The Liberal strategy for fighting recall is now very clear: go after Bill VanderZalm personally, since they apparently worry they can’t beat recall on the issues.
And their attack strategy has been picked up by their mouthpieces in the media: either deliberately, trying to scuttle recall, or naievely taking up the Liberals’ refrain in a drawn out, sustained fashion without thinking about their own double standard, dating back to previous elections.
Just in the week, we’ve heard over and over again all about VanderZalm’s own political past woes, dating back to 1991. Funny thing though, we keep hearing that from the very same people who say “Get over it!” and cry “Foul” when others try to question Premier Gordon Campbell’s fitness to lead by bringing up: his conviction for impaired driving in 2003 … TWELVE YEARS more recent than VanderZalm’s resignation; his tearing up legal contracts in 2002 … ELEVEN YEARS more recent than VanderZalm’s troubles; and the Supreme Court’s ruling illegal of that action in 2007 … ONLY THREE YEARS AGO.
Not to mention the Convention Centre HUGE cost overruns, the lies that BC Rail wouldn’t be sold off, and the SEVERE UNDERESTIMATES of Olympic costs.
Those things are all old news that need not be rehashed …even though they go to the very crediblity of the Premier and his government that could play a LARGE part in many people’s decision on how tio vote on recall. But its fine to keep raking VanderZalm over the coals in 2010 for things that happened almost TWO DECADES ago.
Hypocrites! Naieve? Or Liberal puppets?
None of this, of course, is to suggest the media should not report problems that emerge about organizers or canvassers in the recall campaign. Dirt makes great copy. And fun to dig into, expose the truth and write about.
However, to blame the leader personally or hold him responsible for all the hundreds or thousands of individuals who sign up or become active in the campaign anywhere in the province, I believe, is a bit ludicrous … over the top. Especially when the whole recall campaign is a grassroots volunteer-driven effort …not funded by huge donations from political parties, business groups, unions etc. with paid staffers to do a lot of the work and research the background of EVERY volunteer worker, canvasser or organizer.
In fact, not even political leaders have personally worn as much muck as media pundits are heaping on VanderZalm when embarrassing facts have surfaced about political riding officials or propective candidates.
In recent years … no need to go back two decades …almost every B.C. political party has lost or dropped candidates for less than honourable reasons. Some were linked to drug use, bribery accusations, smuggling or having “inappropriate” photos posted on the Internet. Their leaders were embarrassed briefly …. but there was no ongoing media campaign, by the media itself, to denigrate any party leader.
The issues got reported, the political liability was jettisoned, the leader was questionned, embarrassed … probably pointed out how many party officials are involved and stated he/she can’t possibly know them all that personally …. and then everyone moved on.
But with the recall campaign and VanderZalm, I sense something more: every time a campaign official or canvasser is exposed for wrongdoing … real or manufactured … the leader will not only “wear it” personally … but efforts will be made to tar him personally. And regurgitate his past …. from TWENTY YEARS ago.
From the Liberals, I can understand: they are in a battle for survival. A successful recall campaign could see the fall of the government; and that seems to me to be the ultimate aim of the recallers. So attacking the leader of their opposition is to be expected.
But the media should not willingly be played for suckers … allowing themselves to be used to dredge up VanderZalm’s personal past … which is totally irrelevant to the ISSUES surrounding the recall campaign. Just as they don’t keep repeating Campbell’s past personal embarrassments when they talk about the HST!
Unless their motivation, like the Liberals, is to defeat the recall effort.