Thursday, November 12, 2009

Welcome to the job, Mr. Donolo...

Mr. Donolo officially starts his new job on Monday. He will come into that job faced with:
  • a 10 point gap between the Conservatives and the Liberals;
  • a Conservative government which has just picked up two more seats, including one in rural Quebec;
  • an NDP which, for now, continues to hold its own; and
  • a number of empty desks in the OLO following a number of recent departures.
Ok, so the last one might be less of a problem as it presents an opportunity to choose his own staff and make a clean break with downward spiral now known as Fall 2009. All in all though, for many this is the political equivalent of the labours of Hercules.

So what's a Chief of Staff to do?

  • Build a team - his own team. His office will live and die by their performance over the next 8-12 months. Choose people you know can do the job, not people you hope can do it. Enthusiasm cannot replace experience and expertise. Find the right mix between the two.

  • Get caucus on side. Ignatieff will not survive without them. If they feel their prospects would be better served by another leader, they will move there. Quickly. Build bridges and let them see you have a plan.

  • Define a Liberal government. To this day, it is not clear what an Ignatieff government would stand for, what they would represent. Yes, we have high-level platitudes but voters need more. Show yourselves to be a government in waiting. Not being Stephen Harper won't work anymore, nor will fear-mongering. Present a credible alternative.

  • Building on the point above, find your key messages and let the public see the leader delivering them.

All of this will take time the Liberals may not have. We will again be confronted by the prospects of an election this Spring (Budget 2010 being a possible trigger). That does not leave a lot of time for a Chief of Staff to do the things needed to steady the ship and plot a course.

Welcome to the job, Mr. Donolo...

1 comment:

  1. Where should I start...In my humble opinion, well maybe not so humble(can't help it, too opinionated!) Ignatieff is toast, he is done! So no matter who they bring in to try to fix it, it is too late!
    The conservatives have played it well, but Ignatieff really screwed up, with the negative adds even though most people were against them, they worked perfectly! Because Ignatieff really looks like he doesn't connect with canadians at all, he let those adds defined him, and you can help it but to feel he doesn't get it! The huge mistake of threat of an election in september was one of the biggest dumbest moves, he just wasn't hearing canadians at all and that backfired big time, plus it doesn't help that he doesn't seem to be listening to his party either, he is doing it in his own terms and well, obvously he ain't much of a politician!

    I feel for Donolo but it will take a super miracle to get the Liberals ahead, for starters canadians now are feeling more comfortable with Harper, getting to know him better and the country isn't falling apart in these recession, and when you don't know what Ignatieff is standing for, he seems to change his mind weekly, I for one will be scared to have someone like that running this country, I don't even think he knows how to run his household! I believe Donolo's job is to fix the party rather than the candidate, in my view Donolo will be the one making the policies and what the libs stand for so he should be running for the leadership instead, Ignatieff is like a puppet talking someones words because we already know that a politician he ain't!

    I miss my Chretien, even with all of his roughness around the edges, he was good!

    And Layton is growing on me, that's too bad that he makes it so personal, because otherwise I think people would pay more attention to him!


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