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More thoughts on the Liberal Budget strategy – a method to the madness?

As you might have caught yesterday, I was actually not exactly pleased with the strategy Ignatieff and the Liberals went with on their approach to the Budget – I made it rather clear that I thought if they weren’t going to bring the government down, they could have been a lot tougher in what they were asking for in the way of amendments.

But I have to admit, after seeing all these Conservatives in angst and grief and anger, first at the series of blog reports that James Bowie did, (some of those are here and here), and now this and this (which by the way, has amused me to no end at all the wailing and grinding and gnashing of teeth out there in their corner), maybe the Iggy strategists were on to something in letting Harper wear this Budget.

Strategists are always looking for “wedge issues” that might cause a breach between a political party and their traditional supporters/voters, and if this imitation of a Keynesian Budget that has all the fiscal conservatives up in arms will cause a fair number of them to stop donating their money and time, or casting their vote for the Conservative Party, then that’s a good thing for the rest of us.

9 comments to More thoughts on the Liberal Budget strategy – a method to the madness?

  • Roll Tide

    I am having alot of fun reading the Liberal blogs, which are all over the map
    regarding the budget. Too much deficit, not enough spending.
    Scotts – its harder to make someone “wear” the budget when you yourself are voting for it.
    Republicans, who are voting against Obamas massive stimulus, are thinking the same thing.. Make him wear it, because the bigger the stimulus, the more damage done. They are voting against it!
    Regarding Conservative halt in donations,… wishfull thinking at best.

  • Anon

    Here is my take on this. Most Cons suppporters will still vote Cons no matter what (like one poster above, I too know a few Cons supporters and while they may now rave and rant about the budget, they will still vote Cons).

    Iggy might get a few soft Cons votes but, with his performance yesterday, these will be balanced out by the loss of a bunch of progressive Lib votes (to the NDP and Green) and also in Quebec, to the BQ. In the final analysis, he might be able to increase Lib support from about 28 to the low 30’s%, probably not enough to beat Harper. The attack ads from all 3 parties (Cons, NDP, BQ) at the next election pointing out that, despite all his talk, he folded to Harper, and that he is Dion II, are not going to help the Libs (unless of course he is able to persuade both NDP and BQ to support him if he ever tries to bring Harper down). Go figure what his chances are of getting cooperation from the other opposition parties after yesterday. However, this is politics, and one never says never. We are, unfortunately, in for at least 1-2 years of Harper.

  • Jason Townsend

    Pushing Harper out of office via a coalition would have saved his bacon, and led to his re-installation a few months later.

    Amending the budget would have made it ours, along with, effectively, the 12 billion dollar deficit which was the hurdle any stimulus had to leap beforehand anyway.

    It’s a terrible budget. It’s a laughable stimulus. It, with no Liberal fingerprints, is the only feasible way to remove Stephen Harper from power in 6-18 months, bring the Liberals to power, and remedy this mess while there’s still time.

    It’s extremely depressing to see a budget like this afflict Canada, and it’s more immediately depressing not to amend it’s more glaring oversights. But the only other alternative that offered any real chance of removing Harper – permanently- was to seek an election immediately, a very chancy exercise which would still leave us obliged to ‘stimulate’ Canada with ever-loving Jack at our neck and 12 billion dollars in the red already due to the conservatives, just with less torment from the media than via a coalition. And I don’t think Harper would have left politics under those circumstances, although he could have been forced out.

    One of the tragedies of Canadian politics is the NDP screaming “Have you no decency? Don’t play politics,” oblivious or indifferent to the fact that their ostentatious disdain for “politics” – which is to say, tactical thinking, and concern for outcomes – is in itself their primary “political” stock in trade.

    The situation in Canada is grim; but for the first time in years there’s a chance that Harper is on his way out and a real government is on its way in.

  • If you think (C)conservatives are going to stop donating time and money because of one budget, you haven’t met a lot of them. They live off hate & resentment: how much more do they h&r the other political actors? How much do they recognise Harper as one of their own? The coalition was the last chance the opposition had to change the rules of the game, specifically electoral reform, before they get run over in the next election, probably this spring, so there won’t be a Liberal convention and Liberals will campaign with an unelected, “unapproved” leader who gives a large swath of the party, the most active during election, red liberals, the willies. Reporting to HoC? Laughable. As Wherry pointed out, the guy who actually got them to change their Afghan policy (not as much as should have, admittedly) and got them to back down and completely transform their budget, Dion, would have suffered an even more frenzied pile-on than usual had he proposed such a milquetoast amendment after all the Iggy finger-shaking big talk. The media has their narrative for now. But Walkom is much closer to the truth than anyone else. Remember Wells’ 2nd rule of politics: If everyone in Ottawa knows something, it’s not true.

  • Sean S.

    ya screw Canadians and their money, lets play politics instead!

  • Stephen

    Is there a working definition of “rest of us” ?

    Presumably, it doesn’t include the many thousands of EI-ineligible workers who might have been hoping for something more than a politically crafty procedural amendment from Michael Ignatieff yesterday.

    Oh well, why should he lose sleep over their troubles anyway?

  • Big Winnie

    Using Harper’s “Divide and Conquer” tactics on him and the CON party…What a novel idea!

  • tdwebste

    Forget about party politics.

    Canadian’s need a budget that would work to increase our future economic efficiency and global competitiveness, while preparing us in way to reduce the social cost of our aging population.

    Please take the time to look this up. According to the Ontario government health care cost due to our aging population are expected to increase dramatically in about 5yrs time. Now is the time to act!! We lose this opportunity, we are fucked.

  • […] a happy camper. In the meantime, Scott thinks (hopes?) that Iggy’s passing of the budget is a plan to really exploit those rifts in the conservative movement. If this play works, it could pay dividends for the Grits – even if there was no formal split in […]

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