Thursday, September 24, 2009
TURN THE CORNER...
I don't care about polls -- isn't that always the way when the numbers aren't great? -- but there is no denying that Harper and his CONs are feeling some wind in their sails by the latest numbers.
When you've got an unlimited access to advertising dollars (and a public that seems apathetic to how its tax dollars are being finagled), multiple opportunities each week to roll out the late Ed McMahon's novelty-sized chequebook around the country looking like a Santa saviour, plus the attitude that the ends always justify the means, there's perfect reason for Harper to be pushing close to majority territory.
Of course, Parliament hasn't really sat since the late spring and historically Harper and his hitmen have proven to be hamfisted when it comes to working under the press gallery's hot lights.
None of their mistakes have proven fatal; the media has been all-too-easily distracted to not push on the In-and-Out (unless there's great visuals like RCMP and scurrying scaliwags emerging from the CON headquarters), the Cadman tapes and now the blatant favouritism of government money to CON cabinet ministers' ridings.
All that said, there is plenty I find wrong with how the Liberal party is handling its opportunities and job.
Ignatieff has tried, with some minor success, to change the tone and not play the same full-contact, no-rules-barred game of gutter politics that the CONs take so much pleasure in. His ads, while looking solid, fell short of creating an impact. In fact, I never saw one on TV, only on YouTube. At the same instance, the CONs ramped up their anti-Ignatieff and balderdash coalition concoction.
While Harper has more mud on himself and tarnished his 'leadership' image by constantly playing it partisan at all costs, it hasn't proven damaging enough to turn public opinion wholeheartedly against him.
Ignatieff, on the other hand, hasn't benefited (yet) from his strategic placement on the high road -- and he may never if he doesn't find his game.
Perhaps the Liberals need to rekindle that energy and intensity that helped them crawl out of the hole in the 1980s, when the Rat Pack hit the Mulroney government often and hard. It wasn't always pretty, nor always effective, but it created a lasting image. There is negative backlash one risks, but apparently the public is willing to forgive what they see as mutual mudthrowing. While I don't think Ignatieff needs to be throwing tough and loud accusations at Harper at all times, but certainly it could be good use of some of his soldiers.
I'm not suggesting we stoop to his level in all areas -- you don't go chasing the same possum when the other dog's off barking. But there are plenty of areas and plenty of past quotes that Harper can't completely wash away with a distracting photo op.
John Kerry's campaign attempted to 'ride above' the lies and dastardly storylines that the Bush/Cheney team threw at him, and even now history from the media's point of view is that he was a failure candidate. Nevermind that he would have been 10x the president than Bush, nevermind that he was 20x the person that anyone in the Republican party had on its frontlines, Kerry's presidential run is filed under 'flop.'
We have to face facts -- the CONs have an army of people who hate Liberals to the point where they'll cut brake lines and inciting rebellion against parliamentary procedure. They spread lies and attempt to demolish all the great things that Liberals have done to make Canada fairer, more compassionate and prosperous nation. When you are fighting the likes of those, you can't be playing by Marquess of Queensberry rules. When they are aiming below the belt, you need to be ready to use the same tactic when the opportunity unfolds. But it has to be now -- pulling it out in the late stages of an election campaign harkens to a desperate, hail paul martin moment.
I think its time to take off the gloves and give back what's been given. It won't completely eliminate 'the high road' if its framed as showing Harper for who he really is. It's time people are reminded exactly what he stands for -- making Canada into a completely different nation that has no room for compassion, no heart for action.
JUST TO ADD: I definitely believe this is a major step in the right direction -- feeding stats and photo ops with well-versed statements which shine on the Harper hypocrisy and secret agenda needs to continue. Kudos to Gerard Kennedy for turning up the heat.
Posted by rockfish at 11:20 PM