Monday, July 27, 2015

Haters were going to call Eglinton-Lawrence a loss for Trudeau no matter what

When the narrative is against you, events don't matter -- they'll be twisted to suit the desired message no matter what. Such is the case these days with Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party, and Sunday's nomination in Eglinton-Lawrence offers a compelling case study.

As you probably know, some months back former Conservative MP Eve Adams crossed the floor to join the Liberal caucus. Told she had to seek an open nomination, she opted to run in a riding where she had no roots -- Eglinton-Lawrence -- as there was already a Liberal candidate nominated at the time in her home riding. A local Liberal, Marco Mendicino, was already seeking the nomination in Eglinton-Lawrence. After a long delay and a heated race, Mendicino won on Sunday -- by some reports handily.

As we waited for the results, I tweeted this:

And as you can guess, with Mendicino's win they went for option 2. It was entirely predictable. Heads the pundits win, tails Justin loses. Tim Harper's column is representative of the spin across social media and pundit land this morning. Haters gonna hate, and they were going to hate either way.

Just for fun, let's try to look at this logically. Fact is if Trudeau really wanted Adams as the candidate, she'd be the candidate. He'd either have appointed her or fixed the race to ensure she won. Mendicino would have had swathes of memberships mysteriously disallowed or disappeared. People would have been strongly encouraged to not support his campaign. There were plenty of levers they could have pulled. They pulled none of them. Besides leaving the nomination call to second-last in the GTA (Thornhill remains) no process or other levers were used to support the supposedly favoured candidate. And Mendicino had the support of past (interim) leader Bob Rae and a lot of active establishment Liberals who, if Adams was really the hard Trudeau choice, wouldn't have gone near his campaign.

The argument for option 2 also relies on Adams being "Trudeau's choice." Let's examine that logically too, shall we? The only way Trudeau could have headed off this damned either way scenario is if he hadn't have let Adams cross the floor to the Liberal caucus. She was hardly a big get and her Liberal bonafides were questionable at best, but the opportunity to pick up an MP at Harper's expense is hard to pass up. And if he'd blocked her he'd have taken flack for that too; don't kid yourself.

So now that we accept she's coming onboard, of course he has to have a press conference with her -- only Prime Minister Harper is allowed to never talk to the press without consequence. And of course he is going to say positive things about her -- what, is he going to say I don't like her but welcome to our caucus? But he took pains to make clear that she would have to face an open nomination and he would pick no favourites. So all the "Trudeau's choice" arguments are predicated on the fact he had a press conference to welcome a new MP to the caucus. It just doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

Of course, logic doesn't help you when the gods of the narrative aren't on your side. So be it. To quote a great philosopher, haters gonna hate. Liberals just need to shake it off. The pundits will move on to the next tortured story soon. And no narrative is forever -- a year ago they'd decided the man walked on water.

Meanwhile, in Mendicino Liberals have a candidate with deep local roots and the Liberal grassroots behind him that is best positioned to take on and defeat Joe Oliver. And none of the rest matters.

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GWiz said...

Yup, well said, and out leading the parade is Harper's very own propaganda channel the CBC... Justin Trudeau made it exceedingly clear that there were no deals involved in letting Adams join the Liberal caucus, and that Adams would be allowed to contest in an open Toronto area riding just like any other nomination candidate that could step forward... That's it, that's all the story here... Real journalism is truly dead... Maybe CBC should look at it's own reporting like I did... -

Vancouverois said...

Fact is if Trudeau really wanted Adams as the candidate, she'd be the candidate. He'd either have appointed her or fixed the race to ensure she won.

I don't see how this follows. He could not have done either of these without giving the lie to his promise of "open nominations".

That said, however, I doubt he's terribly disappointed that Ms Adams lost.

RADinBC said...

Hey, Jeff. You don’t have be a “hater” to observe that a party leader has made a mistake. In the Eve Adams case, many people who wish Justin well saw that he had made a mistake and were disappointed by it.

The idea that Justin ‘had no choice’ when presented with the Adams request to join the LPC puts me in mind of another Liberal Leader who said he “had no choice.” I think we all remember how that turned out.

In fact, John Turner had a better argument that Justin. At least there was an agreement in place with Pierre. In the case of Eve and Justin, the decision was all his. No one forced Justin to do the wrong thing. He simply volunteered.

And his decision was all the more egregious given the way he and his team have interfered to keep long-time Liberals from running for nomination in other ridings. These prospective candidates weren’t good enough to be Justin Trudeau Liberals but Eve Adams was. The mind boggles.

As for the argument that Adams was a prize ‘too hard to pass up’ and that “he’d have taken flack” if he hadn’t taken her in, this doesn’t pass the smell test. Reporters actually guffawed at the news conference, because the sight was so absurd, and Liberal activists were rightly appalled that Justin considered Eve to be an appropriate representative of the Party he leads. Where the “flack” would have come from had Justin told her to take a hike, I don’t know.