Bad analysis here.
Nycole Turmel’s troubled tenure heading the NDP reminded everyone of how much damage a poor interim leader can do. Granted, Thomas Mulcair speedily repaired that damage, but in this case the Liberal directors will be asking someone to lead the party for up to a year.
No, no, no! Turmel did exactly what she was supposed to, as interim leader:
1. Prevent a caucus schism.
2. Manage the party through a competitive leadership race.
3. Hand off the party to the newly elected leader, and fade gently into the background.
That is what you do as interim leader. You are meant to be forgettable. You are meant not to matter — to be an elder statesman of the party who keeps it running smoothly.
Can you remember Tory interim leaders from the 1976 and 1983 leadership conventions? Canadian Alliance interim leaders from 2000 and 2001-02?
If you can, wow, you’re a political nerd. (I can name a few of them.) But the point is, as interim leader you sit around, you keep the caucus from tearing itself apart, and you avoid doing something big and stupid. (Big and stupid is for the elected leader.)
This is why Bob Rae was a bad choice as interim leader of the Liberals, and why these calculations are bad ones too. You need someone who can be neutral and unassuming as interim chief. Or your leadership race is skewed, and that’s the one thing that does matter.
I’ve been posting less and less, dear readers, and here’s why: I’m increasingly optimistic about our continent.
All that I’ve seen of opinion polls suggests to me that our general population has a good collective head on its shoulders, and it’s just the political class that’s falling down on the job from time to time.
Here’s an example, which I’ll tell using tweets from Paul Wells.
1. “Fascinating poll. Majorities support each part of #loi78 — but majority doesn’t think it’ll help. And its presence is eroding gov’t support”
2. “Most think the law is legitimate, but not pertinent: that it does things a government should be able to, but that it doesn’t help.”
3. “Le Devoir’s A1 pic: Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois giggling as a panda hugs him. La Presse poll: 74% reject CLASSE’s civil disobedience.”
4. “Funniest part of CROP/La Presse: Quebec City numbers. There’s left-right aspect, but mostly I think they see all this as Montreal bullshit.”
What can we glean from these nuggets of polling data? [UPDATE: here's the poll.]
1. The general public rejects mob rule. Just because students don’t like a mild tuition hike, and just because they have the right to assemble peacefully and make their views heard, they do not have the right to restrict others’ ability to attend classes or manage their own businesses.
2. Just because the general public doesn’t like what’s going on and would support a clampdown on these protesters, it doesn’t follow that they’ll back any old law. Loi 78 is a dumb law, and people recognize that — it’s an attempt to pass a law in order to be seen to be passing a law.
3. CLASSE is a bunch of upper-middle class entitled jackasses, and the general public recognizes that, too.
All in all, a wholly sensible public response to a bunch of law-breaking (and injunction-breaking) anarchists.
The government’s response, incidentally, should have gone something like this:
Quebec is a free society. Students have the right to assemble freely and make their views heard, like all other citizens. Those rights, however, end where others’ rights begin. Just as some students have been exercising their right to protest, other students have been exercising their right NOT to participate, and instead to attend the academic classes for which they have paid good money, as has the Government of Quebec. Freedom of association and freedom of expression do not entail the right to trample on others’ freedoms, and to the extent necessary, the Sûreté will be intervening to protect the rights of all of our citizens.
It should be noted also that students’ rights to assemble and express themselves do not excuse them from the requirements of their degree courses — whether exemptions to exam and paper requirements are given is a matter between students and their professors.
Our decision to impose a moderate tuition increase over the next seven years is final. It has support from a majority of the population, and it WILL be implemented. Should some fellow citizens have a different view, there will be a general election for the National Assembly sometime in the next eighteen months — they have ample time to make their case through the democratic institutions that define a free society.
Thank you, and have a good spring. We look forward to welcoming many tourists to Montreal, one of the world’s great cultural attractions.
I’m pretty sure that that would have been in line with what about 70% of the population in Quebec is thinking, and would have been a wildly popular stance.
So what’s going on in Quebec is a failure of political and intellectual elites. The general population is doing just fine, thank you very much.
The Democrats clawed their way back to the presidency in 1992 thanks to a revolution in Democratic affairs: No longer would his party be captured by its client groups, Bill Clinton promised. The Democrats would not merely be a tool of the unions and the New Class of “helping professions” that rely on government spending for sustenance. Democrats would be pro-business, pro-Wall Street even. Freed from a Democratic Congress after the 1994 elections, Clinton was able to make good on this pledge and restrain spending, reform welfare, cut capital gains taxes, and enjoy an economic boom. His party grew close to Wall Street. It accumulated so much goodwill there and in boardrooms across the country that in 2008 even a former community organizer with roots in the left was able to pull the wool over the eyes of some of America’s most powerful financiers.
What resulted—the stimulus, Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, the relentless pursuit of higher taxes on wealth, the bashing of hedge funds and private equity—has turned much of high finance against the Obama administration and even the Democratic Party at large. Cory Booker was performing triage. He was trying to sustain the dying embers of a Clintonite, pro-business Democratic Party. He understood that Obama and his Keystone Kops are turning the New Democrat dream into ashes. And Booker, like other Democrats, is terrified by the answer to the following question: Who else will Obama bring down with him?
The alternate solution to that is, Obama isn’t going down. But the now-old Clintonite coalition probably is. This is an older alignment — market liberalism vs. social democracy, with Romney standing for the former and Obama for the latter.
This will be a tough fight:
“I feel like they are overly relying on the have-nots out-voting the haves,” said one well-known Democrat close to the campaign. “The economy has gotten a lot better for a lot of people. Instead of making those people feel good about growing businesses, the campaign seems to assume that angry people will prevail. There were successful business leaders in the 2008 coalition, who wanted to use their success to do good. We’re losing that inspiration.”
An Obama campaign official responded: “A few elites in the Northeast Corridor have had a different reaction to the discussion of Mitt Romney’s record than most Americans. Hundreds of thousands of voters have seen the full version of [the Obama campaign’s] ‘Steel’ [ad] online, and the response has been such that we expanded the buy in Ohio. … Mayor Booker’s comments weren’t anticipated, but they did drive a discussion of Romney’s history of profiting off of bankrupting companies on all three network newscasts.
Some key Democrats say they have been dismayed watching Obama become a divider not a uniter, trying to incite anger among women, students and older voters. It’s striking how, in private conversations with Obama advisers, they openly talk of chucking the feel-good politics of 2008 for a very conventional form of political warfare this time around. A low-grade friction has emerged among advisers on whether the hack approach is damaging the brand. …
But the Obama team anticipates a nasty campaign on both sides, one that will look different from 2008 in another way: Obama can’t expand the map the way he did last time out, so he’ll need to grind out close victories in tough states to prevail. That’s all about ginning up the base with us-versus-them politics, not high-flying, high-minded oratory.
It’s going to be interesting.
MONTREAL – A plan to restore order in Montreal appeared to erupt in smoke late Saturday, with fiery blockades blazing on a busy downtown street corner in a dispute gaining international attention.
Groups of protesters built pyres from plastic traffic cones and construction materials, setting them ablaze in the middle of an intersection in a popular night club district.
Meanwhile, the protest has spread beyond borders.
In New York, members of the Montreal-based rock band “Arcade Fire” wore the movement’s iconic red squares during an appearance with The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger on Saturday Night Live. Jagger wore a red shirt, but no red square. …
The scenes in Montreal unfolded during a tense late night march that, on several occasions, saw riot police use tear gas and protesters throw bottles and rocks.
Student protesters were joined by others spilling out of bars and clubs.
Together, they built the fires and cheered as the flames lit up the streets and sent plumes of black smoke billowing into the night sky.
Well, here’s the song for it.
Burn baby burn! Burn baby burn! Burn baby burn! Burn baby burn!
To mass fires, yes! One hundred stories high
People gettin’ loose y’all gettin’ down on the roof – Do you hear?
(the folks are flaming) Folks were screamin’ – out of control
Update: Text of the law here.
See, what really was at issue was the law students who wanted to go back to class and got a court order allowing them to do so.
The big failure was that the government allowed police to stand by and let violent mobs break up the classes. The first person to try to bust up the UQAM classes should’ve eaten a nightstick, and been hauled off to jail for disobeying a court order.
That’s where the state needed to step in. Not really here, though it’s amusing watching the police and the crowds go at it.
Though I suppose there’s something in this.
Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has a slight edge over President Obama in the race for the White House in the latest CBS News/New York Times poll.
According to the survey, conducted May 11-13, 46 percent of registered voters say they would vote for Romney, while 43 percent say they would opt for Mr. Obama. Romney’s slight advantage remains within the poll’s margin of error, which is plus or minus four percentage points.
Last month, a CBS News/New York Times poll showed Mr. Obama and Romney locked in a dead heat, with both earning 46 percent support among registered voters. Polls conducted in February and March showed Mr. Obama with an advantage over Romney, while a January poll showed Romney edging out Mr. Obama 47 percent to 45 percent. Another January poll showed the two tied.
That’s a poll with a significant margin of Democrat voters.
I’m now expecting Romney to lead through the summer — like Dukakis did in 1988.
Obama will be looking to Dukakis/Kerry him, soon enough, just like the Bush clan did to those Democratic nominees.
Will it work? We’ll see.
Update: Hot Air notes that Romney leads among women in the poll.
Also: Mitt likes lakes.
I actually find the clip rather charming, which makes me suspicious. What’s the Times up to? (Because I know they aren’t going to be fair, or post something without having an agenda.) Maybe they’re pushing Romney’s past liking for mandates?
Update again: Kaus takes the cynical view.
Thinking two steps ahead? If Barack Obama loses the 2012 election, do you think he’s going to quit elective politics, serve on a series of corporate and foundation boards, write a best-selling children’s book on being a Dad and a Lugaresque memoir describing how Fox News and Peter Orszag betrayed him? I don’t. I think he’s going to run again, Grover Cleveland style. That casts possible additional (distant) light on today’s endorsement of same-sex marriage: It may or may not help Obama in 2012. But it would much more reliably likely help him in 2016, when public opinion can be expected to have shifted further in favor of this social innovation. It would certainly help him in the Democratic primaries.
I don’t think Romney’s THAT far ahead, that Obama’s people would be that worried just yet.
Oh, one other thing. This’ll get me into conspiracy territory, but I think there’s something there. InTrade.com’s refused to budge over the last few weeks — they have an Obama victory at approximately 60% and a Romney victory below 40%.
I’m wondering if they’re nerfed. That is, that someone (a certain campaign, perhaps) is placing bets on that market not to win, but to affect others’ perceptions. Because I don’t think Obama’s re-election has been at 60% for quite some time now.
Anyway, it’s just a thought I had, as it’s a very small marketplace over there, but with great influence among those who know about these things.
This is a relief.
The Ipsos Reid poll conducted May 8-10 found Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Tories would receive 37 per cent of the decided vote if an election occurred now — up by three points since last month.
The NDP led by Thomas Mulcair would receive 35 per cent of the vote, up by two points. The Liberals, now led by interim leader Bob Rae, are supported by 19 per cent of the electorate, down two points. …
Ipsos Reid president Darrell Bricker said in an interview Monday the survey shows a fundamental shift in the Canadian political scene.
“Longer term, the politics of this country are starting to move towards a more economically-derived cleavage, combined with this more urban/rural divide.”
Bricker said Harper is deriving his support from a “coalition” of voters in the West, rural areas, and the Ontario suburbs who believe he has performed well in handling the economy.
The poll found nearly half (47 per cent) approve of Harper’s performance as prime minister, with 56 per cent approving the Conservative government’s overall management of the Canadian economy.
“That’s where he gets his votes,” said Bricker. “In the West, it’s making sure you protect the economic benefits and future of the oilsands and natural resources against the other guys, which are a more activist government, with more national programs, probably a tax on the wealthy and a focus on the environment.”
At the same time, said Bricker, it appears the Tories are keeping support in the ring of ridings surrounding Toronto — known as the 905 — where voters put a premium on tax-cutting policies.
The NDP, meanwhile, is strong in Central Canada and are leaving the Tories far behind in its two major cities — Toronto and Montreal.
I expected these sorts of numbers once things settled down a bit, and now we’re seeing them.
Big things to watch: which way BC is breaking, and how the 905 is feeling.
If Harper keeps BC onside and the 905 solid, he wins another election. If he doesn’t, he loses.
It’s as simple as that.
So, the Greek coalition negotiations are collapsing, and the anti-austerity party is expected to make gains come the re-vote in June.
Tsipras, however, stuck to his position, insisting that supporting a pro-bailout government would be a betrayal of his pre-election platform.
“After today’s meeting it is obvious they are demanding that Syriza become an accessory to a crime,” he said after the discussions with the president. “In the name of democracy, of our patriotic duty, we cannot accept this shared guilt. We call on all Greeks to condemn once and for all the forces of the past and to realize that only one hope remains: unity against blackmail in order to prevent the continuing barbarity.
“Fellow Greeks, we can assure you of one thing: we will not betray you.”
Tsipras will also have his eye on recent opinion polls which show his party would gain strength if Greeks go to the ballot box again next month.
A poll published by To Vima newspaper Sunday indicated Syriza would come first in new elections with 20.5 per cent of the vote — less than the 28 per cent an earlier opinion poll published Thursday gave him, but still well ahead of New Democracy. Although it would not be enough to form a government, it would put him in the dominant position to form a coalition with smaller anti-bailout parties.
Where does that leave us? Well, there’s the Krugman scenario:
1. Greek euro exit, very possibly next month.
2. Huge withdrawals from Spanish and Italian banks, as depositors try to move their money to Germany.
3a. Maybe, just possibly, de facto controls, with banks forbidden to transfer deposits out of country and limits on cash withdrawals.
3b. Alternatively, or maybe in tandem, huge draws on ECB credit to keep the banks from collapsing.
4a. Germany has a choice. Accept huge indirect public claims on Italy and Spain, plus a drastic revision of strategy — basically, to give Spain in particular any hope you need both guarantees on its debt to hold borrowing costs down and a higher eurozone inflation target to make relative price adjustment possible; or:
4b. End of the euro.
And we’re talking about months, not years, for this to play out.
But its time may have come.
Update: What does history tell us? Well, prepare for soldiers with guns on the street. And surprise moves, in order to defeat market adjustments.
That may be the Obama 2012 re-election strategy.
Early last year, I noted that Obama’s political advisors were tilting toward what I called a “Colorado strategy” for the reelection campaign. Their focus was on an emerging new Democratic majority—a coalition of young people, minorities, unmarried women, and upscale professionals. This tilt would come, I noted, at the expense of the “Ohio strategy”—my shorthand for an effort focused on retaining support from white working class voters.
To be sure, this tilt toward Colorado as the electoral template was intended as a matter of emphasis rather than a flat-out rejection of Ohio alternative. After all, Obama won both Colorado-type states and Ohio-type states in 2008. It seemed reasonable to suppose that he could fortify the Party’s new beachhead in the Rockies without jeopardizing his standing in the heartland, the traditional key to presidential contests. …
One thing is clear: Obama’s decision aligns the Democratic Party with the demographic future of the country. Young adults overwhelmingly support gay marriage, and they’re sure to win the fight by outliving their older adversaries. The only question is whether the future is now. There’s reason to believe it may not be: In 2008, Obama received 20 percent of the conservative vote, accounting for about 7 percentage points of his overall 53 percent share of the popular vote. (By contrast, McCain received only 10 percent of the liberal vote, accounting for only 2 points of his overall share.) Conservative democrats, in other words, provided the decisive margin in the last election—a margin that it’s not clear can be compensated for with additional liberals.
I agree with the TNR guy, I think that’s the route the Obama re-elect team is trying to go. It’s an interesting one — laying all their chips on the new coalition that elects Democrats, and accepting the premise that the New Deal coalition is dead.
It has the advantage of sincerity — liberal politicians are then able to run on issues they actually care about — and demographics are shifting in its favour.
But have they moved far enough yet? That, we’ll see in November.
That’s my response to my Republican friends who are excited about this.
This is the first time Romney has reached the 50% level of support and is his largest lead ever over the president. It comes a week after a disappointing jobs report that raised new questions about the state of the economy …
Thirty-seven percent (37%) give the president good or excellent marks for his handling of the economy. Forty-eight percent (48%) say he’s doing a poor job. Consumer confidence has slipped four points since last week’s government report on job creation and unemployment. The number who believe their personal finances are getting better slipped from 30% a week ago to 28% today. The number who fear their finances are getting worse increased from 43% before the jobs report to 47% today.
It’s better to be ahead than behind. And 50-43 is a healthy lead.
Anyway, it’s political realities like this that have the Obama campaign working to have anything, absolutely anything, take up the news cycle other than the economy.
Ain’t got no money,
dont know where to go.
Just sittin’ staring at the stereo.
I think we better turn it UP, turn it UP, turn it UP
That’s actually a pretty good summary of their campaign, now that I think of it…
As for right now, the NDP continues to poll well.
OTTAWA – A new poll suggests the New Democrats are widening their support across the country.
The Canadian Press Harris Decima survey indicates that the NDP have 34 per cent of popular support, compared to 30 per cent for the Conservatives.
With a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points, support for the two parties could be equally split.
Still, the poll indicates that the New Democrats have become competitive in traditional Tory areas.
Among rural Canadians, the poll suggests the New Democrats have 31 per cent support, compared to 35 per cent for the Tories.
The NDP appear to have the support of 36 per cent of urban and suburban men, a number that has risen steadily since February.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives are seeing their support in that demographic appear to hover around 29 per cent, down from close to 40 per cent four months ago. …
Overall, the Liberals continue to hold steady at 20 per cent support, the poll suggests.
Just over 2,000 Canadians were polled for the survey in the last week of April and first week of May.
Well, as long as the Tories continue to lead in Ontario, I continue to believe they’re doing fine, and the national polls will rebound over the next years.
The big worry for Team Blue, however, is BC, which very well could go NDP next election. In fact, I rather expect it to — the conservative side has won BC in seven straight elections, after the NDP won it in 1988 in the Free Trade Election. It’s time for them to do something different — it isn’t a true blue province like Alberta.
Anyway. Liberals are still dead, NDP is riding high, and the Tories watch and wait vis-a-vis the Mulcair juggernaut.