In my last post I discussed our tendency to try and make wedge issues our own, and why it's better to let these issues blossom on their own. I used the example of the HST. And while trying to force the issue of the HST was a problem, a bigger problem is our answers to the questions that people ask when we are trying to force the issue.
How many times have you seen some version of this in a newspaper article: "When asked for specifics on what he was going to do about [Insert Issue Here], Hudak didn't provide many."
Now, I have a very hard time believing that Hudak has no ideas about what he wants to do about Insert Issue Here. I have a very hard time believing that nobody on the campaign or in the party had any ideas about what they wanted done about Insert Issue Here.
No, what is happening here is that whatever Hudak says, he's likely to offend someone, who will then have a tantrum and refuse to vote for us, or provoke a devastating response from the Liberals which will cause nobody to vote for us. So he's being told to be short on specifics. That's why the platform was so tightly focus-grouped.
There are two problems here- worry on the part of the party brass that whatever we say will lead to catastrophe, and the tendency of people to take their ball and go home when they don't get what they want.
I fail to understand why this is such a big problem at the level of the provincial party. Ford didn't have this problem. Harper had this problem but faced down anyone who criticized him.
If the PCPO lost this election because they didn't listen to the grassroots, would someone please explain to me how it is that Harper outright ignored a resolution from what was ostensibly the grassroots about eliminating the HRC's and won a majority in the next election, but Hudak did the same thing- "ignoring the grassroots"-and lost? Maybe, just maybe, these people who complain about Hudak but give Harper a free pass are unwilling to rock the boat too hard so long as Harper is PM?
You may not like hearing this if you're not a Hudak fan anymore, but this problem is partly the base's fault. People bash Hudak for not having enough guts to implement Conservative Principles, then complain when he tries to draw a line in the sand, like he did over the foreign workers issue, and then they wonder why the party doesn't reply to their e-mails.
During the election, I tried to give people reasons to vote for Hudak. Some disagreed and said that they wouldn't, and my response was, and will be, "Go ahead." Because as far as I'm concerned, there's nothing for Tim Hudak to fear from these people, such as the ones complaining on his Facebook wall right now, because not one of these people will do anything to have Hudak removed in February. They wrote their comment on Facebook and called it a day. Of course, I could be wrong, but I doubt it. As was the case with our ground game on e-day, I will have to be proven wrong.
Pick a side, stick to it, and ignore the whiners. Then Hudak can give actual answers instead of vague statements. Don't try to please everyone and end up pleasing nobody.