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cbasu





Joined: 03 Sep 2006
Posts: 391
Reputation: 131.3
votes: 2

PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 10:21 am    Post subject: Whine-and-Shine : A winning strategy? Reply with quote

Recently, the media - displaying an amazing aversion to their favorite phrase during a Liberal minority "nobody wants an election now" - has been going gung-ho about the inevitability of an election after the next Conservative budget (or sooner if Susan Delacourt of the Star and Susan Riley of the Ottawa Citizen had their wishes granted).

The media appears to believe that PM Harper and his braintrust are using (what I would call) a "whine and shine" strategy.

In an Oct 26/06 National Post column entitled 'Tory failures may spell election' John Ivison wrote:
(abridged, emphasis added) ... The upshot of all this manoeuvring is that we now have a Prime Minister who is writing a narrative on how he's trying to get things done but is being frustrated by an obstructive opposition. It will be extremely inconvenient for him if the opposition, rather than playing along, proves obsequious.

The Tories are battle-ready and awash with cash. By contrast, the Liberals are leaderless and in disarray. Forget polls claiming they are neck and neck -- sources say their Conservative numbers are holding, and while voters are not particularly engaged, neither are they unduly agitated. Quebec, which may be the exception, will be placated by a generous budget, the logic goes.

Fortuitously for Harper, it appears he can rely on the political tin ear of Liberal senators, who are set to send the government's flagship ethics package, the Accountability Act, back to the House of Commons with 100 amendments this week, including one to double the limit on political donations to $2,000. Since the bill will still have to go back to the Senate after the Commons has had its say, tulips will be blooming again before it has any chance of passing into law.

Can such a strategy succeed?

Ibbitson, writing in the Globe on Oct 26/06, seems to think that it can. He focuses on the government's justice agenda, and suggests that Liberals would be wrong to stand in the way of popular law-and-order issues that would resonate favourably with suburban voters.

But are the proponents of the whine-and-shine strategy making an error? Is it possible, for example, for Ontario suburban voters to support a tough law-and-order agenda, and simultaneously embrace the Liberals as they have done in the last provincial election?

Furthermore, given the current media-PMO relations, would Conservative complaints of Liberal obstruction get unfiltered media exposure, or would they be framed as cynical political ploys designed to trap the opposition?

Chantal Hebert appears to provide the counter-argument.

In an Oct 27/07 Star column entitled 'Opposition stymies Conservative agenda' Chantal Hebert wrote:
(abridged, emphasis added) It may not look that way from a distance, but the minority government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is moribund. While the Conservatives have not formally lost the confidence of the House of Commons, they can no longer muster enough opposition support to pass their agenda into law.

As a result, this Parliament is now basically killing time until another election. That does not mean the Prime Minister can't govern, at least up to a point. ...

Except that every initiative he announced that week is unlikely to become law in the current Parliament. Neither is the bulk of the Conservative agenda.
...
On Parliament Hill, most insiders now treat the date of the spring budget as the start of the countdown to another election.

Harper and his strategists cannot be surprised by their predicament. They have only been using the Commons to showcase their next election platform.
...
But what happens between now and a budget that is almost half-a-year away?

Harper could try to stare down the other parties with the threat of a snap election. ...
Alternatively, Harper can grind his heels and use the budget as the launching pad for a spring campaign.

But what if an election does not end the stalemate and no party secures a solid governing mandate? Given that they are so much more comfortable with a Liberal-style agenda, could the Bloc and the NDP support another Harper-led minority government? Or would they allow their arch-Liberal rivals to govern?

The last election did little to break the federal logjam and the next one might not either.

By seeming to argue in favour of an embrace-and-extend strategy, which has been so successfully employed by the Liberals in the 20th century, Ms Hebert may have answered the question she poses at the end of her column. It would seem that the NDP and the resurgent Bloc would much prefer the whine-and-shine Tories to the embrace-and-extend Liberals which would necessarily make the current strategy a winning one.
CC Scott





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 151
Reputation: 15.9Reputation: 15.9
Location: Edmonton

PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That Susan Riley story drove my up the wall when I read it in my local paper. She called him an increasingly angy and inflexible Prime Minister. Angry?! I don't get where she's getting that from.
Mac





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 5500
Reputation: 104
votes: 35
Location: John Baird's riding...

PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CC Scott wrote:
She called him an increasingly angy and inflexible Prime Minister.

It's the oldest Liberal tactic in the Red Book...

"If you say something often enough, people will begin to believe it!"

Regardless of whether the next election come sooner rather than later, the coming months promise to be interesting...

-Mac
CC Scott





Joined: 02 Sep 2006
Posts: 151
Reputation: 15.9Reputation: 15.9
Location: Edmonton

PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2006 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mac wrote:
CC Scott wrote:
She called him an increasingly angy and inflexible Prime Minister.

It's the oldest Liberal tactic in the Red Book...

"If you say something often enough, people will begin to believe it!"

Regardless of whether the next election come sooner rather than later, the coming months promise to be interesting...

-Mac


Not as old as calling them a bigot
cbasu





Joined: 03 Sep 2006
Posts: 391
Reputation: 131.3
votes: 2

PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Susans - Delacourt and Riley - enjoy needling Team Harper. There will always be a handful of them in the gallery.

However, keeping the overall media-PMO relationship good is the PMO's job i.e. the onus is on Team Harper to manage that relationship, not the other way around.

They better de-clog that stuffed-up interface quickly, or the coming election campaign will be a nightmare.
Duck Tory





Joined: 01 Dec 2006
Posts: 826
Reputation: 40.3Reputation: 40.3Reputation: 40.3Reputation: 40.3
votes: 4

PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like the strategy used by the Democrats and their Far-left allies in the US mid-term elections not to long ago.
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Whine-and-Shine : A winning strategy?

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