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No self-censorship on criticism at this blog – Liberal supporter or not.

Jason posts this AM thinking that Liberal bloggers shouldn’t be so critical of Dion and/or his Liberal advisers not wanting an election:

Liberal bloggers need to add one more question to that mix. Is your blog helping the cause or hurting it? If you want an election, are you more likely to get it by complaining in public? Or are you more likely to get it by showing your support for Stphane Dion? In my view, the public bickering only convinces the media to continue questioning the Liberal strategy. Far from convincing the Liberal caucus to go into an election, this is likely to result in lower polling numbers and ever more Liberal MPs wanting to wait….We recognize that it does no good for caucus to question the direction of the Liberal Party. Why is it any different for bloggers?

He repeated that in an imported note at Facebook, and I’m going to repeat what I said there over here as well, with a few additions. One thing that I have always liked as a fairly new Liberal blogger is to see other Liberal bloggers not be afraid to question and offer constructive criticism of official Liberal party positions – unlike the Blogging Tories who for the most part march lockstep with their party regardless of what they do. The Liberal bloggers support their party, and can be as partisan as anyone in their attacks on both NDP and/or Conservative Party positions, but they also for the most part aren’t afraid to question certain Liberal Party policy or strategy which they feel is hurting the Liberal Party’s chances.

Having the grassroots/netroots use their voice is a critical component of making the Liberal Party brass aware we aren’t happy with their positions. It gives a chance to offer feedback and a different POV, and in my opinion that helps prevent a “looking glass” sort of party, where everyone robotically marches along to the same music. If you look down south, the Democratic blogs in the US have done a lot of self-criticism of certain Democratic Party positions and certain Democrats. They have organized withholding money from the Dem Party at times; other times they’ve organized fund-raisers for “good Democrats” who have not backed down from Republican Party fearmongering or embraced Republican Party talking points. They even have helped finance and supported challengers to Democratic Party incumbents in their ridings for Dems they find particularly culpable to Republican talking points – Ned Lamont’s challenge to Joe Lieberman is one notable case, and the recent victory by Donna Edwards over “Bush Dog” Democratic congressperson Al Wynn in the Democratic primary there is another.

This combination of internal self-pressure/encouragement/threats have actually given the Democrats in Washington a bit of a spine, which they wouldn’t have had if they hadn’t had constant public pressure to actually “act like Democrats” instead of cowering in fear of the Republicans. That needs to be continued up here, in my view. There is a difference between having party discipline in caucus and being able to freely be critical of positions that aren’t helping the Liberal Party overall. If others wish to self-censor, feel free. I wont be one of those.

I guess I also need to ask Jason whether this is his own opinion, or whether he’s getting vibes about this from someone in the party, and he felt the need to post what he did. Regardless if it’s his own opinion or if its being channelled from sources in the OLO offices, if the party brass don’t like the fact they’re being criticized by the grassroots of the party, the simple way to fix that is to actually listen to the feedback and respond to it rather then bellyache over it. This party has become far too elitist, and I’m afraid I have to say Jason is putting forth an elitist view of what the grassroots should be doing, which is apparently to shut up and stop complaining.

Dion’s victory was in part carried by the grassroots of the party, not the caucus, and certainly not the party brass, and I thought his victory might help matters in doing some Liberal Party renewal, which is one reason I joined the Liberals after Dion’s victory. Unfortunately, it appears at times the party brass are determined to try to keep a lid on that and keep their hands over their ears, rather then listen to the people who make up the skin and bones of the party.

UPDATE: I see Steve got irritated at Jason’s blogpost about the same time I did (still waiting for your quirks meme list of 6 things that I tagged you with Steve 😉 ) . I expect to see that list of bloggers to grow, by the way.

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17 comments to No self-censorship on criticism at this blog – Liberal supporter or not.

  • Melissa

    *smiles* This is hilariously entertaining. Thanks guys, you’re awesome.

  • Oh, I can see it does do italics and whatnot.

    But that isn’t html. HTML? Well, it looks like <this>.

    And it still ain’t about Dion. Hell, one of the most ironic things about the current Democratic catfight is how reminiscent it is of what the Liberals went through in 2006, and I’m getting the feeling that the "not a leader" stuff you saw with Dion is being re-cut for Obama as we speak.
    Good times.

  • Sure my blog does Demo (accepts html). You just have to learn to use the handy-dandy text editor above the text input box, to do italics or bold or underline, or superscript or subscript or links.

    That’s what those are symbols are there for - to be used, not to look at. 😉

  • (Huh. Your blog doesn’t appear to accept HTML, I see.)

  • You nailed the essential point, Scott, though I’m not quite sure you realized it. Yes, there are definitely leadership problems with the Liberal Party. The <i>issue</i> is that too many Liberal bloggers seem to have bought into Harper’s propaganda, and think that it’s somehow a "lack of leadership" from Dion, and that (presumably) some other leader would be kicking ass and running an election right now.

    I think people are missing the basic point: that <i>none of this will change by attacking Dion</i>. Dion isn’t the problem, and pretending that he is just helps Harper’s attempts to exacerbate the factional conflict within the Liberal party.

    If you want real change, accept that Dion isn’t the issue, and start aiming your guns at the <i>real</i> power in the party.

  • Well..I wasn’t a self-appointed authority figure in the case of that mess either… but I’ll shake on it, even if I differ with your version of events.

  • Scott, no need to revisit, just making an observation. I’m totally on your side and 100% in agreement on this. Nobody should be pressured, cajoled, or guilt-tripped into writing, or not writing, anything on their own blog. Nor should the substance or style of their communication be subject to the approval of some self-appointed authority figure.

    Shake on it?

    (If you want the links/quotes, email me and I’ll send them to you.)

  • Prole:

    If you want to revisit all that mess, we can go there… but you’re going to have to show me the quote as to where I said what I thought you all "should be writing".

  • Scott, I have been thinking that this is indeed a very interesting position for you to take, considering the self-censorship you were calling for in regards to the "militant" feminist contingent. It doesn’t feel very good to be told, in a patronizing tone, what you should write, by someone who thinks they know what is best. In fact it makes one a bit defensive.

  • okhropir rumiani

    "censorship"? Little Lisa Simpson, Springfield’s answer to the question nobody asked.

  • Isn’t censorship contrary to the essence of blogging? The big thing that attracted me to this medium in the first place was that it enabled and open exchange of ideas. I’m not sure how anyone would square that circle. One other comment. When Dion was selected leader of the party there was all sorts of talk about renewal and creating an open dialog with the grassroots. I, for one, haven’t seen much, if any, of this sort of change. Just more of the same old politics as usual. Rather than complaining about it maybe the Liberal party should leverage some of these tools to start engaging more directly with their constituency.

  • Ted

    Jason censors his blog. Making it more irrelevant.

  • Jason:

    Glad that you clarified that its your opinion, and it wasn’t sent your way (though I don’t doubt how some up there in the brass must feel about bloggers and blogging and Liberal bloggers in particular). And I never said that anyone was threatening censorship.. I disagreed with you and potentially whoever else it was that possibly wanted everyone to self-censor (ie shut up). themselves and not be publicly critical. I’m pleased to hear no one was leaning on you to post this as a “message” to the Liberal blogging membership.

    That all said, I still think your opinion is dead wrong of course.

  • Come on Scott. This is my personal opinion. Nobody’s threatening censorship.

  • "This party has become far too elitist, and Im afraid I have to say Jason is putting forth an elitist view of what the grassroots should be doing, which is apparently to shut up and stop complaining."

    Scott I could not agree with you more. Political parties cannot exist in a vacuum – they can’t vote themselves in. And when they do not respond to their constituents, well, who is some blogger, or party official, to tell me what I should or shouldn’t say on my own website? I’m not a Liberal (as I can’t vote yet, no need to pick a party) but I’ll be damned if anyone, government member or unpaid shill, is going to dictate suggest what I should say. And I do think about and choose very carefully what I say, swear words and all.

  • That post is a disgrace. Well said!!!

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