Musings —04.22.2011 09:30 AM—
- Are yesterday’s polls so astonishing? Seen here and here and here, there can’t be much doubt anymore: we seem to be at the start of a realignment in Canadian federal politics. About two years ago, you’ll recall, I was tossed on the political barbecue pit by Michael Ignatieff and his Super-Smart Senior Staff (4S, for short) for having the temerity to suggest, out loud, that Messrs. Chretien, Broadbent and Romanow were right.“I have no relationship with Warren Kinsella,” sniffed the fellow for whom I’d busted my hump for a couple years, and that was that. My sin? Agreeing with, you know, the most successful Liberal leader in history: suggesting that those of us who opposed Conservatives clearly needed to get together if we were ever to defeat Conservatives. And, more broadly, that Canada – like other democracies around the world – seemed to be heading towards a binary political universe, whether the political classes approved or not.
- What now? Well, that’s a really good question. If the NDP make history, and carry their current popularity past the weekend and into next week, they could very well form the Official Opposition. The instant that happens, as I told this PostMedia reporter yesterday in a long chat, the aforementioned Ignatieff and 4S are gone. They’ll all have to resign on election night if they are to escape the enraged, pitchfork-wielding grassroots Grits. Even in 1984’s rout we held onto Opposition status. With that gone – and the staff, and budget and influence that brings – it will be a long, hard slog back.
- We get emails, etc. Yesterday afternoon, not a few Gritty folks called and emailed to say, ruefully, “Damn, I guess Chretien and Broadbent and dinks like you were right. We should’ve gotten together with the NDP when we had the chance.” My response, and as I plan to write in my Hill Times space on Monday: “Uh-huh. Forgive me for repeating myself, which I do all the time, but why the Hell would the NDP be interested now? They look like they’re going to be the Official Opposition, and are on their way up. Why would they want to get together with a party on its way down? The opportunity has passed. Enjoy the next decade of misery.” Well, okay, maybe I wasn’t that harsh, but I was certainly thinking it, in my smallish cranium. I’m just pissed off, you know?
- Now is the time for all good persons to come to the aid of the party: I’m pissed off, I’m gloomy, I’m mostly sad about what has happened. And, in fairness, it’s not all Michael Ignatieff’s fault: every federal Liberal is to blame. The leadership wars, the policy vacuum, the lousy fundraising and recruitment, the lack of election readiness, the self-defeating culture within the party itself: all of those things, taken together, have taken us to this remarkable moment. Personally, I don’t plan to sit out the rebuilding. After sifting through yesterday’s polls, I announced to myself – and now to y’all – that it’s time for me to take another stab at elected office. Not sure where, or when, but that’s what I’m going to do. You read it here first, etc.
- Pic of the day: Get used to this, too. He deserves to be happy.