This must surely a sign of the apocalypse. Excuse me while I go to the window to check for flying monkeys and blood falling from the sky like rain...ok, we're still clear at the moment.
The Conservative Karl Rove is exactly right in his analysis here though:
Tom Flanagan has a message New Democrats won't want to hear. In a candid new book called Harper's Team, the top Conservative strategist reveals that Jack Layton and company were the key to bringing Stephen Harper - not exactly a Dipper kind of guy - to power.
The Layton decision to attack Paul Martin's Liberals and lay off the Tories in the 2006 campaign was what paved the way, concludes the Calgary academic, a Harper confidant. "No matter how well designed our campaign had been, it would have been hard for us to win if the NDP had not held up its end."
This is what Liberals, though less eloquently, have been saying since the last election. So, a certain degree of vindication there, I suppose.
Now, before the flamers come-out in force, let me make clear that I’m not making excuses for the Liberal result last election, nor do I blame the NDP for their strategy.
The Liberals’ loss was the LPC’s own fault; heck, they even lost my vote last election after the military ad. From sponsorship to the income trust investigation to a weak, weak campaign and a host of other factors, the LPC was its own worst enemy in 2005/06.
And I don’t fault the NDP for their strategy; it was very smart. And it paid dividends for them with a substantial increase in seat count. In their shoes, I’d have done the very same thing.
So, I don’t blame the NDP for the Liberal result, let me make that clear. But it has been my strategic analysis, shared now it would seem by Tom Flanagan, that the NDP strategy helped put Harper in power. I don’t see how, from a pure numbers perspective, that can be denied. By focusing its attacks on the Liberals, the NDP was able to divide the left vote enough for a Harper minority. The numbers simply bare that out.
Do I expect the NDP to change their strategy? Not to any large degree. The article says they’ve softened their attacks on the Liberals since Dion took over, I’d take issue with that claim.
I think there may be a point where NDP supporters start to question if focusing more on the Liberals than the Conservatives, esp. now that they’re in government, with the result of prolonging the Con government, is really the way to go. So, there may be some risk of a backlash at some point. But that really depends on how successful the NDP is at influencing Con legislation, and that will have to be key to their messaging next campaign.
But there’s one big reason why the NDP is unlikely to change their strategy: it works. They increased their seat count. They’re not going to gain Conservative votes, but they can gain Liberal votes. So, even though it increases the likelihood of a Conservative government, why dump a winning strategy? There’s also the fact
At the end of the day though, while Flanagan confirms the hypothesis of many Liberals, when it comes to placing blame, both for the last election result, and the future left-vote splitting that will come from the NDP’s continued attack the Liberals first strategy, the blame lies solely on our shoulders.
There’s not going to be a unite the left movement like we saw on the right. There’s nothing we can do about the NDP’s strategy. It is up to the Liberal Party to provide a solid alternative, to appeal to centre-left voters, and to provide them with a reason to vote for us. We need to earn their votes.
If we do, they’ll vote for us and we’ll challenge the Conservatives to form government. And if we don’t earn their votes, and the Cons win again, we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers