A few preliminary thoughts on the big event from yesterday, hopefully unrepetitive of points well made elsewhere in the blogosphere.
I like the contrast between Dion and Harper on this issue. The CTV News report last night was a decent contrast of the approach the two are likely to take from here on out. Dion asking for reasonable debate and swearing to fight "Republican style attacks" with "Canadian style courage." Very clever to tag the Conservatives with that label as that's what Canadians will be seeing plenty of, not only from the Harpies with their talking oil slick, but from Swift Boaters to our south who will be taking a hack saw to Barack Obama throughout the summer and into the fall. We're going to see heaps of it. If Conservatives want to take the same approach, as they have been doing for years, they should knock themselves out. The comparison will be eminently useful. As for Harper, with his "that's crazy" response to Dion...he took a tone of dismissiveness, waving Dion's plan off out of hand. Sounding condescending and negative ("If, God help us, he ever gets in office, he'll put a carbon tax on gasoline and everything else. And it will not be revenue neutral," Harper said."). "God help us?" Could he be more melodramatic?
So hope versus fear it is. It's a good dynamic.
We've had a long, dark parliamentary session. The Conservatives are embroiled in scandals, no matter how much they stonewall and pretend they don't exist by speaking in alternative realities in the House of Commons. They know how vulnerable they are on those issues. It's also been a parliament that's worked against the Liberals. Dion's had no choice but to take a pass on defeating the government due to the recovery time the party needed under a new leader to get ready for an election. And he's suffered the consequences. (That explanation will never satisfy a good chunk of people, so be it.) It's been a virtual draw in this sense for both the Liberals and Conservatives.
A turn toward a campaign, with yesterday's unveiling of this Green Shift, gives you a glimpse of the contrast between the leaders that will be drawn out to a greater extent whenever that election may be. One of the advantages (yes, advantages) to the Conservative attack ads to date has been to set expectations ridiculously low for Dion. So low that if he conducts himself throughout the selling of this plan, through the summer and into the fall in the manner he did yesterday, by speaking reasonably and engaging Canadians with facts, people may be very pleasantly surprised. And I say that, acknowledging that it's too late for some. But they're likely not his target audience in any event. There are a ton of disaffected Canadians who voted for Harper due to the sponsorship scandal and have now seen his act. They're looking for other options.
Oh yes, and then there was this:
A well done ad. And no talking oil slicks! The theme of the first part is inspiring...great countries are built on great dreams...appealing to a higher purpose. The team aspect of the latter part of the video is particularly effective and ending in Dion's best line in ages. Hope to see it and other productions on the airwaves of all varieties in the coming months. After all, we know the Conservatives will have theirs...