Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ontario Liberals in Free Fall: Predictably Resort to Useless Smearing and a Failed Strategy

So the Ontario Liberals want the coming provincial election to be about ethical issues such as women's reproductive rights. Now I get the strategy. Distraught with their free falling in the polls, the Liberals are desperate to pander to their supposed base (i.e. progressives, women, progressive women) and thus have taken to publicly demonizing the Tim Hudak and the Conservatives. Now I also get that Hudak is pandering to his base and to women with his whole tough on crime shtick.

So in the past few days, the Ontario Liberals have attempted to undermine Hudak's integrity with charges of waffling on issues, calling him a weasel, circulating pictures of of him next to a weasel, and dredging up his previous statements on abortion in an attempt to move the electorate to a deep foreboding over this horrible monster that is Tim Hudak. Isn't it interesting to have two men, both of whom have questionable records on feminist issues fighting to see who is more feminist? Of  course, the obvious feminist choice in the coming election is Andrea Horwath and the NDP. Some thoughts on this whole fiasco.

It's smearing and and has no place in civilized politics. Intelligent voters want democracy based on issues and debate not character assassinations. Just because it's effective, especially when done by an unscrupulous, well oiled and primed machine like the Harper regime, doesn't mean it's right. Btw, the OLP is not the CPC. The OLP's smears will not be as effective and Liberals are underestimating the intelligence of the voter base they're trying to solidify.

While I understand that it would be suicide for the OLP to laud its economic platform and achievements, trying to run a campaign right now on ethics/morality will just as likely lead to the decimation faced by the federal Liberals in May. And that pleases me.  Actually secretly I'm quite pleased the OLP is deploying this strategy.

Canadians discovered many things in the May election. Foremost, the electorate discovered it has the freedom and license not to stick with the same old/ same old "two party system" (in truth we've endured a system that masquerades for the one party wantonly pro capitalism and pro big business system that it really is). So change is possible but not with either the Liberals or Conservatives. Related to this was the realization that for women, progressives, youth, the marginalized, workers, and the middle class, the far more authentic voice is the NDP and thus, the Liberals have essentially become redundant and irrelevant in the current political landscape.

This, of course, is why the Liberals are desperate to shore up want they traditionally have considered their base. At this point, I believe, the OLP has given up (and the polls certainly bear this out, indeed I wonder what the Liberals; own polls are showing) forming the next government, but they are desperate to hold on to what they can. But what they fail to see is that running on the moral high ground is disastrous for them right now, just as it was for Ignatieff to run as defender of democracy. Why?

First, the Liberals have squandered any and all moral capital they may ever have had. Liberals just don't have any credibility on that front. McGuinty has been caught repeatedly  in public treasury mismanagement from slush funds to ehealth to exorbitant salaries for senior public servants. McGuinty was part of what provinical ombudsman described  as among the most flagrant civil rights abuses in Canadian history in the handling of the G20 protests. The use of diesel trains and the party of big Nuclear. McGuinty has continued the assault on organized labour launched by Mike Harris etc etc.

Second, the NDP has surfaced as the legitimate and powerful voice for progressives. While the NDP has always been considered as the party of conscience and defender of human rights and the environment, until recently the NDP was not always considered a credible alternative.  May 02 changed that and the tarnished image left by Bob Rae is no longer in play as it once was. I look to the NDP to come up big in the coming election. So OLP keep pushing your base out your right and left door into the waiting arms o the Conserevatives and NDP respectively.

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