Thursday, September 25, 2008

Abandoning the fight

As usual, the Libs' attempt to appeal to progressive voters is based on little more than their ever-less-plausible claim they - and only they - can offer an alternative to Con government. Which makes it particularly noteworthy that internally, the Libs have given up on the prospect of actually taking power:
Usually at this point in a successful campaign, however, there is thought given to forming a transition team.

Senator David Smith, one of the co-chairs of the Liberal campaign, said yesterday that he wasn't "going to get into it" when asked about transition.

"We're primarily campaign-focused," he said. "On that subject, given the front-bench strength that we have compared to even the current government ... we've got a lot of people with ministerial experience ... it's not as if we don't have people who haven't been there, done that."

Another senior campaign strategist burst out into laughter when asked about whether there had been any thinking as to a transition team.

"It wasn't even in my vocabulary or my brain," said the strategist, suggesting the Liberals are trying to hold what they have.
Now, the news raises a few questions about the Libs both for the campaign and for the longer term. For example, how is it that the same experienced politicians touted by Smith as "front-bench strength" haven't yet brought up what the Libs would have to do in order to form government? And does this signal Bob Rae's ascendancy within the party as Libs take on the view that "so what do we do now?" will work better on a national scale than it did in Ontario?

But the most important story is that the Libs' public message is far out of touch with their own internal expectations for the campaign. And the more Canadians recognize that the Libs themselves have given up on trying to stop Stephen Harper, the more likely they'll be to shift their support to another party which won't back down.

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