Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Lib-NDP swing voters, strategic voting, and why some Liberals should be marked for death.

Over here, Idealistic Pragmatist has some excellent advice on how the specific class of Liberal-NDP swing voters should vote strategically in order to give the Conservative Party of Canada a swift boot to the family jewels. In a nutshell, she suggests that, all things being equal, that class of swing voters should vote for whichever of the Liberal or NDP candidate stands a better chance of winning.

While I agree with most of IP's prose, I would add one important qualifier: that Liberal or NDP candidate who's more likely to win should get the progressive vote, unless that candidate is acting like a dumbass conservative.

Case in point: the recent national vote on same-sex marriage, during which (despite that vote being an utter waste of time and doomed to failure) 13 Liberals actually voted to re-open the debate. From a progressive point of view, every one of those 13 Liberals should be political roadkill come the next election, regardless of whether they represent the better bet to defeat the Conservative candidate.

Could this backfire and let the Conservative sneak up the middle? Of course. But there comes a point when progressives should be getting really freakin' tired of strategically having to support Liberal candidates who act like right-wing wankers.

In cases like that, I think it's incumbent on progressives to send a message -- there's a limit to our patience and accommodation. If closet conservatives are caught hanging out in the Liberal party, they should be outed and punished, even if it means some short-term pain.

It's time to do some Liberal Party of Canada ideological cleansing. And those 13 wanks mentioned above would be just the place to start.

ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES. Commenter "rabbit" seems appalled by the idea of allowing a "free" vote, then canning people who don't vote the "right" way. Au contraire, this is exactly the way the idiots should be weeded out.

By way of analogy, let's say I was the head of a science teachers association, and we were holding a vote as to whether to replace the teaching of biological evolution with strict young-earth creationism. Being the democratic kinda guy that I am, I might allow a free vote on the subject, but what happens if someone actually votes for that kind of replacement?

First, we can conclude that that person is at least one level worth of stupid, if they take creationism seriously. And that level of stupid alone would be enough to get their sorry asses kicked out of an organization dedicated to science education. But that's not all.

Even worse, they're an extra level of stupid for not understanding that voting the way they did would have obvious consequences. I mean, how dense do you have to be to not only be a scientific illiterate, but to further advertise that fact in the midst of an association of science teachers?

I think free votes are terrific, since they give people the opportunity to show just what kind of lunatic wingnuts they really are. And then the culling can begin.


Anonymous said...

And Pat Martin. I will never vote for that useless twit again.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, right now, I just want to get Harper out of 24 Sussex Dr. before he does any more damage to this country.

Dean P said...

Amen. That idiot Paul Szabo, the horrible Dan McTeague (who had no vision when he was wooing me as a young Liberal, over a decade ago, and has even less now), and any of the rest who stand up and mouth the same nonsense that would make them otherwise indistinguishable from nutjobs from the Tory/Reform bench.

But screw purging during the election--let's get rid of them now. We're the party of the Charter, we're the party of Same Sex Marriage, we're the party that is responsible for every single progressive and just law that's been passed since the War. We're a broad tent, but not so broad we should be allowing anyone to run.

Dion should push them out.

It was a free vote, sure, but sometimes following your conscience should have consequences.

Anonymous said...

Pragmatist has some excellent advice on how the specific class of Liberal-NDP swing voters should vote strategically in order to give the Conservative Party of Canada a swift boot to the family jewels.

Those who plan to do this shouldn't talk about it, though. There's a rump of NDP supporters who fly into a blinding rage whenever "strategic voting" is even mentionned.

It can backfire, but not doing so can also backfire, thus bringing us the situation we have now: A bunch of delusionals for a government.

Anonymous said...

You're kidding, right? You would have Dion allow Liberal members a free vote, and then have him punish everyone who didn't vote the "correct" way?

The trust in Dion held by Liberal MP's would drop to absolute zero, even amongst those who voted "correctly".

Anonymous said...

CC: Thanks for your kind response to my post. I'm afraid, however, that you've rather missed the point.

It's not the fate of the rejected dissidents you need worry about - it's those who vote "correctly" but who believe that even dissidents should be treated with a modicum of fairness and tolerance, for it will occur to them that it may be themselves who are offside on the next "free vote."

These members will then proceed to vote -- with their feet. And the Liberal party will become a hollowed-out shell, albeit, I suppose, an ideologically pure one.

Dean P said...

Rabbit: So what you're saying is that the Liberals should keep a bunch of idiots in the party who, when given the chance, proved they belonged on the other side, because that's what having a conscience is about? Basically you're sounding like the worse kind of Martinite Liberal--do whatever it takes, say whatever needs to be said, take as waffly a position as possible, in order to stay in power.

And please, embracing "fairness and tolerance" doesn't mean tolerating bigots and homophobes. The Liberals would never tolerate Holocaust deniers or anti-semites in caucus, just to be "fair[] and toler[ant.]"

Anonymous said...

What I'm saying, Dino, is that if Dion feels so strongly about something that he cannot tolerate "wrong answers", then he should NOT declare it to be a free vote in the first place.

Doing otherwise looks like entrapment. Many MP's will feel that they have worked too hard for the party for too long to be subjected to such games. To put it bluntly, Stalinistic purges are not usually well received, even by those who survive them.

You know, such a scheme for cleansing the party of political impurity wouldn't work anyway. After
the first time, MP's would immediately understand that "free votes" aren't free votes at all, and they would all dutifully vote as the leader does.

And the whole excercise of declaring something a free vote would look like hypocritical posturing, as indeed it would be.

Dean P said...

Rabbit: Would you rather then have those people in the party? Let's get rid of them--if they look like a Tory, and walk like a Tory, and vote like a Tory, and quack like a Tory--well, they're probably better of sleeping with Tories.

Well, of course, we know that Tories don't get laid much, so maybe they just have to roost with them.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Rabbit: it's a bad idea to call it a 'free vote', then turn around and say 'oops, it was a whipped vote!' If the party can't take an official position, then it's a bad idea to punish those who step out of line.

Look, it's not like the Liberals needed this vote to pick out who the homophobes were. McTeague, Wappel, etc. - these guys have acted like jackasses on this and other issues for a long time. I doubt anyone was surprised about how they voted this time. If the Liberals wanted integrity instead of seats, they'd have been long gone.