Remember when someone called you a name in the school yard?
The usual rebuttal was, "I know you are, but what am I?" It worked like a charm when kids tried to suggest you were something other than what you knew you were.
Hugh McFadyen appears to have forgotten the ageless strategy of deny and deflect, a strategy that even children understand.
In response to Premier Greg Selinger's allegations that he will recklessly cut services and the provincial budget, McFadyen actually agreed.
"We are absolutely committed to getting the province again to live within its means," said McFadyen. He said if his Conservatives form the next government, they won't willy-nilly sacrifice jobs and services, although there would be some restructuring in the public service.
Ah. Right. You won't "cut" the public service, but you'll "restructure" it. Gotcha.
If read more simply, the exchange between Premier Selinger and McFadyen reads as follows:
Selinger: If McFadyen's Premier, he will recklessly cut, cut, cut.
McFadyen: You're right. We are committed to getting the province to live within its means. And we will "restructure" the public service to do it. Oh, did I mention as well that health care isn't our priority? Right, Blaine Pedersen already reminded you of this.
Selinger: You're a reckless cutter, sir.
McFadyen: I know I am, but what are you?
Note to McFadyen - when you're accused of being a reckless budget cutter, don't agree with it! But, by all means, please continue to volunteer what you're going to cut!
Clearly, it continues to be amateur hour at Tory House. Thank goodness Rochelle Squires and Greg Burch have arrived, eh?
And, McFadyen, you're off to a good start wasting the one year remaining before the next election. Whatever you do, don't tell people about your policies until at least summer, maybe fall, of 2011. And then spring them on Manitobans. That's a great strategy.
If anyone's looking for a quick lesson on how to lose in politics, read Sidney Green's column in today's Winnipeg Free Press.
Mr. Green suggests that to win in politics, politicians need to "give the people something positive to vote for, not a target to vote against".
It's difficult for the Blackberry Addicts to believe that Mr. Green, himself, believes what he writes.
When Mr. Green unilaterally sought the leadership of the provincial NDP in the fall of 1968, did he not, from time to time, attempt to juxtapose his leadership abilities with that of Mr. Russ Paulley, the NDP's existing leader? And did he not, from time to time, attempt to characterize the future that awaited his party should Mr. Paulley remain as leader?
In the days leading up to the NDP convention in which Mr. Green challenged, and subsequently lost, the leadership to Mr. Paulley, Mr. Green was reported to have said that the re-election of Mr. Paulley "would be political suicide", and that if Mr. Paulley was returned as leader "it would leave the party open to ridicule by other parties and hurt the NDP if a general election was called".
Mr. Green, in your individual quest for political power, you employed the very strategy that today you dismiss. You made broad generalizations about your opponent, and drew conclusions about the future should your opponent be re-elected. You, sir, employed a strategy to give NDP delegates a target to vote against. And just because you didn't win in 1968 with this strategy doesn't mean the NDP can't in 2011.
You know better than what you write, Mr. Green. Do us all a favour next time, and write something you actually believe.