Put a sunny spin on rot and maybe you can fool people into thinking you won. That is precisely how Andrea Horwath spun her defeat yesterday, and make no mistake: she lost big time.
It doesn't matter if she moved up a notch by default. That is nothing to celebrate.
To put it in perspective, let's say there is a fire in a building and four people are trapped inside, and only one of them can come out in time.
Does the person who was second fastest going to celebrate?
No, obviously. Only the first person who gets out lives. Who was second, third, or fourth isn't even a thing.
When we try to sugarcoat loss as some sort of "win", we begin to try to spin a narrative in such a way that we do not have to face the fact that we lost, but somehow won.
Sometimes you can get away with it, but at a price. When you keep sunny spinning failure, you can never actually achieve a victory.
And Andrea Horwath is a person who can't win because she has a penchant to cheer her failures.
She is abetted by a press that enables that delusion.
The National Post is doing just that. Yes, they noticed that she lost, and even noticed that her concession speech was most likely the victory speech she wrote, but then was so impressed with it that she used it in defeat because it was just that kewl, but they still could not slap that faction to the reality that they suffered a massive loss and did so because they could not assess who was leading their soldiers to certain defeat:
There was a sense of missed opportunity, that after the first couple of debates the NDP had a real possibility to win.
And then this musing:
Now Horwath has another four years to audition for premier, this time with greater resources and influence, and with no likely challenge to her leadership, given the rare achievement of her second-place finish.
“It is a victory. It’s not a spin,” Lyle said. “No New Democrat has done better since Bob Rae … To go and shoot the messenger would be crazy.”
When you have a leader giving a victory speech after defeat, there was never any chance of victory. This is Hillary Clinton all over again, only if Clinton used her victory speech instead of keeping silent for a day.
The NDP were a panic choice for the Left who thought Wynne was too radioactive and controversial to win. They did not stop to think at looking at the NDP's past bungles and past defeats to assess how viable of an alternative they truly were.
Last night's mystifying speech says it all: any improvement means victory of some sort.
It's not, of course. In politics, only the party who has the most seats has all of the power. The opposing parties don't. They cannot put forth bills that have a chance of being passed. They cannot stop bills the ruling party decides will become law.
That means the opposition are inert. To see it any other way is being in denial.
It is all or none. Win or lose and very binary. Only when there is a minority government does an opposing party have cards to play.
And once upon a time Horwath had that winning hand when Wynne had a minority regime. Instead of taking advantage of it, she blew it. Wynne proved to be the more alert of the two, and then went on to win a majority.
But Canadian journalists have a difficult grasp of losing. Everyone must have some sort of ribbon and certificate of participation along with a lollipop.
But in fact, it is not just the NDP that bumbled out a defeat: so did various union leaders who made the colossal tactical error of telling their flock to switch parties to vote for the NDP rather than the Liberals. The Grits will recover -- and now they will know not to be so generous with those voting blocs or play as nice because their loyalties switch at the first sign of trouble.
And because those union leaders made the wrong call, splitting a base, they should resign. They lost. They failed.
They left their members vulnerable in an unstable climate.
But that won't happen. There will be no rebellion or revolt. This blunder will be spun as a win, as usual. Because that's the Canadian way.
Always finding the positive in failure. That thinking destroyed journalism, and if the Canadian Left are not careful, they will share the same fate, too -- until they can admit when they lost -- and then find ways to save their fortunes rather than their egos.
If the NDP had sense, they'd take stock and make changes at the top. The Liberals, for all of their faults, get this truth, and will reinvent themselves with their quiet and strategic internal revolutions.
But the Orange are too happy with being the second fastest in a burning building to see that their fortunes have gone up in flames as well...