21 May 2010

Are liberals masochists?

The United States presidential election of 2004 presented two candidates with sharply contrasting war records. John Kerry had served honourably in Vietnam, done his duty so to speak. George W. Bush had used his family connections to duck the draft and spend the war flying jets around Texas. He ran away, so to speak. Yet during the election, the Republicans attacked Kerry on his war record, putting him on the defensive, and he let them do it. He had an extraordinary opportunity to imply his opponent was a coward and reap the benefits, but he was too much of a gentleman -- or something -- to do it. And of course he lost the election.

Now here in Canada, the Conservatives are doing a job on Ignatieff, claiming his erudition and lengthy sojourn out of the country make him suspect as a Canadian, and it too seems to be working. He admits they have "done a number" on him. Yet, as with Kerry, what an opportunity to retaliate. "Firewall" Harper has on more than one occasion shown his contempt for this country. He has made a speech in the United States ridiculing us. Yet the Liberals let it pass. They could be running ads asking why a man wants to be prime minister of a country he doesn't much like, but they are too much the gentlemen ... or something. Like Kerry, they are allowing the opposition to take one of its weaknesses and turn it into a strength. Ignatieff just takes the punches and doesn't swing back.

But what do I know. Politics isn't my game. Maybe the Liberal strategy will be seen as honourable in the long run and receive its just reward, and God knows politics could use more people with principles. Just ask John Kerry.

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