Sunday, March 01, 2009

Don't they have anything better to do?

Another excellent Alexander Panetta report in CP: "Tories drop the gloves on Ignatieff, prepare attack ads." Unnamed Conservatives are speaking of the coming personal attacks on Michael Ignatieff in the form of attack ads meant to defame and destroy another Liberal leader just as they did to Stephane Dion. Testing the waters, floating trial balloons about lines of attack, it's all there. You know, it seems like so long ago that the Conservatives had the luxury of indulging in the silly shrugging Dion campaign. It's likely, however, that the same feat of deploying such negativity successfully against Ignatieff will prove much more difficult this time around.

For one thing, the times are very different. Industries are teetering, readjusting to harsh new economic realities. Look at the auto industry, look at what's happening to newspapers across the continent, to say nothing of financial services companies. Voters work at these companies. Something different is happening. Global financial system meltdown, heard too often in the news. To see frivolous personal attacks in the midst of all this, it's hard to believe it will play in the same way. Such attacks bounced off Obama. No one wanted to hear slime about a phony birth certificate. That Obama was not really American. He is and the rest was just smear and innuendo. If the Conservatives think they're going to tell Canadians that Ignatieff is not really Canadian, that he's a "fair-weather" Canadian in some kind of patriotic litmus test...can't say the recent precedent looks promising for them.

Secondly, Ignatieff is not Dion. As much as I respected and supported Dion, Ignatieff has proven thus far that he's quite able to handle himself in engagement with the Conservatives. I would expect to see that if and when Conservative smears begin.

Lots more thoughts on this but that's a start...this could all be hot air, like oily the splotch.

Update (Monday a.m.): psa disagreed with some of the above in a post last night. psa was very kind in complimenting my blog and readers of my blog will know I am a fan of the CC gang as well. Now that the pleasantries have been dispensed with...:)...there are some fair points made there, for example regarding my overstating that personal attacks "bounced off Obama." As psa noted, the U.S. election was closer than it should have been given the McCain/Palin ticket's poor campaign and the state of the U.S. at the end of 8 years under a Republican incompetent. So they had some effect, yes, but they were not determinative. And Ignatieff is not Obama, no, I did not intend to suggest he was, merely that the climate of our next election is likely to mirror the recent U.S. one which saw less credence being put in such attacks. How Ignatieff will ultimately do in an election campaign against such attacks is yet to be seen. Not surprisingly, I'm going to remain optimistic after...what, two months of Ignatieff being leader?

Overall, with respect to the tone, as psa would expect, I would have to disagree ("corrupt, idiot Liberals," Ignatieff as practicing "dirty politics," for example among other characterizations). There's also the lumping of Harper and Ignatieff together, with which I also disagree but will be keeping in mind to address as future issues present themselves. For today though, you can start here.