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Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Peter3 wrote:
I guess you missed the 1990 Ontario election.

We're talking federal politics, dude. Tongue out

Bookish Agrarian

It's a dumb ass stupid premise.  The BEST thing Layton did in the last election was announce he was running for Prime Minister.  It is frankly delusional to believe that the previous line of 'pretty please just give us a voice in Parliament' was seen as anything else besides we can't win.

Your analysis is over-the-top drivel.

thorin_bane

I gotta agree. If we want a seat at the big table we have to stop being the kid and asking if we can get a second helping.

Peter3

Boom Boom wrote:

We're talking federal politics, dude. Tongue out

We're talking politics. If the fact that the example is from a province means its lessons are inadmissable to discussions of federal politics, then we really are in sad shape.

ottawaobserver

The launch of the last election campaign was designed to force the NDP into the national media coverage, which the media had pretty much already decided would probably see the NDP become sidelined by a two-way fight between the Liberals and Conservatives.

The NDP had to do something dramatic and newsworthy and give them some compelling film to run on the news ... the news conference with Parliament in the backdrop, the immediate (and audacious) hop to a rally in Calgary, and the flight over the oil sands were just the trick.  They got major coverage on the opening day of the campaign, and became impossible not to cover later on as a result.

Oh and one little picky point, Boom Boom:  we came 3rd in votes ... just 4th in seats.

Debater

Stockholm wrote:

 I thought that in the last election, Layton's pitch that he was running for PM proved to be quite effective.

I think it was effective initially, yes, for the first half of the campaign because he was taken seriously for a while.  However, it turned out to be a failure in the end because the NDP needed to win 50 seats and come close to displacing the Liberals from the Official Opposition the way it did in 1984.  By not doing that, the primary objective was not achieved.

Stockholm

We don't measure the success or failure of the strategy of running for PM in terms of whether or Layton actually was elected PM. We measure it compared to the likely result of any other strategy. I feel 100% certain that if the NDP had NOT run to win and had instead had a stratgy of "we know we can't win and we just want to be the conscience of parliament", the NDP would have won half as many seats and the election would have been a fiasco.

janfromthebruce

And I loved that Layton and the NDP ran to win. It made this NDPer working in the trenches and banging on doors, absolutely proud and energized.

Benjamin

There is nothing wrong with saying that you are running to win (this is the point of politics after all), and I appreciate that people feel energized by Layton's enthusiasm.  But, the problem is that the NDP is unable to crack into the mainstream, in part because of its inability to transform rhetoric into policy.  Hearing Layton pretend that he was going to be PM elicited more than just sneers, it elicited questions of what the heck he was smoking.  It was good for a laugh, and good for grabbing some much needed media attention, and in that regard, it was successful, but reall,y most of the non-converted look at this type of behaviour with disdain.  It is hard to take Layton seriously when he is sputtering about what he would do if he was PM.

As a party, the NDP will not move forward with Layton as its leader.  It probably won't fall off, but the NDP is stagnating at the moment, and more Layton just prolongs this stagnation.  I, and many others, would be happy to support the NDP, but there needs to be a leadership change first hopefully to someone younger, and someone a little more bilingual.

West Coast Lefty

Benjamin wrote:

There is nothing wrong with saying that you are running to win (this is the point of politics after all), and I appreciate that people feel energized by Layton's enthusiasm.  But, the problem is that the NDP is unable to crack into the mainstream, in part because of its inability to transform rhetoric into policy.  Hearing Layton pretend that he was going to be PM elicited more than just sneers, it elicited questions of what the heck he was smoking.  It was good for a laugh, and good for grabbing some much needed media attention, and in that regard, it was successful, but reall,y most of the non-converted look at this type of behaviour with disdain.  It is hard to take Layton seriously when he is sputtering about what he would do if he was PM.

As a party, the NDP will not move forward with Layton as its leader.  It probably won't fall off, but the NDP is stagnating at the moment, and more Layton just prolongs this stagnation.  I, and many others, would be happy to support the NDP, but there needs to be a leadership change first hopefully to someone younger, and someone a little more bilingual.

It is a dilemma, because if Jack doesn't say he is running to win, it kills morale among NDP supporters and volunteers and invites strategic Liberal (or BQ in Quebec) voting to stop the Conservatives.  On the other hand, I do agree that the "I'm running for PM" line is hard to sustain when we are stuck at 15% in the polls.  I think the better message is; "We are running for government and here is a credible program we will implement if elected.  The voters will decide what role we will play in the next Parliament, and we'll use our influence in the new House to advance the policies and values in our program." That way, we are still running for 1st place but we position ourselves as relevant even if we don't win.  The media are not going to buy the "running for PM" line next time as long as we are running below 20% in the polls.

I question the last line of the quote above: "a little more bilingual" - Jack's French has improved tremendously in recent years and was very strong in the 2008 campaign.  Short of electing a francophone like Savoie, Hughes or Godin, or Mulcair of course, Jack's French is superior to any of the other potential leadership candidates in my view. 

Benjamin

Not only is the NDP stuck, but it is stuck at a time when so many of the CPC and LPC economic policies have been almost entirely discredited (and yes, I am aware of the NDP gets no love in the MSM critique).  The NDP should be seizing the moment, but it is not.

Layton's French has improved, but it is still very awkward (approaching nails on a chalkboard).  The lack of depth in this area may be a shortcoming that the party needs to address.  There are certaily a very large number of progressive, bilingual, and talented young people out there that the NDP could be recruiting if it was interested.

josh

Benjamin wrote:

Not only is the NDP stuck, but it is stuck at a time when so many of the CPC and LPC economic policies have been almost entirely discredited (and yes, I am aware of the NDP gets no love in the MSM critique).  The NDP should be seizing the moment, but it is not.

Word.

Stockholm

"Layton's French has improved, but it is still very awkward (approaching nails on a chalkboard).  The lack of depth in this area may be a shortcoming that the party needs to address."

Do you actually speak French at all??? There may be things people can criticize Layton for - but the quality of his French is NOT one of them. I would say that his French is better than Harper's and about on par with Iggy's and he is the most popular federal politician in Quebec. Anyone I've talked to who is francophone has great affection for him and nothing but praise for how well he speaks French.

Bookish Agrarian

Yeah but Stockholm we can't let reality get in the way of attacks on the NDP.

Benjamin

Stockholm wrote:

Anyone I've talked to who is francophone has great affection for him and nothing but praise for how well he speaks French.

And yet, the party has failed to make any significant inroads in the province of Quebec.  Affection apparently has not translated to votes, and seats.  All this, despite the fact that many Quebecers are generally supportive of the types of social welfare policies that the NDP advocates.

Stockholm

Layton is the first NDP leader ever to win a seat in Quebec in a general election. There are all kinds of reasons why the NDP didn't do even better in Quebec - not least of which is the fact that the BQ such and elephant in the middle of the room sucking up just about every progressive vote. The idea that somehow the NDP would suddenly sweep Quebec if they had a leader who was better able to conjugate the verb "tenir" in the subjontif passe - is totally beside the point.

Layton's spoken French is excellent - that is not the issue. If you want to shit on his leadership you are really barking up the wrong tree here. 

janfromthebruce

The other thing, which seems to be missing in the recent posts above, and deal with Jack running to be MP, is that in the last election, it was his consistent "leadership polling numbers" throughout the whole campaigne that were great, and essentially pulled the NDP along, and not the other way around. People appear to have short memories here.

In fact, right at the end, Jack outpolled Harper on Leadership qualities, so suggesting that Jack running for PM was a joke, one needs to rethink that, considering that "joke" didn't translate in negative "leader" polls.

Next, and after the election, MSM suggested that the NDP ran the best campaign in comparison to the other 4 parties. I would like to give credit where credit is do.

 

KenS

What they really mean is that they thought Layton running as PM was a joke, and presumably got enough affirmation from people they know to confirm this must be true.

Might have some correlation to do with a prior overall disposition to the NDP.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

janfromthebruce wrote:
In fact, right at the end, Jack outpolled Harper on Leadership qualities,

That's correct - Layton polled much higher than the party. The sneers and laughs were at the prospect of the leader of a party polling 16% - 18% nationally saying he is running for PM.

KenS

Don't you see the fundamental contradiction there BB?

If the sneers and laughs were meaningful, then Layton could not have been polling ahead of both the other Leaders and his own party.

Some people will snear and laugh. Its what they add up to that matters. and apparently, not much.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Yes, of course! In a perfect world, Layton would have been received much better than he was in the media that day. But you'd have to admit he opened himself up for the sneers and jeers.

janfromthebruce

And that's why BB, the NDP received the much needed 2nd place finishes, beyond the other parties in comparison. You are losing this argument, based on factual polling. You might have been one of the sneerers and jeerers, and that's your choice, but one needs to support your blanket statement - everybody thought Jack was a "joke" for running for MP. The leadership numbers don't support your argument.

NDPers are sick of the NDP running to be the conscious of the govt - how quaint - I want to win. Because only being in power does one get a progressive agenda in Canada - Iggy is the most regressive faux liberal progressive going - and now is recycling liberal redbook 1993 again - LOL.

How feeble - and the libs will continue to prop up the Cons because than, if elected, they will say - sorry - we all got to tighten our belts and to do so we must unit and slay the deficit dragon, on the backs of - you guessed it - ordinary Canadians. I've been down that sorry road. Libs are fakes. We need more NDP.

The party with the most success balancing budgets, both prov and fed (although NDP has not been in power fed) is the NDP. But one will never ever hear that from the MSM. Vote NDP, and often. Amen

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

janfromthebruce wrote:
And that's why BB, the NDP received the much needed 2nd place finishes, beyond the other parties in comparison. You are losing this argument, based on factual polling.

I'm not making an argument - I'm simply pointing out that you can not blame the media - or anyone else - for laughing at Jack for saying that he, as the leader of the party with the fewest seats in Parliament (the Greens don't count), is running for PM.

remind remind's picture

Of course one can blame them, as those who do, are the ones to be sneered at, and mocked.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

We can go back and forth on this all day, but I have chores to do. See ya later. Kiss

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

We can go back and forth on this all day, but I have chores to do. See ya later. Kiss

Stockholm

The rightwing talking heads in the MSM will sneer at the NDP no matter what it does. Can you imagne the sneers and derision if Layton had said "I'm not running for PM, I just want to be the conscience of parliament"???

Benjamin

This would of course presume that Layton would say "I'm not running for PM", which he wouldn't necessarily need to do.  Regardless, the "I want to be PM remark" played well with the converted, notsomuch with the non-converted, and it is this latter group that the NDP needs to convert.  In a prime ministerial, FPTP, system, what the public thinks of someone's leadership really only matters if that can be translated into votes and seats.  In the most recent election, Layton got the seats part, but not really the votes part.

The sneering and jeering, at least from my perspective, is not about derision for the NDP, but rather a belief that more than mere rhetoric will be required if the NDP is to be successful in the long-term.  Catchy sound bites like "working families" and "I'm running to be PM" do not amount to much.  I want to see strategic direction from the NDP on how they can broaden their base.  Right now that is lacking.  The reality of the current situation is that despite an economic meltdown, and the complete discrediting of many CPC and LPC economic policies, the public has not (at least yet) turned its support to the NDP.

janfromthebruce

Right Benjamin. You know, I read the libstar on line. I only wish that the Star would even print 1 front page story on Layton, and give over their opinion piece section and editorial section to the NDP once again. That's for starters.

I'm sorry but MSM needs to be looked at in what they print, and what they choose to remain silent on. Sorry, but corp owned media is a problem of trying to get their attention.

I know that Layton is travelling the country, talking to tons of Canadians, but all one hears about is Iggy & Harper, Harper & Iggy. I want to puke.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Stockholm wrote:

The rightwing talking heads in the MSM will sneer at the NDP no matter what it does. Can you imagne the sneers and derision if Layton had said "I'm not running for PM, I just want to be the conscience of parliament"???

For goodness sakes, what did he do before, in his previous three elections?  IIRC, this was the first time he declared he was running for PM, and as the leader of the smallest party in Parliament, a measure of hilarity was to be expected.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

dp

Benjamin

If the NDP's strategy is to wait for corporate controlled media to start covering/presenting/advocating for a message of large-scale systemic change in this country, then the NDP is going to be waiting a very, very long time.  While you are right to address the issues relating to MSM, the NDP strategy must go beyond this analysis.

Stockholm

I don't know where the hilarity you speak of was. My recollection is that the tactic of saying "I'm running to be PM" actually generated a lot of attention for its audacuiousness and that it actually was a strategy that was highly effective. I know for a fact that there was a lot of internal debate in the party about whether or not to go with that strategy before the election was called - but the results of the campaign and the election were widely seen as a vindication of the strategy. Every election is a different context and calls for different measures. In the 2008 election it was clear that making leadership a ballot question was a good move for the NDP because the Liberals were saddled with such ridiculously bad leadership. Let's face it, if there is one thing that is even more open to ridicule than Layton standing in front of Parliament and seeing he is running for PM - its Stephane Dion saying he was running for PM.

If you want to lead, people expect you to be serious about winning. When Barack Obama first announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination and he was only an asterisk in the national opinion polls - he said he was running for President. He didn't say he was running just for the fun of it.

"For goodness sakes, what did he do before, in his previous three elections?"

Actually there were two previous election. In 2004 he asked Canadians to give him and the NDP a "central role" in a minority parliament - that resulted in 19 seats. In 2006 he asked Liberals to lend him their votes - that resulted in 29 seats. In 2008 he said "my name is Jack Layton and I'm running for PM" and he got 37 seats. The rpoof is in the pudding as to what works and what doesn't. Or maybe you think the NDP would have been better off following the Elizabeth May strategy of saying "I know I can't win and so i don't really want anyone to vote for me, but I like getting a bit of free publicity - and btw: Stephane Dion would make a very, very, very good PM". That strategy is guaranteed to yield ZERO seats.

Benjamin

The hilarity is in the self delusion of the reality of the situation.  That reality is that a party, which consistently places below 20% of the popular vote, in our system, has not a scintilla of possibility to form the government.  It follows that its leader, in a prime ministerial system, has not a scintilla of a chance to become PM.  This is to be contrasted with a situation like Obama, where he has an opportunity to capture the democratic leadership, and if so, a reasonable prospect of winning the election.

Yes, the number of seats that are captured does shift around depending on the political whims of the day, and the campaign strategy.  You suggest a bit of a false dichotomy.  The NDP does not have to say we are not running to win.  They can focus on "we are running to create change" as opposed to "as PM I would ...". 

One of my main complaints about NDP strategy is that it is incredebly insular.  There is very little perspective on how the NDP is viewed outside the converted.  Complaints about strategy are met with false dichotomies such as the one you have presented.  And at the end of the day, I see nothing coming from Layton that would suggest a strategy that can break out of the utter stagnation in popular vote capture.

KenS

Benjamin wrote:

One of my main complaints about NDP strategy is that it is incredebly insular.  There is very little perspective on how the NDP is viewed outside the converted. 

How would you know what the outcomes in public views/understanding of NDP strategy are? ...looking as you are from your inherently insular viewpoint.

There is more disciplined testing of outcomes in the NDP than what you are able to come up with. And you are in no better position to judge, nor any less likely to be insular than any of the rest of us around here.

Stockholm

I believe in incrementalism. You come up with the best strategy in each election and you steadily move up. For about 50 years the NDP in Nova Scotia never had more than 4 seats and never had more than 16% of the vote. Then they had a big breakthrough and almost came out of no where to win in 1998 and now all the polls show them poised to win the election this year. The Manitoba Liberals went from 1 seats to 22 seats in one fell swoop in 1987 and almost took power. The BC Liberals in 1991 had zero seats and came out of no where to get 33% of the vote and to become the official opposition and are now in power. The ADQ went from 4 seats and 18% of the vote to coming with a handful of seats of forming a government in Quebec.

If you never put any money of the table - your chances of winning the roulette game are ZERO.

ottawaobserver

The only point I could add here is to say that the first time something is tried, it may elicit a bit of surprise and get heckled in some quarters.  But by the second time, the surprise factor has worn off.  No-one will be surprised this time to hear the NDP say they are running to take an active role in government, but now the NDP has to run on what they want to accomplish there and make policy form a bit more of their campaign.

Benjamin

@ Stockholm

It is good to believe in incrementalism.  Your analysis is also useful in that it reminds that major changes can, and do happen, and that they can happen rather quickly.  Insofar as these situations can be analyzed for strategic insight they are useful.  [/aside: apparently one of the CPC strategists became an expert on how the cons came to power in Australia, and used this knowledge for the CPC, quite effectively, in Canada] The trouble of course is that these are provincial experiences, and may not be applicable to the federal NDP.

@ ottawaobserver

"running to take an active role in government" is distinctly different from "as prime minister I will...".  I would prefer, "as NDP MPs, we make parliament more effective by ...".  E.g. pushing for increased transparency in being able to see how your individual MP voted (thank you Libby Davies), or other examples of NDP MPs making tangible differences.  A policy discussion alone may not be sufficient.  The NDP also needs to focus on strategy.

@ KenS

If the self-analysis within the NDP is as rigorous and introspective as you suggest, then it would seem to resemble a gerble on a wheel, working really, really hard, but never going anywhere, and never cracking that 20% glass ceiling despite such hard efforts.

I don't claim the truth, or a monopoly on outside-NDP opinion, but I can say that from the people that I speak with, the NDP strategy, not necessarily its policies, has little influence or appeal.  We'll soon have another election with which to analyze this situation, and if all is well at the helm of the NDP, then we need not worry.  I myself, and not convinced.

madmax

Running for PM was the best thing Layton did in that campaign.  Especially after having a track record. He sounded like the best leader of the bunch. It isn't expected that all the ridings which are predominantly LPC or CPC are going to switch to the NDP. Its never going to happen... except that .... IT DID in many ridings and the NDP ended up with their Highest total of Seats in Ontario. This is no easy feat, after years of the Federal NDP having to wear the BOB RAE straight jacket every time they knock on a door.

The NDP numbers have remained as Stockholm suggests, relatively stagnat. Essentially the same numbers the NDP have traditionally held since the CCF days.  Mr. Laytons last campaign got the NDP into their highwater mark, which is what a leader is supposed to do. With the failed and idiotic campaign of Dion, people were splitting left and right and abandoning their ineffectual LPC candidates. Had the NDP not ran a strong campaign, the CPC would be sitting with a Majority Government. 

However, Mr Laytons leadership has taken a beating since December and he has done nothing to change that perceived image of him. No longer is he #1 against the feeble Dion or the unlikeable Harper, he has lost that aura, that people would like to have him as Prime Minister. Infact, I put it to you that had Mr Layton been the head of the coalition, the public persona of him would be stronger today, because he had demonstrated leadership capabilities and these were needed when no one in government appeared capable (Dion) or willing to lead (Harper).  However, with little manuevering room, (I am being nice), the NDP allowed an ASS to lead and backwards went Mr Laytons public perception. 

Today, Mr Layton is being compared not on his September campaign, but on his November decision. As is Harper, as is Ignatieff and Ignatieff is winning the public over, while the other two are stuck in a rutt.

One day, both Mr Laytona and Prime Minister Harper are going to have to compare themselves to Mr Ignatieff on E Day.

The winner will be the parties with the stronger riding associations, as Leaders don't win ridings by themselves.

 

ottawaobserver

Well, I'm looking forward to seeing what Layton has to say at his news conference tomorrow.  We may see that with the BC and NS elections out of the way, the two task forces on the road, and the second half of the spring session seeing featuring more Liberals caves and abstentions, that by the time we get to the August convention, things have picked up on that score.

Bookish Agrarian

Its strikes me as quite hilarious that no one jeered Harper for saying he was running for PM despite the fact the polls showed it was not possible.  Or that no one sneered when Preston Manning and his upstart party did the same thing.  The only thing some in the pundistocrisy seem to be upset about is an NDP focused on winning elections.  Funny that eh?

Benjamin

Bookish Agrarian wrote:

Its strikes me as quite hilarious that no one jeered Harper for saying he was running for PM despite the fact the polls showed it was not possible.  Or that no one sneered when Preston Manning and his upstart party did the same thing.  The only thing some in the pundistocrisy seem to be upset about is an NDP focused on winning elections.  Funny that eh?

The CPC got where they are today by out strategizing the other parties.  It was not based on empty rhetoric, and they were able to show results.  And...I think a lot of people did indeed jeer Reform when it was getting going.

Bookish Agrarian

No the CPC got to where it is today on empty and false rhetoric, a succession of terriable Liberal leaders and a little thing called the sponsorship scandal.  There was no strategy involved.  Just luck and sitting in the right spot

Bookish Agrarian

Oh and the unprecedented and anti-democratic action of a national police force actively intervening in an election.

Benjamin

Bookish Agrarian wrote:

 There was no strategy involved.  Just luck and sitting in the right spot

Laughing Right...the fact that the CPC out fundraises everybody has nothing to do with strategy, it's just dumb luck.  The merging of Reform with PC, that was dumb luck too.  Capturing the rural vote...dumb luck.  Capitalizing on the sponsorship scandal...dumb luck too.

Bookish Agrarian

Well what you don't understand about Canadian politics could probably fill a thread all by itself, but lets start with what I said.  The phrase empty and false rhetoric covers much of what you just posted.  Come to think of it, much of what you have posted in general.

David Young

One Poll does not a trend make!

There are provincial elections coming in B.C. in May, and now it looks like we here in Nova Scotia will be going to the polls in June (June 9th if my sources are correct!) as well as a by-election in Dawn Black's former riding of NEW WESTMINSTER-COQUITLAM.

Should the NDP win in B.C. and here in Nova Scotia (looking better each time Rodney McDonald opens his mouth!), and retain Black's seat, Layton has earned the right to keep his job as federal NDP leader until after the next election.

Should the NDP lose all three, then it may be time to look at a change in the federal leadership.

God?  God is the love-child between Mother Nature and Father Time!

Benjamin

Dude, step it down a noch with thead hominems.  Certainly what much of the CPC is idealogical, but they have transformed that ideology, and the rhetoric that goes with it, into a unified conservative party, that has seized power, has come close to gaining a majority, and continues to pummel all the other parties in fundraising ability.  If you want to think that this was all based on luck, or assistance by the RCMP, then go ahead.  My opinion is that the CPC has some very shrewd strategic thinkers, and the party's success has been facilitated by the work of these people (external factors such as the sponsorship scandal and RCMP tinkering aside).

I think that the CPC strategy may yield insights for other parties, particularly in the area of revenue generation.

ottawaobserver

Well, I disagree that the Conservatives had *no* strategy, and I believe the evidence supports me on this.  But there is an extent to which you position yourself to try and maximize the advantage of good luck while minimizing the disadvantage of bad luck.

Also, it should be said that the strategy took *two* elections to get right, plus the fact that the Alliance had already invested heavily in their computer database-information management system starting in 2003 before the merger.  So, I don't think it's quite right to say they had no strategy.  And the merger was clearly part of that strategy, as is made very clear in both Tom Flanagan's book "Harper's Team" and Paul Wells' book "Right Side Up".

Admittedly the sponsorship scandal, and the Christmas decision by the RCMP helped them a LOT.

Now, I think Manning did not initially run for Prime Minister himself ... he was running to "Block the Bloc", if you recall ... i.e., for Official Opposition, and deliberately did not run in Quebec ridings under the Reform banner.

There's a lot I agree with in madmax' assessment of the current situation, but I don't take it as permanently given ... in part for some of the reasons David Young states (welcome back David ... haven't seen you for awhile).  Remember that Harper was also written off between 2004 and 2006, but in fact he just went away and figured out how to do better.

And Benjamin ... dude ... no need to be so dismissive of David's point of view.

Benjamin

My remark was directed at Bookish Agrarian.

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