Thursday, October 25, 2007

On progressive choices

In this post, I dealt with federal Lib supporters who continually seek any excuse to complain that the federal NDP is in league with the Cons, yet are entirely willing to explicitly help the conservative Sask Party provincially in order to try to cut down the NDP. And you can see the continued hypocrisy in full bloom over at Abandoned Progressive Principles, where Saskboy can't hand Brad Wall a majority fast enough if it'll win David Karwacki some of those gold-plated benefits he's always complaining about.

But let's leave aside the personal motivations and contradictions of the bloggers involved, and ask a more basic question about the provincial Libs' position. Namely, will the "Brad Wall Government Is Inevitable. You Must Assimilate" strategy actually work?

It's obvious that the provincial Libs see some appeal in trying to paint the election primarily as a battle for second place rather than a contest of governing values. And obviously the Sask Party isn't complaining about having the Libs declare victory on their behalf. But let's momentarily take the Libs' current argument at face value.

If the main question in the election is that of which party will offer the best progressive opposition to a Wall government, why would any voter answer "the party which conceded government to Wall in the first place"?

And the picture for progressives only looks worse if one takes a closer look at the Libs' actual policies. The Libs' current stances would actually take the Sask Party to the right in some areas, calling for a selloff of at least some Crown assets and demanding that the government do nothing to save Saskatchewan jobs. Meanwhile, judging from their current issues page, the Libs have no apparent interest in prescription drugs, child care, or broader environmental programs than curbside recycling - suggesting that these areas of progressive accomplishment under the NDP simply aren't priorities for Karwacki, and will be soon forgotten if the Libs and Sask Party have the two loudest voices on the province's political scene.

In sum, a Wall government with a Karwacki opposition - while obviously the Libs' current goal for the campaign - would be the worst possible outcome for progressive voters. And there's plenty of time for Calvert and company to not only highlight that fact to bring any Lib/NDP swing voters back into the fold, but also make clear that it's not too late to stop the Sask Party.

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