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These Grits are a little watery. September 23, 2008

Posted by tomflesher in Canada.
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Two editorials from the Globe and Mail discuss the perception of Liberal Party leader Stéphane Dion and the Liberal Party itself as weak.

As I discussed here, there’s a perception that the Liberal Party is suffering because Stephane Dion lacks charisma and the public perceives him as weak. Margaret Wente agrees – “At the start of this campaign, Mr. Dion decided to forget about his team and go head-to-head with Harper,” Wente says. “To hell with the Liberal brand!” Wente’s article isn’t terribly insightful – she points to Dion’s professorial manner and his poor public speaking skills, as well as the fragmented left and the charisma that the fragmentors (Elizabeth May and Jack Layton) bring to the table. She further blames him for staying on-message about the Green Shift when the voters are worrying about Wall Street, but that isn’t exactly a poor decision. Shifting gears in reaction to something that’s likely to be fairly transient in the news would simply label Dion as a panderer.

Jeffrey Simpson also criticizes the Dion campaign, discussing the Green Shift and the Liberal campaign’s attendant “‘funds’ [and] ‘studies'”. He points to the continuing cuts as something that the Canadian people just won’t stand for:

“If the Liberals ever got a chance to implement this platform – a highly unlikely prospect – they couldn’t do it all, even if they wanted to, unless the economy started roaring again or they dropped their insistence on a balanced budget with a $3-billion contingency fund.”

That is, the Green Shift is, as Simpson says, “a political loser” despite being the right thing to do. The externality of climate change must be imposed, Simpson says, upon everybody because otherwise the market will fail. This whole campaign keeps reminding me more and more of Jimmy Carter forcing the country to swallow the bitter pill of anti-inflationary policy.

The problem is that Dion isn’t in power yet.

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