Saturday, April 30, 2005

Thinking a couple of moves ahead?

Babble on.

This may come as a shock, but I've been thinking.

From my previous post:

If you want to blame anyone for bringing the government down, blame Martin. He's made a deal with a party that can't keep him in power. What a dope.


Much as Martin's leadership style seems to come from the frames of a Dilbert comic, I'm sure he can count. If he can't, someone on his staff surely can. And if I'm giving the PMO too much credit, then forget governing the country, the Liberals need to be sent back to third grade en masse.

But if I'm right, and the Martinis can count noses, they know this Dipper budget-deal won't save their government. So why did they do it?

Bueller? Anyone?

The only explanation I can come up with that makes any sense is pre-election positioning. The Grits know they're going down in the House sometime soon. So they make a deal with Jack, which pours oil on the waters to Martin's left. At the same time, they float the idea of reintroducing the corporate tax provisions in a separate bill, shoring up their economic-stewardship credentials with the right-of-centre crowd. And all the while, they show that they are the one party in the House of Commons who can make a minority government work. They're the reasonable ones in all this chaos and rhetoric.

If that's their plan - and remember, I'm just speculating here - then it's a damned poor one. If the Liberals show they can work with the NDP, then there's no real reason for Dipper-supporters to run lemming-like over to the Lib's when the inevitable last-minute "Liberals are the only ones who can stop the baby-eating Conservative hordes" scarefest campaign kicks in. Besides, reintroducting the corporate tax provisions through the backdoor kills any remaining credibility Martin has with left-of-centre voters. Voters to the right don't see compromise, they see a man who is scrambling around in a panic, trying to save his government job by any means possible.

Voters on both sides of the divide, and those squarely in the centre, see a Liberal party and a Prime Minister with no real ideas or convictions.

Instead of setting an agenda and framing the debate, Martin's Liberals have been on the defensive from the minute he took office. This latest strategic lead balloon out of the PMO - assuming anyone there is thinking beyond tomorrow - won't change that posture one bit.

Babble off.

6 Comments:

At 10:29 AM, Blogger buckets said...

Your suggestion that the deal with the NDP is as much about creating optics for an inevitable election strikes me as quite plausible, as do your references to the dangers here.

One could also add, however, that the NDP deal achieved something else that was importatnt for Martin--changing the subject. It moved Gomery off the front page and got people arguing about corporate tax-cuts vs. money for social programs.

Will it save the liberals? That is still unclear. But if the polls are stablising with the Tories and Liberals roughly equal, the incentive for the Tories to bring down the government is diminished. (What do their own polls tell them, I wonder?) They, too, may decide that they prefer the optics of being seen to almost bring the government down to actually doing it, which means that they leave Chatters and Cadman in their sick-beds.

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger buckets said...

I agree that Martin has been on the defensive and much the steps that we're seeing lately (the deal with the NDP, the promise of a post-Gomery election) are desperate improvisation.

A hockey analogy comes to mind. 90% of being a good goalie is positioning--being in a place where the puck hits you. Goalies who rely on their reactions to make great saves look great, but get scored on more. Martin is a reaction goalie.

 
At 11:25 AM, Blogger Canadi-anna said...

Martin's always seemed duplicitous to me. I've never thought of him as a nice guy, inept and bumbling but well-meaning.
I always thought I was along in thinking that until I read Andrew Coyne in the Post today about Martin. Robert Fulford too.
Martin is a shrewd operator.
Cheers.

 
At 11:46 AM, Blogger Andrew Spicer said...

Maybe he made the deal because he was desperate.

It was either: make a deal with the NDP and hope to find 3 votes somewhere... or... passively let the Conservatives bring the government down and go to election.

This way he, as U&D says, changed the subject. And, he has at least a chance of passing the budget.

 
At 1:04 PM, Blogger Joel Fleming said...

Or Martin knows something we don't. Perhaps he's made a deal with some Conservative backbencher of which we are yet unaware.

 
At 3:09 PM, Blogger Greg said...

It is to set up the Harper is the destroyer of all good things argument when the election comes. It's all Martin has left. But, and this is a big one, he can also promise to cure cancer during the election while claiming that Harper has no plan, because he is going into the election proposing all sorts of nice things (he has little intention of doing) and Harper is yelling "Stop, these guys are crooks!" Most people hear the stop and tune out the crooks part. This makes Harper look like Mr. Negative and Martin like Santa.

 

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