Wednesday, November 19, 2008

If we ain't buying it, why are you still selling it?

If only Bob Rae would live by his own words today: "If they ain't buying it, you gotta stop selling it"...

Rae's comment appears in this Canwest story about how all three Liberal leadership candidates are pledging not to pursue a policy similar to Stephane Dion's Green Shift if elected leader. I, for one, am disappointed. The Green Shift was the right policy to fight climate change and evolve our economy for the future in a wise and measured way. It's unfortunate that Dion wasn't able to sell it properly and it was folly to think he could in a few short months, up against the Conservative propaganda machine. The Green Shift was good policy, but bad politics.

I did find some comfort in Ignatieff's spokesperson's comments stressing the need to find another way to balance environmental sustainability and economic growth. But Rae's words seemed overly harsh, saying the Green Shift was, according to the story, pursued without applying common sense, good judgment or the daily experience of ordinary people. Perhaps the reporter put words in Rae's mouth (as those words weren't directly quoted), so we'll see if he corrects the record. Otherwise, he's severely dissing Mr. Dion.

The Green Shift suffers one defeat under Stephane Dion and it's game over for shifting taxes from income and productivity to pollution, according to Mr. Rae. By that standard, one defeat is good enough to kill any option, I suppose. If Rae set that same standard against his own candidacy for the Liberal Party leadership, he wouldn't be running again this time. Many Liberals didn't want a former NDP leader as Liberal leader in 2006 and they still feel the same way today. So, Bob, if we ain't buying it, why are you still selling it?

But alas, one defeat doesn't mean an option is forever dead. The Green Shift wasn't the only reason the Liberals lost the last election. Much of it simply had to do with Dion's bad image and his inability to overcome it.

Tomorrow, Rae will launch his second bid for the Liberal leadership. I do wish him well, but I do hope he cuts down on the mudslinging soon. His new tough guy approach is making me nervous. Remember, Bob, Stephen Harper is the bad guy, not Stephane Dion or Michael Ignatieff.


burlivespipe said...

Look, i haven't decided yet who i'll be supporting but i think there's some insight, and also a bit of harshness, to what Rae said. Look at Clinton's universal health care proposal, and what that result did for that cause. You need a virtual majority to bring something as revolutionary like a green shift into action. Pitching it required ideal circumstances... And Dion really needed to sell himself first.
With that out of the way, what do you think of the poll, apparently commissioned by a leadership hopeful, that was released tonight showing who's least popular for today's circumstances? Coming on the eve of Rae's official launch, isn't this an equally, if not bigger, mud-pie retort at the former premier? I am thinking possibly of supporting Ignatieff, but if he commissioned this poll at this stage, I'm really disappointed.

Matt Guerin said...

I'm not too impressed by the poll's result - 20% think Rae would be bad for the economy, 7% think that of Ignatieff, 8 or 9% for LeBlanc. Not sure what to make of that. I read in a story that the poll wasn't commissioned by a leadership candidate, it was commissioned by someone else. But the result was released by one of them. It is a bit harmful to Rae on the eve of his announcement, but considering that Rae has signalled he wants to play hard ball in this race and caused a huge kerfuffle on the weekend in Mississauga, I'm not surprised at these tactics. I do hope all the candidates start showing a little restraint soon.