Don't Go Overboard

The Libs, as you have probably heard, are poised to flip-flop on their support of certain anti-terror provisions that were introduced after 9/11. I know, I know: not exactly front-page news. Both sides of the House change their minds on various issues, sometimes for good reasons, and sometimes for not.

I think the grits are in the "not" catagory here. But that's not the point of this post.

Today, the PM dragged out the "soft-on-terror" meme. And I think doing so is a mistake.

First of all, it's not necessary. Calling the Libs on ratting on their previous support - expressed as recently as last December, if media reports are to be believed - is entirely fair ball. So is pointing out that this particular flip-flop is muddle-headed at best. I don't even object to Harper saying, as he has, that this is driven by a certain element of the Lib caucus that doesn't reflect opinion in the country. So there are other means for going after "Team" Dion on this issue.

Second, it detracts from the principled argument that can be made for these provisions. In other words, you're arguing a negative instead of a positive. Sometimes, "negative" works - but it doesn't move your own agenda as much as it pulls down the other guy. This is a policy issue that we should be trying to push "up".

Third, it really is going too far. The Libs can be, and in my opinion are, quite wrong. That doesn't mean that they're hangin' with Osama.

Is it fair ball to say that the effect of the grit flip-flop is to unnecessarily weaken our anti-terror arsenal? Of course it is. Dion and his crew should not be let off the hook on this one. Quite simply, in my own opinion of course, they are wrong to turn their backs on the policy that they introduced.

But the PM is sailing into more troubled waters when he drags out the whole "soft-on" thing.

More later.


At 11:40 a.m., Blogger Brian Lemon said...

I dont agree (respectfully). The CPC strategy is to reveal Dion as being incompetent, unsure, and, well, soft.
And it is sticking.

At 11:56 a.m., Blogger Jason Hickman said...

Incompetent, unsure, heck - soft even: all of those charges are spot-on against Dion, Brian.

But calling Dion "soft on terror" is going too far for no good reason, IMHO.

At 1:11 p.m., Blogger wilson61 said...

Coderre, after joining pro-terrorists in a Canadian rally, is now Dion's right hand man.

What would you call it jason?

At 2:17 p.m., Blogger Jason Hickman said...

Wilson -

What, precisely, is gained by the "soft-on-terrorists" line that isn't gained by focusing on the issues & critcisms that I mentioned in my original post?

Even if you disagree with me on whether calling the Libs "soft-on" is wrong in the grander sense of the word, think of it strategically for a minute:

Flip-flop. Muddle-headed. Poorly thought out. Will lead to a weakening of our ability to fight terror. Plain bloody WRONG. These and others are all accurate (IMHO) things to toss at "Team" Dion on this issue. None of them give the Libs an excuse to poor-mouth the Tories.

I'm all for going after the grits on this one. I just think it can be done without calling the Libs soft-on-terror.

At 2:19 p.m., Blogger Jason Hickman said...

Oh, and Wilson, in answer to your question, I would call it another example of poor bloody judgment on the part of Dion. Even if Coderre isn't guilty of what you say, it's another example of Dion relying on the old guard.

What's more, unlike Chretien, the bare-knuckle thing doesn't fit Dion that well. It's making him look like a bit of a joke, quite frankly.

At 6:05 p.m., Blogger scott said...

I guess when you have the other prospective governing party divided, it is in your best interest to keep them divided. This is how the Liberal's won majorities and it will be how Harper finds his. Don't expect the terror issue to be the only serious issue that they challenge Dion to find consensus within his caucus on.


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