There are people who are just going to see the world the way they want regardless of the facts.
Enter Robert Silver and the blog he appears to share with Tim Powers (imagine what that apartment must look like).
In it today, Silver transitions from the obvious to the absurd all the while missing the fact that the party of Tommy Douglas is larger, more confident, and more prepared to govern than it has been in a generation; with almost all of the credit going to Jack Layton.
First the obvious: Silver writes “Whether the coalition is dead or alive is fully and entirely outside the NDP's control. If Michael Ignatieff wants it to happen, it happens. If he doesn't, it's dead.”
That's right. Of course it's right. Without Ignatieff and his 76 Liberals, there is no coalition. But Silver has missed the point. The New Democrats don't need to be in control of what Ignatieff does next. All that matters is that Mr Ignatieff has a choice: he can either demonstrate a desire to work with the NDP on an agenda to stimulate the economy that all Liberals have endorsed, or he can, as Mr Dion did with the Afghanistan vote, hold his nose and give an un-trustworthy Stephen Harper yet another blank cheque while bidding adios to progress on child care, EI reform and working with Obama on climate change. The decision is Mr Ignatieff's. But it's a mistake to believe the decision is politically valueless and that the New Democrats don't know that as well.
Secondly, there is the absurd. In the face of the facts, Silver argues that the New Democrats “failed in the last campaign” and are the same party they were in 1970s.
The same as encountering a misguided soul at the bus station who emphatically insists that Elvis and Marilyn Monroe staged the moon landing on a soundstage outside of Des Moines, this kind of rubbish can only be countered with the facts:
The 2008 election produced the second largest New Democrat Caucus in history -- including the largest Ontario caucus ever (not bad for a leader who will celebrate only six years on the job this month).
In the same election, Layton managed to engineer breakthroughs in Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Conservative bastion of Alberta while virtually sweeping Northern Ontario.
The party has increased its seats in every election since Layton became leader and in the Commons has rewritten the 2005 budget to make key investments that are building affordable housing and putting buses on the roads right now.
And as the willingness of Liberals to agree to the coalition policy agreement shows, Layton's NDP understands the modern economy better than any “tax cuts will save us all” Liberal or Tory government ever has.
Layton's (latest) accomplishment has been the unprecedented coalition agreement reached with Mr Dion with the tacit support of Bloc MPs – a feat considered impossible by Ottawa insiders. No New Democrat leader has come this close to producing a stronger economy or fundamentally changing the culture of Ottawa before. As a result, Layton is in the strongest position among his party and Canadians who want change.
But don't try to tell the professional detractors of the Jack Layton NDP any of this.