Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Character Assassination

Michael Ignatieff has been nothing but responsible since taking over as leader of the Liberal party. He has given his overt support to the government. When he has put pressure on the government, he has explained exactly what the issues are; he has chosen serious issues; and he has behaved respectfully and thoughtfully.

Nonetheless, the Conservative party has launched a massive negative ad campaign, spending $750,000 per week to try to trash Michael Ignatieff's character. They paint him as a power-hungry opportunist. They make it seem like Ignatieff is trying to rush into an election, when the opposite is just the case: he turned his back on the coalition and supported Harper. For heaven's sake, he has only had a few months to rebuild the Liberal party and we are not even ready to fight an election.

The ads twist reality in more ways than one. Not only do they paint an untrue picture of Ignatieff, but they totally distort the reality of politics. Every political leader is trying to win more seats; if they weren't they would be bad leaders. There is nothing evil about playing to win. (If there were, Stephen Harper would be Beelzebub himself.)

As a member of the Liberal party, I protest this continuing character assassination of whoever we choose as leader. The Conservative party under Stephen Harper has become a US neocon-style attack organization, seeking to dupe the public and distort the system rather than win on their own merits. Federal politics has been hijacked by a bunch of right-wing Albertan donors who are willing to turn Canadian politics into a game of hate. It was bad enough when they spent millions making fun of Stephane Dion's Gallic shrug; now it's just gone too far. Enough is enough.

The truth about our current situation is this: last fall Harper behaved so badly that he lost the confidence of Parliament, which formed a coalition to replace him as Prime Minister. Michael Ignatieff stepped in and supported Harper on the condition that Harper handle the recession in a reasonable manner. There are serious questions about whether Harper has met his end of the bargain. Ignatieff could overthrow Harper at any time, but instead of doing so, he is negotiating with Harper to try to improve the government's economic performance.

For the first few weeks the Conservative attack ads had no effect, but slowly they are taking root in the minds of Canadians. For example, a recent commenter in the Globe wrote, "Mr. Ignatieff is only in this for himself. ...He wants to be Prime Minister and will do whatever it takes to force an election." You hear that more and more. Rational argument is ultimately useless in the face of a good PR firm and a huge budget. The Liberal party has resisted the temptation to fight back with their own negative ads, which I applaud. A compelling reason for an early election is to end the Harper Hate campaign before it can become fully effective.



kirbycairo said...

Herein lies the rub. Iggy can be as rational and responsible as he wants but it won't get him the results he hopes for against Harper and his bullies. It is just a sad fact that if he has any hope of overthrowing Harper he needs to get a little dirty and destroy Harper and his clan.

CRM said...

isn't it time for us all to start a daily kos kind of email action to prod the liberals to bring down the government? Couldn't agree more with your post. So frustrating. Does Ignatieff really think things will get better the longer he waits?

Anonymous said...

Please answer these very important questions.

1. What would Ignatieff do to solve unemployment?
2. What would he do to solve the shortage of isotopes?
3. What would he do to solve the economic situation?

He has never given an answer. All he does is bitch without giving any constructive solutions.

Once a teacher always a teacher. This report card crap is just that . . . crap.

I'm so glad he is the Liberal leader because very soon (with or without negative advertising) Canadians will see what he's really about. An overeducated social misfit who will slink out of Canada back to the U.S. as soon as he realizes that Canadians aren't buying his "mightier and smarter than thou" persona.

bgrice said...

I enjoyed your post, thanks. The most disturbing thing is the media seems to have been affected by the ads. The response to Mr. Ignatieff's composure has been ridicule not only from the CPC, which we expect, but from the press as well, as was demonstrated on The National quite clearly last night.

If I may respond to a couple of your other commenters:

- Anonymous: It is not the place of the Opposition to define how we would do the job, but rather to hold the Government accountable for how they do the job. I’m sure if Mr. Harper was to ask for our help and advice on these issues, our MPs would be happy to provide him a very public plan to achieve success in these three areas. To do so unasked, outside an election campaign, would be giving away our primary weapons for an election fight.

- kirbycairo The country will be far more impressed to see a leader who is unflappable in the face of continued attack than one who is moved to anger and fires back. This is the man we wish to lead our Country. Wouldn’t we rather a leader who responds rationally to attacks, with reason and consideration? Isn’t that what we want from the man who controls our military, and our foreign affairs?


Bobbie said...

To Anonymous: Sorry guy, but you'll need to bring your brains when you log on here.

Anonymous said...

bgrice . . . Your comment was quite funny. What would the Liberals do if they were in power? Are you telling me on one hand they are saying the Conservatives are doing things all wrong and on the other hand we don't know why but they just are? What about policy? It seems you and your leader have the same attitude. We know you're screwing up and we'll keep telling you you're screwing up. But wait until we get our power back . . . then we'll have a plan.

And Bobbie . . . nice answer to my comment. I feel so ashamed of myself . . . you really know how to put an end to a good argument. Your comment seems so typical of many Liberals. If you disagree with our point of view you must be stupid.

And last but not least, my three questions are still unanswered.

LMA said...

Anon, "once a teacher, always a teacher"

The truth is that Harper received a failing grade on his "report card" and is being given remedial coaching by Ignatieff. His failure as a leader is clear for all to see.

Your questions have no answers because there is no way to "solve" unemployment and an economic slowdown in the middle of a global recession. All you can do is try to stimulate the economy and provide help for the unemployed.
Harper failed to deliver the stimulus funds in a timely manner and implement economic reform. He has been slow to deal with the looming crises of isotope shortage. He is incompetent and his days are numbered.

wilson said...

''but slowly they (ads) are taking root in the minds of Canadians''

True, while watching Rex's rant on the National,
MI blowing kisses to the crowd came to mind.

But the thing is, for the ads to work,
the subject has to provide validation to the ads.
Dion did prove to be 'not a leader',
and now your appointed leader is beginning to act like the ads framed him.

Yappa said...

Hi wilson -

Um, do you watch the news? Ignatieff just made a major move that was exactly the opposite of the Conservative character assassination description of him. He is continuing to back Harper and avoid an election, making the Liberals the only opposition party to do so.