Friday, October 03, 2008

A choice of targets

There isn't much that could make the Libs look worse in the department of choosing the wrong target than Bob Rae's admonition that his new party should turn its guns from the Cons to the New Democrats. (See for example Chrystal's scathing post.)

But Rae and the Libs may look even worse when that focus on attacking progressives is compared to an NDP strategy of putting the Cons in its crosshairs - which is leading at least some to speculate that the New Democrats are laying the groundwork for a coalition to remove Harper from power:
The New Democrats will spend the last leg of the election campaign homing in on ridings they want to poach from the Conservatives amid persistent speculation that they want to form a coalition with the Liberals after the vote.

In the next couple of days, the NDP plane will land in Newfoundland, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, where Tory incumbents abound.

That's because, politically, it does the NDP little good to rob ridings from the Liberals, said Henry Jacek, a professor of political science at Hamilton's McMaster University.

Mr. Layton “won't admit it, [Liberal Leader Stéphane] Dion won't admit it, but I think their strategy has to be that, between the two of them, they have to have enough seats where they can challenge Harper on a non-confidence motion after the election,” Dr. Jacek said. “I think what he's hoping is that he and Dion will make a deal and that they will put a joint motion together that, if they should win it, they would then form a coalition government with Dion as prime minister and Jack a deputy prime minister.”
Now, as NDP sources note later in the article, Jacek's view is purely a matter of outside speculation. And indeed Jacek's opinion seems to miss the seemingly significant importance of being able to contribute a larger proportion of seats to any coalition that might eventually come about.

That said, there's still a striking contrast between a Lib focus on eliminating competition to the left even if it strengthens Harper's hand, and an NDP strategy which continues to be aimed at taking on the Cons when it counts. And it may be just that contrast in priorities which solidifies the New Democrats' position as the best choice to take on Harper in this election and beyond.

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