in power and ahead in the polls. However, it makes no sense whatsoever when one is behind in the polls and in opposition. Indeed, what made such a strategy so appealing before, viz., the lack of attention such policies garnered, is what makes them so unappealing now.

Yet another problem is the lack of a grass roots base. Being the party that stands for nothing, save averaging the differences between the other major parties' policies, it is little wonder that the Liberals do not have a strong base of support and what base they do have, as demonstrated by anti establishment favorite Stephane Dion’s being elected leader, is at odds with the party establishment. Without a solid grass roots movement, the party is not going to be able to buy anywhere near the amount of ad time as the Conservative party will be able to.

If all this were not bad enough, Stephane Dion, while charming in nerdy sort of way, has neither the English language skills nor the personal charisma to keep the media’s attention for very long.

I have said time and time again what I think the Liberals should do to overcome these difficulties. For example: I want to hear some others chime in.

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