Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cutting off your nose

I saw in the paper today Gerard Kennedy and Stephane Dion are talking about supporting each other when the time comes, and I was pleased. I like Gerard, and at this point I'd rather see him as leader then Bob Rae or Michael Ignatieff. So, I was glad to see our camps were talking cooperation. Too bad Gerard's bloggers didn't get the message, and are making me question that feeling.

Take a look across the blogshpere yesterday and today, here's a few headlines:

Liberal Life and Times
: Dion copies Kennedy, AGAIN

Liberal Outsider
: The 180 degrees of Stephane Dion and Afghanistan

Politics from a NB Perspective
: Whoops! Dion campaign at it again?

What do these all have in common? They're all slagging Dion for alleged plagiarism or theft of policy and/or alleged flip-floppery, and on pretty sketchy grounds I might add, AND they're all proud Kennedyians. I don't know about you, but I'm not feeling the love

Inventing the wheel

One blogger says Dion copied his pension plan platform from a Senate report, another says he copied his position on the Afghanistan war from Kennedy. None of the allegations hold any water.

So, Dion called for a similar change in pension policy as a Senate report did (wonder if the senators came up with the idea, or was it suggested by witnesses?). To call that copying is like saying Harper copied his GST reduction idea from the 1993 Liberal Red Book. The pension system needs reform. We all know what needs to be done. He wants to do it.

Then there's Afghanistan. Let's look at the similarities in the Dion and Kennedy positions:

=Our current strategy isn't working, and NATO needs to reevaluate it: This would seem rather obvious, I think. It was obvious to Bob Rae too, when he expressed the same sentiments three weeks before Kennedy's Afghanistan platform. Did Gerard copy the idea that our strategy wasn't working from Bob?

=If we can't get the mission back on track, we should withdraw: Again, what's unique here? The Canadian Labour Congress called for withdrawal three months before Kennedy's Afghanistan platform, surely he didn't copy them, did he? The NDP called for withdrawl the next week, is Jack Layton copying Gerard too?

You'd think we'd be hearing: hey, that's great, we're glad you agree with us on this important issue facing our country. Instead it's: we thought of re-evaluating the mission and potential withdrawal first, you should come up with another idea. Don't copy us!

This is like two people at a restaurant, both ordering a club sandwich. Is the second person copying the first, or do they just like club sandwiches? You didn't invent the club sandwich; you just felt it was the best prescription for your hunger.

Just for fun I stopped by Gerard's Web site, looked through his policies and news releases, and did some Google searches. In less than an hour I found a number of ideas that were originally expressed by someone else, and weren't credited or footnoted. I'm not going to post them and pretend it's Watergate II. Why? Because, in addition to being lame, it doesn't matter. There's nothing wrong with it. You don't invent pension reform, or tax cuts, or re-evaluating your war strategy.

Anyway, lastly, another blogger, after implying Gerard has a copyright on any proposal to "withdraw from Afghanistan if it continues to be a failure" claims Stephane has somehow flip-flopped on the issue, using quotes from a slanted (oxy-moron alert) NDP Fact Check to burnish his argument.

Besides questioning the wisdom of using slanted NDP or Conservative talking points to attack a fellow Liberal, I'm hesitant to spend too much time on the merits of the argument, or lack thereof.

But for argument's sake, let's say he did change his mind. Is it wrong for someone's thinking to evolve, especially on something as critical as a war? And secondly, if someone changes their mind and now shares your view, why would you attack them for it? So, you state your case, make an argument, now I've changed your mind, I agree. Now you attack me for changing my mind? What's up with that? And what's your point: Hey, you agree with me now, so you suck?


I am just so tired of this kind of nonsense that this leadership race has degenerated to in the blogshpere. I picked these three examples because, in addition to being fairly egregious, they are also all from Kennedy supporters at a time when Gerard and Stephane are reaching out to each other. That makes it strategically lame in addition to plain 'ol ordinary lame.

Do they, or any of the bloggers that engage in this kind of nonsense, think they're helping their candidates? Kennedy wants to bring Dion delegates onboard should Dion fall off the ballot; do they think this kind of BS is going to help?

I have a headache. This is why so many people want absolutely nothing to do with the political process.

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers


Anonymous said...

Do not be swayed by these people.
They are trying to create divisions where divisions do not exist.
I spoke with Kennedy last night in Montreal and will attest that he does not support this behaviour. His focus was renewal and unity. That unity included the Dion supporters who were present to support GK in Quebec.

Daniel Mosely said...

You failed to mention the Dion blogger who also "slagged" your own candidate, Liberal Pebbles.

It appears Dion attracts criticism even from his own campaign and thus is not limited to the Kennedy campaign.

Further by looking at the comments section of those blogs you'll see numerous anonymous bloggers agreeing to the stated blog.

Jeff said...

Oh, I know they don't speak for Gerard, he'd be embarrassed.

Daniel, you're taking us off in a tangent, but I'll come along with you for a moment. You're wrong, pebbles did not criticize Dion.

Pebbles didn't say Kennedy copied or ripped-off anyone. My read was pebbles was taking issue with the author of the news story, who said that Dion's position was unique from the other candidates. That's false, as has been amply stated Dion's position is quite similar to Kennedy's. The reporter was wrong. It happens. Bad reporter. Pebbles merely pointed-out the similarity of the positions. No criticism was leveled.

And thus ends our tip to tangent land. Now, you also mentioned "numerous anonymous commenters." So what? Anonymous comments and a loonie will get you a coke. They mean nothing, and have no credibility. While i vehemently disagree with your post and your tactics Daniel, I give you credit for posting under your own name.

Anonymous said...

I am happy that Dion is today closer to Gerard's stance on Afghanistan. It's good for both of them and for the Liberal Party.

Even though Dion is the second choice of many Gerard supporters, he is not the second choice of all Gerard supporters.

Gerard's bloggers are NOT being directed by someone at the campaign office. Bloggers who support Gerard are not guinea pigs. Bloggers who support Gerard have minds of their own and will on occasion have opinions different from those of the campaign office. That's the incredible thing about Gerard's bloggers, they can support Gerard even if they have differences of opinion.

Gerard's website discusses the importance of listening to the opinions of others. As Liberal leader, Gerard will listen to the opinions of caucus and give them greater responsibilities and power. MPs in turn, will be expected listen to the opinions of their constituents and hold town hall meetings (or Gerard will not sign their nomination papers).

Gerard and Dion have a lot in common. There is mutual admiration between the two candidates and their campaign staff and their bloggers. However, Dion supporters should not expect Gerard's bloggers to all of a sudden lose their opinions as we would not expect Dion's bloggers to all of a sudden lose their opinions.

Unnecessary rhetoric and innuendo were never a hallmark of Gerard's bloggers, and will not be a hallmark the next 11 days.

Jeff said...

Peter, I certainly don't think there's any kind of coordination here by Gerard's campaign, and I know no blogger speaks for the candidate they might support.

I just highlighted these three examples because they all came from Gerard supporters at a time when their candidate was talking peace with the person they're slagging, and are only hurting their own guy's chances of attracting Dion delegates down if and when the time comes.

But besides that irony, and I do think it is hugely ironic, it's really secondary to a larger issue.

This kinds of manufactured outrage and righetous indignation over fabricated, made-up or streeeetched beyonf recognition BS has been happening across the blogsphere, by people supporting all camps, all campaign. And I'm sick to death of it. It has the NDP and Cons taking notes and chuckling in glee. We are ALL Liberals. Differences of opinion or no, we all need to work together in two weeks.

Anonymous said...

A BCer in Toronto,


Jason Cherniak, a Dion blogger, even took a shot at Justin Trudeau (I believe Jason will regret this after the campaign) the past week: "My concern with Justin Trudeau"

Battle of the Grits, a Dion blogger, wrote today: "Ignatieff is a Moron

Volpe has been getting shot at all over the blogosphere since the start.

What matters is that after all this is over, we are all united behind the leader. And the only two TOP 4 candidates (according to the most recent EKOS poll of Liberal delegates) who will be able to get all Liberals united behind them are Gerard and Dion.

Jeff said...

As I said Peter, nonesense has abounded everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Nicely done once again Jeff.

You've been on fire recently.

Anonymous said...

I'm so tired of it too. Sometimes I think people type, click "publish" and don't realize that December 3rd is coming down the pipe.

Maybe these people will lay low after the new leader is chosen.


Maybe they'll be so upset with the democratically chosen leader that they'll rip up their memberships, but I doubt it. Until then we have to endure "talking points" emails from all the camps, ridiculous Youtube collages, cheap shots and on and on and on... Next Saturday couldn't come soon enough.

P.S. I'm a Kennedy supporter.

Olaf said...

I get so sick of people and their "stealing of ideas" horseshit. You want people to "steal" your ideas, that's why you have ideas and talk about them. Unless they have a copyright on said ideas, or in case Kennedy was the first one to ever think of them, it's just absurd.

I was pissed when people got on Dion for "stealing" Suzuki's report. That's why Suzuki wrote it, so that people could be influenced by it and use its ideas for the environment. How is it a bad thing that Dion uses an environmentalists ideas for his environmental platform? What's next? Is he gonna take advice from an economist for his fiscal platform? Banish the thought.

I demand that Dion lock himself in a room with only a pencil and a pad of paper for a week straight until his platform has been conceived, otherwise it is completely illegitimate. Ok, I'm done.