Tick-Tock: Let James Run Out the Clock

Make no mistake about it: Carole James will be gone as NDP leader well before the next provincial election.

But remember … in politics, like comedy …. timing is everything. And the next BC election isn’t scheduled until Tuesday, May 14 … 2013.  Yes, 2013. 

So for the NDP there’s no rush: in fact, it would be politically dumb to replace James now.  Why take the spotlight off the Liberals right now?  Why waste all the attention, the radio, television and newspaper coverage,  the excitement of electing a  new leader … and the subsequent focus on his or her early pronouncements and speeches so far ahead of the election?  And why expose the new leader to a longer than necessary sustained period of Opposition and media exposure,  investigation, criticism and blemish-revealing doubts and possible blunders?

James’ future is unfolding as it should: with one of those walks in the snow or sand moments to come when she … and NDP strategists … are good and ready: next Fall, or even better, the Spring of  2012. 

In the meantime, the NDP would do best to let the Liberals occupy the spotlight, tearing themselves open, shedding blood and accusations, exchanging blows and tears and fighting off recall campaigns as they also struggle to get rid of their current leader, Gordon Campbell.  

The NDP should sit back and watch as Liberal leadership candidates then try to outdo one another in distancing themselves from their curent leader. And just enjoy all the thrusts and cuts Liberals will inflict on one another in their leadership fight.

And then, AFTER the Liberals have their new standard-bearer, the NDP would be ready to step in and steal the spotlight with their own leadership moves … with an added bonus: knowing exactly who their primary foe will be and be able to choose a leader best able to face and defeat their new formidable foe.

That would seem to me to be the sensible, practical way for the NDP … and James …  to go.

That is, unless ambitous power-seekers within the NDP ranks, scuttle that battle plan by organizing a precipitous revolt with the party right now. The real winner of that, at this time, would be the Liberal party …. turning the spotlight away from their agony and redirecting it on the NDP’s. 

No benefit to that!

James will go … but to push her out now, in a public  ugly internal bloodletting … will serve the Liberals,  in the long run up to 2013,  more than the NDP.

Harv Oberfeld

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21 Responses to Tick-Tock: Let James Run Out the Clock

  1. 13 says:

    If you are a Liberal supporter James is the best thing that the NDP can do to help them hold on to power.
    Ever since the NDP decided to try and move closer to the center they have lost focus. As a left wing labor party fully behind the trade unions with an anti business attitude they attracted the working mans vote.
    They now just seem confused with no point of view and no vision. This is fine by me. Please leave James in charge.

  2. Curt says:

    Harv, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Time is on the side of the NDP right now. It’s time for them to raise the issues the citizens of this province are raising, as well as demanding the the legislature be recalled to deal with the “supposed” resignation of the premier and who is running our province. They need to quit the posturing and raise the issues i.e., BC rail and the documents that need to be kept, the 6 million dollar bill we’re paying for legal costs on a “guilty” plea, the shadow tolls on the S2S, the list goes on. Ask the questions that we, the public are asking and keep asking over and over. The time is not now to go at each other. Carol knows what she has to do, but in the meantime, let the lieberals carry on.

    (Response: Exactly. There’s still ots of time to get rid of her down the road …and I think the way she’s handling the Bob Simpson dilemma convinces me she plans to go and couldn’t care less about healing rifts and uniting various factions behind her. h.o)

  3. Willy P says:

    Nice to hear you on the radio this morning Mr. O.!

    Yesterday’s little show of passion is what Ms. James has been missing. I agree, she has to go with more capable and saleable people waiting in the wings. It’s plain idiocy to have something handed to you on a silver platter and just toss it to the side. Curious as to who for a replacement? Farnworth, Dix, Kwan?

    (Response: Not Kwan…it will be a man this time …and I’m believing so far it will be Farnworth. h.o)

  4. Todd says:

    Harv, I agree with you that the NDP should wait until after the Lib leadership has played itself out and what the political scene looks like in terms of polling down the road.

    That said, Carole’s personal approval numbers are low and sinking. Furthermore, the numerous Kamikazee attacks by various MLA’s, ex-MLA’s, constituency associations, etc. have rendered Carole damaged goods.

    It doesn’t matter what happens at this weekends provincial council meeting, the genie has been let out of the bottle and those divisions within party ranks will remain.

    As the spread in public opinion poll numbers continues to shrink and Carole’s personal numbers fall, the only question remains as to how much time is left on Carole’s clock.

    And does Carole leave willingly or does she get pushed?

    (Response: She will go within a year..to avoid a scheduled leadership review next Fall. The decision will be her own … with a few knives poised behind her back. 🙂 h.o.

  5. Gary E says:

    I agree that the NDP should just watch the Liberals self destruct Harv.
    But I disagree with some of my friends both online and off. James is the duly elected leader. There are major problems with the Liberals and she has been playing a waiting game. I firmly believe that this is the “old boys” club that can smell victory even before the next scheduled election (think Recall) and the “old boys” want the reigns when it happens. By doing what I believe they are doing, is what is going to self destruct the party. They are making their own beds.
    As an aside, I fully support Bob Simpson in whatever he does now. Except if he joins the liberals. lol.

    (Response: Simpson will be back in the fold once a new leader is chosen asnd moves to re-unite the party. h.o)

  6. Stan Mortensen says:

    I am generally an independent voter these days opting to vote more for the local candidate than any particular party line. However, party policies can also determine the direction of my vote along with the visibility of the candidate or MLA in the local community.

    While I profess no knowledge of the internal workings of the NDP, that is where our vote has been over the last several election cycles, I certainly understand the angst that they are going through.

    Sometimes, leadership means understanding that you have gone as far as you can and that to move things along to the next level someone else has to do that job. I appreciate the efforts that Carole James has made to reach out to a large swath of the community that has felt neglected by the NDP in the past times but she, like the party has to ask herself and itself: Can we move to the next level with the current leadership?

    I think the voters of BC genuinely like Carole James but they do not really see her as a premier and that is really the rub. She has done a stellar job in steering the party in a better direction but I, like many voters do not see her moving it to the next level.

    The political dialogue in this province has been defined as a struggle between left and right for far too long where it needs to be defined as the differences between voters with progressive views versus those with more conservative views. Yes, one can be conservative minded but with progressive views on social issues, the same as one can be a progressive with conservative views on other issues. The trick is always in finding the right balance to appeal to the widest range of voters.

    The NDP needs to embrace the small business community, working class families and to a lesser extent become less reliant on the union affiliations. It needs to become a much bigger tent, encompassing a broader range of the electorate. Always understanding that they will never have the support of big business; the latter will always be in the pockets of whichever party caters to their whims and fancies.

    (Response: My sentiments exactly. The NDP’s achilles heel may be their loyalty to the past instead of giving the voters a new, exciting choice. h.o)

  7. Mike Lombardi says:

    I have known Carole James for more than 25 years.  She is  trustworthy, moderate, smart, thoughtful, solutions oriented, and full of common sense. Her  leadership style is just what we need–a cool leader in a hot province!

     Mike Lombardi
    Vision Vancouver School Trustee
    Vancouver Board of Education

    (Response: You’re right..she is a very nice person, dedicated too. But can she convince the people of the province to make her Premier. Twice they have said No. And I believe a new Liberal leader, with a new “start”, and heavily financed advance speaking and election campaign would give James a third loss. h.o)

  8. Mo says:

    @Mike. She may be nice, but she is toast in 2012 …
    The electorate is not warming up to her. There is a big distrust because she has never stated where she and her party stand on issues. She has two Strikes against her now and she is about to strike out.

  9. RS says:

    “Response: She will go within a year..to avoid a scheduled leadership review next Fall. The decision will be her own … with a few knives poised behind her back. h.o.”

    Thirteen knifes it would seem according to Rob Shaw of the Times Colonist:

    “But more than a quarter of her 34-person caucus appeared to show their dissatisfaction Saturday morning. Although most of the delegates in the room wore yellow scarves in support of James, 13 sitting MLAs refused to do so, and many of them also refused to participate in a standing round of applause for James as she entered the room to address delegates.

    The MLAs included Popham, Krog, Trevena, Macdonald, Conroy, Doug Routley, Nicholas Simons, Gary Coons, Robin Austin, Jenny Kwan, Harry Lali, Michael Sather and Guy Gentner.”


  10. RS says:

    And one Moe, bringing the knife count to fourteen, if you count Sihota.

  11. brian says:

    [quote]Speaking to the party faithful before the votes, James attempted to rally support and unify the party in a fiery speech.

    “We’re going to challenge the Liberals on their record in every corner of British Columbia. We’re going to challenge their desperate and reckless tax cuts, their shameful treatment of seniors,” James said.

    “I want everyone in this room to remember that the Liberal failures don’t automatically translate into NDP success. We have to work for it. We have to earn it. We have to prove to British Columbians that New Democrats can govern and I have to say, in the last few weeks, we’ve not done a very good job of that. At a time when we should be united, we’re fighting amongst ourselves.

    Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/11/20/bc-carole-james-leadership-ndp-vote.html#ixzz15tdRVPkr%5B/quote%5D

    when the heck will they be starting to “challenge the Liberals”, they sure as heck haven’t done it so far! has anyone heard carol and the ndp “challenge” the liberals over the BCR trial? tried to safeguard the destruction of defense court documents? embarrass the liberals over paying the court costs for the “criminals”? the absolute waste of money appointing MORE parliamentary secretaries? the creation of the super ministry for natural resources and the chaos it has created? the 15% personal tax cut and then the retraction of it a few weeks later!

    the ndp has been abysmal at “challenging” the liberals on their failing policies. why? because carol james wants to be “nice” and “pleasant” which translate into “challenging” the liberals so weakly it does nothing to enhance or endear the ndp position with the electorate they are trying to attract! Get a clue, carole, if you really want to be leader and premier, there has to be a better and sustained “challenge” of the liberal record by you and the rest of the caucus!

  12. Crankypants says:

    There has been much discussion as to why each election tends to bring out less and less voters. I think that the events of the last while by both the Liberals and NDP may be the answer.

    The MLAs and both leaders are all showing that the governance of the province of BC is less than uppermost both in their minds and in their actions. It’s all about the party.

    Well, those people that line up at the Food Bank every couple of weeks could care less about their internal squabbles. Neither does the person who has his or her operation postponed for the umpteenth time, the thousands of people unemployed, the small business that is hanging on by a thread nor many others just trying deal with the trials and tribulations of life in general.

    I hate to break it to the various parties, their ego-driven executives and anyone else associated with a political party. You all suck. You all seem to be great at talking the talk, but leave a lot to be desired when it comes to walking the walk.

    The campaign against the HST was something that actually got people talking about things political again, and seemed to be leading to getting more people involved in the political process. It may have actually been the beginning of getting people excited to excercise their franchise again. Unfortunately, the garbage that has been emanating from both camps will likely reverse the momentum.

    The theory that people were inspired to get into politics to make a difference and serve the electorate. It seems that todays politicians are much more interested in serving only their backers and their egos.

    There, I feel much better after my rant, but I know that the euphoria will be short lived.

    (Response: I used to think getting a larger vote out was a laudable goal …but I’m not so sure anymore. Maybe it’s better to have only those who study the issues and candidates vote …rather than loads of people who are manipulated to just vote how their spouse or other relative or friends tells them. The one real legacy of the HST petition drive …. and recall …. will be that involved people realized they do have “power” if they decide to exercise it It’s not easy, but it can be done. And unless whichever party wins next time has a large majority…they will have to be aware of that. I hope if people get mad as hell, they are NOT going to take it anymore. h.o.)

  13. D. M. Johnston says:

    James must go and soon. One has to remember is not the NDP she has to convince to vote for her, but the electorate as a whole.

    The 50% or so of BC’s electorate that did not vote in the last election should have sent a powerful message to James and Campbell, but evidently the pair did not understand it.

    If James runs again, she will again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    (Response: Exactly. Even in the midst of all the Liberal woes, as terrible as they have been and Campbell’s utter self-destruction, James hasn’t exactly excited the majority of the voters. And if the Liberals choose a leader who does have credibility and even a tiny bit of charisma, her numbers will fall even more. That’s why I expect she WILL go …just not until after the Libs crown their new champion. h.o)

  14. Ed Seedhouse says:

    I’ve know Moe for nearly 30 years now, RS, he’s a friend of mine, and I can tell you that you just don’t understand him at all.

    Your paranoia about him is completely unfounded. Yes, he has flaws like we all do. But your fantasies are completely off base.

  15. seth says:

    Carole James will doom the recall efforts to failure. When she is the alternative, its enough to knock the stuffing out of the campaign.

    We could have been rid of the BCLibs in 2011, but because of her its 2013- more likely 2014.

  16. Spectr1 says:

    The press coverage of Carole James’s quasi-leadership review is very interesting.
    The CanWest Global boys, long a treasure to Gordon, are now “suddenly” trying to elevate Carole from the Neville Chamberlain loser in waiting to BC’s own Winston Churchill.

    One must conclude that for any NDPer to ever get a pat on the back, as opposed to a rusty knife stuck in it, from BC’s Beautiful Media illustrates a BC Liberal black-op is at work.
    CanWest’s “sudden love” affair with the simpleton of socialism really means the Campbellite forces want her to hang around to lead the NDP to defeat.

    Working like a slow acting poison James non-leadership skills will give the best chance for a disgraced and corrupt Liberal Party to get their 4th term under a new savior.
    If it came down to James vs Taylor race between now and 2013 the NDP would be better to withdraw from the entire race and simply save their money and people for 2017.

  17. Henri says:

    Mike Lombardi // Nov 20, 2010 at 8:20 pm
    I have known Carole James for more than 25 years. She is trustworthy, moderate, smart, thoughtful, solutions oriented, and full of common sense. Her leadership style is just what we need–a cool leader in a hot province!
    Ed Seedhouse // Nov 21, 2010 at 3:54 pm
    I’ve know Moe for nearly 30 years now, RS, he’s a friend of mine, and I can tell you that you just don’t understand him at all.
    Your paranoia about him is completely unfounded. Yes, he has flaws like we all do. But your fantasies are completely off base.

    Aw www these two contributors make me feel all warm and fuzzy now…..

  18. Dan R. says:

    I have a feeling the next Liberal leader will rescind the fix election dates and we will go to the polls in the Spring or at the latest in the fall of 2011.

    (Response: That would be really interesting. And if the public is buoyed at all by a new Liberal leader, it would force the NDP to run with James. Hmmm! h.o)

  19. Dan R. says:

    I forgot to mention unless their is a viable third party to split the vote with the Libs the NDP won’t win anyway. they have never won a 2 party race in BC.

  20. Lynne says:

    If i read in between the lines of this most rnceet complaint you seem to be saying its frustrating that the interests that pushed for opening up a leadership race weren’t more of an organized concentration of power with longer term plans. damn those decentralized coups with democratic agendas, eh. Given you ought to have been familiar with the 13, I have a hard time believing you were not aware of their ideological plurality. There plan in short didn’t appear to have a shared agenda beyond opening up the party to a renewal process and addressing the mold starting to grow around the rather top-heavy tree fort you were a member of. But haven’t we had enough of these debates about yesterday?One thing is for certain: We are where we are today. None of the blame game narratives offer us much value at this point. If we move forward with some grace, and turn up the volume on our economy of ideas our poll numbers will most certainly find the spark upwards. If we dwell and continue to squabble about the past we will have passed up the re-start opportunity that the Liberals are currently embracing and gaining ground with.

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