Musings —03.14.2013 12:26 PM—
The Liberals need to accommodate the NDP if they want to stay alive. But if they give away too much, they risk being seen as weak, and having traded fiscal probity for self-interest.
The PCs have relegated themselves to the sidelines, once again – but, as Jean Chrétien used to remind us, the job of the Opposition is to oppose. And too much cooperation – as Dion and Ignatieff can testify – can be toxic to your brand. (Too much “being nice,” as well.)
The NDP, meanwhile, can’t lose. If they continue to extract concessions from the Wynne Liberals, they’ll get to claim credit. And, when the relationship has outlived its usefulness, they can summarily execute the Grits and say “it’s time for a change.”
As I write in Fight The Right, even progressive voters think an abundance of cooperation and consensus is synonymous with weakness. It’s a mistake to always equate conciliation with strength. It isn’t. Ask Stephen Harper.
If I’m right, the Ontario NDP has the upper hand. One of their opponents appears inert, the other seemingly lies prostrate.
The only risk to the Horwath New Democrats, at this point, is being seen as propping up the government for too long. My hunch? They’ll continue to take what they can, then stick in the knife after April’s budget.