Thursday, November 13, 2008

Leadership: Fight Nice Kiddies

I am pleased that we have another entrant into the Liberal Leadership race. I'm looking forward to even more folks standing for the "top job" in the party. We need all the ideas we can, to ensure there is a broad discussion of topics, as long as the group size is not too big... A smaller group will certainly allow us to focus on the issues. Leadership debates are going to be very substantial. Not like the last time around where we lined up 13 "hopefuls" (in Edmonton), and got to hear less than 3min from each.

The smack-talk has already begun.

I admonish fellow Liberals to choose their words WISELY. You can bet YOUR WORDS (yes, you Mr./Ms. Angry Blogger) will be used against YOUR LEADER, and YOUR PARTY when the next federal election occurs. We don't want to suffer from some sort of "electile disfunction" when the REAL campaign begins. Already, in the last night, I watched in awe as "anonymous" commenters on my blog decided to take potshots at someone (who isn't even running yet) who would bring great value to this debate.

I don't know WHAT all the negative commentary will get you. Will it get you a nice cozy job as a OLO staffer? Will it get you notoriety as the blogger that put candidate X over the top (I highly doubt that)? More likely, it will make you the notorious blogger who the Conservatives and the media quote when bashing OUR (yes, our - your's and mine) new leader. Think about that.

WesternGrit has promised to keep this blog positive. We will only discuss all the factors which make our contenders better than Harper, and which help make our party machinery better. We hope some of that praise is used by the media. Our TEAM is better. We all know what happens when a candidate's own party colors them a cerain way. Liberals had all christened Mr. Dion as the "nice", "intellectual", "safe second choice", "academic". This was used to paint Mr. Dion as "not a leader" by the Conservatives. WE did that. WE built the campaign against Mr. Dion - just as today, many of us are building the Conservative's (and media's) next campaigns against Mr. Rae, Mr. Ignatieff, etc.

Time for mature minds to prevail. There is greatness in being humble. In being diplomatic.

If you really want to help your party, have a mature discourse about the persons running for our leadership. If you really want to help your party, tone down the rhetoric. In a discussion about ideas, enough is made clear by what is NOT SAID. Liberals are intelligent political beings. If a candidate does not talk about something, or doesn't give focus to one thing, they are saying they don't give importance to it. We can read between the lines and determine who is for what, and against what. We don't need to point out the weakness of someone's poor French (or lack of it), when it would be plain for all to see, for example. Even our American cousins (the Democrats) had a serious debate about the fodder they were providing the Republicans when their discourse took a decidedly downhill turn.

This time around - if people really are serious about change - try campaigning for your leadership choice in a more honest, adult, and diplomatic manner.

Yes it's time for change - time to change the way we campaign for leader.

In the next few months, keep an eye out for WesternGrit's "Leadership Report Cards". We'll have "MidTerm Marks" after the first Leadership contest debates.


Sharkey Goes West said...

You set a noble goal. However,if you cannot openly state why you prefer or not prefer a candidate, then you advocating a suppression of free speech. I agree Liberals can be civil with their criticism. The problem is that Kool-Aid drinkers of candidates cannot take ANY criticism of their candidate and become angry about it.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. By this post you suggest if a leadership candidate donated to Harper's 2006 election campaign Liberals should bury their heads and not discuss it.

It's easy to say we can only go positive or we can talk about everything, what's hard is accounting for rational debate, where Liberals don't ignore the truth and they don't spout rancid hate either.

But choosing to stay strictly positive is one extreme that should be just as avoided as the other extreme of allowing every piece of filth.


WesternGrit said...

I am, by no means, suggesting we don't debate the facts. Let's just make sure it is a "gentleman's" debate, and that it is the "facts". Our members are adequately able to assess the candidates, without the sophomoric play-by-play we sometimes see on these blogs. Let's keep it clean. That's all I ask.

If someone else refuses to take criticism about their candidate, so what? You know their mind is made up. Why not carry on about the positives of your own candidate, and let the undecideds flock to you, rather than have to observe very nasty back-and-forths with people who already have their minds made up?

During the election, when I saw some "anonymous" (but obviously Conservative posts) that I could spend hours refuting and punching holes in, I just decided that it was better to spend those hours fund-raising and door-knocking. I even just went for a walk one day and planted lawn signs...