Musings —02.14.2012 01:17 AM—
Some context: A few Democratic Party strategists participated in a panel a few years back. James Carville, the Ragin’ Cajun, was one of them. Carville made a pithy observation that all progressives should remember: “(We) need a narrative. It’s tough to beat a narrative with a litany. And that happens to us again and again and again.”
Progressives — be they Democrats in the U.S., or Liberals and New Democrats up here — too often make things too complicated. Instead of promoting just a few memorable campaign planks, like Ronald Reagan or Stephen Harper do and did, progressives and liberals always come up with litanies of stuff. That is, mind-numbing laundry lists of policies.
If you have too many priorities, some wag once observed, you actually don’t have any. So, in the historic 2006 federal election campaign, Harper had just five: Government accountability, GST cut, slash health waiting times, child care cash and tougher sentences for gun crime. That’s it.
His Liberal rival, Paul Martin, had his platform leaked before its official release, and it contained nearly 200 priorities. The Liberal document was bursting at the seams with weasel words, such as “work with,” “work closely with,” “work to develop,” “work towards,” “work to increase,” as well as lots of fuzzy promises about “reviews” and “dialogues” to consider, study, encourage, and explore. Blah, blah, blah.