Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Marine Le Pen Fiddles as Europe Burns

Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested over the weekend and accused of very serious crimes. Like all people in free countries he is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law and bluntly this isn't a law blog. This is a politics blog and innocent or guilty M. Strauss-Kahn is dead in the water politically. This presents a new political landscape for French politics and current French President Nicolas Sarkozy. While Strauss-Kahn would have been hard-pressed to oppose the bailouts of weaker EU partners like Greece and Portugal, his next strongest opponent is vehemently opposed. Marine Le Pen, who succeeded her father Jean-Marie Le Pen as leader of Front National now finds herself well placed to repeat her father's shock second place finish in the 2002 presidential race when he edged out the Socialists to claim a spot in the run off.

While the robotic Mme Royal is gone, the options for socialist leadership go down hill dramatically after Strauss-Kahn. The frontrunner no is the runner-up to Mme. Royal last time out Martine Aubry who holds the dubious distinction of losing, albeit barely, to Segolene Royal. The socialists in France have been in the political wilderness for a decade and Mme. Aubry does not appear to be the woman to lead them back. This leads the door open to the kinder, gentler racist xenophobe: Marine Le Pen. This is still Front National we're talking about but Marine Le Pen doesn't have quite the same evil look that her father did. She might make people forget for a couple minutes that the party she represents still supports deporting unemployed immigrants even if she doesn't believe in deporting all immigrants anymore. The point of all this is that if Sarko believes that his principal opposition in 2012 is from Mme. Le Pen he might start cooling even further to any more money for Euro-delinquents. Yet another reason why the Front National is a bad thing. In case you needed one.

Democracy Delayed is Democracy Denied

The executive of the Liberal Party of Canada has learned nothing from the crushing electoral defeat endured by the party on May 2nd. They haven't learned that the leader of a political party should be chosen by the membership of the party without any interference from the executive. The executive in 2008 appointed Michael Ignatieff leader of the party so they could prevent those stupid and pesky party members from choosing someone else again like they did in 2006. Now, they seek again to delay the election of the next leadership so that the membership doesn't make another mistake. A reminder: repeating the 2006 mistake would more than double the size of the Liberal caucus. The executive should let the leadership run its prescribed constitutional course there is no reason for delay.

Let me be very clear on this matter. I do not support Bob Rae. I will not support Bob Rae. I think Bob Rae is most likely to lead the party into a disastrous merger with the NDP or into political oblivion. That doesn't mean we should try to flip the chess board when it looks like he might be winning. Liberals need to have an open discussion this summer about who they want to lead their party. At the end of that discussion, we can only hope that Bob Rae isn't the answer. It is up to people who don't support Bob Rae to make that case. To make the case that their are better alternatives, whomever they may be.

The next Liberal leader has a lot of work to do. The party is in shambles. The grassroots are torches and sown with salt. There is a huge enthusiasm gap. These problems will not take weeks or months to fix. They will take years. Luckily, we have years. About 4 and a half years to figure out how to rebuild this great Canadian institution. Let's get a leader prepared to get down to work, not getting ready to collect old age security and let's get her or him elected as soon as possible. While the NDP and Tories fight each other in the commons and on the airwaves we can begin the task of rebuilding the big red machine. One cog at a time.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Note on Failed Projection Model

My projection for the election was wrong. Like off by 100+ seats wrong if you add up all the differences in seat counts. I'll start by saying that. But I don't actually dismiss my model. Here's why:

First, I'm mostly wrong in Quebec where I had the Bloc holding on and the NDP surge far less overwhelming. This is somewhat predictable, in fact, I basically said I thought I was wrong there when I put out my first projection for the province. My model is based on previous results so when the new result or poll is completely divorced from the previous reality it's not likely that the change will show up in large scale. It is inherently conservative, in the small c meaning of the word and most nights in Canadian politics that's not a bad thing. This year, it was a millstone.

The other reason for underestimating the size of the NDP surge is the lateness of the surge and how that screws up my polling aggregate. My aggregate is designed to give the most weight to recent polls but it doesn't exclude old ones. I actually played around with my aggregate on the weekend to try get something that would look close to what was going to happen. The closest I got adding weight to new polls and weakening old ones without completely fudging the numbers was CPC 37, NDP 28.5, LPC 22, BQ 6.5, GPC 5. Low for the Tories and Dippers, high for everybody else. Probably this weekend I'm going to use the real election results as a dummy poll in my model and see what would happen. That will be a better test of my model as a tool for extrapolating poll results which is what it is designed to do. If I get closer, especially outside of Quebec which might be a write-off, I think I'll have a little more faith in my methodology. It's all kind of moot as seat projection on a riding-by-riding basis like I have becomes a lot more difficult once the House gets reconfigured to match the new census as it should be the next time Canadians vote in 2015. I'm not sure how I can incorporate it into the model. Suggestions always welcome.

I Knew It Was A Bad Night When...

They announced the Liberals had lost Labrador. We've never lost Labrador. EVER. We've held Labrador since 1948. Mr. Ignatieff, the Mondale School of Failed Leadership called, they have an opening for you.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Final Projection

Here's what's going to happen... I guess you can vote if you want:

National 150 50 62 45 1
NL 1 4 2 0 0
PE 0 4 0 0 0
NS 2 3 6 0 0
NB 6 3 1 0 0
QC 8 9 12 45 1
ON 59 26 21 0 0
MB 9 1 4 0 0
SK 12 1 1 0 0
AB 27 0 1 0 0
BC 22 1 13 0 0
North 1 1 1 0 0
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