Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Dion paradox: Attacking Layton by defending Harper on the economy

As the 2008 election nears its final week, Jack Layton is in uncharted territory for New Democrats: gaining support from a strong showing in the debate; holding huge energetic rallies targeted at ridings New Democrats think they can win; watching Harper’s party and leadership numbers slip below their 2006 levels; and tied with the Dion Liberals in popular support.

It’s that last point that has Liberals fretting and increasing their attacks on Layton from ridings like Churchill that Liberals are now fighting to save.

What’s most baffling are the barbs being thrown by Dion at Layton. When Layton talks about Dion, he points to the Liberal record of having kept Harper in power by abstaining on confidence votes for most of the last year. If Dion had had the courage of his convictions, Harper would have been gone long ago, along with his agenda for immigration, the economy and the environment. The differentiation is obvious: Layton is different from Harper because he would oppose him, unlike Dion.

For his part, Dion’s attacks on Layton are to say Layton’s pledge to eliminate Harper’s planned $50 billion in corporate tax cuts is a “job killer”. The differentiation is far less clear: Dion would oppose Layton’s attempt to reverse Harper’s economic policies -- thereby opposing Harper, how?.

If Dion is trying to appeal to the cente-left who like Layton’s strong leadership for the “kitchen table,” he needs a wedge. Inexplicably, the one he has chosen is to rush to the defence of Harper’s corporate tax cuts, thereby demonstrating he’s no different than the PM.


Mark Francis said...

"When Layton talks about Dion, he points to the Liberal record of having kept Harper in power by abstaining on confidence votes for most of the last year."

And it's something that Layton and the NDP should have stopped doing a long time ago.

Harper was calling confidence votes left right and centre in violation of 140 years of parliamentary tradition, and I never saw the NDP make a concerted effort to condemn Harper for it. Instead, cynically, they are using Harper's tactic to attack the Liberals.

You have to deal with reality here: elections cost money, and the Liberals didn't, and still don't, have enough. Call an election at the wrong time over something like principle, and Harper would be handed a majority. But that wouldn't matter, right? As long as Dion called it over "principle" all would be fine?

Once in power, an "other-than-Harper" government would be in position to reverse harper's changes. With Harper in a majority, with four years to keep doing damage that would not be the case, would it?

When you're Canada's perennial third-place party, as the NDP is, it's easy to be holier than thou. Dion has had larger considerations to deal with than dealing with faux non-confidence votes.

janfromthebruce said...

And I'm stickin with the NDP - way too cool!
Stickin with the NDP

noamzs said...

I don't think the NDP and the Grits are tied in the polls quite yet. Besides, even if they were, the Liberals would still trounce them because of our completely undemocratic first past the post system. I usually vote for the NDP, but it has never actually done anything for them because my riding always goes to the Liberals. So instead, I have decided to boycott the election this time around. I urge everyone else to do the same. It is the only way we will ever achieve electoral reform. On October 14th, stay home and unvote.

jenn said...

jan - i have seen you on the TorStar comment section. Keep it up Sister. Any other blogging or not blogging dippers need to get on those comment boards on CBC TorStar and Globe because those con bloggers are freakin' nasty. They are telling lies about jack and olivia in coop housing, and the keep calling us commies (that one mainly makes me laugh but still needs to be beaten back). So join me and jan on the e-barricades folks!

That call to arms aside. Here is the other fun vid that has been circulating around the tubes. I think we should aim to post this sucker everywhere and push the counter to 10k by mid week.

janfromthebruce said...

That's why Jenn. The virtual air war has to go there too. Interesting about the Globe one, as usually it's just Nasty Cons, but I noticed alot less nasty stuff when progressives get on those boards.
ditto for the utube. Need to get on and get the stats up.
As for Dion - he is really sounding desperate and the MSM is out for blood, asking why he's stumpin in safe seats. We all know why!
I loved what Hollett said in Libs come begging... again

"I’ve got a tip for the Liberal party and all of their supporters crowding into the cramped confines of their ,Trojan Horse of strategic voting, – if you want to win this election, go out and win it and stop asking other parties to take a knee so you can catch up and be in the race."
Talking back to hot air and "stickin with the NDP."

A reader said...

Mark Francis:

So, let me see if I can understand you ... it's the NDP's fault that the Liberals had to support Harper on 43 confidence votes because, what, we as the perennial third party could have stopped Harper from making them confidence votes, when you as the only real alternative government party in the official opposition couldn't, and moreover we had a moral obligation to do so because you didn't have enough money in your coffers yet to fight a proper campaign so you could stay in 2nd place.

Man, now THAT is a sense of entitlement! I've got to hand it to you, Mark, that really beats them all! It's hilarious.

Also hilarious: "Dion has had larger considerations to deal with than dealing with faux non-confidence votes.". Yes, the leader of a political party has larger considerations to deal with than the political strategy of the party he's supposed to be leading. You betcha!

Malcolm+ said...

So Dion claims that he would be a more effectoive opposition to Harper because the NDP are opposed to Harper's economic policies while he supports them.

Yep That sounds about right.

Time to stop pretending that we can oppose Conservative policies by turning instead to Conservative (Not Very) Lite, aka the Liberal Party of Canada.