Liberal knickers in a knot over Janine Krieber
I did a little search this morning to see what kind of posts/pages have been stripped from Facebook and came up with some pretty disgusting examples, from hate literature to death threats against President Barack Obama. Take them down, fair enough.
But Janine Krieber expresses her opinion about the Liberal party and Liberals swoon faster than southern damsels in whalebone? A little over-the-top, wouldn't you say? Pundits (not all, mind you) mocked with such superiority, letter-writers attacked ("bitter" and "naive" being favorite descriptives) and, behind-the scenes, Liberals spoke of vile betrayal by the wife of former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion. How could she do such a terrible thing? It should be noted it was leader Michael Ignatieff who did the smart thing (teeth gritted or not) by stressing support from Dion, as pointed out this morning by my colleague Susan Delacourt.
Sure, it could be deemed embarrassing for a party to have the wife of its former leader argue said party is in dire straits and risks collapse but, then, is there an intelligent Liberal who is not aware of that fact? Didn't the party just make a major shakeup where it counts - backroom organization and communication in the OLO - with the installation of a new team headed by Peter Donolo? I thought the purpose of that switch was to pull the party back from a dreaded scud into oblivion. Krieber says she's looking for an alternative, and Liberals should be hoping that's not what party supporters are thinking en masse, but polls haven't been kind lately. The latest seepage has been to the NDP on the left. (I maintain, by the way, Krieber was a party supporter and may well still be - to those who darkly suggest she's always held treason in her heart. Gasp! Is she separatist?) She talks about control by Toronto elites - snooze, was that new even last spring? When the party was at its lowest earlier this fall (Liberals should hope) senior people who felt sliced out of the decision-making process came from the West, the Maritimes and even certain groups in Toronto, as well as Quebec. Again, the reason for Peter Donolo et al. While Liberals may rail against her attack on Ignatieff for his support for the U.S.-led war on Iraq and his writings on torture (Mr. Ignatieff does not approve of torture!), Krieber's argument paled compared to the significance of the leader's own actions last week. He absented himself from the House during, arguably, the most important Question Periods of his tenure, the debate over the testimony of diplomat Richard Colvin on Afghanistan.
The thing is, everybody knows the Liberals are in trouble. It happens to political parties. One needs only to cast back 16 years to a PC party stripped to two members in the House. Steps have been taken to wrestle with problems, Ignatieff was in good form today and there are top Liberals who believe these things too will pass and are working hard to make it so. Wasn't it Bob Rae who said last week he's a "happy camper."
Still, one can only imagine the full-court press on the weekend to get the fiery Ms. Krieber - a terrorism expert who has advised CSIS, among others - to withdraw her post to Facebook friends. Did she have to beg for the retrieval of separate emailed versions and delete them herself? Has her hard drive been purged? By the Party? Will she be more closely watched? Around-the-clock?
It falls to Political Decoder to throw out the crazy little notion the real danger here is censorship. That's the kind of permanent damage you don't want. Why, it smacks of that very thing Liberals accuse Stephen Harper and his Conservatives of doing.
Besides, Janine Krieber posted the comments, not Stéphane Dion. She's his wife, not his alter-ego. In 2009, women are still supposed to think like their husbands? Or maybe just some women - those whose husbands used to be leader of the Liberal party. Were Dion still Liberal leader, I suppose I'd hope she'd keep similar thoughts to herself, had she had them at the time, which it would appear, she did not.