, 07.29.2020 09:49 AM

From the archives: top ten Wizard excuses for the Wynne Wipeout™

A few of you let me know that the Wizard – who was receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars a month, in the Wynne era – was sympathetic to the Keilburgers and critical of Yours Truly. So sad.  So I thought I would provide this one from the archives. It suggests that, if you are looking for someone who knows how to win, you shouldn’t ever look to this guy – he’s advised three Liberal parties. And he’s wrecked all three.

A week to go, and I have already started to hear some of the excuses being road-tested by the Wizard and the Board. They know they are going to lose.  So they are readying their rationalizations.

Here’s ten of them, which I may turn into a Hill Times column.  Feel free to add more in comments.

  1. “We’ve been in power for more than a decade, we knew winning again was unlikely.” That so? Really? Except: the same excuse could’ve been trotted out in 2014, when it was also more than a decade in power. And: Stephen Harper didn’t drive his party in the ground. Christy Clark won a minority.  Bill Davis ruled Ontario forever. And so on.
  2. “Female political leaders never get re-elected.  Misogyny, etc.” Uh-huh.  Except: Nancy Pelosi, Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, Indira Gandhi, et al.  They all did okay.  Misogyny isn’t solely a Canadian problem.
  3. “Kathleen is gay.  She was defeated by homophobia.”  Gotcha.  Explain: 2014.
  4. “This is the former Premier’s fault.  Gas plants, blah blah blah.  Wasn’t our fault.”  This one drives me nuts.  (I mean, Kathleen Wynne would still be a little-known school board trustee were it not for Dalton McGuinty.)  Besides, it isn’t just disrespectful, it’s disingenuous: from the perspective of Joe and Jane Frontporch, folks, it’s all one Ontario Liberal Party, you know?  Voters remember you worked for Dalton, Kathleen.
  5. “Hiding Kathleen wouldn’t have worked.  She’s the leader, we needed to have her front and centre.”  Gotcha.  A former Ontario Liberal leader, Lyn McLeod, experienced precisely the same problem in 1995: she was dragging her party down.  So, McLeod and her senior people made the (tough, principled) decision to take her off the air for the final two weeks.  They held onto 30 seats as a result.  Why didn’t Wynne do likewise?
  6. “We ran an ethical and scandal-free government.  We were sunk by Dalton’s scandals.”  Repeat after me: it’s never the break-in, it’s the cover up.  Example One: Jean Chrétien resigned in December 2003, and the daily headlines were then still screaming about the so-called “sponsorship scandal.”  Chrétien’s approval number?  Sixty per cent.  Example Two:  five years earlier, in December 1998, Bill Clinton became the most popular president in the history of U.S. polling, at 73 per cent approval – all of which came after the Lewinsky scandal, and his impeachment in the House of Representatives.  Scandal isn’t what sinks you: per Harry Truman, it’s trying to pass the buck about scandal.
  7. “After fifteen years, there was no way we were going to win again.  We decided to take the hit so a new leader could start fresh.”  Really?  Seriously?  Next week, I will be presenting y’all with quantitative evidence showing that this is hooey: the Ontario Liberal brand was popular, the Ontario Liberal record was popular, the Ontario Liberal caucus was popular.  What wasn’t popular was the leader.  She needed to talk a proverbial walk in the proverbial snow.  She didn’t.
  8. “Our internal polling actually showed that we were going to do far worse.  We are pleased where we ended up.”  You are forgiven if that one in any way reminds you of this.
  9. “Trudeau has hurt the Liberal brand everywhere.  He pulled down our numbers.”  Did Trudeau take on water after India? Yes.  Does he have both sides of the ideological spectrum (unfairly) mad at him after the decision to buy the Trans Mountain Pipeline?  Yes.  But the notion that Trudeau is in any way responsible for Wynne’s disastrous campaign is absurd.  If anything, her numbers pulled down his.
  10. “We’ll be back.”  Well, some of us will be.  But Kathleen Wynne and the Wizard and the Board?

They won’t be.


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    Chris Storey says:

    Liberals never, ever tell the truth on everything. Why doesn’t she just say, ” Our policies were just wrong “.
    Liberals never admit they were wrong.

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      Derek Pearce says:

      Except their policies are quite popular, duh, why do you think Horwath is doing so well? It’s Wynne herself who’s not popular. She should’ve resigned more than a year ago but had blinders on. I don’t even think quite think it’s hubris, just more being in a bubble and out of touch.

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      Art says:

      No party admits they are wrong.

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    Mitch B says:

    “We’re just not very good at apologizing”

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    Luke M says:

    “Sorry but we’re not sorry for all the scandal because, hey it wasn’t us.”

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    doconnor says:

    “It would have worked if we stayed ahead of the NDP and collected all the not-Conservative votes, like the last two times.”

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    p bre says:

    #7 …with decent leader given mess of Pc’s Brown , Ford etc etc , duds in NDP….this was ripe for taking ..if she wouldnt give it up she should have been told she is out …

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    Andrew b says:

    hearing that grit staffers are getting drunk at hq and party have left only a few operatives in field to pull vote. Worst campaign in Canadian history – big issue was lack of an adult running things operationally like a Pat Sorbara. Her own team knifed her and now those same folks will never work again at the highest level – she must be laughing -these people were also too busy draining the taxpayer and fucking OLP over to actually plan anything! Dozens and dozens of candidates missing with a few weeks to go and the leaders Tour has been one comms failure after another after another with a press Shoppe that sends out complete gibberish hourly.
    Why doesnt Kathleen fire Wizard and co is question du jo ur inside party ranks.

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      Des says:

      I’m pretty sure it’s too late to fire said Wizard

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    Sean says:

    Everything was going swell until those hungry teachers ordered more pizza than we could afford. We had to increase the deficit to pay for it which resulted in a credit downgrade- bad publicity.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    At least they can fall back on electing class presidents!

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    This PM likely has already warmed up a Senate seat for her.

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    Lawrence Barry says:

    Out here in BC – the land of historically bat shit crazy politics – enough – it might be time to pass the torch? This train wreck is impressive!

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      Miles Lunn says:

      Maybe the OLP could take a look at the BC NDP in terms of their future. OLP is as unpopular as the BC NDP was in 2001 and the BC NDP was reduced to only 2 seats. Yes they are now in government again, but that is after 16 years in opposition and even then they still couldn’t win the popular vote or the most seats, it was only be getting the Greens to prop them up they could form government.

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    Bruce M says:

    Rationalization #11 –
    The sale of Hydro Ontario was misunderstood by Ontariens and is seen as a betrayal of their sacred trust to guard the Crown jewel – so says the Toronto Star.
    Problem is, the party’s popularity (or lack thereof) did not coincide with the sale.

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    Gord says:

    They had zero chance of winning as long as Wynne was leader. Zero. It’s not uncommon for long-in-the-tooth governments to be re-elected, but it almost always requires a leadership change (or two) along the way (McGuinty to Wynne, Doer to Selinger, Campbell to Clark, Lougheed to Getty to Klein to Stelmach to Redford, Frost to Robarts to Davis, etc). They could have put Wynne under house arrest for the duration of the campaign and it wouldn’t do any good.

    Would a new leader have salvaged another term? Maybe not, but my observation of Ontario voters is they aren’t inclined to vote for change for change’s sake. At the very least, I think a new leader would have been able to salvage a second-place finish and a respectable caucus. Ford could easily be a one-term wonder (if his shoddy campaign is any indication) and the Grits would have been the government-in-waiting. Now they’ll struggle for relevance as a third-party rump (much like the ONDP from 1995 onward).

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    David Ray says:

    for sale. one red petard. hoisted so often it faded to orange and then new black.

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      PhilB says:

      The black petard says we all have to do better.

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    Dork in East York says:

    Warren, I don’t think even James Carville and David Plouffe could have saved Team Wynne. The writing was on the wall. They were always destined for a distant third place showing.

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    PhilB says:

    Was his idea to grab Iona’s ass.

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