What’s interesting isn’t that Larry Martin has written a column about the downward slide of the Trudeau Liberals – lots of the other mostly pro-Grit writers are doing likewise, these days. What’s interesting is the answers he got to his questions – from an anonymous correspondent, whose identity everyone knows.
Let’s examine some of the Senior Liberal Strategist’s claims, shall we?
- “[The Ontario Liberal government’s early age sexual education policy is] hurting the brand badly in certain ethnic communities, especially in the west 905.” This is unmitigated B.S. For one thing, it recalls the efforts of Anne McLellan to blame Dalton McGuinty’s first budget for the woes of the federal Liberals, way back in the Spring of 2004. And, as every aspiring Liberal candidate knows, it is Justin Trudeau, not Kathleen Wynne, who has made social issues - abortion, gay marriage, sexual harassment - an actual condition of membership. Attempting to offload the blame on a single province’s Liberal government – a government that is merely doing what Trudeau himself has previously favoured – is unfair and hypocritical.
- “We will stick to [our strategy]. We expected the Tories would spend millions around tax time and the hockey playoffs to goose their numbers. That’s what they’re doing.” Two points, here. One, if “spending millions” on advertising was all that was required to win, Mitt Romney would be president around now. What is strategic - and this is point two – is having, you know, some ideas. Ideas are important. And they’re particularly important when all of that aforementioned advertising is focused on promoting the notion that you don’t have any ideas, and that you’re not smart enough to be Prime Minister.
- “The horse race numbers are not very meaningful six months before an election. Ask Tim Hudak. Or Adrian Dix. Or Pauline Marois. Or Danielle Smith.” This talking point is superficially true – polls get things wrong a lot, these days. But that truism cuts both ways: the reality may be that Trudeau hasn’t slipped as much as the polls say – or that he has slipped even more than the polls say. That’s not all: in the case of each of those politicians – Hudak, Dix, Marois and Smith – they lost because (a) they made a lot of verbal flubs, and/or (b) they had a big lead, and arrogantly assumed it would never go away. Remind you of anyone?
To put a fine point on it: this isn’t the McGill Debating Club, boys and girls. What matters in the Liberal Party (or used to) is actual outcomes – not, you know, how clever you sound as you anonymously debate newspaper columnists.